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Southwest Airlines Continues Internal Audit

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The following statement was just issued regarding Southwest Airline's continued internal maintenance audit.  SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CONTINUES INTERNAL INVESTIGATION AND AUDIT Airline Makes the Decision to Temporarily Remove 38 Aircraft from Scheduled Service DALLAS - March 12, 2008 - Yesterday, Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said the airline is taking action on preliminary findings of its own internal investigation into allegations that it violated FAA regulations in March 2007. Kelly vowed to make any changes necessary to ensure that the airline is in full compliance with FAA Airworthiness Directives and all of its own maintenance programs, policies, and procedures.  During last night's review by Southwest of its maintenance records, the airline discovered an ambiguity related to required testing. Southwest made the decision to take a conservative approach and remove aircraft out of scheduled service. Southwest immediately began reinspecting those aircraft. A total of 44 aircraft were affected-one was already retired, five were in maintenance for scheduled checks, and the remaining 38 were removed from scheduled service. Southwest's decision to remove aircraft from service resulted in approximately four percent of today's Southwest flights being canceled. Due to good weather conditions, the decision caused minimal schedule disruptions and the airline is running more than 90 percent ontime. A portion of the aircraft have been inspected, cleared, and returned to service. The airline expects to have all of these aircraft inspected by early this evening. The ongoing internal review of Southwest's maintenance programs, policies, and procedures could potentially create other operational changes if the airline needs to swap or reroute aircraft as the internal investigation and audit unfolds. "Again, we are mindful that during Southwest's 37-year proud history, we have safely transported the population of the United States-every man, woman, and child-four and a half times over. This is a fact. We have been a safe Company. I believe we are a safe Company. I am committed to making sure we become safer still," said Southwest CEO Gary Kelly.
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The Southwest spin machine continues. Flying aircraft with AD's that werent complied with. There is NO excuse or spin you can put on that.
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How does this affect flights that are scheduled for later in the month?
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I have seen no information that suggests SWA ever flew an unsafe plane, only that planes had failed to complete required inspections as directed by a date certain. Failure to meet an inspection deadline constitutes grounds for an "not airworthy" designation as I understand it. To the extent that this took place and was knowingly ignored either by the company or the FAA, then appropriate steps and sanctions are in order. My understanding is that the fine is approximately $10 million. But this is a long way from saying that the planes in question were, in fact, unsafe. Only that they were delinquent in their testing. In recent days, the web site crankyflyer.com has written extensively on the topic. I urge you to read his post for further clarification. I have been a loyal SWA flyer for many years and believe that the company remains fully committed to taking whatever steps are necessary to provide the flying public with the safest possible product. If I had a flight tomorrow, I would not hesitate to travel.
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Betty, as the statement says, all of the aircraft should be returned to service by tonight. So your future travel should be fine. Brian
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I know that we unfortunately live in a hypersensitive and self-righteous society, but I personally would love to see SWA organize another hilarious sale slogan like with the mini-skirt sale. Perhaps "SWA is Cracking Prices" or something like that :) Regardless, everything is gravy and this whole issue is a media field day on much ado about nothing. I personally look forward to my next LUV line flight. Keep up the great work and thank you to all your employees for having the confidence to smile and treat us nicely.
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I am not entirely suprised by this entire episode. Until recently, I was a loyal Sourthwest customer. I have been travelling between Chicago Midway and Washington Dulles on Southwest every week for the past 8 months. However, around November I began to notice a serious decline in customer service and on time departures. Because I fly in and out of Chicago I am used to weather related delays but with increasingly frequency many delays were due to mechanical problems or with no reason given at all. I have also, noticed that the once "friendly" Southwest employees have become beligerent and rude, especially at Chicago Midway. On top of it all the baggage service at Chicago Midway has become unbearable, with a wait time for my bag averaging 35-40 minutes from the time we disembarked at the gate. After trying to contact Southwest's Midway based Customer Service Manager with no luck, to voice my concerns (I am still waiting for you to return my call!) I decided to make a change back to American Airlines out of Chicago O'Hare. My reasoning is simple, if I am going to be treated poorly by Southwest staff and be late half of the time, I would prefer to travel on an airline that flys in and out of airports closer to my home and office. The cost differential has been minimal with an average difference of $20. So for an extra $20 dollars I am treated better, arrive in a more timely manner, and am closer to my home and office. Its clear Southwest is cutting corners and it has finally caught up with them. Goodbye Southwest, you have lost me as a customer forever!
