Southwest Airlines distributes travel credits. Is that enough to appease disturbed flyers?

As Southwest Airlines returns to normal flight schedulingthe company has another daunting task ahead of it: making amends for embarrassed fliers — many of whom can’t put a price tag on their abandoned plans and wasted time with family over the holidays.

The airline begins processing refunds to customers after canceling more than 15,000 flights during the peak season for holiday travel, reveal infrastructure and technology issues within the 51-year-old company.

He promised he would honor “reasonable requests” from passengers whose flights were interrupted between December 24 and January 2, many of whom had to incur additional expenses for hotel accommodation, car rental, meals and other living expenses.

The airline sent 25,000 Rapid Rewards points in vouchers on Tuesday to passengers affected by the collapse, which he described as a “goodwill gesture”. Loyalty points, worth about $300can be used on future flight fares, gift cards and merchandise, according to an email sent to travelers.

“In addition to our sincere apologies, we immediately began an unrelenting effort to care for our customers,” CEO Bob Jordan said in a pre-recorded video released Thursday. “We’re making great strides processing tens of thousands of refunds and refunds a day and we won’t give up until we respond to every affected customer.”

Jordan also said restoring customer trust “means everything” to the company. A spokesperson said in an email that the airline had processed a “vast majority of refund requests” but was unable to disclose a specific number.

The question now boils down to whether the travel points and refunds will be will be enough to satisfy the flyers that have been affected by the collapse.

Travel points must be redeemed by March 31, 2023 and their value varies based on distance traveled and demand. For example, a one-way connecting ticket from Dallas to Seattle this weekend requires 43,000 points, which is well over the voucher limit, according to the Southwest ticketing website.

Reacting to the vouchers, some passengers said the airline’s efforts so far – including its commitment to honor reasonable requests for refunds – have not met their expectations.

Jessica Bravo, whose flight from Dallas to her home in San Jose, Calif., was canceled on Christmas Eve, said the voucher was not enough to cover the “chaos and extra expenses” her family had engaged. Bravo and his family were stuck at a friend’s house in Frisco for nearly a week, resulting in extra costs for meals, fuel and car rental.

After submitting its expenses online five days ago, Bravo is awaiting a full refund for the flight. But the mother-of-two said it was difficult to put a price tag on her disrupted holiday plans. His family plans to move from San Jose to Dallas in the spring.

“It was going to be our last Christmas in California with [my] four sisters and all my child’s cousins,” she said. “We had planned a big Christmas day for all my kids and presents, but unfortunately we had to miss it because we were stuck in Frisco, so my kids didn’t really have Christmas.”

Bravo, who is a frequent flyer from the South West, said the airline brought him in for its policy of low fares and empty seats, but news of its obsolete technology makes him rethink his loyalty.

“I’m not sure I would [fly Southwest] again just because I have kids and I don’t want the inconvenience,” she said.

For passenger Briana Marin, whose flight was delayed six hours on Christmas Day, the voucher does not make up for the physical and mental toll the situation has taken on her. The grad student had intended to visit family in El Paso and ski in New Mexico, but after waiting several hours in line to rebook, she gave up.

Marin said she was dealing with emotional distress and had paid extra for canceled Airbnb reservations.

Brenda Angeles, whose flight from Long Beach, Calif., to Dallas was canceled on Dec. 27, also said the airline’s voucher was not enough to cover the extra expenses and time she incurred. .

Angeles and her husband waited at the Long Beach airport for three hours for in-person assistance with a new reservation.

“At the airport, they refused to give us hotel or transport vouchers, so I don’t think that’s enough to redeem my business after the extreme distress we’ve been in,” a- she declared.

Angeles flies frequently with Southwest Airlines to visit family in California, primarily drawn by its proximity to Dallas Love Field. But the “expensive and stressful situation” causes her to change her mind about the business.

“The way this all happened, it just shows that they don’t really care about their customers,” she said.

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