This Christmas, Southwest Airlines opted for a record-breaking fine.

On Monday, the US DOT (Department of Transportation) released a statement announcing that Southwest was actually receiving a 140 million dollar federal civil penalty due to the breakdown in the operations of the company over the Christmas holiday in 2022.

The statement DOT said, “The airline canceled 16,900 flights at the time and left 2 million passengers stranded during the busiest travel time of the year. Some customers dealt with the aftermath of the company’s decisions into the new year.

In its announcement, the federal govt noted that the 6-figure penalty is more than 30 times bigger than any other penalty of DOT issued for violations related to consumer-to-consumer protection.

The statement read: “The majority of the penalty will go towards compensating future Southwest passengers affected by cancellations or significant delays caused by the airline.

Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Transportation Secretary, said, “Today’s action sets a new precedent and sends a clear message: if airlines fail their passengers, we will use the full extent of our authority to hold them accountable. Taking care of passengers is not just the right thing to do — it’s required, and this penalty should put all airlines on notice to take every step possible to ensure that a meltdown like this never happens again.

Additionally, with the huge penalty worth 140 million dollars and the passenger refunds worth 600 million dollars, Southwest is actually needed by the federal government to set up a compensation system worth 90 million dollars to aid passengers impacted by future delays and cancellations.

Southwest is slated to pay more than 750 million dollars overall for its failure in operations over this 2022 holiday season.

The airline was able to release its very own public statement: “Southwest shares with the DOT the goal of delivering the highest standard of service to the traveling public and is grateful to have reached a consumer-friendly settlement that both credits past compensation that went above and beyond requirements for Customers and incorporates a future commitment for Southwest Customer care with a new industry-leading compensation policy.


Barsha Bhattacharya

Barsha Bhattacharya is a senior content writing executive. As a marketing enthusiast and professional for the past 4 years, writing is new to Barsha. And she is loving every bit of it. Her niches are marketing, lifestyle, wellness, travel and entertainment. Apart from writing, Barsha loves to travel, binge-watch, research conspiracy theories, Instagram and overthink.

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