Southwest sends letter, $5K check, $1K voucher to passengers


PHILADELPHIA (ABC News) — Passengers who were on board Southwest Flight 1380 are receiving letters of apology from the airline along with a $5,000 check and $1,000 travel voucher, ABC News confirms.

In a letter obtained by ABC News to one of the passengers and signed by chairman and CEO Gary Kelly, Southwest says, “On behalf of the entire Southwest Airlines Family, please accept our sincere apologies for the circumstances surrounding Flight 1380 on Tuesday morning, April 17th.”

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An engine on a Southwest jet exploded over Pennsylvania on Tuesday, and debris hit the plane. Jennifer Riordan, a 43-year-old bank executive from Albuquerque, New Mexico, was sucked partway out of the jet when a window shattered. She died later from her injuries.

The Boeing 737, bound from New York to Dallas with 149 people aboard, made an emergency landing in Philadelphia.

Investigators said the blade that broke off mid-flight and triggered the fatal accident was showing signs of metal fatigue – microscopic cracks from repeated use.

In the letter to passengers, Southwest says, as the NTSB continues its investigation, their “primary focus and commitment is to assist you in every way possible.” The airline has provided a number for passengers who need to be reunited with their luggage.

The letter continues, “We value you as our Customer and hope you will allow us another opportunity to restore your confidence in Southwest as the airline you can count on for your travel needs. In this spirit, we are sending you a check in the amount of $5,000 to cover any of your immediate financial needs. As a tangible gesture of our heartfelt sincerity, we are also sending you a $1,000 travel voucher (in a separate e-mail), which can be used for future travel.”

The letter concludes with, “Again, please accept our heartfelt apologies.”

Southwest responded with the following statement: “Ours is a company and culture built on relationships. Many of the Customers on that flight have flown with us before. We can confirm the communication and gesture are authentic and heartfelt.”