DOJ joins investigation into Southwest’s holiday flight delay chaos: report

The Department of Justice is reportedly joining the Transportation Department’s investigation into Southwest Airlines after its holiday meltdown caused chaos and delays for millions of travelers.

The Justice Department (DOJ) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is aiding the Transportation Department’s (DOT) probe into Southwest Airlines. A Transportation Department spokesperson told The Hill that it has completed “on-site audits” of the airlines’ records of reimbursements and refunds, and has also met with multiple officials from the airline.

“The DOT team probing whether Southwest engaged in unrealistic scheduling of flights is also closely coordinating with DOJ and FAA,” DOT spokesperson Kerry Arndt said in a statement to Politico. “DOT will leverage the full extent of its investigative and enforcement power to ensure consumers are protected and to hold Southwest accountable for any violations of the law.”

Southwest Airlines cancelled nearly 17,000 flights over the last 10 days of the year as multiple airlines faced delays with travel. The Department of Transportation pledged in January to investigate whether “unrealistic scheduling” played a role into the meltdown.

The airline also reported in January that the meltdown will cost between $725 million and $825 million, including losing up to $425 million in refunded flights alone. Lawmakers have also vowed to hold the airline accountable, with Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, leading the charge in December.

The Hill has reached out to the Justice Department, Transportation Department and Southwest Airlines for comment.

Tags Department of Justice FAA flight delays holiday travel Maria Cantwell southwest airlines U.S. Department of Transportation

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