Southwest Airlines issued a second apology Wednesday night as customers across the country continue to experience significant travel disruptions from the airline’s response to last week’s winter storm heading into New Year’s weekend.
In a video posted to Twitter, Southwest’s Chief Commercial Officer Ryan Green announced new resources for customers dealing with flight cancellations with no opportunity to rebook to those waiting for lost luggage.
“You know by now all of the flexibility and planning that we put in place to deal with the storm just wasn’t enough,” Green said.
Directing customers to the “Travel Disruption” webpage, Green began with stating all customers affected by the cancellations will be able to rebook in the original class of service or travel standby without paying any additional charges through Jan. 2.
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He then announced affected customers can also request a refund for their cancelled flight(s) and/or reimbursement for most travel expenses accrued while experiencing a cancellation or significant flight delay.
On the webpage, the company said it will “honor reasonable requests for reimbursement for meals, hotel and alternate transportation” between Dec. 24, 2022 and Jan. 2, 2023. To utilize the service, customers need to email receipts to Southwest Airlines for consideration.
Green also said customers separated from their luggage who have not been contacted yet can fill out a form on the webpage to help expedite the reunification process.
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On Tuesday, Southwest CEO Bob Jordan apologized for the chaos and explained how the airline operates and why it had thousands more cancellations than any other airline.
“We’re focused on getting all of the pieces back into position to end this rolling struggle,” Jordan said.
The major disruption caught the attention of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Biden administration on Tuesday, both stating airlines will be held accountable if customer service plans aren’t followed during the cancellations and delays.
Southwest said more resources will be announced “soon,” but for now, the airline is focusing on restoring its “reliability and level of customer experience.”
As of Thursday morning, Southwest accounts for 58% of the cancelled flights in the world with 2,356 cancellations, according to FlightAware.