Category Archives: Southwest Airlines

Southwest outlines steps it is taking to improve operational performance

Southwest Airlines issued this statement from CEO Bob Jordan:

During the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, our Customers and Employees–including some of you–endured operational issues that greatly disrupted holiday and end-of-year plans. We want you to know that we are making every effort to prevent that from happening again.

Emerging from some of the most challenging days in our Company’s history, we are highly focused on our Customers, our recovery, and our plan going forward. Our immediate task has been to stabilize our operation, and we are pleased to report that since the disruptions, we’ve operated our expected flight schedule with the Southwest® Reliability that we’ve upheld for 51 years.

Taking Care of Customers: We’ve worked with great urgency to take care of the Customers directly impacted by the disruption by returning their bags, processing refunds and expense reimbursements, and offering those most significantly impacted 25,000 Rapid Rewards points as a gesture of goodwill for their inconvenience. As of the end of last week, we have returned virtually all of the bags we had on hand from the event, have processed nearly all refunds, and are processing tens of thousands of reimbursement requests a day.

Immediate Actions: Following the disruption, we moved swiftly to put mitigation elements in place to further reduce the risk of future operational disruptions that could impede Customer travel plans. Some of those efforts already in progress include:

  • Establishing supplemental operational staffing that can quickly mobilize to support Crew recovery efforts
  • Enhancing our Crew engagement technology to efficiently communicate with large numbers of Crew Members during frequent schedule changes
  • Updating and upgrading our Crew recovery system to not only solve current and future schedules, but also provide the ability to optimize established schedules as we revise them during irregular operations


Going Forward: While we have mitigated risks in the short-term, we are taking additional steps to review the events and make thoughtful recommendations on future actions.

  • We’ve engaged a third-party global aviation consulting firm, Oliver Wyman, to complete an assessment of the event and make recommendations of additional mitigation elements for us to consider.
  • Our Board of Directors appointed an Operations Review Committee that is working with management to understand the events and help oversee the Company’s response.
  • We commit to keep you updated as we make progress on these efforts as well as additional steps to prevent an event like this from happening again.


Southwest has a long history of innovation and continuous improvement. We are currently budgeted to spend more than $1 billion of our annual operating plan on investments, upgrades, and maintenance of our IT systems. The recent disruption will accelerate our plans to enhance our processes and technology as we continue to focus on adding capabilities to bring rapid improvements for you, our valued Customers.

We fell short of your expectations and the high standards we have of ourselves, and for that we are deeply sorry. It is our steadfast commitment to make the necessary changes to address the issues we faced and to regain your trust and confidence. We will continue down our path of providing you the exceptional service you expect and deserve from us. It’s a passionate and personal pursuit for our entire Southwest Family, and we look forward to welcoming you onboard one of our flights very soon with the Heart and Hospitality we’ve been famous for delivering for 51-plus years.

With appreciation,

Bob Jordan
President & Chief Executive Officer

Top Copyright Photo: Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 N1805U (msn 60649) BFI (Nick Dean). Image: 958198.

Southwest Airlines aircraft photo gallery:

Southwest Airlines reaches agreements with two of its union-represented workgroups


Southwest Airlines has announced agreements have been reached with two of its union-represented workgroups.

Southwest’s Flight Instructors Approve New Contract


Southwest’s Flight Instructors, represented by the Transport Workers Union Local 557 (TWU 557), overwhelmingly voted in favor of their new contract.

Southwest’s more than 200 Flight Instructors provide Flight Operations classroom and simulator training to current and New Hire Pilots.

Southwest and Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) reach a Tentative Agreement for Facilities Maintenance Technicians


Southwest’s 50 Facilities Maintenance Technicians maintain, modify, and repair all of the facilities system-wide for Southwest to provide a great product to Customers and Employees alike. AMFA will communicate to its members the details of the Tentative Agreement and the ratification process.

Top Copyright Photo: Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-7H4 WL N472WN (msn 33831) HOU (Jarrod Wilkening). Image: 959092.

