Southwest agents handle baggage from travelers who used the self-tag kiosks. The airline says people can still get help from agents if they need it, but airlines are moving closer to the day when you might be able to make it all the way through the airport from curb to airplane seat barely speaking to a single person. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM
Photo: Bob Andres
Photo: Bob Andres

Report: FAA investigates Southwest Airlines’ baggage weight data

The Federal Aviation Administration has been investigating Southwest Airlines’ weight and balance data, a critical part of aviation safety.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the FAA is investigating Dallas-based Southwest for “miscalculation of the total weight of checked bags loaded onto each of its flights, according to government officials and internal agency documents.”

Southwest is the second-largest carrier at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, behind Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines.

The FAA said it started an investigation of Southwest on its weight and balance performance data in February 2018, and has since directed the development of a solution.

“The FAA will not close its investigation until it is satisfied that Southwest’s corrective actions are consistent and sustained,” the agency said in a written statement.

Southwest said there is no enforcement action against it regarding its weight and balance program. The airline said the FAA’s open letter of investigation “addresses an issue that Southwest voluntarily reported to the FAA last year.”

The airline said since then, it has put in controls and enhanced procedures to address its weight and balance concerns, and shared that with the FAA. Weight and balance calculations are important for the safe performance and control of airplanes.

Southwest said it has requested the investigation be closed because it believes its controls and procedures resolve the issues it reported to the FAA.

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About the Author

Kelly Yamanouchi
Kelly Yamanouchi
Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport.