Only a reminder that your dangerous public picture can at all times worsen.
There was a time when Southwest Airways was recognized for having first-rate customer support.
However nowadays, it is primarily recognized for maintaining clients ready, and this status received’t be altering anytime quickly, it appears.
Southwest ruined actually hundreds of individuals’s holidays in late December, because the airline ended up canceling or massively delaying flights, together with almost 75% (or 4,000 home flights) on the day after Christmas alone. In complete, greater than 16,700 flights have been impacted, which could end up costing Southwest $825 million, at least.
The delays have been nominally attributed to winter storms. However critics have charged that the rationale why Southwest (LUV) – Get Free Report folded below stress, versus airways that have been capable of deal with the Inclement climate, is that the airline hadn’t spent sufficient cash to replace its badly outdated flight scheduling software program or to rent sufficient pilots to make up for the individuals who left through the pandemic. As a substitute, administration was targeted on maintaining prices low, and giving executives’ bonuses and shareholder dividends.
On account of these selections, in lots of critics’ opinion, a meltdown was just a matter of time for the airline.
Southwest’s newish CEO Robert Jordan has been attempting to woo again scorned clients, saying in an e-mail that “through the week between Christmas and New 12 months’s Day, our Prospects and Staff–together with a few of you–endured operational points that drastically disrupted vacation and end-of-year plans. We would like you to know that we’re making each effort to forestall that from taking place once more.”
From there, Jordan promised the airline would make quite a few enhancements to forestall one other meltdown, together with spending “greater than $1 billion” to improve the system.
Jordan additionally stated the airline would work with “nice urgency” to course of refunds and reimbursement requests, and to supply “these most importantly impacted 25,000 Fast Rewards factors as a gesture of goodwill for his or her inconvenience.”
However right here’s the factor about an apology. For those who actually need folks to forgive you, you have to present that you made a mistake and that you just’re going to work exhausting to repair it. However for the time being, there’s ample proof that Southwest isn’t dwelling as much as its guarantees to vary.
Prospects Are Nonetheless Ready For Their Refunds
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg gave Southwest Airways a strict deadline to challenge refunds to clients who have been impacted by the “unacceptable” cancellations. In a letter to Jordan, Buttigieg stated the regulation required Southwest to “present immediate refunds” for canceled flights that aren’t rebooked.
“This implies Southwest should present refunds inside seven enterprise days if a passenger paid by bank card, and inside 20 days if a passenger paid by money, examine, or different means,” the letter stated. He additionally referred to as on Southwest to cowl bills comparable to resorts and meals for grounded clients.
However to date, there’ve been loads of experiences of people who find themselves nonetheless ready for his or her refunds, together with a “a highschool basketball crew from Seattle, Washington, that bought stranded in Las Vegas for 5 days over Christmas after Southwest canceled their flight had solely acquired a partial fee, according to Business Insider, which provides that the coach and his spouse spent over $10,000 on incidental bills “and have been nonetheless ready on these reimbursement requests to be reviewed.”
Is the Division of Transportation On The Case?
Prospects can request a refund from Southwest, and Buttigieg has stated that anybody who has not acquired a refund but can contact the Division of Transportation, which can look into the matter.
A spokesperson for the DOT instructed Insider that it’s going to “maintain Southwest accountable if it fails” to challenge well timed refunds or reimbursements. However to date, there hasn’t been any phrase about what that really means, and if the company has any plans to levy fines towards the airline, or if Buttigieg plans to stay with verbal warnings for the foreseeable future.