Southwest aircraft photo gallery:


Southwest Airlines CEO Bob Jordan looks forward after normal operations resume

Southwest Airlines CEO Bob Jordan shared the following comments with Employees on December 30 as we continue to deliver a normal schedule and determine next steps in protecting our ongoing reliability:

“You know, we’ll move forward with lessons learned here, as we always do. We have plans to invest in tools and technology and processes, but there will be immediate work to understand what happened.

One of our five-year strategic plan priorities established in 2021 is to modernize the operation along with a 2022 company focus area of getting back to our historic operational reliability and efficiency. As Andrew stepped into his role, he told you all that one of his key areas of focus was to improve our ability to recover effectively from irregular operations and invest in processes, People, and technology that were already underway.

Analysis Business cases, multiyear project plans, approved budgets, and dedicated project teams are fully focused on making these priorities a reality, and we need to finish that work, and in all honesty, we will dial up that work in 2023.

We always take care of our Customers. That’s our 51-year history here. Likewise, I know that we have work to do to restore your confidence in Southwest. You have our word that we will commit to the necessary resources to quickly examine and bolster our strategy for continuous improvement in our processes, our systems, and more.”

Southwest Airlines operated its normal schedule on Friday, December 30 and Saturday December 31, 2022

The airline continued;

We appreciate the dedicated work of the Southwest Team to restore our schedule, and we anticipate minimal disruptions for the weekend.

Once again, we value the continued patience and support of our valued Customers, and we apologize for the inconveniences of the past week. If needed, we offer several methods for Customers to seek support from us:

Customers affected through the operational disruption can find additional assistance at:

Those specifically needing assistance reuniting with baggage can find information here:

We look forward to the opportunity to address any needs of our Customers over the coming days as we strive to return to our previous level of Southwest Hospitality and reliability.

CEO Bob Jordan GMA Highlights

Below are highlights from CEO Bob Jordan’s appearance on Good Morning America on Friday, Dec. 30 as Southwest returned to normal operations.

  • We’re making investments in our operational areas. Like always, there’ll be lessons learned from this and we’ll continue to make more investments.
  • There’s no greater focus beyond safety than taking care of our customers. We’re offering refunds, covering expenses. We’ll be going back out with even more after that.
  • Our desire is to go above and beyond. We always take care of our customers. That’s our 51 year history here. Southwest Airlines will be looking at and taking care of things like rental cars, hotel rooms, meals, booking customers on other airlines sold. That will all be part of what we’re covering here as we reimburse our customers and make good on this issue.
  • This has impacted so many people, so many customers over the holidays. It’s impacted our employees. And I’m extremely sorry for that. There’s just no way almost to apologize enough, because we love our customers, we love our people, and we really impacted their plans.
  • We already had a great plan to invest in tools and technology and processes, as we always do, but there’ll be a lot of lessons learned in terms of what we can do to make sure that this never happens again because this needs to never happen again.

Southwest destinations:

CNN: Insiders at Southwest reveal how the airline’s service imploded

Top Copyright Photo: Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-7H4 WL N449WN (msn 32469) HOU (Jarrod Wilkening). Image: 959091.

Southwest Airlines aircraft photo gallery:

Southwest plans to resume “normal operations” tomorrow

Southwest Airlines today made this announcement:

While Southwest continues to operate roughly one third of its schedule for Thursday, Dec. 29, we plan to return to normal operations with minimal disruptions on Friday, Dec. 30.

We are encouraged by the progress we’ve made to realign Crew, their schedules, and our fleet. With another holiday weekend full of important connections for our valued Customers and Employees, we are eager to return to a state of normalcy.

We know even our deepest apologies – to our Customers, to our Employees, and to all affected through this disruption – only go so far.

We’ve set up a page at for Customers to submit refund and reimbursement requests for meals, hotel, and alternate transportation; as well as to connect Customers to their baggage.

We have much work ahead of us, including investing in new solutions to manage wide-scale disruptions.

