Southwest Airlines Faces Investigation by U.S. Department of Transportation Over Holiday Travel Disaster

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Mickey Mouse poses in front of a Southwest Airlines plane decorated for Walt Disney World's 50th Anniversary.

Credit: Disney Parks Blog

As we shared earlier on Tuesday, Southwest Airlines is amid a total meltdown following a historic winter storm this week. Thousands of flights are being canceled per day.

Guests at Orlando International Airport cannot rebook until at least New Year’s Eve and may have to wait longer, pending availability. Some hopeful Walt Disney World Resort travelers headed out on a twenty-hour road trip early Tuesday morning after their Southwest flight was canceled.

southwest plane on tarmac
Credit: Southwest Airlines

As one of the most popular budget airlines in the country with a booming Rapid Rewards program, Southwest is generally busy this time of year. But this amount of delays and cancellations is unprecedented, even after the winter storm. KDVR, a news station near Denver International Airport, reported that all airlines but Southwest have recovered from the historic storm.

According to some flight attendants, Southwest Airlines failed to invest in updated scheduling software to keep track of their employees. Their outdated software froze during the storm, and each employee had to be called manually. Additionally, thousands of bags are lost across the country with no way to be tracked.

two southwest airlines planes flying above clouds
Credit: Southwest Airlines

Passengers aren’t the only ones frustrated by these delays. According to a Tweet from the United States Department of Transportation, the budget airline may face an investigation as the government body “examines” the disaster:

USDOT is concerned by Southwest’s unacceptable rate of cancellations and delays & reports of lack of prompt customer service. The Department will examine whether cancellations were controllable and if Southwest is complying with its customer service plan.

You can read Southwest’s customer service plan here:

Travelers are encouraged to file a consumer complaint with the United States Department of Transportation if Southwest Airlines fails to comply with their customer service plan.

Inside the Magic will report any updates to this investigation.

Have Southwest Airlines cancellations impacted you? Please share your experience with us in the comments. 

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