Southwest Under Fire For Refusing To Refund Canceled Flights

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**Update: 04/22/20 @ 23:20 UTC –  A Southwest spokesperson shared information on the airline’s refund policy; details below**

Several carriers have already faced legal action over their refund policies amid flight cancellations due to global travel restrictions. Now, Southwest Airlines is being sued by a man who alleges that it refused to give him a cash refund for two tickets on a canceled flight that was supposed to leave for Havana from Baltimore on March 22nd.

SOUTHWEST GETTY
Yet another airline under scrutiny over its refund policy over flight cancellations. Photo: Getty Images

What happened?

According to Miles To Memories, the Dallas-based firm offered two options to Adrian Bombin, who was expecting to fly to Cuba. He could either rebook the flight to another one that had not been canceled or receive a credit valid through June 30, 2021. The operator refused to give him a cash refund for the tickets.

However, the United States Department of Transportation states that airlines must offer customers cash refunds if flights are canceled or significantly delayed while the global health crisis is ongoing. Subsequently, Southwest is facing a class-action lawsuit as thousands of other passengers have reportedly failed to get cash refunds as well.

Southwest takes off from DIA
US authorities are being strict with airlines during the current climate. Photo: Getty Images

It’s in the contract

Washington, D.C.-based lawyer Hassan Zavareei clarified that even though the lawsuit claims that Southwest is refusing to offer cash refunds, the airline’s contract states that it has to.

Hassan made the following remarks, as reported by Miles To Memories:

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“When Southwest cancels the flight, no matter what kind of ticket you have, they have to offer you a refund if you decline other options.”

Southwest is usually an airline that receives praise for its leniency when it comes to refunds. Even if passengers cancel their flights up to ten minutes before they depart, they will have the option for a refund. Alternatively, they can receive credit for use in the future.

Southwest Airlines, Basic Economy, Gary Kelly
The allegations against Southwest are out of character for the Texan outfit. Photo: Getty Images

A word from Southwest

Simple Flying reached out to Southwest for comment on its refund policy. A representative stated that the carrier offers some of the most customer-friendly policies in the industry. In light of the current circumstances, it previously made additional changes to its already flexible policies.

The spokesperson shared the following:

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“If a flight is cancelled by Southwest, customers may select a new flight between the same origin and destination on a new date (currently extended until 60 days from the original date of travel) without paying any difference in fare, may receive travel funds for future use (currently extended to September 7, 2022), or may request a refund to the original form of payment.”

Issues across the industry

Nonetheless, Southwest isn’t the only US airline under fire for its refund approach during this period. Both Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are receiving questions over their policies this month. Additionally, the latter is in trouble with Israeli authorities after being accused of breaking Israeli law.

Altogether, there is plenty of confusion within the aviation industry during these uncertain times. Customer service employees or third-party agents are also sometimes out of the loop.

Therefore, it is best practice for customers to contact their airlines and double-check their policies if they have to change their flight over the next few months. This process will help ensure people at least get what they deserve due to the unfortunate circumstances. For more information on Southwest’s current policies, please visit their website.

What are your thoughts on the lawsuit Southwest is facing? Have you had any negative experiences with airlines and their refund policies over the last few weeks? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section.

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