Southwest Airlines’ hunt for a new public relations adviser in the wake of the embattled carrier’s nationwide holiday meltdown prompted widespread ridicule from social media users.
The Dallas-based budget airline posted an ad for the PR position on LinkedIn on Tuesday after being hammered by the media and lawmakers for its failure to communicate timely information to stranded passengers.
“I hear Hell is looking for a PR director too. Probably an easier job,” quipped one Facebook user.
Whoever is hired for the full-time, mid-senior level position can expect perks, including “fly for free, as a privilege, on any open seat on all Southwest flights.”
That’s if they can find a flight. Southwest canceled more than 15,000 flights between Dec. 22 and Dec. 30, according to the tracking service FlightAware.
“Couldn’t pay me enough, not even in free flights,” one Facebook user commented.
Another wondered: “What kind of thrillseeker do you have to be to apply for this?”
And a third spelled out some stiff demands.
“I would advise them for $25,000 per hour but that is my best and final!” the would-be candidate wrote.
One of the main responsibilities for the new hire will be to “respond to daily media inquiries in real-time as a Southwest Spokesperson” and to “monitor media sentiment to inform responses and potential shift in approach.”
The posting has had nearly 200 applicants, according to LinkedIn.
Southwest was once considered one of the nation’s most reliable low-cost carriers. But in the span of a week, it has become the object of scorn after tens of thousands of passengers were left stranded and scurrying to find their lost luggage.
“The problem is not just that people didn’t make it home for Christmas,” Jeremy Story, vice president of a Denver-based public relations firm, told The Colorado Springs Gazette.
“It’s that they’re stranded somewhere with no explanation for when they would be able to rebook, no easy mechanism to allow them to rebook, and in many cases they were separated from their luggage with no explanation for how they could find that luggage.”
The airline initially blamed inclement weather for the flight cancellations, but other airlines managed to soldier on with minimal disruption.
Southwest on Tuesday repeated its apology to affected customers and sought to make it up to them by offering 25,000 frequent-flyer points, which the company says are worth more than $300 in flights.
“I know that no amount of apologies can undo your experience,” Southwest CEO Bob Jordan wrote in a letter to customers.
He added the airline is acting “with great urgency” to process refunds, return lost bags and handle requests for reimbursement of costs incurred by stranded travelers.
With Post wires
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