The fallout from Southwest Airlines’ holiday meltdown continues to affect not just their clients, but the price of every package you book moving forward too, since airfares seem to keep rising as other airlines elbow in to claim new flyers uncertain whether to trust Southwest Airlines (SWA) ever again. If you had clients grounded by the tsunami of cancelled flights and haven’t had a chance to see the email, read on for a look at what the airline has done and is doing to win back your business.
Known for its two free bags and fairly level pricing, the airline has been hard at work putting measures in place to prevent another disaster of this kind, as outlined by CEO Bob Jordan in an email he sent out to employees and members of the Rapid Rewards loyalty program.
According to the letter, the company has done its triage and put in immediate measures to keep things rolling, including supplemental staffing, enhancing crew communication, and upgrading and updating their crew recovery system to optimize schedules and make revisions quickly as needed. According to Jordan, virtually all the bags that were seen littering the floor of airports across the country have been returned, most refunds have been processed and they’re still working on “tens of thousands” of reimbursement requests each day, plus they added 25,000 Rapid Rewards points to the accounts of members who were most significantly impacted as a gesture of goodwill.
Jordan also outlined several steps the airline is taking to work on preventing such a thing happening again. They engaged a third-party global aviation-consulting firm, Oliver Wyman, to assess what happened and make recommendations, their Board of Directors appointed an Operations Review Committee and Jordan stated they are committed to keeping everyone updated on the progress of their efforts.
Software and IT Systems Root Cause of Southwest Airlines Flight Fiasco
Of note is the fact the company budgeted more than $1 billion of its annual operating plan to focus on its outdated software and IT systems, the root cause of the flight fiasco.
In closing, Jordan wrote: “We fell short of your expectations and the high standards we have of ourselves, and for that we are deeply sorry. It is our steadfast commitment to make the necessary changes to address the issues we faced and to regain your trust and confidence.”
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