As of yesterday, Southwest Airlines once again led the world in most flight cancellations. They are not just short pilots and ramp agents. With half of the airline’s flights delayed – again – customers across the country have needed help rebooking. And the airline̵[ads1]7;s telephone system chose to melt down today.
To address phone system problems, Southwest actually stopped taking phone calls.
A call center agent offers,
In the midst of all the craziness, the phone servers are down, I can’t hear my customers and so many agents are not showing up today because they don’t want to deal with the abuse from customers who keep calling because we can’t help them. They are offering 3x salary tomorrow and 1.5x for the next few weeks.
Southwest offers its telephone agents triple salary to help dig out of the current mess with customers.
Here’s how the airline describes the confluence of events that led to their holiday meltdown. Nowhere is a lack of adequate staffing mentioned.
It has been a bad day to fly. Delta has canceled 22% of its mainline operations so far today. United has canceled 12 percent. Alaska, with its Seattle hub in disarray, has canceled 30%. American Airlines has been a relative bright spot with just 3% cancellations (but 25% delays) on its mainline. Nowhere, however, has it been more challenging than Southwest.