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I have flown SW for 30 years since the flight attendants were called "Stewardesses" and wore hot pants! They weren't made #1 by being incompetant, they're everyone's favorite because they are reasonably priced and fun. It's the only airline I fly if I can because I trust and feel safe flying them. I completely believe that this was an oversight, beaucracy or just a plain big ole mistake and NOT done on purpose by anyone at Southwest. We got that Wright amendment taken care of; we''ll get past this and go on to being the airlines we all LOVE! LZ
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And for anyone that says that this is an isolated incident of 3 supervisors, you are kidding yourself. It is the responsibility of the president and ceo to ensure that all areas of operation are satisfactorily implemented. afterall, the supervisors were hired by them. Therefore the uppermanagement and ceo must be accountable for hiring people that didn't meet the criteria... assuming that the ceo and uppermanagement truly had nothing to do with it in the first place. I have a feeling that the ceo did infact know about this all along and probably appoved of it but looked the other way to save money. That is wreckless and shameful. And even if Kelly didn't know about this, he has to step down for the simple reason that he obviously does not have institutional control over his own company. Stop the lies swa!
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where's herb when ya need him?
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What are you folks thinking? Is failing to inspect as required a matter of corporate policy, or a fact of poor management? Do you expect to survive with the level of care towards customers and their safety that this problem represents? What is your plan to reestablish the trust of your customers?
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My husband and I have been loyal SW customers for a long time, flying frequently (weeky & monthly) all over the country. We have always been treated very nicely, but on 2/1/08, I arrived late at Midway after we sat on the runway in Columbus, Ohio for 2-1/2 hours for a mechanical problem that should have been caught at Midway. To make matters worse, I arrived at Midway along with 3 other customers, ran to the gate where they had just shut the doors but were still at the gate (waiting on our luggage to be loaded) and we were not permitted to board. Needless to say our luggage arrived in Portland without us that night. The SW customer rep was very rude. My husband is flying today in the mess SW officials call 4% of the planes being out of commission and still being 90% on time - how is being 12 hours late to arrive at your destination being on time? And how do you check 44 planes with each inspection taking 90 minutes in one day - not possible! Many, many customers have been inconvenienced today. SW should offer them a deep discount or free ticket to keep their customers. Step up to the plate Southwest and show us why we should stay loyal customers!
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This is most unfortunate. My faith is very shaken. SWA is the only airline I use. Would Herb and Colleen have had this happen on their watch? The flying public who knows SWA are asking the same. It needs an answer TODAY! http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/03/12/southwest.airlines/index.html
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There is a reason why their flights are cheaper. Think about it. They have been skimping on their maintenance for a long time and just got caught. I was warned years ago -- by a certified non-Southwest mechanic -- about their maintenance practices, or lack thereof, and haven't flown Southwest since.
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I think the executives and the hierarchy at the FAA have a lot of explaining to do. SWA had a good reputation for such a long time and it saddens me to see this kind of behavior. Putting the public's safety at risk in this manner is not what we expected from this company. I have yet to see an apology. All we seem to hear is the same old "Safety was never compromised" - Lies - flying plans without doing mandatory inspections is UNSAFE. flying planes with Cracks in the hull - UNSAFE. This kind of behavior makes the public very afraid of flying. I see a lot of love for SWA on this blog, but I think this scandal will make many want to break the relationship and seek safe flying elsewhere.
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and the CEO is crying about a $10m fine? Give me a break.
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I wrote a few days ago hoping SWA would provide must more detail about what was missed and how it impacts flight safety. You all have begun to do that. Also, this latest step to reinspect planes for potential other paper process issues is a sign in the right direction. I continue to watch and hope SWA reestablishes the reality of a great maintenance program.
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Posted this in the other thread, thought it was worth repeating here. Of course, the first comment was that Feith was obviously paid to lie by Southwest. Yes he was paid, but as a respected, well-known aviation professional. I doubt he'd sell out his entire reputation and career for a consultant's fee. Regarding the cracks, the information I've been given says that cracks have to be in several parts of the aircraft in order to cause a structural failure. Even an 8-inch crack in one section isn't enough to cause failure. Southwest is stuck because flying is an emotionally charged "fear" issue for most people. Therefore, logic and facts seem to play no role. It's like trying to convince people that sharks aren't man-eating death machines. http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/080307/laf070.html?.v=28 I strongly urge everyone to read this statement by former NTSB Investigator Gregory Feith. Some points that jumped out at me: ***Ã
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This decision by someone at Southwest to fore go the inspection is in keeping with other problems I have seen recently due to 2 factors. One is the growth of Southwest that is now occurring faster than people can be trained. Several time for example fights have to be delayed to totally re-id everyone on the flight. procedures are being changed faster than people can be trained to follow them. 2ndly the new management has changed priorities to promote profit-such as the business prices for a drink and a first board - and not really making sure that the efficiency and effectiveness is there. Some manager made a decision not to pull those planes until after the Christmas rush and then did not follow through to get the inspections made. the President should be communicating with the public not a spokesperson.
