KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Southwest Airlines says it will reimburse “reasonable” reimbursement requests from travelers impacted by the thousands of flights the company canceled over Christmas.
Some stranded travelers said they have spent hundreds of dollars on hotel rooms, rental cars, food, and tickets on different airlines trying to their destinations or back home.
Southwest said Thursday that customers impacted by a significant delay or cancellation between Dec. 24, 2022 and Jan. 2, 2023 may submit receipts by going to Southwest.com/traveldisruption and clicking on Email Us.
We will honor reasonable requests for reimbursement for meals, hotel, and alternate transportation.Southwest Airlines
Travelers may want to submit largest receipts first. While Southwest hasn’t said it publicly, there are reports of travelers only being allowed to submit 10 receipts.
The airline is also allowing travelers to request refunds for unused tickets. The refund will be issued to the original form of payment.
To request a refund, fill out the form at Southwest.com/traveldisruption.
While the US Department of Transportation does have a so-called Bill of Rights for people traveling by air, it does not guarantee much for travelers impacted by Southwest’s situation.
According to the US DOT, each airline has its own policies about what it will do for delayed passengers left waiting at airports, there are no federal requirements. Compensation is only required by law on domestic trips when you are “bumped” from a flight that is oversold, according to the Department of Transportation’s website.
If the claim is denied, you may pursue the matter in court if you believe that the carrier did not take all measures that could reasonably be required to avoid the damages caused by the delay.US Department of Transportation
Luggage is also a headache right now for anyone who traveled with Southwest. There are millions of suitcases and bags sitting at airports across the country as the airline works to return luggage to owners.
While airlines are liable for lost luggage, it may take weeks or months to determine if each traveler’s luggage is actually lost, or just delayed.
If it’s eventually determined that luggage is really lost, airlines are liable for the lost luggage, to a point, according to the government. The US Department of Transportation says losses are capped at $3,800 per person, but travelers will have to prove what they are owed. That will likely provide a lengthy list of items in the suitcase, and their worth.
If you can’t resolve the claim with the airline’s airport staff, keep a record of the names of the employees with whom you dealt, and hold on to all travel documents and receipts for any money you spent in connection with the mishandling.
Contact Southwest and provide your documentation.
Southwest says it will waive any additional charges for customers traveling through Jan. 2, who wish to rebook flights.
Fees will be waived through 30 days of the original date of travel for flights between the original airports.
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Keep in mind that the Department of Transportation says consumers are entitled to a refund if the airline made a significant schedule or cancelled a flight, regardless of the reason, if the consumer chooses not to travel.