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Southwest Executives’ Response to Recent Crisis

Here’s an update on the tragic incident that occured on the Southwest Airlines flight last week. I reported that a jet engine exploded, causing a woman to be partially pulled outside, leading to her death.


Yesterday the Wall Street Journal published an article detailing the steps taken by executives at Southwest Airlines to respond to this.


The executives were in a meeting when phones started ringing. After they were briefed on the situation, they rushed to their headquarters in Dallas and initiated the emergency-response plan.


Within hours the CEO of Southwest Airlines held a press conference. He apologized for the the tragic incident and said they would do all they could for the family and survivors.


Southwest Airlines sent a plane loaded with specially-trained employees to support the people affected. They helped with travel arrangements, hotel arrangements, and trauma counseling.


144 passengers were affected. On the day of the incident about 90 people opted for a special flight to Dallas only for survivors.


The airline covered costs for passengers who flew and for those who chose to stay in hotels that night. Southwest slipped letters under their doors to remind them that support services were available. More than 50 people stayed the night and left the next day. Some flew, others drove or took a train.


The next day, Southwest followed up with the survivors via phone call and email, offering resources, including counseling services.


The airline sent out $5,000 to each passenger, plus a $1,000 travel voucher for future Southwest flights. When asked why that amount was given, Southwest said “there’s no formula except compassion”. They said there were no strings attached, and that this is something that they will always do.


Southwest also flew four employees to the family of the woman who died to support them with travel arrangements.


As reported before, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the incident. The investigation is expected to last at least a year.


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