All eyes are on Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg after a disastrous system failure at Southwest Airlines has caused thousands of canceled flights.
A combination of bad winter weather that swept across the U.S., busy holiday travel, and reportedly outdated systems created the perfect storm of complete chaos for the popular airline. Southwest has canceled roughly 11,000 flights since last Thursday.
Buttigieg, a presidential hopeful for the Democrats, is being called on by all political sides to step up and take some action against the airline.
Southwest will ‘fix’ this travel nightmare, not Pete Buttigieg: Duffy
“Southwest’s flight delays & cancellations are beyond unacceptable. This is a company that got a $7 billion taxpayer bailout & will be handing out $428 million in dividends to their wealthy shareholders. @USDOT must hold Southwest’s CEO accountable for his greed and incompetence,” Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted on Wednesday.
So far, the transportation secretary has only offered words in the form of statements and a letter to Southwest CEO Robert Jordan, laying out four priorities the airline must do for its customers:
“Getting stranded passengers to their destinations safely and quickly; providing or reimbursing passengers for meals, hotels, and ground transportation to or from hotels; promptly refunding affected passengers for their canceled tickets should the passenger not accept alternative offers such as rebooking; and ensuring that passengers are quickly reunited with their baggage,” the letter read.
Buttigieg called the situation “unacceptable” and remarked that “cancellations and significant delays at least since December 24 are due to circumstances within the airline’s control.”
But some are looking for a little less talk and a lot more action from the transportation secretary as this is not the first time his efforts to fix issues within transportation are mediocre at best.
Former Ohio state senator Nina Turner — a radical progressive — wasn’t shy about calling him out on Twitter on Wednesday:
“What’s happening with the railroads, airlines & the supply chain is a result of a small city mayor being made the Secretary of Transportation as a means to pad his resume for President. Secretary Buttigieg is a prime example of failing up,” she tweeted.
What’s happening with the railroads, airlines & the supply chain is a result of a small city mayor being made the Secretary of Transportation as a means to pad his resume for President.
Secretary Buttigeig is a prime example of failing up.
— Nina Turner (@ninaturner) December 28, 2022