Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Airlines

Southwest Hires Consultant to Assess the Airline’s Tech Systems

3 weeks ago

The CEO of Southwest Airlines issued a statement to customers with new details about actions the company is taking following the debacle in the last week of December. 

The most notable new information that CEO Bob Jordan shared is that the company has created a board committee to review the company’s response during that time, and consultancy Oliver Wyman has been hired to assess the airline’s systems.

The actions are in response to several issues that led to nearly 16,000 cancellations, caused primarily by a lack of investment in back-end technology. Southwest said the incident could cost the company up to $825 million

In the short term, the company is working on updating the crew recovery system, enhancing the crew communications tools, and establishing supplemental operational staffing

As Southwest has said, the company plans to spend about $1 billion on tech upgrades. The recent disruption will accelerate those plans, Jordan stated. 

He also stated that, as of the end of last week, nearly all bags have been returned and nearly all refunds and reimbursements have been processed. 

“We fell short of your expectations and the high standards we have of ourselves, and for that we are deeply sorry. It is our steadfast commitment to make the necessary changes to address the issues we faced and to regain your trust and confidence,” Jordan said in the statement.

The company is holding its quarterly earnings call next week, during which executives will likely further discuss the issue.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has said it is investigating the issue, and a group of U.S. senators sent a letter Friday demanding that Jordan answer questions about the incident.

Airlines

President Biden Calls for Airlines to Reveal All Fees Upfront

4 months ago

During a press conference on Monday, President Joe Biden endorsed a new proposal from the U.S. Transportation Department that would make airlines disclose relevant fees early in a consumer’s shopping process. (See full document, below).

“You should know the full cost of your ticket right when you’re comparison shopping,” Biden said in brief remarks. He said that any “fees for things like sitting next to your child, checking your bag” should be made plain upfront.

The Transportation Department said airlines too often inform customers about fees either too far down in the booking process or after tickets have been purchased, “which is not sufficient disclosure.”

Airlines for America, a lobbying group, said carriers were already transparent about ticket fees.

Here’s the regulatory proposal:

Airlines

Airlines Told to Stop Charging Adults Extra for Adjacent Seating for Children

7 months ago

The U.S. Office of Aviation Consumer Protection has issued a notice urging airlines to do “everything in their power” to ensure children aged 13 or below are seated next to an accompanying adult with no additional charge.

The U.S. Department of Transport said it continued to receive a low number of complaints from consumers about family seating, but there were complaints that involved instances where young children, even as young as 11 months, were not being seated next to an accompanying adult.

In November the office will review airline policies. If their seating policies and practices are barriers to a child sitting next to an adult family member or other accompanying adult family member, the department said it will consider additional action consistent with its authorities.

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