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Southwest Memo asks HQ employees to help with planning

by Ana Lopez
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Southwest Airlines is working so hard to straighten out its company ship that it’s recruiting Dallas headquarters employees as volunteers to help with crew scheduling.

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Southwest airlines passenger aircraft at terminal at Portland International Airport (PDX).

quote a leaked memo Shipped Wednesday, Business Insider reported that the services would be eight hours long and run around the clock. The airline also wants employees to take a break from their regular positions and make the temporary transition.

Southwest told Insider that extra workers lend a hand. However, the memo did not list additional pay for anyone who answered the call.

New hires in crew scheduling reportedly undergo extensive training. The memo said untrained company employees would be trained using a “train the trainer” approach — essentially shadow planners to learn the ropes. Crew planners provide logistics to ensure Southwest flights have properly scheduled cabin crew members who know their flight assignments.

The call for roster volunteers appears to be related to the airline’s disastrous Christmas weekend. Partly due to a “once in a generation” winter storm, more than 9,000 flights – more than 91% of domestic flights alone – were canceled between Sunday and Wednesday.

The storm wasn’t entirely to blame, as Insider reported Southwest continues outdated software, although an airline representative indicated that a system upgrade could be made in the near future. The representative said that in Southwest’s “desired state,” the airline will have “automation that can handle crew reassignment quickly and efficiently.”

Wednesday late, the New York Times reported that more than 2,300 flights have already been canceled on Thursday and that the airline said “it could be days before normal service resumes”.

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