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Southwest begins to rebuild reputation after cancellations

DALLAS (AP) – Southwest Airlines’ flights are operating on a roughly normal schedule and are now looking to repair their damaged reputation after canceling 15,000 flights over the Christmas period and leaving holidaymakers stranded.

CEO Robert Jordan said Thursday that Southwest has processed about 75% of refund requests it has received. The airline also returned most of the lost bags to their owners and hired a third-party firm to review refund requests for things like hotels and meals that stranded passengers paid out of their own pockets, he said.

The massive disruption began on Dec. 22 with a winter storm and snowballed when Southwest’s ancient crew scheduling technology was overwhelmed, leaving crews and aircraft unable to fly. It took the airline eight days to recover.

Jordan said in a brief interview that Southwest is still looking into what went wrong and he doesn’t want to make changes to the technology until this review is done. He expressed optimism but gave few details about how to avoid another crash.

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