Southwest Airlines is trying to minimize its legal exposure by preemptively paying off passengers aboard the ill-fated Flight 1380.
Earlier this week, that Boeing 737-700 flight from New York to Dallas was forced to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia after an engine broke apart. Tragically, a woman onboard was killed when the debris broke through the glass and sucked her out of the plane. Although passengers successfully pulled her back into the aircraft, she was already dead: the plane was flying 550mph and the blunt impact trauma killed her.
Although additional physical injuries were limited, the emotional toll of such an incident is likely to linger for years for the other passengers onboard.
Southwest is offering every passenger onboard $5,000 in cash plus a $1,000 Southwest voucher. Southwest CEO Gary Kelly penned a note to every passenger onboard:
On behalf of the entire Southwest Airlines Family, please accept our sincere apologies for the circumstances surrounding Flight 1380 on Tuesday morning.
While the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) continues its investigation as to the circumstances surrounding the accident, our primary focus and commitment is to assist you in every way possible.
We value you as out Customer and hope you will allows 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. As a tangible gesture of our heartfelt sincerity, we are also sending you a $1,000 travel voucher (in a separate e-mail), which can be used for future travel.
Again, please accept our heartfelt apologies.
Full letter here.
The accident is Southwest’s first ever passenger death. It is also the first death aboard a U.S. commercial airline since the Colgan Air crash in 2009.
And yet that does not downplay the fact that one soul, Jennifer Riordan, will not return to her family in Albuquerque.
I’d say the Southwest Flight 1380 compensation of $5,000 is a nice gesture, but probably just the start.
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