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THE INC. LIFE

Southwest Airlines Just Made Passengers Very Angry (and This Isn’t the First Time It’s Happened) 

This seems more than careless.

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BY Chris Matyszczyk - 13 Feb 2018

Southwest Airlines Just Made Passengers Very Angry (and This Isn't the First Time It's Happened) 

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

 

When you're one of the biggest airlines in America, preparation is vital.

Especially when you've built up a reputation as one of the few airlines that actually thinks about its customers.

It seems more than a little careless, therefore, that Southwest Airlines has severely annoyed thousands of passengers by canceling more than 250 flights because of what it calls "conditions."

Weather conditions, you might think. Well, perhaps not.

You see, passengers at Chicago's Midway airport, where it's been snowing for more than a week, say they were told at the weekend that the airline had run out of de-icing fluid.

One traveler, Bradley Clifford, was offered this fascinating, conditional explanation.

Of course, it's the condition of their bank balances that passengers are also worried about.

The problem when this sort of thing happens is that passengers end up spending their own money to, well, rent cars, book hotels or whatever else.

The problem for Southwest -- well, one of them -- is that this has happened before.

Just after Christmas, the airline canceled 90 flights because of, oh, de-icing issues.

I asked Southwest what had happened.

I was told that a pump on one of the glycol de-icing tanks had malfunctioned. By Monday, this was fixed.

"We will continue to work with our customers on their travel plans and apologize for any inconvenience the disruption in service has caused," the airline told me.

The airline added that it had "actively worked to manage our glycol levels, but due to the severity of the winter weather Southwest has proactively canceled about 220 flights as of midday Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018."

There's a certain elegance in the way actively is juxtaposed with proactively in that quote.

Some would mutter that the airline ought to have proactively managed its glycol levels so that it wouldn't have to actively cancel flights.

Every airline can suffer snafus. Who can forget Delta's computer meltdowns that seem to happen with unseemly totality?

Worse, it appears that passengers may not have been given accurate information.

And then there was this.

It certainly doesn't appear to have been, well, the whole truth.

A big issue for passengers is that, all too often, there are few, if any, contingency plans.

Airlines like to work at maximum efficiency levels. This means that when something goes wrong, there are no more efficiencies available to fix anything.

And the ones who have to suffer the most are always the passengers.

Good luck with that, Teri.

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