The airline issued the payments after a Tuesday flight from New York City to Dallas was rocked by an engine explosion in midair, killing one passenger. The crippled jet made an emergency landing in Philadelphia.
In a letter accompanying the checks, Southwest said the payment was a goodwill gesture for the ordeal, CNN reported.
“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,” the letter said, according to recipient Kamau Siwatu. “In this spirit, we are sending you a check in the amount of $5,000 to cover any of your immediate financial needs.”
Siwatu was among three aboard the flight to confirm receiving the letter. They also got a $1,000 voucher for travel on Southwest.
The company verified the report, telling HuffPost in an email on Friday: “Ours is a company and culture built on relationships. Many of the Customers on that flight have flown with us before. We can confirm the communication and gesture are authentic and heartfelt.” The airline declined further comment.
Aviation attorneys told USA Today on Thursday that passengers could likely collect millions of dollars in legal damages from Southwest.
Metal fatigue on a fan blade that snapped in the engine is suspected to be the culprit. Broken parts smashed into the fuselage, breaking a window, and a passenger who was partially sucked through the opening died from blunt impact.
Southwest had previously balked at the engine manufacturer’s recommendation for quicker inspections of the fan blades, The Associated Press reported.
This article has been updated to include comment from Southwest.