In the pilot episode of “Mad Men,” Don Draper gave a little advice to a tobacco executive who was trying to make consumers forget about the whole “cigarettes are really bad for you” thing.
“If you don’t like what people are saying,” Draper advised, “change the conversation.”
On the one hand, sure, this is reasonable advice, one that many younger ad execs now live by.
In some situations, however, this is easier said than done, as sometimes people don’t want to leave the conversation behind, despite the company’s best efforts.
This is where Southwest Airlines (light) – Get a free report Now you find yourself: desperate to move on, when the world around you seemingly has no intention of letting the company change the conversation.
Look, Southwest changed their shipping process!
As you’ve probably heard, Southwest spent the holidays dumping charcoal on its customers’ stockings. Due to a massive winter storm, the airline ended up canceling or delaying massive flights, including nearly 75% (or 4,000 domestic flights) just the day after Christmas. As the week between Christmas and New Years progressed, more than 16,700 flights were affected, which could end up costing Southwest $825 million, at least.
The delays were due to a number of factors, but several critics have claimed that the main factors were due to executives’ unwillingness to spend enough money to recruit a new generation of pilots (to compensate people who retired early). in the pandemic) and to update its flight scheduling software, opting instead to give bonuses to executives and dividends to shareholders.
The fallout was stark, as Southwest “said its adjusted loss for the three months ending December was pegged at $226 million, or 38 cents a share, well below Street’s forecast for a loss of around 12 cents.” per share”.
Southwest CEO Bob Jordan has publicly apologized on several occasions, saying, “Regarding the operational disruptions, I am deeply sorry for the impact on our employees and customers,” and vowed to do better, but it hasn’t been enough for people forgive and forget.
After the fallout from the cancellation, Southwest began offering low-cost fares and added a number of new flights for people who might want to attend Super Bowl LVII. And now, the airline has announced a change to its boarding policy.
Before it was known for leaving customers in the lurch, Southwest was known as the airline with no assigned seats. Instead, people simply line up at the gate in order of boarding assignment, and from there they can grab a spot on a first-come, first-served basis.
Some people like this system more than others, but Southwest has allowed families with children under the age of six to board together between their A and B boarding groups, in an effort to ensure that parents and children can sit together .
It appears that some Southwest flights are expanding the boarding age range to include children as young as 13, The Points Guy reported, which reported on several gates that have been informally changing their policies. But The Points Guy also noted that the airline has not officially confirmed any changes to its policy.
Southwest’s public image isn’t improving
While a potential change in boarding protocol could make life easier for parents of tweens, Southwest continues to receive criticism in the media.
Over the weekend, “Saturday Night Live” aired a skit featuring host Michael B. Jordan that poked fun at airline vacation woes and vowed to improve services.
“We’re finally upgrading our computer system to Dell Computers 2008,” notes the parody, which also touts Southwest’s new main lounge, which will be “located inside a working Starbucks.”
“We just got there early and reserved two or three tables for everyone,” says a flight attendant played by Jordan.
“Here at Southwest, mistakes were made, and that’s mostly up to us,” says another attendee, played by cast member Heidi Gardner. “Some of that is in you.
“You bought a Southwest ticket,” he adds. “You obviously don’t respect yourself, so why should we?”
Oh. Well, it looks like despite Southwest’s best efforts, the conversation isn’t going to change anytime soon.