How fascinating it is to watch this debate between Whole Earth Society members and the Flat Earthers. Fascinating!
The Flat Earthers, whose motto is "The Planes are Falling, The Planes are Falling!" see corporate evil in every corner. Southwest, they say, is managed by the same evil-doers whose bladders leaked inside the Pinto's gas tank some 25 years ago.
"The airline should be 'grounded' for good," they cry! "SW has been putting profit and schedule ahead of passenger safety," they wail! All that's missing is the lament that this is all a Halliburton-Chaney-Bush-Quadrilateral Commission conspiracy.
Come on. Enough. Let a little reality sink in: Southwest discovered an internal problem, never hid it, and instead promptly reported it. In this context Southwest's management has been as transparent as anyone around. They reported it to the FAA as soon as they knew about it, and took immediate, reasoned action to correct the error.
This all happened about a year ago, and suddenly this week the FAA levied a ten million buck fine. And Minnesota Congressman Oberstar, the patron saint of a nearly bankrupt northwest competitor, chimed in. As Jack Ruby and Lee Harvey Oswald once said, "We don't believe in conspiracy theories, but...".
Aside from the supportive explanations by loyal Southwest employees, perhaps the best comment so far has been "I love Southwest Airlines. I hardly ever fly Braniff or Eastern anymore." Nor Pacific Southwest, nor PanAm, nor Western, nor...
Enough. This entire discussion shows two basic things: Southwest continues to have a fiercely loyal and supportive passenger base, and it's planes have an ongoing structural defect -- there occasionally are some passengers on board whose skins aren't cracked, but who have a whole bunch of screws loose.
But fortunately, if they're true to their word, we won't have to worry about these folk any more. They'll all be cooped-up together on one of United's short-haul Brazilian flying cigar tubes.
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I DO believe you. After much frustration with United, I transferred a couple of years ago to Southwest on parallel runs. After retiring over a year ago, I still have 600,000+ miles banked on United. But I'll take Southwest any day.
I have carefully watched your pilots' pre-flight inspections and despite the occasional levity of your crews, I have nearly absolute faith in them.
Beyond that I most appreciate the fact that immediately on learning of this error you reported it to the FAA and Boeing. The naysayers can say what they want. I still think that Southwest is the best managed airline in the business. And by the way, my wife will be on a 7 am flight to Oakland tomorrow and will fly to Sacramento on Tuesday!
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