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The past weekend was a disaster of sorts for Southwest Airlines. The Dallas-based airline has canceled more than 2,000 flights since Saturday, disrupting travel plans for thousands of customers. Now, the airline is addressing customer complaints by handing out vouchers to disgruntled customers—on top of the required refunds.
The exact range of voucher amounts isn’t clear, but USA Today reports travelers have seen vouchers from $100 to $250. The company started emailing customers vouchers on Wednesday, but Southwest Airlines spokesperson Brandy King says getting a voucher might take longer than usual due to the number of passengers affected.
For those still waiting for a voucher email, airline representatives seem quick to respond to customers’ tweets.
We’re truly sorry that your recent travel experience was a disappointing one, Erika. Please DM your confirmation number so we can discuss your situation in more detail. -Jhericca
— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) October 13, 2021
Hi, Valerie. Please send us your confirmation number in a DM, so we can take a closer look at your flight details. -Grayson
— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) October 14, 2021
“We review each situation individually to determine the compensation based on level of inconvenience,” King said in an email. “The level of inconvenience is a mix of length of delay, quality of reaccommodation options and flight cancellations.”
The airline initially blamed air traffic control issues and disruptive weather for the cancellations. However, Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said that was not the case in a Tuesday interview with Good Morning America.
ATC issues and disruptive weather have resulted in a high volume of cancellations throughout the weekend while we work to recover our operation. We appreciate your patience as we accommodate affected Customers, and Customer Service wait times are longer than usual. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/o1scQJ5lLb
— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) October 9, 2021
Kelly said although there were no air traffic control issues over the weekend, the problems were due to a number of Federal Aviation Administration delay programs in Florida on Friday. After a hectic few days for the airline, he says operations are now “back to normal.”
“I want to apologize to all of our customers, this is not what we want,” Kelly said in the interview. “Unfortunately, it just takes a couple of days to get things back on track.”