• Thu. Feb 29th, 2024

Southwest Airways fined file $140 million by DOT over 2022 vacation journey meltdown

Southwest Airways fined file $140 million by DOT over 2022 vacation journey meltdown


Southwest Airways has been handed a file $140 million effective for its operational meltdown through the 2022 vacation journey season, the U.S. Division of Transportation mentioned Monday.

The civil penalty leveled towards the airline is about 30 occasions bigger than any earlier effective towards an airline, DOT officers mentioned in a press launch.

The DOT mentioned it can additionally require Southwest to start out issuing a $75 flight credit score to any passenger whose arrival is delayed greater than 3 hours when it is the airline’s fault, together with mechanical points.

“In the present day’s motion units a brand new precedent and sends a transparent message: if airways fail their passengers, we are going to use the total extent of our authority to carry them accountable,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg mentioned in a press release.

PHOTO: A Southwest Airlines commercial aircraft approaches to land at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California, Jan. 18, 2022.

A Southwest Airways business plane approaches to land at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California, Jan. 18, 2022.

Mike Blake/Reuters

The $140 million effective provides to the about $600 million in refunds and reimbursements that had beforehand been agreed to over the meltdown, the DOT mentioned. Officers mentioned they may use the vast majority of the effective to compensate clients affected by future Southwest flight cancellations and different delays.

As a large winter storm battered the US through the 2022 vacation season, the airline cancelled greater than 16,900 flights, stranding greater than 2 million passengers, the DOT mentioned.

Southwest mentioned it had “discovered from the occasion” and made new investments to enhance customer support and “our resiliency.”

“We’re happy to have reached this consumer-friendly settlement, which features a new, industry-leading coverage to compensate Clients throughout important delays and cancellations,” the airline mentioned in a press launch.

PHOTO: In this file photo, a Southwest Airlines plane prepares to land at Midway International Airport, Feb. 12, 2023, in Chicago.

On this file picture, a Southwest Airways aircraft prepares to land at Halfway Worldwide Airport, Feb. 12, 2023, in Chicago.

Kiichiro Sato/AP

Transportation officers mentioned their investigation of the dayslong incident included “inspecting tens of 1000’s of pages paperwork, conducting a number of multi-day, in- particular person audits and web site visits at Southwest’s headquarters, reviewing 1000’s of client complaints, and consulting with numerous third events, equivalent to airports.”

That investigation discovered that the airline had violated client safety legal guidelines on offering customer support, immediate flight-status notifications and immediate refunds, DOT officers mentioned Monday.

DOT officers mentioned they ordered Southwest to order $90 million in vouchers to cowl the $75 flight credit the airline might be required to pay when flights are greater than 3 hours late.

“Taking good care of passengers isn’t just the precise factor to do — it is required, and this penalty ought to put all airways on discover to take each step doable to make sure that a meltdown like this by no means occurs once more,” Buttigieg mentioned in a press release.



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