When all else fails, Twitter reactions and memes help everything.
What a week. The latest bomb cyclone had wreaked havoc on travel plans for the Christmas holiday and with airlines having to cancel or delay thousands of flights, it left many travelers stranded. Although most carriers have returned back to normal this week, Southwest Airlines is still trying to break through the chaos. According to FlightAware, the majority of cancellations occurred through Southwest. Even after the other airlines were up and running, Southwest Airlines was still canceling thousands of additional flights.
One of the reasons that Southwest Airlines is having more of a problem is that they offer more direct flights to and from smaller cities. This means that they don't stop in a major hub airport where there is more access to pilots and crew members who can be called in when there are weather issues.
All of the cancellations are leaving customers not only stranded but unable to get through to customer service, and many have incurred extra expenses with hotels and meals. Plus, baggage claim is a mess. If you are one of the customers who has struggled with Southwest Airlines this week, you can file a complaint with the Department of Transportation (DOT) to get additional assistance.
Here are some of the things that you can do to get some assistance, including how you can file a complaint.
An Apology and Instructions From Southwest
Southwest's Chief Commercial Officer, Ryan Green, has issued an apology for all of the chaos with their airline via Twitter. In his video, he is directing customers to the airline's Travel Disruption page. Here, you can rebook in the original class of service or travel on standby without paying any additional charges through Jan. 2. You can also request a refund and get assistance with tracking down your luggage.
Green went on to say that they will "honor reasonable requests for reimbursement for meals, hotel and alternate transportation" between Dec. 24, 2022, and Jan. 2, 2023. To utilize the service, customers need to email receipts to Southwest Airlines for consideration.
Although this seems helpful, with thousands of customers needing assistance, it's nearly impossible to get through to a live agent in customer service. And Southwest will not be rebooking any flights until after December 31.
Southwest executive, Bob Jordan, explains why there are continued delays.
In the video, Jordan explains, "When the severe weather led to many canceled flights, it resulted in airplanes and crew members being out of position in dozens of cities".
Although Southwest is working diligently to get this problem resolved, you can take further action if you feel it is necessary. If you are looking for more assistance, you can file a complaint with the Department of Transportation.
Erika Kullberg is a lawyer on TikTok whose recent videos are going viral for giving travelers information about the fine print from various airlines that could help them out. And Southwest is no exception.
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Depending on why your flight was canceled, if your bags were lost, etc., you could be entitled to additional compensation.
Ways to File a Complaint With the Department of Transportation
1. Fill out this online form to send a complaint.
2. You may also send a letter by mail. The letter should include your full address and phone number and detailed information about your flight and the problem you had or are having. Address the envelope to:
Office of Aviation Consumer Protection
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
3. You may contact DOT by phone at 202-366-2220. Although you can call DOT to ask questions, any formal complaint must be done in writing or online.