Southwest offers frequent flyer miles; a lot of baggage in limbo


Southwest Airlines is offering new reassurance to some customers after last week’s glut of cancellations, while the misplaced baggage fiasco could last for days.

On Tuesday, Southwest informed some passengers affected by its Christmas travel crisis that they would receive 25,000 frequent flyer bonus points as a “goodwill gesture.”

In an email from the airline to passengers obtained by CNN, Southwest CEO Bob Jordan wrote that “no amount of apology can undo your experience.”

He said the 25,000 reward points are worth about $300, and the airline told CNN the offer is in addition to refunds and returns.

“For those who have requested refunds, refunds, and/or are waiting to be reunited with their lost bag(s), those processes are being handled with great urgency and we appreciate your patience,” Jordan wrote.

The airline said the offer is extended to travelers with flights canceled or delayed more than three hours between Christmas Eve and January 2.

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

Meanwhile, it could take up to two full weeks after Southwest Airlines’ schedule collapse began for some passengers to see their bags again.

In an internal memo to workers, obtained by CNN, Jordan says the airline relies on employee volunteers, who work alongside those who normally handle bags, to return lost bags to those caught up in its massive flight collapse. Schedule.

“At our specific stations, we have people who volunteer along with our amazing ground operations team to help scan and ship bags,” Jordan said in Tuesday’s memo.

He added that Southwest has cut the number of lost bags “in half since Thursday” and that the airline is “on track to ship most, if not all, bags to our customers by the end of this week.”

He says that Southwest is “[w]Working in various ways to expedite the process of reuniting our Customers with their bags,” including partnering with FedEx and moving bags on Southwest flights, as well as on flights of other competing airlines.

As for the collapse itself and how it can be prevented, Jordan told employees: “We owe them those answers.” And he said they are “building an action plan this week.”

The offer and baggage memo come as the airline faces multiple investigations, scrutiny from investors and at least one lawsuit over the cancellation of 15,700 flights at a peak time for holiday travel.

The lawsuit, initiated by passenger Eric Capdeville, calls the collapse of the airline’s operations an “internally created crisis” and accuses the airline of violating federal law and its agreement with passengers “to provide prompt refunds for canceled flights.” “.

Instead, Capdeville says the airline offered a credit toward a future flight.

Southwest has not responded in court. In a statement provided to CNN, the airline said it had “no information to provide regarding the pending litigation.”

“There are several high-priority efforts underway to do the right thing by our Customers, including processing refunds for canceled flights, reimbursing Customers for expenses incurred as a result of irregular operations,” Southwest’s statement said. .

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said last week that the Department of Transportation has received “thousands” of traveler complaints against Southwest over the “operational collapse” and warned that the department would “penalize Southwest as we would any airline for Potentially tens of thousands of dollars per violation if they fail to do what is required of them to care for passengers.”

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