September 25, 2023
Southwest makes frequent flyer miles supply; plenty of baggage in limbo

(CNN) — Southwest Airways is providing a brand new appeasement to some prospects after final week’s glut of cancellations whereas the misplaced baggage fiasco might grind on for days longer.

On Tuesday, Southwest knowledgeable some passengers affected by its Christmas journey meltdown that they’d obtain 25,000 frequent flyer bonus factors as a “gesture of goodwill.”

In an e mail from the airline to passengers that was obtained by CNN, Southwest CEO Bob Jordan wrote that “no quantity of apologies can undo your expertise.”

He mentioned the 25,000 reward factors are price about $300, and the airline informed CNN the supply is along with reimbursements and refunds.

“For individuals who have requested refunds, reimbursements and/or are ready to be reunited with misplaced bag(s), these processes are being dealt with with nice urgency and we admire your persistence,” Jordan wrote.

The airline mentioned the supply is being prolonged to vacationers with flights canceled or delayed greater than three hours between Christmas Eve and January 2.

Baggage in limbo

A traveler searches for a suitcase in a baggage holding area for Southwest Airlines at Denver International Airport on December 28, 2022.

A traveler searches for a suitcase in a baggage holding space for Southwest Airways at Denver Worldwide Airport on December 28, 2022.

Michael Ciaglo/Getty Photos

In the meantime, it could possibly be as a lot as two full weeks after Southwest Airways’ schedule meltdown first began till some passengers see their baggage once more.

In an inside memo to employees, obtained by CNN, Jordan says the airline is counting on volunteer workers, working alongside those who usually cope with baggage, to get misplaced checked baggage again to those that have been caught up in its main schedule meltdown.

“Out at our particular Stations, we have got of us volunteering alongside our superior Floor Ops Staff to assist scan and ship baggage,” Jordan mentioned within the Tuesday memo.

He added that Southwest has minimize the variety of misplaced baggage “in half since Thursday” and the airline is “on observe to get the bulk if not all baggage shipped to our prospects later this week.”

He says Southwest is “[w]orking in various methods to expedite the method of getting our Clients reunited with their baggage,” together with partnering with FedEx and transferring baggage on Southwest flights in addition to these of different competing airways.

As for the meltdown itself and the way it may be prevented, Jordan informed workers, “We owe you these solutions.” And mentioned they’re “constructing out an motion plan this week.”

Intense scrutiny and a lawsuit for Southwest

The supply and the bags memo come because the airline is dealing with a number of investigations, scrutiny from traders and no less than one lawsuit over its cancellation of 15,700 flights at a peak vacation journey time.

The lawsuit, initiated by passenger Eric Capdeville, calls the airline’s operations meltdown an “internally created disaster” and accuses the airline of violating federal regulation and its settlement with passengers “to supply immediate refunds for canceled flights.”

As an alternative, Capdeville says the airline supplied a credit score towards a future flight.

Southwest has not responded in court docket. In a press release offered to CNN, the airline mentioned it didn’t have “data to supply on the pending litigation.”

“There are a number of excessive precedence efforts underway to do proper by our Clients, together with processing refunds from cancelled flights, reimbursing Clients for bills incurred on account of the irregular operations,” Southwest’s assertion mentioned.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg mentioned final week that the Division of Transportation has obtained “1000’s” of complaints from vacationers in opposition to Southwest over the “operational meltdown” and warned that the division would “penalize Southwest as we might any airline to the tune probably of tens of 1000’s of {dollars} per violation in the event that they fail to satisfy what’s required of them to handle passengers.”

High picture: Southwest Airways planes at Baltimore Washington Worldwide Airport (BWI) on December 28, 2022. (Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

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