WASHINGTON – If you were impacted by the Southwest Airlines cancelations and delays, look for an email from the company about the compensation they’re offering, in addition to the reimbursements the government says the company must provide.
Southwest is scrambling to make amends to customers impacted by flight cancelations and delays in the week after Christmas — offering them 25,000 frequent flyer miles. Southwest is also extending companion passes and A-list status for some customers but requires customers to create an account in order to claim the points.
The Biden administration says Southwest needs to do much more.
“Southwest Airlines failed its customers,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “Southwest must make their customers whole by paying for coach flights, rental cars and trains to get people to their final destinations.”
Congress is also looking into the Southwest meltdown. Democrat Emmanuel Cleaver said the incoming chair of the House transportation committee already spoke to the Southwest CEO to ensure customers are reimbursed.
“Southwest has got to give us some better answers,” Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MO) said. “The other step is to put in place some kind of a guarantee that this will never happen again.”
The White House says the Department of Transportation will also fine Southwest if customers aren’t reimbursed. But Congressman Ro Khanna said the transportation department didn’t do enough to address previous problems and cancellations.
“Senator Sanders and I had called for these fines six months ago,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) said. “That would have incentivized Southwest Airlines not put $6 billion into stock buybacks, but to put that money into fixing the IT system.”