Southwest Airlines offering 'gesture of goodwill' following multiday travel disruptions


Southwest Airlines says it's offering an apology and "gesture of goodwill" to passengers after the airline canceled and delayed thousands of flights this week.  

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Nearly 2,400 flights were canceled from Saturday through Monday which the airline blamed on bad weather and air traffic control issues. The disruptions left passengers stranded at airports across the nation, with many airing their frustrations out on social media. 

"In these situations, we do our best to make things right, and we are working directly with customers who have been impacted by the recent disruptions offering our apology and a gesture of goodwill," a Southwest spokesperson told FOX Business.  

Southwest Airlines offering 'gesture of goodwill' following multiday travel disruptions

The Southwest Airlines rebooking line at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on Sunday, Oct. 10.  (Reuters / Reuters Photos)

This so-called goodwill gesture comes in the form of a Southwest LUV Voucher, which can be applied to future Southwest travel, according to the Texas-based carrier.  

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES FACES FIFTH DAY OF DELAYS, CANCELLATIONS

"Additionally, when a flight is canceled by Southwest, and the customer chooses not to travel, the customer can retain their travel funds from the ticket for future travel or request a refund of the ticket," the spokesperson added. 

Southwest has only said that bad weather and air traffic control issues in Florida on Friday triggered cascading failures in which planes and pilots were trapped out of position for their next flight.

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LUV SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO. 51.45 +0.19 +0.37%

The crisis peaked on Sunday, when the airline canceled more than 1,100 flights, or 30% of its schedule. By Tuesday evening, it had canceled fewer than 100 flights, or 2% of its schedule, although more than 1,000 flights were delayed, according to tracking service FlightAware. 

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By Tuesday, when delays and cancellations finally started to ease, CEO Gary Kelly issued an apology to customers during an interview on "Good Morning America" saying, "This is not what we want but unfortunately, it just takes a couple of days to get things back on track." 

Kelly said Southwest was hit so hard because over half its fleet touches the Sunshine State. 

"We have a linear route system. We're just different." Kelly said, further arguing, "Everyone was impacted on Friday and everyone was impacted in a very big way." 

SOUTHWEST FLIGHT CANCELLATIONS, DELAYS CONTINUE MONDAY AFTER DISRUPTIVE WEEKEND

The woes this past week comes just after the carrier struggled all summer with delays and cancellations. Even a senior executive admitted to employees that the airline is still understaffed and might need to reduce flights in November and December.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.