Southwest’s Flight Cancellation Fiasco Would possibly Value the Firm $800 Million

Southwest’s cancellation problems were likely the result of antiquated software and phone systems, which failed to keep track of pilots, flight attendants, and passengers.

Southwest’s cancellation issues have been doubtless the results of antiquated software program and telephone methods, which did not hold observe of pilots, flight attendants, and passengers.
Picture: Kevin Dietsch (Getty Photographs)

The hell of vacation journey was solely made worse this yr as experiences of horror tales from Southwest Airways passengers and staff ran the gamut from frostbite to thousands of flight cancellations to outdated software. Now, these points, which dovetailed over the busy vacation journey season may cost a little the corporate tons of of tens of millions of {dollars}.

The New York Times reported that this fiasco may cost a little the corporate a whopping $800 million in line with estimates from funding financial institution Jefferies. The primary crux of the problem, in line with Vice President of the Southwest Airways Pilots Affiliation Mike Santoro, frosty climate did play a hand within the disastrous journey season, however so too did the corporate’s extremely antiquated digital infrastructure. Southwest’s telephone system and software program reportedly couldn’t sustain with the mounting flight cancellations, and the corporate struggled to get pilots, flight attendants, and vacationers onto the right flights.

“Although we had a crew out there, [scheduling] had no concept these flight attendants have been behind the airplane,” Santoro stated in an interview with Insider. “The issue is the software program simply doesn’t hold observe of us.”


“Various their staff, flight attendants and pilots, have been warning about this for years — that they have been underinvesting and that they have been one storm away from catastrophe,” stated Helane Becker as quoted within the New York Occasions. Becker is a managing director and senior analyst at Cowen, an funding financial institution.

The $800 million price ticket primarily consists of income losses and buyer reimbursements, however the firm may most likely lose much more as lawsuits waged against the airline pour in. Jefferies estimates that $550 million in losses comes instantly from flight cancellations, whereas a further $250 million comes from buyer reimbursements for lodge, automobile rental, and amongst different examples. This $800 million determine is greater than then quantity the airline made within the first 9 months of 2022—$759 million.


This most up-to-date collection of unlucky occasions may very well be the beginning of a reining in of airways, who regularly oversell, underinvest, and go away passengers sad. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg known as the newest Southwest cancellations “unacceptable” in a letter to Southwest CEO Robert Jordan, and additional introduced that the U.S. Division of Transportation can be holding the corporate accountable utilizing “the fullest extent of its investigative and enforcement powers.” Buttigieg beforehand led the cost this past November to superb six airways for failing to refund their clients promptly.


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