I have resisted addressing the Southwest Airlines story, but I guess I should chime in. I’m talking about Southwest’s failure to inspect their 737s for metal skin cracks in a timely manner. I am incredibly disappointed in this company I have used so faithfully over the past decade.
I’m not an airplane expert. I don’t know how serious the cracks are. However, today Southwest grounded 41 airplanes. These were not spares. The way Southwest flies, 41 planes is well over 150 flights/flight segments a day.
The problem is, I had hoped the people running airlines and hospitals and meat processing plants were somehow different. Sure, you can get away cutting corners if you’re making shirts or pencils – and companies do.
Unfortunately, every time a rock is turned over, we see these same revenue friendly shortcuts in businesses with much more worrisome safety concerns. Corporate safety issues have become a recurring theme on the news.
The people who run these businesses should be able to say no. Instead, it seems they just don’t want to hear no.
Who, exactly, has the chutzpah to screw around with airplanes that fly 600 mph, five miles off the ground? Obviously someone… in this case, multiple someones, as the airline and FAA seem complicit.
I applaud the whistle blowers at the FAA who brought this to light. It takes courage to do what they did. The promise of protection when you ‘drop a dime’ on your boss is often an empty promise.
I have a lot invested in Southwest, with all our free tickets and Helaine’s companion pass. It would be difficult for me to switch allegiance. If I have to, I will.
Southwest, please don’t test me.
I don’t want those companies in which I entrust my safety to value anything over my safety. I always thought that was part of the bargain. I’m much too naive.