Ethics in Business and Technology

Student Classification

Julieta Romero- Hernandez, 4th-Year

Faculty Mentor

Professor Xueying Zhang, Journalism and Mass Communication


Journalism and Mass Communication

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2023


This study investigated the consumers’ response to a recent crisis involving Southwest Airlines. As the winter storm, Elliot, took place during the holidays Southwest Airlines was faced with an airline crisis that has put their reputation at stake. During that week, Southwest cancelled nearly 11,000 flights. This problem occurred due to their “point-to-point” route model as well as their airline scheduling system. This study examined how the Southwest’s crisis responses influence public’s acceptance in terms of brand attitude, negative word of mouth, and purchase intention with Southwest in the future. Specifically, they hypotheses examined people’s preexisting experience with Southwest, the perceived sufficiency of compensation, the perceived sincerity of Southwest’s apology, and the severity of the crisis as antecedents of crisis response acceptance. An online survey was conducted. Participants were exposed to a news article posted by The New York Times, followed by a press release from Southwest’s President and CEO, Bob Jordan. The results imply that the airline company should take quick action with their promises in striving for a better-quality airline. For future research, a qualitative interview could be used to gather personal experiences, thoughts, and feelings consumers have toward the Southwest crisis.

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