Commerce Committee chair vows to look into Southwest debacle

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), the chairwoman of the Senate Commerce Committee, vowed on Tuesday to look into Southwest Airways amid mass flight cancellations and delays.

Winter climate delayed and cancelled flights throughout the nation during the last a number of days as many passengers tried to get house for the vacations, however Southwest alone canceled greater than 2,900 flights on Monday and one other 2,500 flights on Tuesday.

“The issues at Southwest Airways during the last a number of days transcend climate. The Committee can be trying into the causes of those disruptions and its impression to shoppers,” Cantwell said in a Twitter post.

“Many airways fail to adequately talk with shoppers throughout flight cancellations. Customers deserve robust protections, together with an up to date client refund rule,” the senator stated.

The Southwest’s inventory had fallen almost 5 p.c as of Tuesday afternoon amid outrage over the problems. 

The U.S. Division of Transportation stated Monday it was “involved by Southwest’s unacceptable fee of cancellations and delays & studies of lack of immediate customer support” — and plans to probe whether or not Southwest might have managed the cancellations. 

Two of Cantwell’s fellow Commerce Committee Democrats, Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), launched a press release Tuesday saying the cancellations must be thought-about “controllable” and that Southwest ought to compensate affected passengers.

“For these vacationers whose holidays have been ruined, there isn’t any possible way for Southwest to make this proper. However the firm can begin by pretty compensating passengers whose flights had been canceled, together with not solely rebooked tickets, ticket refunds, and lodge, meal, and transportation reimbursement, however vital financial compensation for the disruption to their vacation plans,” Markey and Blumenthal wrote within the joint assertion.

“Southwest can not keep away from compensating passengers by claiming these flight cancellations had been brought on by current winter storms. As Southwest executives have acknowledged, the mass cancellations yesterday had been largely as a result of failure of its personal inside programs,” the senators stated.