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How Southwest Airlines took care of its Inconvenienced Passengers

Southwest Airline

Recently, Southwest Airlines experienced a technical outage forcing it to cancel about 2,300 flights causing extreme inconvenience to a quarter of a million passengers. Lines were long, tempers became short and there was a lot of waiting before the situation was sorted out.  Southwest provided refunds to passengers who asked for them and allowed them to book a different flight at the same price. In addition, every affected passenger received an email from Southwest CEO Gary Kelly with a subject line that read, “Sorry isn’t enough for your last trip….” Mr. Kelly went on to say, “To be blunt, we failed you and that is simply not acceptable to me. For that, please accept my heartfelt apologies…In a sincere effort to show you how much we would like another chance, we are offering you 50 percent off your next Southwest Airlines flight…I sincerely hope you take us up on this offer so that we may thank you in person for flying Southwest Airlines.” Things like this in the airline industry happen, although normally not on this scale. It’s what an airline does after they happen that demonstrates its commitment to its customers. In this case, Southwest came through with flying colors. People talk about these experiences. If they are handled well, they can actually increase customer loyalty.

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One-Sentence Wisdom

  • “Well done is better than well said.” -- Benjamin Franklin
  • “Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.” -- Donald Porter, V.P. British Airways

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