A Southwest Airlines passenger is suing the Texas-based airline for failing to reimburse travelers after last week's operational meltdown canceled thousands of flights nationwide.
Eric Capdeville, whose flight was canceled during the busy holiday week, is accusing the discount air carrier of violating its contract and federal law for failing to give prompt refunds for canceled flights after the Christmas weekend winter storm impacted its operations, according to court documents.
The carrier canceled more than 14,500 flights between December 23 and December 28.
Southwest said Monday it was operating on a normal schedule. The airline canceled 53 of its flight tracking website FlightAware on Tuesday, according to data from flight tracking website FlightAware. Another 14% were experiencing delays as of 2: 45 p.m. Eastern.
Southwest offered passengers the ability to submit receipts for travel expenses incurred in disrupted travel, and request a refund for canceled or significantly delayed flights last week.
SOUTHWEST MELTDOWN: However, Capdeville, who was supposed to travel with his daughter from New Orleans, Louisiana to Portland, Oregon, claimed he wasn't rebooked on another flight or refund, according to the suit, which also stated that his reservations and stay in Portland would be lost without reimbursement. According to court documents, Capdeville claimed that he was only offered credit for travel on a future flight.
Southwest Airlines will provide two options for customers: 1 rebooking on the next available Southwest flight s with seats available to the customer s ticketed destination, or 2 a refund of the unused portion of your Southwest ticket, if a flight is delayed, canceled, or diverted by Southwest.
According to the suit, Capdeville is seeking damages for all Southwest passengers whose flights were canceled and were not booked on alternative flights, refunded for their fare or reimbursed for other travel expenses.
Due to Southwest's flight cancellations, passengers can't use their airline tickets through no fault of their own and they are not getting the benefit of their bargain with Defendant Southwest, according to the suit.
The carrier said in a statement that there were several high priority efforts underway to do right by customers, including processing refunds from canceled flights and reimbursing customers for expenses incurred as a result of the irregular operations. Federal regulators have vowed a thorough review of what happened at Southwest, with all eyes on the outdated crew-scheduling technology that left flight crews out of place after the storm hit, shutting down almost all of the carrier's operations.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg called for Southwest Airlines to fully compensate customers for travel and meal expenses.
Southwest's stock fell due to the flight turmoil. The past five trading days, the shares dropped by almost 7%, and 18% over the past month.