TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — More than 60% of Southwest’s schedule has been canceled on Wednesday.
“We experience delays, cancellations. We got stuck in Nashville wound up, renting a car, fortunately, and driving to Tampa,” said Dan Endicott, from Ohio. “The good news today is Southwest called us this morning and said our bags are here.”
Southwest canceled 2,509 flights on Wednesday and grounded another 2,348 on Thursday. The airline’s CEO Bob Jordan is apologizing and said Southwest will operate at a reduced schedule to recover.
“The tools we use to recover from disruption serve us well, 99 percent of the time; but clearly, we need to double down on our already existing plans to upgrade systems for these extreme circumstances so that we never again face what’s happening right now,” said Jordan.
Southwest now opened a self-service tool to help travelers. If you’re flying on Southwest through Jan. 2, you can rebook or travel on standby. You can also request a refund as well as submit receipts for expenses
Southwest says it will honor “reasonable” requests for reimbursement. Clint Henderson, managing editor of news at The Points Guy. He said there’s a lot of legal wiggle room in the word reasonable.
“The good news is that Southwest has said that they will take all reasonable measures to pay back consumers who have incurred travel expenses that includes hotels, meal vouchers, and potentially booking themselves on other airplanes airlines, but they said that amount is going to be reasonable travel cost.
Henderson said part of the issue is the storm overwhelmed the system on top of IT failures. His best advice – keep all receipts.
“Check what credit card you use to book the trip because sometimes some credit cards have travel disruption insurance and they’ll actually pay for your hotels and your food costs, and any other expenses up to a certain amount that you’ve incurred during lengthy, delays or cancellations,” he said.
The U.S. Department of Transportation also has an online tool to make sure travelers know their rights. It includes a breakdown of what most major carriers commit to in their customer service agreements and a direct link to their customer service plans.