Southwest CEO promises reimbursements
The CEO of Southwest Airlines, Bob Jordan, promised that the airline will provide reimbursements to those who were affected by its thousands of cancellations over the past week, saying the “desire is to go above and beyond.”
Jordan said in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Friday that the storm that led to the airline needing to cancel more than 15,000 flights over the past week was unprecedented and hit many large areas simultaneously.
The airline appears to be back on track on Friday with fewer than 50 flights canceled and just more than 100 flights delayed, making up 1 percent and 3 percent of its total flights, respectively, according to the flight-tracking website FlightAware.
The intense winter storm that swept across the United States hit key hub cities like Denver and Chicago, causing problems for the airline’s scheduling system. The system struggled to reschedule flights that needed to be delayed or canceled and to route pilots and flight attendants to the correct planes.
Federal officials have promised to investigate the situation, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has said he will ensure those who were affected are reimbursed for their unexpected food, travel and lodging expenses.
Jordan said he has spoken to Buttigieg and they are “aligned” on the issue.
“Beyond safety, there is no greater priority than taking care of our customers, reuniting them with their bags, getting their refunds processed,” he said.
Jordan noted that the airline has set up a webpage for travelers whose flights were canceled to request refunds or reimbursements.
“Our desire is to go above and beyond,” he said. “We always take care of our customers.”
Jordan said there is “almost no way to apologize enough” for the cancellations that happened.
He said the first step for the airline is to get the network going, and he is pleased that it will run a full network on Friday. He said a “close second” is to solve problems that resulted from the crisis, including processing refunds and getting customers their bags.
“There will be a lot of lessons learned in terms of what we can do to make sure that this never happens again, because this needs to never happen again,” he said.
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