Southwest Airlines is showing progress in pushing to restore flights

Southwest Airlines company

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He showed progress on Saturday in his bid to restore credibility with organizers and travelers, especially those whose holidays have been disrupted. Company collapse over the past weekbut cancellations increased late in the day.

According to FlightAware, the Dallas-based airline canceled 30 flights on Saturday as of Saturday evening. Overall, more than 250 flights have been canceled between all airlines flying to, from or within the United States. Southwest’s total compared to 15 for United Airlines and 11 for United Airlines

Delta Airlines.

A Southwest spokeswoman said earlier in the day that the airline is operating a normal Saturday schedule of about 3,400 flights. Meanwhile, the carrier has been looking for volunteers among its staff to help customer service staff keep up with refund requests and reunite customers with lost bags.

In a video distributed to employees Friday, Southwest executives were optimistic about the near-term outlook. “I am very pleased to share that things are going very well,” said Bob Jordan, CEO of the airline.

Operations director Andrew Waterson said lines were getting shorter and the airline expected to offer normal service over the New Year holidays and beyond. In another update Saturday, he said Southwest has deployed an “army” of people to ship bags to customers, in some cases using

UPS

And the

fedex

To transport lost baggage.

Southwest has ramped up its services after the crash led to the cancellation of nearly 16,000 flights between December 22 and December 29. These cancellations, caused by The last winter stormleaving thousands of holiday travelers stranded, angry and in many cases separated by hundreds of miles from their luggage.

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Although the storm caused problems for all airlines, Southwest canceled more flights and was much slower than others to recover. Airline executives said the scheduling system used to review crew schedules after storms was overwhelmed by the scale of changes required. Airline staff fumbled makeshift manual methods for matching crew and available aircraft.

Southwest Airlines passengers waited for baggage to arrive in Minneapolis on Friday.


picture:

Abby Barr/Associated Press

To get back on track, the airline itself has scaled back most of this week, operating nearly a third of its usual schedule on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays as it worked to get crews and planes back in place. The airline resumed operating its full schedule on Friday.

The troubles of the Southwest are far from over. said the organizers, legislators and union leaders They are monitoring the airline’s response for the crisis. Southwest has repeatedly apologized and promised to compensate the affected passengers.

Transport Minister Pete Buttigieg said: “With the SWA turning the corner operationally, the focus must remain on promptly compensating passengers caught up in last week’s crash.” in a tweet Saturday.

One Southwest regular who still needs a little extra reassurance is Allison Whitney, professor of film and media studies at Texas Tech University. She was scheduled to fly home to Lubbock, Texas, from Minnesota on Wednesday, but her southwest flight was cancelled. At the risk of being stranded until early in the New Year, I booked an American Airlines flight for Friday and flew home.

Ms. Whitney loves Southwest’s bags and easy rebooking policies and finds that it can be the only good option for some of her travels. But she said that after this week, she might hesitate to rely on Southwest for longer flights until she’s satisfied the airline’s computer systems are up to date.

Write to James R. Hagerty at [email protected] and Alison Sider at [email protected]

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