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Southwest Airlines fined $140 million for holiday meltdown that stranded millions

Southwest Airlines passengers at an airport in Texas
Image: Jason Fochtman / Houston Chronicle via Getty Images

Southwest Airlines is facing a $140 million fine after last year’s holiday meltdown left millions of passengers stranded at airports across the US. On Monday, the Department of Transportation announced it’s imposing the civil penalty over “numerous violations of consumer protection laws” during and after the mass cancellations.

Following an investigation, the DOT found Southwest failed to “provide adequate customer service assistance,” stating passengers stranded at airports were met with busy signals, long queues, and dropped calls when trying to get in touch with the airline. The DOT says Southwest didn’t provide timely or accurate flight status notifications to customers, either, and also failed to provide prompt refunds to…

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