Southwest Airlines Sees Ticket Sales Dwindle After Emergency Landing

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The recent emergency landing of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 that occurred in April is seriously impacting the airline’s bottom line, according to news reports that are shaking up the aviation industry. The emergency landing, which claimed the life of a passenger in what was the first fatality for the company in its 51-year history, appears to have depressed the public’s appetite for air travel with the company in a clear example of the PR effect that disasters can have.

After Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 from New York to Dallas had to pull off a daring emergency landing after one of its engines exploded in midair, the world learned in horror that at least one person was killed while seven others were injured. The explosion from the plane’s engine shattered windows throughout the vehicle, with one woman being partially sucked out of the plane before her fellow passengers came to her rescue.

“I thought I was cataloging the last moments of my existence,” one passenger on the fateful flight recounted to CBS News.

Though the wreckage from the accident has since been swept away, the lingering PR and marketing impact of the crash still haunts Southwest Airlines, which recently noted it expects to see as much as a 3 percent decline in revenue from each seat flown per mile in the second quarter. A report filed by the company with the SEC directly attributed the expected forthcoming losses to the April crash.

As of now, Southwest Airlines has no expected timeframe for when they expect the dampened revenue figures to return to normal. The airline company completely halted its marketing operations after the crash for a few weeks, though its efforts have since resumed. In an effort to win back lost customers, Southwest Airlines also recently introduced a series of underpriced tickets.

One announcement by the company’s PR arm made clear a four-day sale was offering some of the lowest ticket prices available, for instance, in what’s clearly a move that the company hopes spurs up business. The April incident was quickly followed by another, far more minor incident in May, which saw another Southwest flight get diverted to Cleveland after a window cracked in midair.

An emergency landing occurred, according to CBS News, though unlike the April incident, this sudden landing didn’t spawn any fatalities or serious injuries.