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Southwest Airlines to Pay $140 Million Fine for 2022 Meltdown

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Southwest to Pay $140 Million Fine for 2022 Meltdown

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) said today that is has issued a record $140 million fine to Southwest Airlines for its operational meltdown during the 2022 holiday travel season.

While other airlines has cancelations as well, Southwest’s issues were much bigger and lasted for almost two weeks. In total, the airline cancelled 16,900 flights and stranded over two million passengers.

The agency said that this penalty is 30 times larger than any previous DOT penalty for consumer protection violations. The majority of the penalty will go towards compensating future Southwest passengers.

The penalty is in addition to the more than $600 million in refunds and reimbursements that DOT already ensured Southwest provide passengers who faced travel disruptions during the operational meltdown. In total, Southwest will pay over $750 million.

As part of the fine, the DOT said it will require Southwest to reserve $90 million in vouchers and issue a $75 flight credit to any passenger whose arrival is delayed more than 3 hours when it’s the airline’s fault, including mechanical issues.

“We have spent the past year acutely focused on efforts to enhance the Customer Experience with significant investments and initiatives that accelerate operational resiliency, enhance cross-team collaboration and bolster overall preparedness for winter operations,” Southwest Airlines said in a statement. “Our commitment to Customers has been central to our success across our 52-year history and has helped us become one of the world’s most admired and trusted airlines.”

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Based in NYC. Points/miles enthusiast for years and actively writing about it for the last 6+ years at Danny the Deal Guru. I'm always looking out for deals. Making a few bucks is always nice, but the traveling is by far the best part of this business.

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