ST. LOUIS – Travelers at St. Louis Lambert International Airport voiced their displeasure with Southwest Airlines on Wednesday, after the airline canceled 16,000 flights over the holidays.
“What happened was unfortunate, but it’s not going to change my opinion of Southwest Airlines,” said Joe Grygiel, a St. Peters resident.
“I’ll definitely question it from now on, just because it’s really chaotic when you have to change your travel plans,” said Jenny Otto, a traveler. “You miss family events and other things going on.”
Southwest Airlines is trying to right its wrongs by giving out 25,000 frequent flier points to customers impacted by the holiday chaos. Travelers received the bonus mile offer in an apology letter from CEO Bob Jordan.
Jordan said in part, “I know that no amount of apologies can undo your experience.”
Southwest told FOX 2 the bonus points are in addition to customers’ reimbursements, refunds on flights, and incidental expenses related to their recent travel disruptions.
“We’ll get 50,000 points once I go online and request it,” said Gene Hoffman, a St. Louis resident.
Hoffman’s Southwest flight to Florida was canceled between Christmas and New Year’s. He said he’s content with the airline’s goodwill gesture.
“I think that’s pretty good because we weren’t inconvenienced like a lot of people were,” Hoffman said.
Other travelers aren’t as agreeable.
“It doesn’t seem like enough to me,” Otto said.
Some Southwest travelers reported long waits after clicking a link to add the points to their frequent flier accounts. Meanwhile, Southwest is being sued by a passenger who said it failed to provide refunds to stranded passengers. The person filing the suit said all they offered him for his frustration was credit for him and his daughter after scrapping their flight and being unable to book them alternative travel.
The White House also said Southwest, “failed its customers point-blank” and that the Transportation Department is watching closely.
Southwest has yet to announce how many passengers were affected by the 16,000 flight cancellations.
You can find a link to Southwest’s refund request portal here.