The Southwest Mess: CBS News Travel Editor Peter Greenberg's analysis
CHICAGO (CBS) -- With Southwest Airlines having canceled the majority of its flights in recent days, CBS News Travel Editor Peter Greenberg said it could be days before the airline is back on track.
Greenberg talked with CBS 2 Streaming Anchor Brad Edwards on Tuesday.
Greenberg: "Of all the airlines that could melt down, I was really surprised it would be Southwest - because think about this. They only fly one type of equipment. They're known for getting their planes in and out in 20 to 25 minutes. They cross-train their staff - that means the guy who does your bag can also push the plane out. They do a great job of turning their planes around – except when what happens? Their communication system breaks down - and that's what happened here on a systemwide basis."
Edwards: "When the Department of Transportation says it might do an inquiry; an inquest into what happened, that's got to be bad news."
Greenberg: "If it's a weather event, the airline's not responsible for getting you a hotel, or giving you a meal voucher, or anything like that. You could be stranded for days if it's weather, because it's considered an act of God. If it's not weather at that point, and it's purely operational and it's in the airline's control, there will be consequences.
"If you're looking at pilots standing at the airport at Midway who can't even get in touch with their own operations folks to let them know where they're supposed to go and the plane they're supposed to be on, hey, this is from the 1940's."
Edwards: "People who left their homes in Chicago going to the airport because it said their flight was going to go - when they knew full well the air carrier said that they weren't going to go."
Greenberg: "The last thing you should ever do - and I've been talking about this for 25 years - is ever depend on the departure board. What the departure board is telling you is that the plane is scheduled to leave on time, or scheduled to arrive on time. I got news - the Titanic was scheduled to arrive on time."
You can watch Edwards' full interview with Greenberg below.
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