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In the SWA/Kelly statement FAA is not mentioned. SWA should state whether FAA brought the problem to SWA's attention, or that they noticed it, and told FAA.
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37 years with an impecable safety record. The missed inspections were self disclosed to the FAA. The subject aircraft have been re-inspected. Sounds good to me. I'll be flying to Denver on the 22nd and confident that I am as safe with Southwest now as ever.
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Will my flight from Oakland, CA at 9:30 AM on Friday 3/14 be affected by these planes being taken our of service?
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Many older air-carrier type aircraft and others with fine paint jobs are also adorned with scribe marks and gouges that are often covered with thick layers of paint that obscure the razor sharp compromise of the aircraft skin, particularly in close proximity to window frames. A series of compromised window frames given adequate flexing would co-join and the potential for explosive decompression would not be unlikely event. This occurance is not unique to SWA.
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See, here's the sad part in my eyes. I trust Southwest more than any other airline in existance, and I STILL DO... If this happened at Southwest, what is going on across the entire industry... Wake up people... This is probably going on everywhere, and Southwest is the only one who will fess-up because they are a well run, respectable company.
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Note the post up two by "ed," i.e. "editor."
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It is honorable to try to be a "Company man" when the Company is taking such a beating. However, as EEmployees were righteously defending thier beloved Southwest, the Company grounded 41 aircraft. "Doing the right thing" AFTER you get caught doesn't cut it. Courteous and friendly service doesn't go a heckuva long way when the skin of your plane is ripped off at 30,000 feet, does it? Furthermore, Southwest's flat out denial of any wrongdoing on Monday, and then "suspending" three MX yuckety-yuks (only three???), and now grounding 41 A/C in less than 48 hours speaks volumes about the integrity of the Company. Ivestigation, investischmation. If anything, the American public should be aware that if SWA is good at anything, it is maintaining a good "brand" on its Company name. Besides the last year or so, when was the last time you heard anything bad about SWA? It's not because bad things, lawsuits and the bad press isn't readily available- I can assure you of that. It is because SWA hides, covers up, pays off, settles with...etc- however you want to word it- anyone that may make the Company look bad. They have the cash and funding to afford that luxury. This time, they could not do that- and of all things, it had to involve not a skimpy skirt, not oversized Customers, but the MOST important facet of any airline- safety. You can spin that however you want. Yes, the MX folks at Southwest are among the best in the biz. Sure, they "care". It would be one thing if this involved one or two aircraft- an easy paper mistake. But 41 airplanes? Even the "king of name branders" can't duck and cover from that one. Sorry- it's a bitter pill to swallow (especially for Employees). Emplyees must now ask themselves: "now that the Company can't cut corners with the safety of the flying public anymore, where will that money come from?" Contracts for all major Employee groups are expiring soon...stay tuned!
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Wow, weÃ
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Why is this on your BLOG and not on your HOMEPAGE???
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there is never an excuse to skimp on safety of its customers, the ones who give them money....not enough trained people? growing too fast? other excuses? I believe none of them. Obviously someone didnt "forget" to make sure 44 of their multi-million dollar planes did not get inspected. SWA should come clean, MORE then immediately inspecting the planes and taking them out of service, that is a given MINIMUM. Please dont applaud SWA for doing the minimum here with a decent spin on it. This was a deliberate decision by someone at SWA, some low on the todem pole maintenance manager or the CEO, I have no idea how far up it goes, but there needs to be an investigation, heads need to roll, fines need to be paid, and apologies need to be publicly made. Paying SWA customers who rely on SWA deserve to know...
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Southwest did the right thing today in pulling those aircraft. Nonetheless, given all the recent publicity, I don't feel any less safe flying Southwest now than any time before. There is a reason why there has never been a fatality aboard a Southwest flight since 1971, and it's not just luck.
