KIRO NEWSRADIO OPINION

Gee: I want Southwest Airlines ‘more than slapped on the wrist’

Dec 28, 2022, 3:19 PM

Southwest Airlines...

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 28: John and Lori Ingoldsby, who drove to Denver after the first leg of their flight on Southwest Airlines was canceled, wait for a flight to finish their trip at Denver International Airport on December 28, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. More than 15,000 flights have been canceled by airlines since winter weather began impacting air travel on December 22. (Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

After days of waiting with thousands of cancellations, many families across the country are stranded in what the U.S. Department of Transportation is calling an ‘unacceptable’ failure.

According to the FlightAware tracking service, more than 91% of all canceled flights in the U.S. early Wednesday were from Southwest Airlines, which has been unable to recover from ferocious winter storms that raked large swaths of the country over the weekend.

On The Gee and Ursula Show, host Gee Scott and guest host Aaron Mason talked about the incident and how it should be addressed moving forward so another disaster like this doesn’t happen again.

“The airlines have too much power and aren’t being held accountable. And so they can get away with stuff like this, that not only damages people and the time that they were going to spend doing whatever they do when they travel,” Mason said.

Southwest Airlines flight cancellations continue to snowball

Gee agreed with him, emphasizing that the airlines are one of the only industries that can fail to provide people with the service they are paying for at this level and not face consequences.

“Give me what I paid for, right? So the question is, should we start investing in other things? I say we do something about it, because I’m sick and tired of the airline industry. So if you hear frustration out of me, if you hear me saying that I want Southwest Airlines more than slapped on the wrist [it’s] because history shows us that that’s all it’s going to be.”

As an alternate solution, more infrastructure investments need to be made into other forms of transportation to give people an alternative to travel, specifically trains.

“I’m going to talk about trains again, it’s a dependable, reliable form of transportation. It’s not affected by the weather in the same ways that planes are and that cars are and buses and all that,” Mason said.

While there are some drawbacks to train travel, specifically speed, having more diversity in options, Mason argues, helps increase competitiveness and provide people with backup plans when these kinds of travel disruptions do happen.

“Let’s say it takes three days to cross the country on a train as opposed to a couple of hours in a plane. Like I understand that trade-off, but having options for people, and dependable options are huge. And the airlines aren’t doing it.”

You can listen to the full discussion about the chaos at the airport here:

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Gee and Ursula Show

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Gee: I want Southwest Airlines ‘more than slapped on the wrist’