Southwest Airlines Expects to Face DOT Fine
The U.S. Transportation Department is expected to issue a civil fine to Southwest Airlines over the end-of-year meltdown that led to 16,700 flight cancellations that affected more than 2 million passengers.
Southwest revealed the news in a securities filing, as reported by Reuters. DOT determined the airline “had failed to provide adequate customer service assistance, prompt flight status notifications, and proper and prompt refunds and that the assessment of a civil penalty is warranted.”
While most airline had delays and cancellations due to weather in mid-December, Southwest was the only airline carrier that canceled the majority of its flights. For three days in a row the airline canceled more than 60% of its flights, due to its outdated internal scheduling system.
Shareholders of Southwest Airlines also filed a class action lawsuit against the company earlier this year. They say the airline provided “materially false and misleading” information over a two year period regarding issues that caused its holiday meltdown.
Southwest CEO Bob Jordan previously said that passengers who had flight issues between Dec. 24 and Jan. 2 were refunded or given travel credit. He also said that many Southwest passengers were given free tickets and rewards points, along with reimbursing customers who had to buy another airline ticket, stay in a hotel, buy a meal or hire a taxi.
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