Case Analysis: Southwest Airlines
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With Southwest Airlines being considered the “underdog” in the industry for many years, they have stayed consistent by weathering different legal and ethical issues. Following closely to their values and purpose, “Connect People to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel” (“Corporate Policies”, 2018, p. 1). It is vital for an organization to closely monitor all legal and ethical issues to remain successful. Firms must follow relevant laws and regulations as well as carefully articulated ethical guidelines when gathering competitor intelligence.
Southwest Airlines has already experienced well known legal and ethical issues. In 2014 there was a big new headline indicating where the company was being sued by the federal government due to plan maintenance issues. The Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, was established to regulate laws and procedures to protect business in the aerospace world. Southwest airlines were sued in a $12 million-dollar lawsuit due to hiring a contractor that failed to follow proper procedures when making extensive repairs to 44 planes.
The removal of a 26-year-old Arabic-speaking college student from a Southwest Airlines flight is the latest high-profile incident — and second involving Southwest recently — of Muslims or people of Middle Eastern descent being prevented from flying in the U.S. (“Southwest Airlines controversy latest incident to spark profiling concerns”, 2016).
Hakima Abdulle was a Maryland woman of Somali descent, that was removed from a Chicago fight for simply asking another passenger to switch seats with her. Abdulle, who was wearing a hijab, reported that after exiting the plane a flight attendant said she didn’t “feel comfortable” with her as a passenger.
Southwest had two separate events happen on the same day in November of 2016. Passengers ran into an issue when trying to board a plane. In Chicago, two men of Palestinian-descent were asked to “step aside” during the boarding process due to another passenger allegedly hearing a conversation spoken in Arabic that made them afraid to fly. That same night, six men of Middle Eastern descent were removed from a flight from Chicago to Houston all due to passengers reporting that two of the men were attempting to switch seats to sit by one another. Southwest stated the two men were removed due to not following the crew members’ instructions.
The above mentioned unfortunate occurrences are particularly why it is important to have the right legal and ethical team to analyze and interpret new solutions for dealing with any similar instances in the future. We all know since the 2011 attack, the airline industry has had to up its security aspect to protect their customers as well as the country but the firm must also be aware of potential situations, like those mentioned above, to avoid being sued on any sort of legal or ethical basis. Although the firm must be vigil to possible attempts of terrorism again, they cannot discriminate against customers of other ethnic backgrounds. The firm must also be sure to follow all rules and regulations to avoid being sued. Not only does is become very costly for the firm, but it also doesn’t provide the sense of comfort and safety to the customer. Both legal and ethical issues can be very costly to the firm, not only in monetary value but in customer value as well.
Southwest must continue to focus on building that rapport back with its customers by coming up with a strategic plan that will not only protect the organization but the customers it serves as well.
Corporate Policies. (n.d.). Retrieved March 27, 2018, from http://investors.southwest.com/corporate-governance/corporate-bylaws-articles-of-incorporation-and-corporate-policies/corporate-policies (Links to an external site.)
Hitt, M. A., Ireland, R. D., & Hoskisson, R. E. (2017). Strategic management: Competitiveness and globalization: Concepts and cases. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Southwest Airlines controversy latest incident to spark profiling concerns. (2016, April 20). Retrieved March 27, 2018, from https://www.dallasnews.com/business/airlines/2016/…