Top Copyright Photo: Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-7CT WL N7829B (msn 32751) IAH (Jarrod Wilkening). Image: 959090.

Southwest Airlines aircraft photo gallery:

SWAPA warned Southwest management about a possible meltdown, can its point-to-point system remain?

SWAPA statement on Southwest’s holiday meltdown:

The impact of Southwest’s operational collapse being felt by passengers and crews over this holiday was not a surprise to anyone but the leadership of Southwest Airlines. It was unacceptable and the worst of the effects were absolutely preventable.  

A systemic failure of Southwest Airlines leaders to modernize, support, and staff its operation leaves every frontline employee, Pilots included, tired of apologizing to our passengers. For more than a decade, leadership shortcomings in adapting, innovating, and safeguarding our operations have led to repeated system disruptions, countless disappointed passengers, and millions in lost profits. 

The holiday meltdown has been blamed on weather that had been forecast five days prior, but this problem began many years ago when the complexity of our network outgrew its ability to withstand meteorological and technological disruptions.

SWAPA subject matter experts have repeatedly presented years of data, countless proposals that make Southwest pilots more efficient and resilient.

Once again, we call for investing in infrastructure that will improve conditions for both our passengers and Pilots. Infrastructure in the forms of crew scheduling software that takes into account our point-to-point network, a modern collective bargaining agreement that reflects best practices in today’s demanding operation, and communication tools that would have allowed for displaced crews to remain in constant contact with our Company. SWAPA has communicated the need for those innovations to both CEO Bob Jordan, as well as his predecessor, Gary Kelly.

Our Pilots’ futures are linked to the success of our Southwest Airlines. Not only will these improvements help prevent future disruptions, but they will be key to recruiting and retaining the very best professional aviators. And above all, they will enable Southwest to restore its tarnished brand and regain the trust of our loyal customers.  

Go deeper – Should Southwest dump its point-to-point network and go to a hub-and-spoke network?

Southwest management issued these statements and apologies:

Top Copyright Photo: Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 N8819L (msn 67476) BFI (Brian Worthington). Image: 959618.

Southwest bAirlines aircraft photo gallery:

Southwest is having its worst Christmas season ever

Southwest Airlines is not doing well this Christmas-New Years holiday period so far.

Southwest is leading all U.S. airlines in cancelled flights for this holiday period.

The carrier has cancelled over 8,000 flights for the period.

Thousands of its customers have been displaced. Many holiday plans were disrupted.

According to flight tracking website Southwest had 2,495 out of 2,809 total cancellations for all U.S. carriers.

Southwest issued this update:

With consecutive days of extreme winter weather across our network behind us, continuing challenges are impacting our Customers and Employees in a significant way that is unacceptable.

And our heartfelt apologies for this are just beginning.

We’re working with Safety at the forefront to urgently address wide-scale disruption by rebalancing the airline and repositioning Crews and our fleet ultimately to best serve all who plan to travel with us.

We were fully staffed and prepared for the approaching holiday weekend when the severe weather swept across the continent, where Southwest is the largest carrier in 23 of the top 25 travel markets in the U.S. These operational conditions forced daily changes to our flight schedule at a volume and magnitude that still has the tools our teams use to recover the airline operating at capacity.

This safety-first work is intentional, ongoing, and necessary to return to normal reliability, one that minimizes last-minute inconveniences. As we continue the work to recover our operation, we have made the decision to continue operating a reduced schedule by flying roughly one third of our schedule for the next several days. And we’re working to reach Customers whose travel plans will change to offer specific information and available options, also available at

Our Employees and Crews scheduled to work this holiday season are showing up in every single way. We are beyond grateful for that. Our shared goal is to take care of every single Customer with the Hospitality and Heart for which we’re known.

On the other side of this, we’ll work to make things right for those we’ve let down, including our Employees.

With no concern higher than ultimate Safety, the People of Southwest share a goal to take care of each and every Customer. We recognize falling short and sincerely apologize.

