Southwest Airlines CEO Talks Cuba & Wait Times

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – From long security lines to delayed flights, the airline industry has seen its fair share of controversy in recent months. But on Wednesday, the head of a North Texas airline discussed his plans for the future, and his commitment to making travel easier.

Gary Kelly spoke to CBS This Morning on Wednesday. One of the topics that the Southwest Airlines president and CEO talked about was his ‘Countdown to Cuba’ campaign. Cuba marks a new destination for travelers, and there are proposed flights from Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa to Havana, Veradero and Santa Clara.

Flights from Dallas to Cuba would first stop in one of those Florida cities.

“Hopefully we’ll hear something in July and we can get flights launched this year,” Kelly said. “I think it’s very exciting.”

The airline chief also looked at a hot-button issue that has been causing frustration among travelers — lengthy lines at security checkpoints. Kelly stated that Southwest Airlines has an approach to ease that issue. “Our country’s been working for decades on how to modernize the system,” he said. “It’s not going to happen at the current pace.”

Kelly believes that the only way to make greater progress in this area is to reform the Federal Aviation Administration. “It is a multi-billion dollar effort that’s confronting us,” the Dallas-based airline leader explained. “We need it now, not 25 years from now.”

Kelly also added that Southwest Airlines will continue its open seating policy, as opposed to assigned seating.

See video here.

Yona Gavino,

June 22, 2016

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