Southwest Airlines Announces Several Leadership Changes

Southwest Airlines Being Investigated for ‘Unfair and Deceptive Practice’

The United States Department of Transportation announced an investigation into whether Southwest Airlines deceived travelers by scheduling more flights in late December than the carrier could handle.

According to The Associated Press, Transportation Department officials said they have launched a “rigorous and comprehensive investigation” into the 16,700 flight cancellations over the last 10 days of December.


The government is looking to determine if Southwest’s decision to schedule too many flights could be considered “an unfair and deceptive practice under federal law.” Officials said they would also hold the airline accountable if it fails to meet standards for refunds and reimbursements.

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In a statement, the Transportation Department said it would “leverage the full extent of its investigative and enforcement power” to protect travelers. The Christmas chaos started with a winter storm, but it was an overloaded crew-scheduling system that forced so many disruptions.

Union officials revealed they had previously warned Southwest about the potential issues.

In response to the government’s investigation, Southwest said its December schedule was “thoughtfully designed,” but admitted it was working with consulting firm Oliver Wyman to study what went wrong.

“Our systems and processes became stressed while working to recover from multiple days of flight cancellations across 50 airports in the wake of an unprecedented storm,” Southwest said in a statement.

Southwest CEO Robert Jordan said the carrier would cooperate with any government investigations and consider increasing spending on technology upgrades to avoid similar issues in the future.

Earlier this month, the airline announced the travel chaos was forecast to cost the carrier a pre-tax impact between $725 million to $825 million and revenue loss between $400 million and $425 million.

In addition, the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee announced it would hold hearings related to Southwest’s delays and cancellations during the winter holiday travel period.

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