Go deeper with the Houston Chronicle:

Go deeper from NPR:

Go deeper from the New York Times:

Southwest will see improving conditions at its hubs (expecially Chicago Midway) through January 2, 2023:

Top Copyright Photo: Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 N8770Q (msn 67517) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 959753.

Southwest aircraft photo gallery:


Southwest Airlines monitors winter storm Elliott

Southwest Airlines is monitoring the development and forecast of Winter Storm Elliott and has offered increased flexibility to Customers across a wide swath of our Network.

Based on the current forecast, a travel advisory is active for scheduled travel beginning Tuesday, Dec. 20 and continuing through Monday, Dec. 26. Customers traveling to, from, or through airports listed in the advisory may voluntarily change their travel plans within 14 days of the originally scheduled departure.

Southwest never charges fees to change or cancel an existing reservation. The travel advisory waives any applicable fare difference for Customers who may be affected by Winter Storm Elliott and wish to alter their itineraries.

During the Holiday season, we expect an increased number of Customers traveling. Our purpose is to connect People to what’s important in their lives, and we will do our best to safely operate our flights as scheduled. However, based on the forecasted weather conditions for the cities and dates below, our scheduled service may be disrupted (flights may be delayed, diverted, and/or canceled):

Tuesday-Monday, December 20-26

  • Albany, NY (ALB)
  • Amarillo, TX (AMA)
  • Baltimore/Washington, MD (BWI)
  • Bellingham, WA (BLI)
  • Boise, ID (BOI)
  • Boston (Logan), MA (BOS)
  • Bozeman/Yellowstone, MT (BZN)
  • Buffalo/Niagara, NY (BUF)
  • Chicago Midway, IL (MDW)
  • Chicago O’Hare, IL (ORD)
  • Cincinnati, OH (CVG)
  • Cleveland, OH (CLE)
  • Colorado Springs, CO (COS)
  • Columbus, OH (CMH)
  • Denver, CO (DEN)
  • Des Moines, IA (DSM)
  • Detroit, MI (DTW)
  • Grand Rapids, MI (GRR)
  • Hartford, CT (BDL)
  • Indianapolis, IN (IND)
  • Kansas City, MO (MCI)
  • Little Rock, AR (LIT)
  • Long Island/Islip, NY (ISP)
  • Louisville, KY (SDF)
  • Lubbock, TX (LBB)
  • Manchester, NH (MHT)
  • Memphis, TN (MEM)
  • Milwaukee, WI (MKE)
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN (MSP)
  • Montrose (Telluride/Crested Butte), CO (MTJ)
  • Nashville, TN (BNA)
  • New York LaGuardia, NY (LGA)
  • Oklahoma City, OK (OKC)
  • Omaha, NE (OMA)
  • Philadelphia, PA (PHL)
  • Pittsburgh, PA (PIT)
  • Portland, ME (PWM)
  • Portland, OR (PDX)
  • Providence, RI (PVD)
  • Rochester, NY (ROC)
  • Salt Lake City, UT (SLC)
  • Seattle, WA (SEA)
  • Spokane, WA (GEG)
  • Steamboat Springs (Hayden), CO (HDN)
  • St. Louis, MO (STL)
  • Syracuse, NY (SYR)
  • Tulsa, OK (TUL)
  • Washington Dulles, DC (IAD)
  • Washington Reagan National, DC (DCA)
  • Wichita, KS (ICT)

Customers holding reservations to/from/through the cities listed above on the corresponding dates, may rebook in the original class of service or travel standby (within 14 days of their original date of travel between the original city-pairs and in accordance with our accommodation procedures) without paying any additional charge.

Southwest announces new routes for next summer with a build-up at Denver

Southwest Airlines has extended its flight schedule through August 14, 2023.

Mile-High Heart Peaks New Summit in Denver

Southwest Airlines continues growing Mile-High Heart with a record amount of service for Denver Customers: as of July 11, 2023, the airline will serve 92 destinations from Denver nonstop with a peak schedule of 303 departures a day.

