Facing a mountain of backlash and possible legal action, Southwest Airlines is offering travelers 25,000 reward points.
Between December 22nd to January 2nd, thousands of flights were either canceled or delayed. Many factors played a role in the cancellations, including company-wide staffing and operational issues. Southwest initially linked the delays to the harsh snowstorm that swept parts of the U.S. However, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, said other airlines faced similar challenges but were able to bounce back quickly.
However, Southwest’s delays created chaos, with luggage shipped to destinations without passengers. People were left stranded in airports with nowhere to go for days.
But now, as they continue to reunite travelers with their luggage, the airline announced the 25,000 points reward, which equates to about $300. The offer will never expire and carries no blackout dates. Southwest CEO Bob Jordan apologized to impacted customers and promised that the company was doing everything to make things right, calling the points a “gesture of goodwill.”
Wow, @SouthwestAir is really paying up for the meltdown.
Just received an apology email signed by CEO Bob Jordan with 25,000 Rapid Rewards points (per person), worth $300+
This is in addition to the $39 refund, $149 reimbursement and $250 travel voucher I already received. pic.twitter.com/0dbjCxoM0M
— Zach Griff (@_ZachGriff) January 3, 2023
Jordan also stated that additional refunds are being processed with “great urgency.” Customers who had to spend money on hotels, meals, or other means of transportation following the cancellations are encouraged to email receipts to Southwest for reimbursement.
Southwest spokesman Chris Mainz told Fortune that while the company has a great track record, it’s “not perfect.” However, they are committed to regaining customer trust. Even with these remedies, one proposed class action lawsuit has already been filed on December 30th. The passenger claims Southwest failed to provide swift refunds despite leaving customers stranded.