Southwest to increase perks to avoid staff shortages for vacations

  • Southwest Airlines will increase the perks to retain staff this holiday season.
  • Southwest’s COO recently said the company needs to build a “manning pad” to avoid disruption.
  • The flight crew told Insider that they were considering quitting due to the increase in passenger violence this year.

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Southwest Airlines encourages employees to work during the peak season for holiday travel with up to 120,000 reward points.

Southwest told Insider that the company will offer the reward points to pilots, flight attendants and other operations staff working between November 15 and January 14. CNBC first reported on the rewards program.

Companies in the transportation, retail and other industries have struggled to find enough manpower this year, which has contributed to ongoing aviation and supply chain disruptions.

After Southwest left thousands of passengers stranded in October after abruptly canceling 3,000 flights due to flight control issues, chief operating officer Mike Van de Ven told employees the company needs to build a “crew cushion” to prevent disruption.

Van de Ven said the company will reduce its winter schedules if it can not find enough workers.

American Airlines, Spirit and Delta also canceled flights in the summer due to inaccessible flight crews.

Southwest recently launched a free six-month DoorDash subscription for flight attendants and pilots.

The flight crew told Insider that they have considered quitting due to the increase in unruly passenger violence in 2021. The Federal Aviation Administration received 5,000 reports of passengers assaulting flight attendants, most of which relate to the country’s mask mandate for the airline.

Crew members have reported being hit, kicked, spat on and verbally harassed by air passengers.

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