Winter storm Elliott came, conquered, and stayed put…according to the airline sector…
Beginning last week and through the end of the holiday weekend, thousands of flights were canceled due to wintry weather across the U.S.
And consumers were not pleased…
Consumer mentions of flight cancellations soared +344% higher QoQ and +236% higher YoY, making summer cancellation surges look like minor turbulence.
One airline distinctly stuck out like a sore thumb when our team combed through the data.
Southwest Airlines (LUV).
Consumer sentiment plunged 27 points in a week, placing the airline at the VERY bottom of the pack – even below traditional sentiment loser American (AAL).
And even if inclement weather has passed, the Southwest “Meltdown” has not.
LUV cut nearly 70% of its flights on Monday December 26, and plans to fly a third of its schedule this week.
We’ve officially reached the point where the U.S. Transportation Dept. is investigating the “unacceptable” number of cancellations from Southwest.
To add insult to injury, in addition to passengers’ flights vanishing, so did their luggage.
Southwest may not feel the pain on its next earnings report (expected in late January).
However, sentiment is perhaps the best metric to use to gauge future purchases well into the future.
If Southwest can’t make it right, it’s possible we’ll see the company’s Holiday weekend chaos reflected in future bookings.
After all, consumers want to fly with an airline they can trust to get themselves (and their luggage) to their destination…on time.
Members can expect an update on the airline sector ahead of the next earnings season…until then, keep a close eye on LUV sentiment. It could be bumpy.