DOT investigates Southwest Airlines scheduling after mass cancellations
The Department of Transportation is looking into scheduling processes for Southwest Airlines after it experienced mass cancellations in late December.
"DOT will leverage the full extent of its investigative and enforcement power to ensure consumers are protected and this process will continue to evolve as the Department learns more," a spokesperson for the agency said, per the Wall Street Journal.
While a major winter storm battered western New York at the end of last year, the airlines cancelled nearly 17,000 flights. Southwest has pinned much of the blame on the storm and its severity, while also contending it was fully staffed and prepared for the holidays.
The Transportation Department is reportedly investigating whether Southwest sold seats on more flights than it could operate, according to the WSJ. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, in late December, cast doubts on the notion that the storm was the sole driver of the scheduling disaster, saying "[w]e are past the point where they could say this is a weather-driven issue."
The airline has apologized for the cancellations and vowed to reimburse the passengers affected.
Southwest was far from the only airline impacted by the storm, though it was particularly hard hit in terms of schedule disruptions.
Buttigieg, meanwhile, has come under fire amid the airlines disruptions and delays at American ports. The former Indiana mayor has also made frequent use of taxpayer-funded air travel.