What the chaos of Southwest Airlines teaches
Four important lessons from the 16,000 canceled flights at Christmas
The errors becomes solutions to the problems. The US air carrier Southwest Airlines between canceled or delayed 16,000 flights at Christmas and New Year'eve (from December 22 to 29). Among the causes of the service interruptions, besides the bad weather, there was the ancient system that schedules the work shifts of the crew. The airline's operational problems are now teaching the entire aviation industry.
First: Always recover after failure. The airline has declared that it will refund the tickets of passengers who have had their flights cancelled, as well as reimburse them for the additional expenses incurred (meals, hotels, transport). Additionally, Southwest is offering affected customers approximately 300 dollars in bonuses for future travel. A good strategy to capitalize on a nasty splash.
Second: even the greats make mistakes. The IT infrastructure that keeps track of the shifts of pilots, flight attendants and airplanes is the weak point of various airlines, which sometimes evaluate investments in this area that are not very stimulating and offer little visibility. Yet it has proved to be an essential cog through which to create the operational bases that give prestige to the airline.
Third: listen to employees as much as customers. According to press reports, Southwest's unions had warned the airline for years that some systems were outdated. Warnings that, however, have gone unheeded, considering that the CEO of the airline Robert Jordan only announced investments in technology on Christmas Day, after the multitude of inconveniences caused to customers.
AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency