Cranky on the Web: Southwest’s Maintenance Problems

Cranky on the Web, Southwest

Southwest Airlines Cancels More Flights Because Of Unspecified Mechanical IssuesNPR All Things Considered
There’s been a lot of talk about Southwest’s maintenance problems over the last week. It has led to canceled flights and unhappy people on all sides. While there may be some real issues here, I told NPR that there’s a decent chance the long-outstanding contract with the mechanics’ union has something to do with this. This contract needs to be settled. It’s been way too long.

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7 comments on “Cranky on the Web: Southwest’s Maintenance Problems

  1. I hang out at Atlantic aviation and when commercial planes go out of service they park next to Atlantic. This week two Southwest planes and one Alaskan were on the tarmac. This was not normal, once in awhile one would show up. The Alaskan plane was still there this morning. The two Southwest planes were gone in one day. Enjoy your blog. Mark

  2. No labor contract should go that long in talks. That is just crazy. Seems like a good time to do this if it’s a ‘stunt’ for a new contract, during the slower winter months and right as it’s been in the news about Southwest trying to get Hawaii started.

    Doesn’t look good in the public eyes to see an airline with a lot of planes down with mechanical issues and the thought of five hours over water to/from Hawaii.

  3. Would love to hear your perspective of Southwest lately. Seems like the ‘good ol days’ of Southwest are long gone. Clearly they have culture and labor issues, much higher fares, poorer on-time performance, safety issues (roof opened up and death from engine issue), more fees (look how much they charge/receive from EarlyBird), more complaints, FAA investigations, technology limitations, customer service issues, no more humor/singing on board, long check-in lines, less friendly gate agents, frequent de-valuing of the frequent flier points (was 60X now 78X after just a few years) etc. Would love to have you write a blog. I used to chose SW over every one else, but now I avoid at all costs.
    On a side note, have you heard of their new excuse about phantom turbulence. FAs are refusing to provide drinks when they claim there’s turbulence ahead, yet there’s no turbulence at all? It happened to me twice, I’ve seen it mentioned on Facebook posts and the message boards. I call B.S.

    1. I totally agree. I used to fly WN all the time. Now I only fly them if no other airline is available. I need an airline I can rely on so I choose Delta whenever possible.

    2. Jason – This is a complex one. Southwest has both failed to evolve quickly enough and at the same time, failed to maintain its low fares the way it used to. It’s in a strange place, but it keeps making money so there doesn’t seem to be a hurry to fix the thing.

  4. The union will tell the media that they’ve “been without a contract” because of the company’s failure to negotiate. The truth is that the RLA stipulates that current contracts remain in force until a new contract is agreed to. At that point the union members will get a nice retro bonus. Until the Railway Labor Act is replaced, airline industry labor negotiations won’t change.

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