Last year’s severe winter hit all airlines around the holiday season, but Southwest had the worst time getting back in the air. More than two million passengers were left stranded after over 17,000 flights were called off.
Workers waited hours on hold while calling headquarters for orders, according to union claims about the technology used to move crews to planes.
A DOT representative confirmed that the Department of Justice had entered into an investigation into the meltdown at Southwest Airlines that occurred in December when the airline abruptly canceled more than 16,000 flights over the course of 11 days.
Yet, Southwest Airlines has denied there is an ongoing investigation.
Meanwhile, the Department of Transportation said it is looking to examine if Southwest participated in overbooking or using other deceptions in its flight scheduling, violating federal aviation law. They also were concerned whether Southwest Airlines gave reimbursements and refunds to passengers in a timely fashion— also required by law.
Due to harsh winter storms, labor shortages, and technical challenges, Southwest had to cancel thousands of flights, stranding thousands of people.
More than $800 million in revenue was lost in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to the airline.
The DOT started an investigation in January, and the company’s COO, Andrew Watterson, testified to the Senate Commerce Committee in February about the cancellations.
Difficulties have persisted. After the winter storm fiasco, more than 2,000 Southwest flights were delayed, and the airline’s planes were temporarily grounded nationally due to a technical issue with an internal system.
Washington Senator Maria Cantwell, who chairs the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, remarked at the time that was another example that Southwest Airlines is in need of a system upgrade that would stop the adverse experiences for travelers.
Southeast CEO Bob Jordan refuted such claims. He said the Department of Justice has not yet issued any statements.