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how can anyone support sw airlines after this kind of mistake and/or coverup. All of you that say you support sw air and this was just an oversight are blind to the fact that if a plane went down due to lack of maintenance and you or a loved one passed away would be furious and would have already secured an attorney. Everyone just got lucky that no planes fell out of the sky. Sw air will never see myself or any of my 100 travelling employees on a sw air flight ever again. i would be more than happy to pay more to make sure my people fly on the safest airplanes possible. Come on, how naive can you be. you usually won't die if your auto mechanic blows an inspection, but you will die if a plane falls out of the sky Alan
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I love flying on Southwest. But I must admit, when this story broke I was in the middle of a trip from California to Florida and I was pretty nervous. I have never had a problem with flying but this was a long flight for me because of the worry I had about the plane's safety. I hate to admit it, but I am strongly considering canceling a second trip to Florida using Southwest. I have no problem putting my on neck on the line, but this time my daughter will be flying with me and I'm not so sure it is worth saving a few bucks. Southwest is going to have to get a clean bill of health from the experts before I will feel at ease about flying SWA. In a way I feel that the trust I had in SWA of being a top notch airline has been lost. How could Southwest allow this to happen. I certainly don't know enough about cracks in the fuselage and maintenance records but SWA will have to prove to me that those planes are safe.
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I truly am a proud SWA Employee and I am so thankful to the loyal Customers who have faith in us to work through this. I have so much trust in the airline that I work for and would not hesitate to get on a flight today or put my family on a flight. I am proud of our honesty to disclose the mistakes immediately. We pride ourselves on our integrity and care for our Customers. We do trust the experts as we should and would never make the decision to fly you our Customers or our Employees and Families on an unsafe aircraft. I would much rather work for a Company that is honest in it's reporting, rather than one that would hide facts and not deliver a safe product. As far as the media is concerned, when has the media ever been completely honest in their reportings. They report what sells, usually that is the bad in any situation. Think about it, when you turn on your daily news, what stories do they lead off with but the negative. For those that have negatively commented on Gary Kelly and ask where Herb and Colleen are, I can guarantee you that they are standing right by his side and supporting him 100%. They have in no way left our Company and they continue to have full participation in our Company and our Culture. Again, thank you to those that have shown your faith and support in us. We will continue to hold our heads high when we see you on your next flight and proudly and safely serve you.
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Bill Mead, It is misstatements like yours that continue to muddy the waters and make it impossible for the average person to get a clear picture of the real issues. "This decision by someone at Southwest to fore go the inspection ..." is simply not true. The original problem was a clerical mistake, not a conscious decision by anyone, and the secondary decision to re-inspect the planes over a short period of time was a combined decision by Boeing, Southwest, and the FAA. "One is the growth of Southwest that is now occurring faster than people can be trained ..." is misleading and does not consider the fact that Southwest has a huge base of qualified mechanics to choose from. Most from numerous qualified people who have been laid off over the past years due to other airlines' bankruptcies and down-sizing. As for re-ids, that is a fact of life in our world and is a TSA issue, not a Southwest issue. And finally, all of Southwest's new boarding policies were tested extensively before they were decided on, and all of them are as efficient, or more efficient, than previous policies. "Some manager made a decision not to pull those planes until after the Christmas rush ... " again totally unfounded and without any basis in fact. It is amazing to me how poor a grasp of the facts most posters have and how careless they are in stating their unfounded opinions are if they were facts. Let's have good, open debate about the real issues, but let's also choose our words carefully and draw clear distinctions between opinion and fact.
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I purchased tickets after Southwest stated last week that the problem had been solved long ago. Another cover up. Nice going. The latest version is that planes are still being taken out of service as of yesterday . What is your refund policy for people who just don't trust you any more? I'm serious.
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Keep up the great work SW!! Glitches, problems, oversights...whatever you want to call them, happen in all companies. You're taking a proactive stance. Good for you! Behind you all the way!
