Well, not exactly tell passengers, but tell the financial community why Southwest isn't making even more money than it already is.
As it presented its very fine third-quarter results -- record revenues, a record number of passengers -- the airline's CEO offered a little nuance. Speaking to CNBC, he , in an if only kind of way, that his airline wasn't able to offer, say, a record number of flights.
In the fourth quarter, he said, the airline is "looking for up revenues again on even down capacity."
I reached for my abacus and worked out that this might just mean flights will cost more. How else will the airline make more money from fewer seats?
When asked where the problem really lay, Jordan was succinct: "It's really pilots."
"We are short of pilots to fly all our aircraft," he said. "Our classes are full, we are getting pilots, we're getting great pilots, but our training centers are full."
But how long might this situation last? "We won't catch the aircraft until, probably, late 2023," Jordan admitted. So this pilot shortage may not have been a pure pandemic thing, but something that'll last rather longer?
What does that mean in terms of Southwest's capacity to offer seats to the desperate who just want to get away?
"If we had all the pilots we needed," said Jordan, "We could probably fly 5 to 8% more ASMs (available seat miles)."
Perhaps you well up in sympathy. You realize that hiring has been difficult over the last year or two. And naturally, I want to well up with you.
I merely have a single thought woodpeckering inside my head.
When the pandemic struck, airlines begged for our money -- via the government, that is. They received tens of billions in bailout funds.
One of their next steps was to offer buyouts to staff -- including, what do you know, pilots. It was clear that headcount was being reduced. Yet the bailout money was supposed to keep the band together. It was supposed to keep airlines fully staffed for the inevitable post-pandemic rush.