A little over a year later, Southwest Airlines is preparing for what the Department of Transportation (DOT) will almost certainly levy as a significant penalty on the airline.
This is a direct result of the enormous breakdown that occurred around the Christmas holiday in December 2022 of the previous year, during which tens of thousands of passengers had their flights either delayed or canceled.
Southwest seems to be aware of the impending fine and is now waiting to be told about it.
They need to be made aware of the specifics of the punishment that will be imposed on them. However, if one is to believe Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s first response, in which he described the circumstance as “unacceptable,” the sanction will most certainly be rather severe.
The combination of poor weather conditions and a malfunction in Southwest Airlines’ booking software led to the cancellation of almost 20,000 flights. A contributing factor to the unfavorable outcome was the fact that it occurred during the Christmas season, which is one of the times of the year with the highest volume of travel.
Buttigieg stated in a letter to Southwest CEO Bob Jordan at the time last year, “While weather can disrupt flight times, the thousands of cancellations by Southwest in recent days have not been related to the weather,” “Other airlines that experienced weather-related cancellations and delays resulting from the winter storm recovered relatively quickly, unlike Southwest.”
Aviation officials said the airline made the situation much worse by failing to provide appropriate and fast reimbursements. Moreover, the DOT found that Southwest needed to provide satisfactory levels of customer service.
The airline has also dropped hints that it may have to pay charges as a result of litigation taken on by customers and shareholders as a direct result of the fiasco.
Southwest needed help reassigning staff to their subsequent locations, resulting in further flight delays and cancellations. The airline was also criticized by a few experts, who said it needed to update and modernize its technology to compete.
So far in 2018, shareholders of Southwest have seen a 32% decrease in their investment.