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Shannon, "Ed" is definitely not one of the editors. We will identify ourselves when we need to comment. Disappointed, our blog is the place where we can hold these conversations. It is just another commuunication tool that we have. Brian
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AnotherView: It is interesting how you point out that so many people are making assumptions and, to prove this, you provide your own assumptions. How do you _know_ that there was not a concious decision to skip inspections? It seems strange that after SWA volunteered that they were out of compliance, that they admit that they did not fix the situation. That is, until yesterday when they were probably informed by their legal counsel that they were very exposed to any liability should an accident of any type occur. I tend to feel that most people want to do a good job and are basically honest. But I also know that everyone really looks out for themselves first. Think about it, have you ever heard of a manager laying themselves off because they were not needed? If upper management in SWA pushed down to reduce costs, who is not to say that someone didn't decide it would be better to generate revenue than take needed planes out of service? I would really hope that this was a paperwork issue, but it doesn't matter if it was an honest mistake or not. Safety inspections are required because they are needed. As an earlier poster noted, it was SWA that originally told the FAA that they were required. So if they were the first to know, why are they now the ones accused of skipping inspections that SWA felt everyone else should perform?
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Shame on you. Shame, shame, shame on you.
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Keith, I honestly don't think I based anything on an assumption. To the best of my knowledge, no one has suggested that Southwest purposely skipped any inspections prior to their self-disclosure last year. They were already doing 99+% of the AD-related inspection that is in question, and it would make no sense not to do the other -1%, except for an acknowledged documentation error, which they self-reported. Who did what after they self-disclosed is less clear, and I think we should all wait before jumping to any conclusions. But it is clear that Southwest moved quickly to re-inspect based on their self-disclosed error. Also, based on what I have read about the inspections conducted after the fact on the planes in question and on what Boeing has said about what type/size of cracks are safety concerns and what type/size are not, none of Southwest's plane were ever unsafe to fly.
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I really don't understand all the fuss about this whole situation. Yes, the airline failed by not having the aircraft inspected within schedule, but they have acknowledged that and are addressing the issue. The FAA proposed a fine, and the company's appeal is a legal right and sound business move. In the big picture, this is a major airline that has operated for decades, transporting over a billion people without a single on-board fatality (one off-board fatality a couple of winters ago in Midway as an airline overran the runway in bad weather). In the end of the day, while this story is somewhat disconcerting, the bottom line doesn't change: Southwest gets you were you need to be, often at very reasonable prices. I'm not speaking out of loyalty to the airline, I fly with whomever is more affordable. As far as other airlines' maintenance practices, I think it's fruitless to speculate on whether or not they cut corners to maximize profit. We're so quick to judge the airline industry because of a collective fear, but at no point do we scrutinize a bus, subway, train, or even our own cars. Lets be reasonable, folks.
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Keith and others who think Southwest "deliberately" skimped on inspections: if that is the case WHY would Southwest self-disclose this issue? They did that a YEAR ago! Why would you self-disclose if you were deliberately skipping inspections? Disclosure is going to mean scrutiny, just look at what is going on now! It makes no sense. If Southwest really put profit before safety they would have kept their mouths shut in March 2007 and the FAA never would have been the wiser. And by the way, the FAA NEVER knew about ANY of these cracking issues until Southwest brought them to the FAA's attention years ago - well before the 2004 AD that is at issue right now. Southwest has been ahead of the FAA and probably the other airlines in terms of safety. If not for Southwest, no one would know that the 747s have this problem. And I *know* that and hopefully when all the investigations are over, the rest of you will *know* that in an official capacity. This is included in Gregory Feith's statement linked above. The perception seems to be that these planes just flew and flew and flew and were never inspected. All planes are inspected on a regular basis and the areas at issue were inspected regularly. There was never a safety issue; there was a paperwork issue.
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I personally had a very bad experience with how SWA handled the situation yesterday. I was on a business trip with plans to fly from San Francisco to San Diego. When I saw the news a few hours before the flight, I went online. My flight was already marked as delayed. I immediately called SWA customer service. There was an earlier flight that was also marked as delayed and with the delay would meet my needs. After I asked if the delays was due to the recall, the customer service rep assured me that the flight was delayed because of weather in Houston and was actually on its way to San Francisco. When I got to SFO, I found out that the flight was cancelled. I called customer service where someone else informed me that she could not tell the cause of the delay or cancellation. Someone is lying. Was it corporate policy? I don't care. I came back on United. I am waiting to see if SWA will refund my ticket automatically or if I will have to call. As a business traveler, I have always flown SWA when I can. The true nature of a company comes out under adverse conditions. In my opinion, SWA did not come out with flying colors. I would have preferred the truth. -A frequent San Diego traveler
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I am dissapointed in southwest,why did whistle blowers have to bring this to the front.How long would this lapse in inspections go on if not for the whistle blowers?the director of maintenance should be terminated ,along with any others that contributed to this lack of judgement and disreguard of the flying public.
