Today marks a day of reckoning for Southwest Airlines. The carrier has promised a return to normal operations today, but can it keep its word?
Southwest Promises A Return To Normal Operations Starting Now…But Can It Keep Its Word?
Yesterday, Southwest canceled 2,362 flights, representing 57% of its schedule. Today, the Dallas-based carrier has promised a hard reset and return to normality ahead of another busy holiday weekend.
We plan to return to normal operations with minimal disruptions on Friday, Dec. 30.
We are encouraged by the progress we’ve made to realign Crew, their schedules, and our fleet. With another holiday weekend full of important connections for our valued Customers and Employees, we are eager to return to a state of normalcy.
We know even our deepest apologies – to our Customers, to our Employees, and to all affected through this disruption – only go so far.
We’ve set up a page at Southwest.com/traveldisruption for Customers to submit refund and reimbursement requests for meals, hotel, and alternate transportation; as well as to connect Customers to their baggage.
We have much work ahead of us, including investing in new solutions to manage wide-scale disruptions.
We aim to serve our Customers and Employees with our legendary levels of Southwest Hospitality and reliability again very soon.
Thus far, the carrier has canceled less than 50 flights today, representing less than 1% of its schedule. The airline has had all week to get its crews in place and now must make up for lost time and has little room for error if it ever hopes to reclaim consumer trust.
I have been following the airline industry for nearly two decades and have seen great calamity over the years, though never anything quite like this. Talk about an avalanche…
The good news is that Southwest sees a way forward in accelerating the upgrade of its ancient crew scheduling technology. The bad news is that this cannot and will not happen overnight. Even if Southwest Airlines bought an off-the-shelf product, it will take many months to implement it. Put another way, another bad round of winter weather could lead to another seven-day period like this one.
Southwest Airlines promises “normal operations” will return today, but I have two final observations on that. First, normal observations have been pretty unreliable for the last year, not just the last week. The carrier must do better. Second, normal does not cut it here–the carrier has a huge amount of catching up to do (both passengers and bags). It must do more than normal. That aside, it is good to hear that Southwest is inching back and we will closely watch how operations play out today.
image: Southwest Airlines
On a slightly related topic… I am one flight short of qualifying for A-list next year. My 25th flight was cancelled in the great SWA melt down. I called them today about it and they said any flight scheduled between Dec 20th and Jan 2nd WILL COUNT TOWARDS STATUS OR CP QUALIFICATION EVEN IF IT WAS NOT TAKEN!
It will be very interesting to see how long it takes them to deal with the epic amount of lost luggage this mess creates. Met a women in security this morning who has been missing her bag for 5 days so far.
@121 I have a similar curiosity, not for the passengers who had been booked for flights today and this weekend, well in advance of this week, but the stranded. The lost luggage will almost need their own repatriation flights!
And Matthew’s optimism for Southwest to recover in short order, let alone upgrade their crew scheduling systems (by all reports to be very long overdue), seems far-fetched. The number of articles, posts and comments from SWA pilots and crew seem to bear this out, that these old and well known issues will take quite some time to upgrade and implement.
High hopes for all affected. Happy New Year, one and all!
Food for thought, WN flights out of MCO to MDW this morning, empty…Orlando for goodness sake’s…
Most of us have seen the video of the airport police telling SWA passengers to leave the secure area due to the fact that their tickets were canceled, and are now trespassing. Was this correct?
Have seen it, was horrified, and will address it tomorrow.
How can you call it normal when everyone is rushing to grab the best seat as soon as they board? (no seat assignments).