It is no secret that the airline industry is under fire—by their very own customers. Complaint after complaint meshed with thousands of canceled flights over the holiday season has caused many airline companies to nose-dive in customer satisfaction.
Many people speculate that there are simply not enough employees. Perhaps it is poor planning? However, the real root of airline customer dissatisfaction—is greed.
Here are the facts you need to consider:
What Happened Over the Holidays in 2022?
News headlines were made when a massive amount of airline flights were canceled—at the height of the busy holiday season. Southwest Airlines canceled over 2,800 flights across the country. This equals around 70% of their total flight schedule.
Other airlines canceled flights around the same timeframe yet Southwest’s cancellations were well over 10 times more prominent. Passengers were stranded getting to their locations and getting home. Infamous photos leaked of the outrageous piles of thousands of baggage and people stranded at the airport.
News reports claim that labor shortages and dangerous weather patterns were the responsible cause of the mass flight cancellations. But is that truly the case?
Tom Hinton, a coveted businessman of The Heart & Soul of Culture, America’s expert on business excellence, and an avid flier shares his personal story. A world traveler, Tom has found himself a recipient of a canceled flight—and even a bumped premium seat after he paid for it.
Tom decided to conduct his own telephone survey of the seven largest U.S.-based airlines to see how long it would take for his call to be answered. Out of all of them, Southwest was the only airline to provide a human on the phone in under one minute. The rest fell anywhere between 27 and 46 minutes to answer the call.
This begs the question: Are the staffing shortages real—or are the airlines too cheap to spend the money to hire and train capable people to answer their customer calls? According to the National Review, the airline industry has been bailed out three times now, totaling $79 billion in bailout relief. Is this truly a staffing shortage when they have received ample funds to hire and train more staff?
So Now What?
Senator Bernie Sanders went on record saying for Pete Buttigieg to hold the CEO of Southwest accountable for greed after a $7 billion taxpayer bailout. Many people share the same sentiment.
Lives have been thrown into chaos, a bride missed her wedding and now owes thousands, and people were stranded all around the country. Sen. Sanders stated the work practices were “beyond unacceptable” and that $428 million in dividends will be dispersed to their wealthy shareholders.
Representatives for Southwest stated they know they need to upgrade their outdated scheduling systems yet many people are not buying the excuse. The wealthy are becoming wealthier, and the average American is left stranded with no explanation and no assistance.
Southwest pushed billions of dollars into stock buybacks instead of updating critical components such as outdated methods and old technology. A statement was released saying Southwest is reinstating their quarterly dividend again which amounts to 18 cents per share just before the airline canceled thousands of flights.
How to Get Savvy
The airlines are not going to help you—plain and simple. Experts suggest designing a backup plan should your airline travel fall through.
It is time to reconsider how we travel as unpredictable events are now predicted. Flyers can no longer rely on the airlines to get the job done. First, download the app of the airline you are flying to stay up to date on your flight. Next, set aside money in the event you need to rent a car, stay in a hotel, or rebook a flight. Many airlines no longer offer free rebooking services. Stash your frequent flier miles, points, and rewards to help you should your flight get canceled.
In the end, it all comes down to their greed.