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Due to the recent internal investigation I was treated rudely today by the Southwest relationship rep, Shana. I asked questions concerning their recent investigation and asked for a refund, I was FLATLY refused. There was no customer relations going on just a very defensive attitude. I was referred to their carriage agreement and their web-site with the official statement which I have already read. I have worked in the customer relations department of my company for many years and we are often instructed not to comment on issues however we are instructed to take escalations to the next level!! If a customer is asking for a refund that is not our call it would need to come from someone higher up the ladder. There was not an explanation provided as to why I could not have a refund I was basically told I would have to live with it because it is what I signed up for in the carriage agreement nor was I referred to a more skilled individual. The message that Southwest is sending is that they are not concerned about the safety or general mental well being of their passenger's. They are preoccupied with their margins and bottom line. The safety and well being of my family is a concern of mine. The burden of their mistake has now been placed on the consumer. Consumers have not been provided any options that are favorable. Either fly with Southwest or rebook with another carrier at your own expense. Southwest does not appreciate the position they have put the consumer in and are making NO concessions for it. I don't appreciate my concerns being taken lightly or Southwest not determining a favorable solution for the consumer. Thanks Southwest!
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http://www.star-telegram.com/news/story/527869.html Posted on Thu, Mar. 13, 2008 Southwest Airlines finds cracks in 4 grounded planes BY: TREBOR BANSTETTER TBANSTETTER@STAR-TELEGRAM.COM\ Southwest Airlines discovered fuselage cracks on four of the airplanes that it grounded for inspections Wednesday, the airline said today. The Dallas-based carrier took 38 Boeing 737 planes out of service to check for cracks in the exterior above and below passenger windows. It also checked five planes that were already parked for maintenance, and one plane that had recently been retired from the fleet. A spokeswoman said that 34 of the planes passed the inspections and were returned to service today. "Four were held for surface repairs, and we expect to have them back in service by the weekend," said spokeswoman Brandy King. Southwest parked the jets in the wake of a congressional investigation into its airplane inspections. The FAA proposed a record $10.2 million fine last week against the carrier for failing to ground dozens of jets last year after it discovered they had not been examined for potentially dangerous fuselage cracks. Congress is also investigating whether some FAA officials allowed the airlines to keep the planes in service for up to 10 days despite the inspection lapse. The airline said Tuesday that it suspended three of its employees in the wake of an internal investigation, and is auditing its inspection records. That review unocovered an additional inspection lapse, which prompted WednesdayÃ
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How Dare Southwest Airlines risk MY life and that of my family. I am appauld that to save money Southwest would let something like this happen. What is worse is that it took one day to do the right thing and inspect the aircraft. Why not do the right thing first. Now I cannot even trust Southwest that the inspections done are done correct. I will NEVER fly on SouthWorst Airlines ever again. Spin it all you want in the media Mr Kelly, the truth is that you and your airline risked lives. You are lucky that you did not have a hull failure or your airline would be out of business. I hope that everyone reading this realizes that in the interest of saving money and possible bribes to the FAA Southwest risked each of their lives. I have my doubts as to any future inspections or repairs done to Southwest aircraft. Remember that the death of the child in Midway was due to the Southwest culture, the recent engine failures and engine explosions are all becoming clear that Southwest is cutting corners. I repeat that you have lost a family of customers for life!!!
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Will Southwest allow people to cancel their reservations if this issue is of concern to them?
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So when were the four planes that were grounded today last "inspected?" What are the FAA issued N tail numbers of the four?
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I am very surprised at the overly dramatic outrage expressed by some of the bloggers ( see Fiona). This is an unfortunate situation for travelers , Southwest, and the FAA. I can't help but think that if Southwest was managed so poorly we would have had proof YEARS before now. Were you flying Southwest because you vowed to NEVER fly American, Delta, Continental Northwest, etc.? No company is without problems, issues, mis-steps. Are you driving? The same FAA that monitors Southwest monitors all the other airlines.
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I have to agree with Fiona, especially that a few of the questionable aircraft DID in fact have cracks. I rarely fly southwest because I hate the experience but sometimes they are the only option. I will refuse to travel on them anymore. My life nor any other passangers might be worth an extra hour saved by avoiding a connection or a few bucks in fares. The FAA does monitor all other airlines but it is well known that southwest gets "special" treatment. I am glad that it has come to the open. Maybe the government will now act. I know I will, WITH MY WALLET!!!