No other airlines seem to be having any trouble with the weather, but Southwest says it cannot fly its airplanes for some reason. And all those stranded travelers want answers.
On Monday, more than 2,900 Southwest flights were canceled, followed by another 2,500 on Tuesday. These numbers amount to as much as 70 percent of Southwest’s overall daily flights.
“All airlines in the U.S. are struggling with the winter storm, but only Southwest just fell apart completely,” tweeted Jake Swearingen, deputy editor of Business Insider.
Some other airlines canceled a few of their flights due to Elliot, the arctic blast event that froze much of the country. These were just a fraction, though, of Southwest’s cancellations.
“With the exception of September 11, this is one of the most horrific days that Southwest Airlines flight attendants have ever had to work through,” tweeted Brett Forrest, president of Southwest, in response to questions about where this all ranks in the company’s history of debacles.
Southwest is blaming the weather to get out of having to make things right for customers
We are told that Southwest’s company hotline has a five hour-plus wait time. It is not much better of a wait at the counter, either.
The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) is responding to all this with promises that it will conduct a review of Southwest’s “unacceptable rate of cancellations and delays.”
The rules stipulate that Southwest must provide certain accommodations to stranded travelers – unless the cause for delay is weather or other “acts of God.”
It would appear as though Southwest is blaming bad weather for these serious internal problems in an attempt to avoid having to do the right thing, which is certainly not a good look for the company.
Southwest is telling customers that it might be able to accommodate their “reasonable requests” for expense reimbursement, though it is unclear what constitutes “reasonable,” in this context.
In most cases, since customers cannot even reach a person over the phone or at the ticket counter without waiting an unreasonable amount of hours on hold, travelers are having to fork out a lot of cash to book last-minute flights with other air carriers.
Very little is known about what is really going on at Southwest right now, save for anecdotal reports from allegedly company insiders who are posting to Reddit that technological issues are to blame.
One anonymous person claiming to be a Southwest employee wrote in a post that the problem involves “crew scheduling software [going] belly up.”
“… it almost all has to be unraveled over the phone with crew members calling scheduling,” this person added. “If we had better technology which eliminated the need for phone calls, this would have been fixed by now.”
A flight attendant union confirmed much of this, blaming “years of neglect to technological improvements that would fix operational issues.”
USDOT, meanwhile, is moving forward with an investigation to determine “whether cancellations were controllable and if Southwest is complying with its customer service plan.”
Seeing as how the airline industry is heavily subsidized with taxpayer dollars, this socialism-driven sector of the economy – and Southwest in particular, in this case – has an obligation to provide real answers and restitution once the dust settles.
“If they’re going to give our tax dollars to these companies we shouldn’t be left with the bill when they screw up,” writes Hannah Cox for Based Politics.
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