Photo Credit: Getty Images
Southwest Airlines Pilot: 'Crew Members Are Sitting In Hotels And Airports With Nowhere To Go'
More Southwest Airlines employees are breaking their silence as the turbulent meltdown continues.
In a heartbreaking and now-viral post, a Southwest Airlines pilot is shedding light on how employees are struggling to get home.
“Crews are stranded in the airports with the passengers,” the pilot says. “[We’re] volunteering to take the passengers in parked planes but the software won’t accept it.”
The pilot continues, “we literally have crews sleeping on the airport floors all over the country with nowhere to go. Crews have been calling to fly anyone, anywhere, but the company says the system needs a reset.”
December 2022 has marked a travel season many won’t forget thanks to the airline. The low-cost carrier is struggling to get people home following a historic winter storm amid a busy travel time.
In all, Southwest has reportedly canceled more than 15,500 flights since winter weather began disrupting travel. While other airlines have manage to recover, Southwest can’t get it together.
From a Southwest Pilot; pic.twitter.com/dZL5GMeJh2— Jess Magdefrau (@JessMagdefrau) December 28, 2022
What's Causing The Southwest Meltdown?
While Southwest continues to blame the situation on the weather, industry experts say it’s a combination of bad luck and under-investment.
Southwest Chief Operating Officer Andrew Watterson told employees the airline’s outdated scheduling software is the main reason things are in disarray, according to a transcript obtained by CNN. The weather only added gas to an already burning fire, and the unanimous pilot’s message backs these claims.
“Southwest Airlines has imploded,” the pilot states. “Their antiquated software system has completely fried […] Phone lines are overwhelmed for both passenger and crews. I personally spent over two hours trying to get ahold of anyone in the company last night after midnight.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation Plans To Hold Southwest Responsible
The Biden Administration has condemned Southwest Airlines, urging leaders to take swift action to make things right with the thousands impacted.
In a letter addressed to CEO Bob Jordan, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said the disruption Southwest customers experienced over the Christmas holiday and New Year season was “unacceptable.”
“Americans expect when they purchase an airline ticket, they will arrive at their destination safely, reliably, and affordably,” he said. “For many, Southwest’s severe flight disruptions have resulted in missed time with loved ones during the holidays and being separated for a prolonged period from their luggage even if they never boarded a flight.”
Buttigieg made it clear that while no financial compensation can make up for the missed moments that customers can never get back, he calls on the company to reimburse passengers that can be measured in dollars and cents.
Southwest says customers can expect flights to return to operate on a nearly full schedule on Dec. 30.
According to Southwest Airlines’ website, customers who’ve experienced any disruptions through January 2 can rebook in the original class of service without penalty.
Affected passengers can also file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Transportation if they have any problems or are denied compensation for flights, meals, hotels, and more by clicking here.