Southwest fined for last Christmas meltdown

Source: Ian Duncan, Washington Post (Paid Registration)

The Transportation Department (DOT) fined Southwest Airlines $140 million for what it said were multiple violations of the law during its meltdown around last Christmas and New Year’s, while also ordering the airline to establish a $90 million fund to compensate passengers affected by future delays.

Problems began when freezing weather hit much of the country shortly before Christmas. Southwest canceled or significantly delayed about 16,900 flights, disrupting the travel plans of 2 million people, according to the DOT's investigation.

The compensation fund will allow customers who are at least three hours late to their destination because of a delay or canceled flight for reasons within Southwest’s control to request a $75 voucher. The fund is scheduled to launch by April 30.

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