Southwest Airlines is offering some passengers just 5% of their requested refunds

Southwest Airlines is offering some passengers just 5% of their requested refunds

Southwest Airlines expects 16,700 holiday flight cancellations for cost them up to $825 million though the exact amount depends on how much passengers are seeking reimbursement for after having to find alternate transportation — and how much Southwest actually approves in claims.

While the Department of Transportation is pressuring Southwest to not only provide refunds, but to do so quickly (noting that credit card payments must be refunded within 7 days), the sheer volume of requests is taking time to process. process and also invariably means that some passengers get stuck in a Kafkaesque bureaucracy. And even the DOT says consumer complaints are only held for “substantial responses…within 60 days.”

While some passengers are thrilled with the goodwill gestures of 25,000 Rapid Rewards points in addition to refunds, others who feel they owe the points have not received them. And some people who have submitted a “reasonable” expense claim (and Southwest hasn’t told passengers what “reasonable” means) don’t think they and the airline have an agreement on how much to spend on cash that should be returned to them.

Would you believe we see reports of passengers being offered only 5% of what they asked for, and in one case only $9?

It is difficult to know how much a given passenger should have been reimbursed without seeing the details of their claim. Many passengers will certainly receive less than they are entitled to due to gaps in paperwork. Maybe they didn’t submit receipts or the person reviewing the claim is making mistakes. It’s hard to imagine someone whose flight was canceled by Southwest only incurred $9 in qualifying expenses as a result. Even making a fruitless trip to the airport and back will cost almost everyone more, regardless of hotel, meals, or alternative transportation. But some passengers won’t be skilled enough to navigate the bureaucracy, and those same passengers may not be well placed to pursue DOT complaints against the airline either.

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