Southwest Airlines operations meltdown (Dec 2022)

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BCL

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I would be exceedingly surprised if the Unions would agree to something like that. Besides, when they cannot manage simple checkin-checkout, what would cause them to be able to manage something more complex, even if we ignore all of the off duty privacy issues? 🤔

Incidentally this has been discussed at some length in the airliners.net thread on the southwest meltdown.

There are already complaints about being constantly monitored on the job. Off the job would be really problematic. Just this morning there was a call-in discussion on a local radio program about truck drivers feeling uncomfortable about being tracked all the time.


But there's real time information now with buses. I can look at Apple Maps and see where a bus is and plan to leave accordingly with real time estimates of when I need to start walking. I've been taking Anaheim Regional Transportation recently, and they've got monitoring on their buses where I can see where they are, whether they're on scheduled routes, or on their on-demand rides where I see the current location of the driver/bus. I does get a bit frustrating when the ETA starts slipping though and I could see the bus was assigned to pick up more passengers. But that kind of goes with the system trying to maximize the use.
 

Trogdor

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There are already complaints about being constantly monitored on the job. Off the job would be really problematic. Just this morning there was a call-in discussion on a local radio program about truck drivers feeling uncomfortable about being tracked all the time.

The whole discussion of AirTags or tracking devices is a bit of a red herring, and ignores the fundamental issue (which jis alluded to). The reason they didn't know where their crews were was because the technological interface was overwhelmed and suffered a meltdown. If they can't manage integration between an airline operations tracking system and an airline crew scheduling system, there's no way they could manage integration of technology that was never really intended for that purpose and jury-rig it to interface with a crew scheduling system. So the end result would still be an overwhelmed mass of crew schedulers trying to put stuff together by hand and then try to get in contact with the crews to reschedule them.

Further, the bigger deal, besides knowing where the crews were, was whether or not they were legal to fly. A random GPS tracker isn't going to know that, and is probably going to create more noise in the system for the crew schedulers to have to filter out, distracting everyone from actual productive work.

You don't need to GPS-track your crews if you have a system that can properly associate them with the flights they are flying, the status of those flights, and a relatively simple check-in system at the airport when they report for duty.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Airtag firmware is surprisingly bad at tracking property, let alone employees. You can only add a few tags per account and even if Southwest could deploy Airtags for every employee they would be lucky to get a single update before the tags started telling everyone they were being stalked. They send out the same warning when a thief absconds with your property making them useless for many forms of monitoring. Most companies handle employee monitoring by reading badges as they enter/exit company property, through web/app self-reporting, and/or periodic uploading of company vehicle locations. A badge that last several times longer than an Airtag and is sold at a fraction of the per-unit cost is a much more practical and appealing solution for obvious reasons.
 

BCL

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The whole discussion of AirTags or tracking devices is a bit of a red herring, and ignores the fundamental issue (which jis alluded to). The reason they didn't know where their crews were was because the technological interface was overwhelmed and suffered a meltdown. If they can't manage integration between an airline operations tracking system and an airline crew scheduling system, there's no way they could manage integration of technology that was never really intended for that purpose and jury-rig it to interface with a crew scheduling system. So the end result would still be an overwhelmed mass of crew schedulers trying to put stuff together by hand and then try to get in contact with the crews to reschedule them.

Further, the bigger deal, besides knowing where the crews were, was whether or not they were legal to fly. A random GPS tracker isn't going to know that, and is probably going to create more noise in the system for the crew schedulers to have to filter out, distracting everyone from actual productive work.

You don't need to GPS-track your crews if you have a system that can properly associate them with the flights they are flying, the status of those flights, and a relatively simple check-in system at the airport when they report for duty.

I certainly get that there are any number of things that need to be considered - especially the FAA rules on alcohol consumption before assuming one's duties. I even heard about an airport worker who got in trouble for a beer at lunch.
 
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Some UPS trucks can be tracked as well (to the point that when a driver enters a building lobby to deliver a package the truck reads as inside on the maps).
 

BCL

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They're offering 25,000 Rapid Rewards points to passengers who were hit by cancellations. I just tried cashing in my offer and I'll have to see how long it takes.

 

BCL

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They're offering 25,000 Rapid Rewards points to passengers who were hit by cancellations. I just tried cashing in my offer and I'll have to see how long it takes.


