Southwest Airlines is currently experiencing a little trouble with their reputation. One of its 737-300 planes developed a hole in its roof... while in the air. Three more were found with cracks in them, and ultimately 79 out of 170 737s were grounded for inspection. This creates problems everywhere for the airline. First of all, they lose business because of the planes being inspected - that's 79 less planes to fly and hundreds less passengers. Second, people on the flight where the roof deteriorated could be contemplating taking legal action against Southwest, which with the current repairs/inspections, probably doesn't fit into their budget. Third, reputation is everything, especially when it concerns people's safety. Southwest's reputation isn't the best right now, and this will likely cause them to lose even more business. Also, like I said before, they probably didn't factor the costs of major repairs, inspections, and time lost to identify what is causing these problems (which they still haven't done) into their budget. The bottom line is: They are going to lose money.
However, this might hold a bit of a bright side for the consumer. For those that don't see the current situation as that big of a deal, they might get cheaper rates from desperate Southwest Airlines. With the recession, there might be more of those people than there would be in a thriving economy, and that will probably help the airline out a bit. I doubt Southwest will go under because of this, but this is going to be a big hit to its PR and its pocketbook.