Southwest Airlines lawsuit claims breach of contract

Louisiana passenger alleges airline promised refund but only offered credit
Posted at 8:50 PM, Jan 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-05 00:35:44-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Southwest Airlines is now facing a class action lawsuit after the airline canceled more than 15,000 flights over the holidays.

The suit, filed by a Louisiana passenger, accuses Southwest of breaching its contract after the airline promised to reimburse passengers but only offered a credit.

Southwest passengers who planned to fly the airline in the days around Christmas may have noticed 25,000 frequent-flyer points hit their accounts just after the New Year. However, travel industry attorney Jeffery Miller said if refunds don't follow closely behind, lawsuits against the airline will soon pile up.

"For people (who) missed Christmas, slept at airports, it's worthless," Miller said. "It's nothing. It's an insult. Money is money. Points are points. Don't ever get them confused."

Southwest Airlines told WPTV in a statement that the 25,000 points are a "gesture of goodwill" and were given to all passengers whose flights were either canceled or significantly delayed between Christmas Eve and Jan. 2.

Southwest Airlines customers at check-in counters in Denver, Dec. 30, 2022
Travelers wait in line at the check-in counters for Southwest Airlines at Denver International Airport, Friday, Dec. 30, 2022, in Denver.

The airline also said it has "been issuing refunds on an ongoing basis since before Christmas when the initial disruptions began."

"They're violating (Department of Transportation) regulations, which say when you cancel a flight, you immediately have to refund the money," Miller said.

Miller said this type of violation could cost the airline $10,000 per violation. But making sure passengers are reimbursed for their additional expenses, such as rental cars, hotels and more, will likely be left up to the individual.

"They've still got to give you your money back," Miller said, adding that any refund should only take a few days and not weeks.

Passengers impacted by cancellations and delays between Dec. 24 and Monday can submit all reimbursements at