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"Southwest: Breakdown is now an act of God"

"Airline limits liability in case of 'mechanical difficulties'" ( More...

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Faisal Nahian 0
i lol'd
I dare them to try that statement out, in a courtroom.. I DO NOT think any Judge, would side with Southwest for blame of a mechanical issue .. Can you say M-E-C-H-A-N-I-C ?
They will try it with a passenger who is an attorney and find themselves accountable.
Jesus Rivera 0
And this is why I switched to Jetblue....
I flew SW once because a client was paying, but its really not for business travelers. I agree JetBlue has a quality product.
Jordan McCourt 0
Mechanical failure happens when people do not pay attention and skip things. Do you think that god would make the landing gear fail it is the person that repaired or last inspected that part for the failure
Jesus Rivera 0
I've flown as a JetBlue Passenger at least 200 times and NEVER<< had an issue... SWA on the other hand... can't say the same.
Jesus Rivera 0
Sanduskycountyairport.. You're absolutely correct.
KauaiGolfer 0
So if my car breaks down on the way to the airport, and I miss my flight, no problem! Act of God, right? This is a bunch of horsecrap. Yet another reason to avoid SW.
Erika Amir 0
Wow! Idiocy. Can't wait to see this challenged.
Wayne Sibley 0
Once agian the airline is helping to push them to the private jet industry. Thank you SouthWest
Lt51506 0
I'll consider Southwest going out of business an act of God - a true blessing!
toolguy105 0
This does not pass the sniff test. SW will at sometime end up in court over a delay or cancelled flight. Regardless of what they have written in their contract of carriage no Judge or Jury will up hold that clause as being valid. You can blame God for the weather, Earthquakes and other things. Mechanical dificulties no way. SW and other Carriers have an implied duty to provide a airworthy aircraft at time of flight. This is a reason for the large fines the FAA hands down when an airline is found to fly unsafe aircraft.
curt kinder 0
I just downloaded and reviewed SWA's contract for carriage rev 7 dated 28July 2010. It only disavows responsibility for mechanical difficulties by entities other than SWA

This is either a misunderstanding, a blatant attempt to trash SWA, or SWA rapidly backpedaled.

Given that the news article referenced here is dated 24 July and SWA's current contract of carriage was revised 28 July I wonder if the offending clause ever existed at all or whether SWA quickly backed down.

Today I emailed SWA this via their site:

"I read today via FlightAware that SWA has amended its contract For Carriage to categorize mechanical breakdowns as "acts of God", presumably reducing SWA's obligations to passengers in the event of mechanical breakdown.

I most emphatically disagree with this stance. In the event of a mechanical issue (as opposed to weather or air traffic congestion) I expect an airline to get me to my destination by the quickest means possible, to include booking me on another airline. This change by SWA suggests that SWA desires to shirk that responsibility.

Ensuring that aircraft are airworthy at the time of flight is a responsibility that sits squarely at the doorstep of airlines; "God" or any other cosmic diety has nothing to do with it.

There is an even more profound concern than legal and ethical obligation to passengers; that is the concept that aircraft mechanical failures are not controllable via proper inspection and maintenance procedures. The possibility that SWA could become steeped in such a corporate cultural mindset is frightening especially given SWA's recent history and FAA fines related to maintenance issues.

I have no immediate travel plans but I promise SWA this: I will not book travel on SWA if this deeply offensive clause is included in SWA's contract for Carriage.

I have reviewed the 28July10 revision of the Contract and I don't see this clause, but the news article referenced in Flightware was dated 24 July...was this clause inserted and then quickly removed?

SWA may want to consider a public announcement to clear the air"
Byron Russell 0
The following was posted on the site in response to the article linked above. It sounds like it is posted by a SW employee. I can't tell if it is the official SW response.

Southwest Airlines takes Customer Service very seriously. We actually have a proactive Customer care department that contacts Customers when issues occur on flights. Many times these explanations arrive at the Customers' homes before they return from their trip.

As you can see from the comment posted prior to this one, Southwest is not categorizing a mechanical issues on board our own aircraft as Force Majeure (FM) as this article and headline incorrectly state.

Simply put, Southwest had never before defined Force Majeure Events in our Contract of Carriage (CoC). In our latest update, we offered our FM definition (p.2 of the COC) which states that "a Force Majeure Event means any event outside of Carrier’s control" and so the "mechanical difficulties" we are referring to as FM events would be those outside of our control, such as airport mechanical difficulties (e.g., the airport de-icing system breaks) or Air Traffic Control issues (e.g., airport or regional tower goes down). We are not referring to our own aircraft mechanical difficulties, which would clearly be under our control. Our policies and practices confirm this interpretation. None of our procedures have changed--we still accommodate Customers exactly the same as we did previously in the event of our own aircraft mechanical issues occur.

Again, Southwest has not changed it's policies when handling a mechanical issue on board our aircraft, and we don't plan to. We still uphold the same level of Customer Service our airline is known for and has been known for the last 39 years.

Our Tucson Customers need not worry that our level of Customer Service is changing when it comes to taking responsibility when things go wrong. And we'll still be offering low fares along with that friendly baggage policy (the one where we don't charge hefty baggage fees) keeping Tucson travel affordable.
Maybe we should allow prayer ?
Does anyone out there think that God, or any other Deity, for that matter would BOTHER to crash a plane load of tourists? How about a boatload? A busload? How about a carload? Same answer, I think not.
Dennis Garrett 0
@BDaleR - that was the official statement from Southwest. To reiterate, the addition only applies to mechanical problems BEYOND Southwest's control (airport mechanical problems, deicing, etc).
Byron Russell 0
I thought reading comprehension was a pre-requisite for a journalist. Without it you have no idea what the meaning is of what you are reading. Or writing. Which seems to be the case here.
Dennis Garrett 0
Not sure what that means. You wrote:

"It sounds like it is posted by a SW employee. I can't tell if it is the official SW response."

Just confirming that was the official statement for you.
Byron Russell 0
I meant that I would expect the reporter who wrote the article in the AZ Star should have been able to comprehend the wording of the COC. Evidently not. And thanks for confirming that that was the official SW response.
Dennis Garrett 0
Aha! I see what you mean now. I agree. A little quick to jump to conclusions on the reporter's part. But that's what sells newspapers. Sensationalize it. It's not always facts in the news these days. Just content that will sell a newspaper...
pete weston 0
what about the lady that was bumped for a big fat teenager sw is going down the toilet
jim garrity 0
Did SWA ask GOD if they could use his name? Next time your in LAS going to SAC, look for overweight teenagers before you buy a S/B ticket!
MDinTV 0
Airlines should offer "one free change" vouchers when they delay or cancel a flight, especially when due to mechanical, crew, or other preventable delays. If passengers have to pay to change tickets, then why shouldn't the airline?! Regardless of whether they want to consider 'breakdowns' an act of god, this is a great way to retain some customer loyalty. By admitting they are not perfect and offering this gesture, passengers are more likely to give the same airline another chance on a future trip. The same goes for baggage fees. If a checked bag does not make it to the baggage claim on the same (or earlier) flight as the passenger, then the passenger should be entitled to a refund of any baggage fees paid. Issued in the form of a credit voucher for future travel, this provides the same low cost gesture of apology, and an opportunity for the airline to prove themselves on a future trip. I would even bet that Federal Task Forces, hearings and legislation targeted at this industry would be sympathetic if an airline did something like this voluntarily. But if the airlines don't do something like this voluntarily, then maybe government will see this as a productive way to force the airlines to deal with some of their problems.


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