LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Southwest Airlines notified its rewards members on Thursday that it is making a number of changes designed to prevent a repeat of December’s massive flight cancellations that stranded travelers and disrupted holiday plans.

Airports across the country were packed with stranded holiday travelers. In Las Vegas, travelers at Reid International Airport — where Southwest is the biggest carrier — were angry at airlines and wanted explanations. Another round of cancellations in early January caused additional problems, and Southwest’s reputation took a big hit.

Some of the changes are already complete, according to a summary on the airline’s website. Southwest said it is upgrading tools and technology that will lead to quicker recovery during extreme weather. Specifics include:

  • A software upgrade that reassigns crews during disruptions (completed)
  • Increased phone system call capacity to better handle large call volumes from both flight crews and customers (completed)
  • Improvements to electronic notifications for flight crews of their new flight assignments, including a way for crew members to acknowledge changes.

Southwest has consolidated staff that designs the flight schedule with the staff that oversees day-to-day operations, as well as “enhancing capabilities to alert, define, and escalate awareness of potential issues.”

That doesn’t mean cancellations won’t happen — but the domino effect on staffing produced by storms around the holidays should be averted.

“Not only did we let you down, we also let down our people who heroically serve you,” according to a statement mailed to rewards members.

A look at cancellations today at Reid Airport shows Southwest has canceled four flights and 41 flights are delayed as of 11 a.m. Totals for the airport are 11 cancellations and 111 delays.

Cancellations and delays today are likely related to storms in the Midwest, which are causing problems at airports in Chicago and Detroit.

In today’s note to members, Southwest listed initiatives to avoid December’s problems, including increased staffing and equipment to deal with deicing.