Southwest Official Apologizes As Thousands More Flights Are Canceled

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Southwest Chief Commercial Officer Ryan Green offered a “personal apology” to customers who had travel disrupted by ongoing cancellations by the airline.

In a video posted to Southwest’s website Wednesday, Green said the company would “work day and night to repair our relationship” with affected travelers. Thousands of flights were canceled by the airline this week, including an additional 2,300 on Thursday, according to FlightAware.

“You know by now all the flexibility and planning that we put in place to deal with the storm just wasn’t enough,” Green said, referencing severe winter weather that impacted much of the United States in the last week.

Green noted customers should now have more flexibility to change or reschedule flights online, submit information to receive lost luggage at no cost to them, or submit receipts for travel expenses incurred due to disrupted travel.

Wheelchairs and caution tape restrict access to the baggage claim area inside the Southwest Airlines terminal at St. Louis Lambert International Airport on Wednesday.

Thousands of customers have been stranded and separated from their luggage due to the flight cancellations.

On Tuesday, Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) called on the airline to compensate customers not just for the cost of things like canceled flights, hotels, meals and transportation, but also for “disruption to their holiday plans.” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said his office would “mount an extraordinary effort” to make sure Southwest compensated affected passengers.

On Monday, the Department of Transportation tweeted it was “concerned” about Southwest’s actions and would investigate the situation.

Green’s is not the only apology to have come from Southwest. On Dec. 24, Southwest issued a press release about “unacceptable” travel disruptions, noting “our heartfelt apologies for this are just beginning.”

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