Southwest CEO: 'No Way to Apologize Enough'

Airline returns to a relatively normal day of flying on Friday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 30, 2022 12:54 PM CST
Southwest Airlines Sees Rare Thing: A Normal Day of Flying
A Southwest Airlines ground operations crew member waits to guide an arriving jet into a gate on Wednesday at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix.   (AP Photo/Matt York)

Southwest Airlines returned to a relatively normal flight schedule Friday, as the focus shifts to making things right with more than a million passengers who missed flights during the holidays, and many of whom are still missing luggage. The Dallas carrier, which had canceled thousands of flights every day this week after a winter storm last weekend, reported fewer than 40 cancellations early Friday, per the AP. While that was still more than United, American, and Delta combined, it's progress following one of the most chaotic weeks in aviation history for a single airline.

Southwest began accepting reservations again Friday after getting crews and planes into place, and executives have started on what's undoubtedly a long road to regaining the trust of travelers. Passengers reported relatively empty flights, some with one person to a row, as the carrier reshuffled routes and sent planes, and crews, to where they needed to be. Southwest CEO Robert Jordan said in an interview with ABC's Good Morning America on Friday that after safety, there's no greater focus than reimbursing customers and getting them reunited with their luggage.

"This has impacted so many people, so many customers, over the holidays. It's impacted our employees. And I'm extremely sorry for that," Jordan said. "There's just no way almost to apologize enough because we love our customers, we love our people, and we really impacted their plans." Executives with the airline said this week that it may be as much as a week to connect all Southwest passengers with their destinations.

(More Southwest Airlines stories.)

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