Southwest Mess: What to Know About Getting Flight Refunds

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An operational meltdown at Southwest Airways led to the cancellation of extra 15,000 flights on the finish of December, disrupting journey for a whole lot of hundreds of passengers.

After altering their plans, sleeping in airports and — in some circumstances — driving 20+ hours to their locations, lots of these individuals are actually scrambling to recoup their losses. Whether or not you have been on Southwest or are simply hoping to study extra about your passenger rights, right here’s what each traveler must learn about airline refunds.

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The best way to get an airline refund

Rules from the U.S. Division of Transportation require airways to refund prospects whose flights are canceled or who expertise important delays — even when these prospects bought nonrefundable tickets.

The refund process varies by airline, and you ought to be ready for an extended wait. Typically, airways will provide to rebook you on a distinct flight they provide or convert your ticket to airline credit score somewhat than provide a money refund. You don’t have to simply accept these affords, however they may make extra sense for you relying in your circumstances.

Some airways may also present perks like vouchers and rewards factors in case your flight is canceled or delayed.

The best way to get a refund from Southwest

When you have been affected by the disruptions at Southwest over the vacations, you’ll be able to go to the airline’s devoted webpage for extra data. Southwest says prospects whose flights have been canceled or considerably delayed between Dec. 24 and Jan. 2 are eligible to request a refund, as long as they didn’t in the end use the ticket or settle for a rebooking on one other Southwest flight.

The airline additionally says it is going to honor “affordable requests” for reimbursement for motels, meals, rental vehicles and even tickets on different airways from affected passengers. The federal government requires airways to reimburse prospects for further bills like these when the circumstances that trigger a delay or disruption is inside an airline’s management — suppose scheduling or upkeep points somewhat than climate circumstances.

Southwest vacationers have to submit receipts for these bills separate from their refund requests. In case your declare for reimbursement is denied, you’ll be able to file a complaint with the U.S. Division of Transportation. In case your baggage is lacking, you’ll have to fill out a separate form for that, too.

Southwest can be providing 25,000 rewards factors to affected passengers along with any refunds or reimbursements they is likely to be eligible for.

“I do know that no quantity of apologies can undo your expertise,” Southwest CEO Bob Jordan wrote in an email to prospects describing the factors as a “gesture of goodwill.” These factors are price over $300, in line with the airline, which could possibly be an excellent deal for purchasers who plan to proceed touring with the Southwest. Simply take into account that reserving travel with points is usually not as versatile as reserving with money.

On Tuesday, the airline said it had made “stable progress” in addressing buyer points following the disruptions. In an emailed assertion to Cash on Wednesday, Southwest declined to specify particular numbers associated to buyer refunds.

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