(VitalNews.org) – Over the Christmas holiday in 2022, Southwest Airlines canceled and delayed thousands of flights, leaving many would-be passengers stranded at airports all across the US. The company blamed the problem on the winter storm that was sweeping across much of the nation. That said, at least one report from The Hill suggested it could be a culmination of scheduling problems Southwest has had for years due to outdated systems.
On January 12, the airline’s shareholders filed a class action lawsuit against the company, claiming Southwest didn’t tell the public about its ongoing system problems, which negatively affected the airline. The legal brief outlined the events that happened over the holiday and beyond, stating the old technology used by the airline hurt the company’s bottom line.
— The Hill (@thehill) January 13, 2023
The stockholders claim that Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said the scheduling problems were the result of “human error” — a statement they believe to be false. The executive specifically mentioned that it was not a technology-related error, although the plaintiffs allege the company does not use state-of-the-art equipment.
During the confusion, the company’s stock dipped from $35.90 per share on December 23, 2022 to $32.02 on the 28th, but it has since recovered. On January 13, the stock closed at $36.83 per share. However, the class action suit is looking to collect damages from June 2020, which they claim marked the beginning of the technological problems within Southwest, according to The Hill. The legal filing did not specify the exact dollar amount the plaintiffs were seeking to recover.
On January 3, CNBC reported that Southwest executives were promising to compensate travelers for the losses they suffered during the December 2022 turmoil, and Southwest CEO Bob Jordan committed to improving the company’s technology. In all, Bank of America believes the debacle will cost the airline at least $600 million to remedy. That cost could go much higher if the current lawsuit is successful.
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