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Southwest Airlines mails apologies to survivors with surprise checks, but how much is enough?

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Southwest Airlines reportedly mailed out formal apologies to the survivors of Flight 1380 a day after the plane’s engine exploded mid-air, shattering a passenger window and causing the Boeing 737-700 to rapidly depressurize.

Each letter included a $5,000 check and a $1,000 travel voucher.

The letter is separate from the official statement below issued by Southwest Airlines following the tragedy last Tuesday.

“Please accept our deepest apologies,” Southwest Airlines chairman Gary Kelly wrote in the letters, according to the Associated Press.

“We value you as our customer and hope you will allow us another opportunity to restore your confidence in Southwest as the airline you can count on for your travel needs. In this spirit, we are sending you a check in the amount of $5,000 to cover any of your immediate financial needs. As a tangible gesture of our heartfelt sincerity, we are also sending you a $1,000 travel voucher.”

Whether or not this gesture will be enough to heal the ailing hearts of the flight’s 148 survivors remains unclear, especially given the insanely horrific tragedy they just barely escaped alive.

Southwest Flight 1380 had been en route to Dallas Love airport from New York City when a small piece of the airplane’s engine broke off and smashed into a passenger window.

The window blew open, causing half of passenger Jennifer Riordan’s body to be sucked out of the plane. Only the combined efforts of several other passengers managed to save her, though she reportedly died afterward from the injuries she had sustained.

It’s unclear if Southwest Airlines sent a check and voucher to Riordan’s family as well.

No other passengers died thanks to Navy pilot Tammie Jo Shults, who remained calm throughout the horrific incident as she reportedly made an emergency landing in Philadelphia.

At least one survivor finds the airline’s attempt at an apology unconvincing.

“I didn’t feel any sort of sincerity in the email whatsoever, and the $6,000 total that they gave to each passenger I don’t think comes even remotely close to the price that many of us will have to pay for a lifetime,” Marty Martinez said to the AP.

Not to mention the price that must be paid by both Riordan’s family and the countless people whose lives she affected:

But survivor Eric Zilbert felt differently, telling the AP that he appreciates the gesture and intends to cash his check.

“I just wanted to make sure I didn’t preclude anything by taking the voucher or the check,” he said after reportedly speaking with his attorney.

Vivek Saxena

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