WFAA wants to hear from Southwest Airlines passengers affected by December’s cancellations.
DALLAS — December 24, 2022.
The beginning of southwest.com/”>Southwest Airlines‘ holiday travel meltdown cost the Dallas-based carrier an estimated $800 million.
Much of those costs came from refunding and reimbursing travelers whose flights were canceled or delayed during the December system shutdown.
Karisa Deitch has emailed and called Southwest Airlines for more than 40 days and still hasn’t been able to get answers on her refund request.
“Part of me thinks I’m not going to get that money back,” Deitch told WFAA.
“It was rough because I got like two hours of sleep,” Deitch said. “It’s frustrating, and like I said, we’re in the process of buying of home.”
In a four-hour senate hearing Southwest COO Andrew Waterson testified Thursday 96% of the nearly 275,000 claims have been reimbursed.
“In hindsight, we did not have enough winter operation resiliency,” Watterson said.
Watterson said the company is spending $1.3 billion on technology, 25% more than 2019. That includes a software upgrade to give early alerts of crew scheduling issues. He said poor de-icing equipment on procedures began the snowballing winter chaos.
“The bigger issue that led to that, that led to our processes and technology being overwhelmed is how we handled winter operations,” Watterson said.
Micah Springston’s family spent more than $3,000 after her cancelled return from Utah led to a rental car to Vegas and two days there waiting for a frontier flight.
44 days later, they’re still waiting to be reimbursed, too.
“I don’t know who to talk to, what to do because that’s a ton of money for a family to be out of,” Springston said.
The airline claims the only remaining reimbursements are those filed recently and within the 30-day deadline. Springston and Deitch are evidence that’s not quite right.
“Even now, trying to contact them is you get no answers,” Springston, who said Southwest resubmitted her claim, said. “They have no answers.”
“I’m unhappy,” Deitch said. “I wish they’d at least let us know what’s going on.”
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