It has been a couple of days since the tragedy of Southwest Airlines’ Flight 1380, where an engine malfunction sent debris crashing into one of the airplane’s windows and forced the plane into an emergency landing. The incident resulted in one death and left seven others injured.
In lieu of the ordeal, and as a testament to Southwest’s commitment to customer experience, Southwest Airlines reportedly sent a letter of apology to the passengers on board signed by CEO Gary Kelly, dated April 18th, one day after the incident occurred:
“We value you as our customer and hope you will allow us another opportunity to restore your confidence in Southwest as the airline you can count on for your travel needs,”… “In this spirit, we are sending you a check in the amount of $5,000 to cover any of your immediate financial needs.”
The letter also included a $1,000 travel voucher, which Inc.’s Bill Murphy Jr. notes that Southwest could be sending in the hope that passengers share their positive experience on social media. After all, a huge driving force for the story was the amount of attention the story had on social media after passenger Marty Martinez live streamed the emergency landing on his Facebook.
There are differing reactions to the apology and compensation offered, as demonstrated by statements from Eric Zilbert and Marty Martinez. Zilbert stated he was thankful for the letter and not having to file claims forms. Meanwhile, Martinez responded that he will speak to a lawyer before accepting anything and that the amount and sentiment behind the apology is not enough.
Despite this feeling, it is mentioned in the Associated Press reporter’s account that Martinez gave his statement “as he prepared to board a Southwest flight from New York.”
It seems Martinez’s continued patronage to Southwest could be correlated to their stellar dedication to customer experience, especially when compared to competitors like United Airlines. Southwest’s swift response and attempts to make amends is something to admire and goes to show that making customer experience a priority is integral, particularly when tragedy strikes.
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