TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — After Southwest canceled her flight home, Donna Becker spent Christmas Day sleeping at the Austin airport. She had to rent a car to drive back to Tampa. Now she wants the airline to give her back her money.
Becker said Southwest owes her an $800 reimbursement for her rental car, gas, food and toiletries, plus 50,000 travel points for her and her husband.
“All I’m being told is ‘it’s in process,'” Becker told 8 On Your Side.
A winter storm and service meltdown forced the Dallas-based airline to cancel more than 15,000 flights between Dec. 22 and Dec. 30, according to figures from the flight tracking service FlightAware.
Becker and other Southwest passengers found themselves stranded for days.
A Louisiana passenger filed a class action lawsuit against the airline, alleging that it’s failure to provide refunds in a timely manner violates its own contract terms. Jim S. Hall of Jim Hall & Associates represents the plaintiff in the case.
“Our customers lost a lot more than just the cost of the tickets. People have lot hotel deposits, car rentals, events,” Hall said. “Not to mention, the emotional component of this thing. We had people that had to miss funerals, that had to miss weddings.”
Hall’s associate, Matthew Moreland, tells me he encourages consumers to file for refunds with Southwest but to also consider joining the class-action case.
“We hopefully can make a difference for these people because we don’t want Southwest to go south, we want them to stay in business and improve these problems, but most importantly we want to make to make our clients whole,” Moreland said.
Meanwhile, Southwest’s CEO Bob Jordan sent an email to some customers this week saying the company is still processing tens of thousands of reimbursement requests each day. The company said it is investing in technology upgrades and working to make sure something like this never happens again.