I just received a message that my "deposit" request has been received and that it can take up to 24 hours for the points to show up in my account.
 

Bob Dylan

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They're offering 25,000 Rapid Rewards points to passengers who were hit by cancellations. I just tried cashing in my offer and I'll have to see how long it takes.

Lots of luck booking a flight on the busy routes that have backlogs due to all the Cancellations and the Bad Weather!

Keep us posted!
 

BCL

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Lots of luck booking a flight on the busy routes that have backlogs due to all the Cancellations and the Bad Weather!

Keep us posted!

I think I already mentioned that my flight was scheduled for Christmas Day and I ended up taking Amtrak the next day on short notice. I'm just hoping to get my points back - all 1991 plus the $5.60 in fees. But they say that reasonable expenses include travel and meals incurred. I'm pretty sure the outbound Amtrak ticket counts since that replaced my Southwest flight.

I had already booked a return on Amtrak and got home on Monday.

But my 25,000 "apology" points posted rather quickly.
 

BCL

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OK - I got my points and fees refund maybe from 3-4 days of my request but I'm still waiting on the reimbursement, where I only asked to be reimbursed for my Amtrak travel to LA. No local transportation, meals, lodging, etc. requested. I got a ride home from a family member, who also dropped me off at EMY. I think I probably spent less because the hotel didn't charge me for the first night and rebooked for the remainder after I called in. Also didn't spend a day in LA.

I just got the notice that my case was "escalating", whatever that means. The case number matches the one I got when I made the initial reimbursement request.

Thank you for contacting us. Due to the nature of your request, we are escalating your email for further review, and we'll do our best to get back to you as soon as possible.

Obviously this is a form letter, but I'm not sure why it would need to be escalated. I had an OAK-LAX flight and then replaced it with a $63 Amtrak bus/train trip from Emeryville to LA Union Station. I've heard of considerably more complicated cases that have already been fully reimbursed.

However, the reimbursement will apparently be via Hyperwallet.

How will I receive my expense reimbursements?​

Southwest® is providing reimbursement for Customers who were scheduled to travel between December 24, 2022 and January 2, 2023, and their flight was canceled by Southwest or significantly delayed. For those Customers who submitted receipts, we are reimbursing reasonable expenses incurred as a result of the disruptions including meals, hotel accommodations, and alternate transportation.​
Approved reimbursement payments will be sent either by check or Hyperwallet, a PayPal service contracted by Southwest to make the distribution of approved Customer payments easy, efficient, and convenient. Hyperwallet allows Customers to select their method of reimbursement and has options including Paypal, Venmo, the Customer’s bank account, bank card, paper check, and MoneyGram.​
How it works:​
  1. When your reimbursement is processed, you will receive an email from Southwest advising you of the reimbursement amount approved and explaining that we have partnered with Hyperwallet to process the payment.
  2. The email from Southwest will also include your Customer ID, which you will need to access your payment.
  3. Then, within a few days, you will receive an email from Hyperwallet with instructions and a link to access your payment.
  4. Please ensure you check your junk and spam folders if you have not received communication from Hyperwallet within a few days.
Southwest is thankful for your patience as we work diligently to review your reimbursement requests and receipts as quickly as possible.​
 

BCL

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After three weeks of waiting, I got a notice today that they would be honoring my request to be reimbursed $63 for my Amtrak ticket that replaced my flight. Not exactly sure how Hyperwallet works, but supposedly I'll have options.
 

BCL

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So I'm almost there. I got the message this morning with the link to submit my final request. All I needed to deposit to my checking account was my routing and account number and the code (in the customer ID field). I'll just have to be patient.

It was kind of slow and tedious, but they made good. While having my flight cancelled was no fun, I got my booking points back, a 25,000 point goodwill gesture, and they reimbursed me for my replacement transportation.

I don't think some of the larger requests are going to be honored. They specifically said they won't cover anything without a receipt (like mileage) or with handwritten receipts. I've been reading of people requesting things like lost wages and extra animal boarding expenses when they couldn't make it home.
 

BCL

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So the circle is complete, and I've gotten the funds. My main worry was that I would make an entry mistake with my account number.

So for all my trouble I got everything back, 25,000 extra Rapid Rewards points, and they paid for a $63 bus/train ride. I'm OK with it since my trip ended up costing a lot less since I wasn't charged for my first night's stay and I didn't spend much on what would have been my first full day in LA.
 
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