This will be the first time any Southwest® flight schedule will offer 300+ departures from one airport. Across its route map of 121 airports, Southwest will offer a peak schedule of 4,374 departures a day in summer 2023.

Seasonal Flights for Summer Vacations

Beginning on July 11, 2023, the carrier will offer returning seasonal service daily between:

Nashville and Burbank
Kansas City and Milwaukee
Kansas City and Minneapolis

And as of July 11, 2023, these weekend routes operated in June will be offered daily for the summer season, between:

Denver and Albany, N.Y.
Denver and Buffalo
Denver and Hartford, Conn.
Nashville and San Jose, Calif.
Houston (Hobby) and Pittsburgh
Houston (Hobby) and Sacramento
Las Vegas and Louisville, Ky.
Kansas City and San Antonio
Myrtle Beach, S.C. and Pittsburgh
St. Louis and Sarasota, Fla.

On Saturday, July 15, 2023, Southwest also will launch new seasonal service on Saturdays between Long Beach, Calif. and Orlando.

In other news, The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), North America’s largest air transport union, has overwhelmingly ratified a strong five-year collective bargaining agreement with Southwest Airlines that gives its members a 13.1% wage increase from the current wage on the date of ratification and a 25.1% general wage increase over four years putting its members at the top of the airline industry’s pay scale.

The IAM represents approximately 8,300 Customer Service Employees, including Customer Representatives, Customer Service Agents, and Source of Support Representatives, at Southwest Airlines.

Highlights of the five-year agreement include:

  • Higher general wage increases (13.1% wage increase on ratification; 25.1% total over four years)
  • Better work/life balance
  • “Me too” clauses for top-of-scale wage rate, signing bonus/retro pay, and paid parking.
  • Higher bonuses
  • Improved vacation language
  • Part-time employee overtime wage rate improvements
  • Stronger and improved mandatory overtime protections for all employees

Top Copyright Photo: Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 N8811L (msn 42661) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 959617.

Southwest Airlines aircraft photo gallery:

Southwest to add nonstop Milwaukee – Sarasota/Bradenton flights in the spring

Southwest Airlines will offer daily nonstop flights from Milwaukee to Sarasota/Bradenton, Florida during the busy spring season.

The carrier will offer nonstop service from March 9, 2023 to April 10, 2023.

Flights will go from Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport to Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.

Top Copyright Photo: Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 N8750Q (msn 61872) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 959615.

Southwest Airlines aircraft photo gallery:

Southwest is upgrading the passenger experience

Southwest Airlines realizes it has some short-comings when it comes to the flying experience for its customers. It also realizes that it must remain competitive with others carriers.

The carrier has always been passenger friendly and has a loyal following. Not charging for bags and allowing for ticket changes with extra charges endears the airline to its loyal customers.

However there are some areas it knows it must improve.

One area of concern is keeping families together since it does not have assigned seats. With open seating, families are often forced to split up to find a seat.

Southwest Airlines plans to address this concern with a new program allowing families with children to board first. A trial version of this new program will be introduced in Atlanta in early 2023 according to Travel + Leisure. It will be introduced in a phased approach.

Families will have a designated area to gather.

Southwest has also pledged to upgrade its current WiFi, which can be slow. The carrier recently signed an agreement with Viasatto to provide high-quality internet service and live-TV onboard service for newly delivered aircraft.

The new service is being tested on its new Boeing 737 aircraft. Southwest has also been offering free WiFi on certain flights where the upgraded WiFi service is available.

Other airlines are adding power ports on their aircraft. Southwest plans to solve that competitive problem by installing USB-A and USB-C power ports on its fleet. The airline plans to introduce these new power ports on its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft starting in early 2023.

Other competitors are adding larger overhead bins. The airline also plans to address the current lack of overhead-bin space, especially painful on crowded flights. Larger overhead bins will be introduced on new aircraft deliveries starting in early 2023.

Top Copyright Photo: Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 N8779Q (msn 67760) LAS (Michael B. Ing). Image: 959616.
Southwest aircraft photo gallery: