Pulling Together

Staff
January-February
2023

You saw the video and pictures. Stranded travelers trying to figure out how to get to their destinations for the holidays, not knowing how, or when, they would arrive. Thousands of bags, separated from their owners, sitting in airports across the country.

Christmas 2022 was a disaster for our entire industry. The Southwest Airlines Christmas meltdown tarnished the reputation of the airline, and also gave a black eye to the aviation industry as a whole.

Paul Bowers - PublisherIn the eyes of the general public, there’s little distinction between responsible parties. When passengers are stuck in airports with no idea of where they’ll spend the night, or when they’ll get home, we all suffer. We all are looked upon with suspicion as part of a system that doesn’t function, or worse, doesn’t seem to care.

But we all know that this isn’t true. We do care—from the local Southwest baggage handlers and station managers to the airports that ended up hosting overnight guests. This was not a time to point fingers or lay blame; rather we did the best we could to make things better.

Case in point: Sacramento International mobilized airport employees to work with Southwest’s station manager and staff to store unclaimed bags and prevent theft. But that’s not all it did. The airport brought in food trucks that provided free meals to travelers and airport workers during the tumult. It also had a local musician singing in the baggage claim area. There’s nothing like soothing acoustic guitar and a sandwich with a cheesy name to bring down everyone’s stress level.

Let’s be clear, mistakes happen; and the Christmas meltdown by Southwest Airlines was a doozy. But stories that come to light like that of Sacramento International serve as a reminder that our industry also has a lot to be proud of.

Here’s to a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2023.

Cheers

-Paul

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