Southwest Offers Passengers 'Goodwill Gesture' After Holiday Chaos

Those affected by delays, cancellations are being given 25K frequent flier points
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 3, 2023 7:03 PM CST
Southwest Is Giving 25K Points to Passengers Hit by Holiday Chaos
A Southwest Airlines employee looks for an unclaimed bag at Southwest Airlines baggage claim at the International Airport in Salt Lake City, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

After chaos over the holidays disrupted travel for more than a million Southwest Airlines passengers, CEO Bob Jordan said "there's just no way almost to apologize enough." On Tuesday, the airline reached out with what it called a "gesture of goodwill"—25,000 frequent flyer points for passengers affected by the travel meltdown, CNN reports. The airline said the points, worth around $300, were being offered to people whose flights were canceled or delayed more than three hours between Christmas Eve and Jan. 2.

"No amount of apologies can undo your experience," Jordan said in an email to passengers. He said for those waiting for refunds, reimbursements, or lost luggage, "those processes are being handled with great urgency and we appreciate your patience." He said the number of lost bags has been halved since Thursday and Southwest is "on track to get the majority if not all bags shipped to our customers later this week." The airline is facing multiple investigations and at least one lawsuit. In a potential class action suit, Eric Capdeville is suing Southwest for breach of contract for offering travel credit instead of a refund when his flight from New Orleans to Portland, Oregon was canceled, reports Reuters.

Almost 16,000 flights were canceled as Southwest's problems snowballed amid bad weather and the airline hasn't disclosed just how many passengers were affected. Some passengers said they were pleasantly surprised by the offer of frequent flier points, which in some cases was worth more than their canceled or delayed flights, while others aren't ready to take their chances with the airline again, the Wall Street Journal reports. Massachusetts resident Sarah Jane Graham says she is still waiting for reimbursement for a canceled flight to Florida. "I don’t really want to fly them again anytime soon," she says. "I'm not a frequent Southwest traveler, and this doesn’t really make me want to become one." (The Department of Transportation is investigating the Southwest debacle.)

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