WASHINGTON – A gaggle of Democratic senators are in search of clarification from Southwest Airlines over last month’s operational collapse, one other sign of growing frustration on Capitol Hill over recent chaos within the country’s air travel system.
In letter In a letter sent to Southwest CEO Bob Jordan on Wednesday, lawmakers asked airlines dozens of questions on topics similar to flight crew planning systems, ticket refunds and executive compensation. The letter was signed by 13 members of the Senate Democratic caucus, including Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, who headed it.
“No company can treat their customers this fashion and get away with it,” Markey said in a press release. “CEO Bob Jordan owes these passengers and the general public a solution to what went mistaken together with his airline and what steps Southwest is taking to make sure this inexcusable incident never happens again.”
Around Christmas, the storm wreaked havoc on Southwest operations, leaving travelers stranded throughout the busy holiday season. While other airlines were in a position to recuperate, Southwest found itself trapped, partly in consequence of outdated planning technology for its flight crews. In total, the airline canceled greater than 16,700 flights.
“For consumers across the country, this failure was greater than a headache – it was a nightmare,” the senators wrote of their letter.
In response to the crash, Southwest is reimbursing canceled flights and reimbursing expenses similar to hotels and automotive rentals to customers whose travel plans have been modified. The company can also be awarding 25,000 loyalty points value about $300 to customers who’ve experienced disruption.
Southwest spokesman Chris Perry said in a press release: “We appreciate the concerns expressed within the Senators’ letter and share the commitment to Southwest’s customers being adequately cared for and to take motion to mitigate the danger of this happening again. “.
As the brand new Congress begins, the country’s recent air travel woes attract the eye of lawmakers. On Wednesday, a failure within the Federal Aviation Administration’s system caused 1000’s of flights to be delayed; for about 90 minutes, the agency suspended the beginning of flights across the country.
In the aftermath of the crash within the Southwest, Senator Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington and chair of the Senate Committee on Air Operations.
Southwest can also be under pressure from Pete Buttigieg, the transportation secretary, who in letter to Mr Jordan in late December called the travel disruption “unacceptable” and reminded him of the airline’s obligations to customers who experience delays or cancellations. Mr Buttigieg, in turn, has faced criticism over each the Southwest debacle and the failure of the FAA system.