Southwest meltdown a ‘perfect storm’ of well-known vulnerabilities

The U.S. Department of Transportation said this week it plans an inquiry into the source of the airline’s massive problems.


National News

December 29, 2022 - 4:28 PM

Southwest Airlines ticketing agents were busy Wednesday getting passengers on canceled flights rebooked. DAVID MONTESINO/TNS

As chaos at Southwest Airlines brought misery to thousands of frustrated travelers and growing scrutiny from U.S. regulators and lawmakers, many in the aviation industry said the massive cancellation of flights by the nation’s largest domestic carrier was far from surprising.

Industry experts and union leaders for Southwest employees cited the company’s outdated technology and vulnerable operations, both of which are particularly susceptible to any disruptions, much less multiple coast-to-coast weather events.

“This was the perfect storm,” William McGee, a senior fellow focused on aviation for the American Economic Liberties Project. “Other (airlines) dealt with this and came back from this; Southwest was sort of brought to its knees. It deserves to be blamed for not being more resilient.”

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