US investigating December flight cancellations at Southwest

US investigating December flight cancellations at Southwest

US investigating December flight cancellations at Southwest

DALLAS (AP) — The U.S. Transportation Division stated Wednesday it’s investigating whether or not Southwest Airways deceived prospects by knowingly scheduling extra flights in late December than it realistically might deal with.

The division stated that scheduling too many flights could be thought of an unfair and misleading observe underneath federal regulation.

“DOT is within the preliminary section of a rigorous and complete investigation into Southwest Airways’ vacation debacle that stranded thousands and thousands,” the division stated in an announcement.

The Transportation Division added that it’ll maintain Southwest accountable if the airline fails to comply with federal guidelines about refunds and reimbursing prospects for bills when flights are canceled. The company stated it is going to “leverage the complete extent of its investigative and enforcement energy” to guard shoppers.

Southwest stated its vacation schedule “was thoughtfully designed” with “a strong plan to function it, and with ample staffing.”

“Our programs and processes grew to become careworn whereas working to get better from a number of days of flight cancellations throughout 50 airports within the wake of an unprecedented storm,” Southwest stated in an announcement. The airline pledged to cooperate with any authorities inquiries and is “centered on studying from this occasion” and decreasing the danger of a repeat.

Southwest canceled about 16,700 flights over the past 10 days of December. The meltdown started with a winter storm, but Southwest continued to struggle lengthy after most different airways had recovered, partially as a result of its crew-scheduling system grew to become overloaded. Union officers stated they’d warned the airline for years in regards to the system, particularly after related however much less extreme flight disruptions in October 2021.

Dallas-based Southwest ultimately resorting to reducing its schedule by about two-thirds to reset crews and planes, which it did efficiently.

The airline employed consulting agency Oliver Wyman to check what went flawed. CEO Robert Jordan has stated the corporate may velocity up spending on some know-how upgrades because of the disaster, however that he needs to finish the assessment first.

Southwest stated this month that the cancellations will value it up to $825 million in misplaced income and better bills together with premium pay for workers and reimbursing prospects for inns and alternate flights. Because of this, the corporate is anticipated to put up a fourth-quarter loss when it experiences outcomes on Thursday.

The airline can also be coping with damage to its reputation for customer support. Analysts consider some prospects might keep away from Southwest for a short while, though airways have often bounced again rapidly from different service failures.

The chair of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., has promised to carry hearings on disruptions just like the one at Southwest.

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