The Transportation Division is within the preliminary phases of an investigation into Southwest Airways’ journey meltdown, and it’ll have a look at whether or not executives overscheduled flights, a spokesperson mentioned.
Southwest canceled 1000’s of flights, slashing round two-thirds of its day by day schedule, for days because it struggled to recuperate from winter climate at the same time as different airways managed. Passengers have been stranded and scrambled to seek out different methods to get residence.
The Transportation Division is “probing whether or not Southwest executives engaged in unrealistic scheduling of flights which beneath federal regulation is taken into account an unfair and misleading observe,” the spokesperson mentioned.
Southwest mentioned in an announcement Wednesday that it was ready, however there was a large winter storm. It mentioned it can proceed to cooperate with all inquiries.
“Our vacation flight schedule was thoughtfully designed and provided to our Prospects with the backing of a strong plan to function it, and with ample staffing,” Southwest mentioned. “Our techniques and processes grew to become careworn whereas working to recuperate from a number of days of flight cancelations throughout 50 airports within the wake of an unprecedented storm.”
The Transportation Division mentioned it was additionally guaranteeing Southwest was offering refunds and reimbursements to passengers.
“DOT will leverage the total extent of its investigative and enforcement energy to make sure customers are protected and this course of will proceed to evolve because the Division learns extra,” the division spokesperson mentioned by e-mail Wednesday.
The cancellations, which got here after the Christmas vacation, infuriated passengers. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg known as them unacceptable and mentioned his division would have a look at its scheduling system.
Southwest canceled an estimated 11,000 flights within the week after Christmas, and it has pinned the price of the fiasco at upward of $800 million.
Southwest has known as its efficiency unacceptable and apologized. CEO Bob Jordan mentioned this month that the corporate is budgeted to spend $1 billion on “investments, upgrades, and upkeep of our IT techniques.”