U.S. to examine Southwest Airlines cancellations, calls ‘unacceptable’

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(Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) said late Wednesday it was investigating Southwest Airlines (LUV.N)’s numerous flights that have been canceled or delayed in recent days, and whether it is under the company’s control. He said he had called the authorities to find out. “Unacceptable.”

Southwest Airlines canceled 2,886 flights on Monday, or 70% of its scheduled flights, after canceling 48% on Sunday, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware. It has also already canceled 60% of flights scheduled for Tuesday, or more than 2,400.

“USDOT is concerned about Southwest Airlines’ disproportionate and unacceptable rate of cancellations and delays and its inability to adequately support customers experiencing cancellations or delays.

“We will closely examine whether the cancellation is controllable and whether Southwest is complying with the Customer Service Plan and all other relevant DOT regulations,” it said.

Southwest Airlines delayed 48% of flights on Sunday and 16% on Monday.

Southwest Airlines declined to comment on USDOT’s statement late Monday, but pointed to a previously issued statement offering a “sincere apology,” noting that “continuous extreme extremes have occurred across our network.” The winter weather continues and the ongoing challenges are impacting our customers and employees in a critical way that is unacceptable.”

The airline said, “By rebalancing the airline and redeploying crews and aircraft, we urgently deal with the massive disruptions and ultimately wish everyone who plans to travel with us the very best.” It added that it is working to “provide services.”

Other major U.S. airlines have suffered significant cancellations in recent days, but not as high as the Southwest and are now recovering significantly.

USDOT pointed out Southwest Airlines’ customer service plans on Monday. The plan states that airlines will provide meal or hotel vouchers for long delays caused by problems within the airline’s control, but not by unforeseen problems such as weather. .

In August, major U.S. airlines, including Southwest Airlines, told USDOT to offer meals to three-hour late customers and hotel rooms to stranded passengers when prompted by issues under the airline’s control. He said he promised

Many airlines have offered vouchers or hotel rooms for previously caused delays, but have not spelled out all their commitments in their customer service plans.

Reported by David Shepardson, Grand Rapids, Michigan.Edited by Tom Hoag and Simon Cameron Moore

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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