Southwest Airlines Admits Flight Fact That Won't Sit Well With Customers
If you've flown Southwest or any airline, you know that connectivity in the air is a struggle. Most airlines and travelers merely chalk it up to the constraints of air travel, but Southwest's new CEO is pulling back the curtain a bit on what could be the cause.
According to ZDNet, Southwest's has had a rough go in recent months, including canceling 1,200 flights across just two days, have affected customer outlook. But instead of offering excuses for this situation, Robert Jordan focuses more on where Southwest is lacking for its customers during flights. Speaking very carefully to the Associated Press, Jordan admitted that the company needs to modernize while stressing that Southwest was not "broken."
For the past 30 minutes, @SouthwestAir 1351 has been in timeout since our gate isn't ready. Meanwhile, gates 30 and 32 have been completely empty. Question for ops, why can't you have us at another gate? Do better than keeping us locked up for 30+ minutes and counting pic.twitter.com/T3uzGt2ozK— Eric Hartel (@harteleric) January 17, 2022
"I do think we need to work on, for example, our operational tools. I don't know that (employees) have all the tools to manage the complex company that we are," Jordan said. "When you're in irregular operations (such as cancelations and delays caused by weather or other factors), I've got aircraft out of place and customers out of place, and this aircraft needs to end up in that maintenance base. There are probably tools that we can use to more quickly notice problems and provide solutions."
But that's not all for modernizing, according to ZDNet. Passengers are used to more creature comforts on the ground and typically have to salvage that experience on their own to travel. Jordan says that things could definitely use a new coat of paint and refreshing in these areas.
"Is our Wi-Fi as reliable as it needs to be? I'm not sure that it is," Jordan admits. "Do we need to think about things like whether power [outlets for passengers] on the aircraft are important? Can you do everything that you need to do as a customer to self-serve for yourself on your phone?"
Southwest will definitely come thru with the LUV vouchers when your flight is disrupted! Just another reason why they are my primary choice hen flying. #SouthwestAirlines— Buttercup (@AuntieSips) January 10, 2022
Southwest doesn't provide power outlets at all for passengers currently. And as ZDNet points out, this could also turn out to be a burden on customers to provide for themselves mid-flight while services are cut elsewhere. American Airlines is the example provided, showing that they don't provide seatback screens, instead opting to have passengers use their own devices.
All this said, if you've flown Southwest, you're aware of how the airline excels in other areas of the travel experience. No baggage fees go a long way when you're trying to haul part of your life with you for a trip. Not everybody packs light. Low fares are also a positive aspect of the Southwest experience. That said, competition in the airline marketplace isn't going away.