(PatriotWise.com) – While the massive winter storm caused nightmares for all airline passengers traveling for the Christmas weekend, for passengers of Southwest Airlines, the nightmare didn’t end when the storm was over.
Since the brutal winter weather began on December 22, Southwest canceled over 15,700 flights. And while other airlines quickly recovered from the Christmas storm disruptions, Southwest continued to flounder even after the weather started improving.
On Tuesday, December 27, Southwest canceled nearly two-thirds of its flights. Last Wednesday, 2,507 of the 2,753 domestic flights canceled were operated by Southwest Airlines.
On Tuesday, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he spoke with Southwest CEO Bob Jordan that day, telling Blitzer that the airline’s system “really has completely melted down.”
Buttigieg said he told Jordan that the Department of Transportation would hold Southwest accountable “for their responsibilities to customers” to ensure passengers are helped through this situation and to “make sure that this can’t happen again.”
Southwest blamed the travel disaster on delays due to the unprecedented winter storm, as well as aggressive flight scheduling and outdated infrastructure.
Buttigieg told Blitzer that, from what he understood, Southwest wasn’t even able to locate their crews, “let alone their own passengers” or luggage.
Buttigieg said he informed Bob Jordan that the Department of Transportation expected Southwest to offer refunds and expense reimbursements to all affected passengers without waiting to be asked.
Buttigieg also said the Transportation Department is prepared to pursue fines against the airline if there is evidence that Southwest failed to meet its legal obligations. He also said the department will also take a closer look into Southwest’s ongoing customer service problems.
“You’ve got a company here that’s got a lot of cleaning up to do,” Buttigieg told Blitzer.
Pete Buttigieg: "I conveyed to the [Southwest Airlines] CEO our expectation that they are going to go above and beyond to take care of passengers and address this." pic.twitter.com/yiwqLldbtp
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) December 28, 2022
In a video statement released by Southwest last Tuesday, Bob Jordan apologized both to Southwest passengers and its employees, saying the airline was “doing everything we can to return to normal operation.”
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