It really disheartens me to see people run with sensationalized speculation instead of facts. People call for Southwest to "do the right thing." Southwest did the right thing when they discovered the error by reporting it to the FAA. Southwest did the right thing when they consulted with both Boeing and the FAA on what to do to rectify the situation. And Southwest did the right thing by completing the repairs in accordance to the plan put together by Boeing and the FAA. If there was any call for those aircraft to be grounded, that was the FAA's to make, and the fact that they didn't shouldn't be blame put on Southwest, but blame put on the FAA. They did not try to cover anything up - they SELF-REPORTED the issue. If they were going to cover it up, they wouldn't not have self-reported, and pretended that everything was A-OK with the FAA none the wiser. The case was closed a year ago, until the recently under fire FAA decided that they really didn't like how they handled the situation, and slapped Southwest with the fine. Because Southwest tried to do the right thing, they're being punished. What do you think other airlines are going to do if they find a problem with their maintenance logs? Report it to the FAA? Well, considering what Southwest is going through now because it was maintaining it's integrity and being honest (and self auditing, I might add), I HIGHLY doubt any other carrier is going to want to self-disclose...
The other 46 aircraft that were reinspected yesterday were pulled from service by Southwest erring on the side of caution in light of this media scare frenzy, not the FAA, and were NOT the aircraft that were affected a year ago. Southwest has been taking a proactive approach to this situation by continually trying to do the right thing: Hiring an outside firm to conduct an internal investigation into the matter. Sending Gary Kelly himself to do interviews instead of someone in Public Relations. Keeping the public updated on the situation with numerous press releases all posted on southwest.com. Even keeping all the negative comments in this corporate blog. Bravo Southwest. I don't think many other corporations in America would have the stones to allow such free discussion.
There is no basis that Southwest gets "special treatment" from the FAA without looking at all the relationships between the FAA advisers and other carriers. It's easy to attack the "good guy" in an industry that's fallen on hard times and notorious for delivering a miserable customer service experience.
I think the media needs to clarify exactly what a crack in the skin of the fuselage is. I'm getting the feeling that people think these aircraft had huge holes in the side of them with air and light seeping through, and that's just not the case at all. All aircraft are subject to cracking. These planes did not pose a safety risk. Southwest would not jeopardize the lives of their passengers OR their Employees. If you know ANYTHING about the culture of Southwest at all, it's that PEOPLE are important, and everyone is considered family.
I keep reading comments like "this would never have happened on Herb or Colleen's watch," in an attempt to attack the integrity of Gary Kelly. Herb (Chairman of the Board) and Colleen (President of Southwest) are still VERY much a part of Southwest. They trust Gary, and know that he's capable of handling the situation and getting to the bottom of this.
I applaud Southwest's efforts to keep the public informed on all the latest developments in this case. If Southwest were the "greedy corporation" people seemingly want to make them out to be, then they wouldn't waste the time or money notifying the public of any new information. Southwest hasn't maintained an impressive 37 year safety record on sheer luck. Their history is proof that Safety is their top priority, and I have full confidence that whatever the case may be with this unfortunate "media field day," Southwest will certainly do whatever is necessary to maintain that.
Don't lose confidence in Southwest. They have spent 37 yeas building a reputation on honesty and integrity - a reputation like that in the airline industry is truly hard to achieve, and it isn't something they earned overnight.
I will always fly Southwest as my first choice, despite living in Dallas and having the option to fly American to more places nonstop. I know Southwest will get me where I need to go safely, on-time, and deliver that award winning Texas charm they're so famous for.
... View more