How Southwest Airlines plans to soothe business customers soured by holiday meltdown

Southwest Airlines is stranded millions of travelers across the country as it continues its efforts to win back customers dismayed by the airline’s epic holiday meltdown.

This time, CEO Bob Jordan’s apology was aimed at the group he’s been trying to woo throughout the pandemic: business travelers.

Watch: SNL skewers Southwest Airlines in holiday meltdown

At City Hall Monday, Jordan discussed the holiday debacle with other Southwestern executives and explained what the company is doing to ensure it doesn’t happen again. It’s not “revolutionary,” he said, but aims to improve the flying experience.

“We are still restoring our network to what it was before the pandemic,” Jordan said. “That includes adding features that we know you and your customers want: power ports on aircraft, larger bins, additional functionality for applications, and so on.”

Larger bins mean more places and fewer bags on board Dropping your bags at the gate means you spend less time on the ground and more time in the air, said Ryan Green, executive vice president and chief commercial officer of Southwest.

‘Airport Mayhem:’ Southwest Airlines Holiday Meltdown From Those Who Lived It

The company will add a business traveler’s must-have port to all new aircraft, moving to USB-A and USB-C ports on its Boeing 737 Max jets, Green said.

“Frankly, we haven’t had the product we want or need in the last few years, so we’re investing in upgrading our hardware,” said Green. says. “We’ve used up about half of our existing fleet here. We’ll complete the rest of our existing fleet between now and the summer.”

A few months before the holiday meltdown, Southwest rolled out a referral program for small businesses, offering 25,000 reward points per business by pouring other businesses into its managed travel system. . Carriers used the show as a way to reach hard-to-reach audiences just as they were emerging from a pandemic-induced recession.

In 2021, Southwest signed a distribution agreement with Southlake-based Saber Corp. This allows thousands of travel planners to see Southwest routes on their screens when booking employee trips, rather than comparing them to

Southwest, American cancel or delay thousands of flights until noon Tuesday

As for holiday travelers, Green said the company returned most bags to customers within a week, allowing them to book hotel rooms, rent cars, and buy tickets on competing airlines. We have processed about 93% of refund requests from flyers that had to be.

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