Southwest CEO Vows To Work On Getting Planes Where They Should Be On-time

Because no one likes to be told they’ll be arriving somewhere at one time only to find you’re stranded at an airport late at night, staring at the closed Cinnabon and wondering if you’ll ever get home. Late planes are a problem, one that Southwest Airlines says it’s trying hard to fix after lagging behind other carriers in the race to be on-time.

CEO Gary Kelly says the airline is going to add a few minutes between certain flights to try to prevent tardy planes, and will keep an eye on the amount of tight connections it sells, reports the Associated Press.

Despite a No. 1 spot for all-time timeliness since airlines started reporting that information to the government in 1987, Southwest was in 12th place last year behind all its big rivals.

“We’ve got significant schedule changes that are planned for the summer,” Kelly said. “That’s when I want to be monitoring the on-time performance and making sure that we see the improvement that we need. We need to get back to where we were for 2012.”

Part of the problem could be that Southwest jammed more flights into peak hours to get more customers flying, but that’s not working out so well.

“We tried to get a little more aggressive in 2013, and it probably is the cause of our dip in on-time performance,” Kelly said.

But because people want to fly during busy hours due to the plethora of itineraries available, Southwest has to walk a fine line between providing what they want and getting people there on time.

“As long as we’re operating a full airplane,” Kelly said, “I don’t mind spending an extra minute or two turning it.”

Southwest CEO Vows to Fix on-Time Problem [Associated Press]