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Refund for being forced to rebook?

New Arrival

I just received notification that Southwest changed my flights. Apparently the flights I was on no longer exist, so while they have me travelling on the same dates, the departure times have been changed. I originally booked the Wanna Get Away price for these tickets. Am I eligible to receive a refund since these changes were not at my request? Southwest just offered to let me re-book within a 60-day range without having to pay additional fees, which I'd rather not do.

Also, if I leave the flight times as-is with what Southwest rebooked for me, will that affect my credits if I ever need to adjust these flights in the future?

13 REPLIES 13
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Re: Refund for being forced to rebook?

Top Contributor

@caityspaghetti wrote:

I just received notification that Southwest changed my flights. Apparently the flights I was on no longer exist, so while they have me travelling on the same dates, the departure times have been changed. I originally booked the Wanna Get Away price for these tickets. Am I eligible to receive a refund since these changes were not at my request? Southwest just offered to let me re-book within a 60-day range without having to pay additional fees, which I'd rather not do.

Also, if I leave the flight times as-is with what Southwest rebooked for me, will that affect my credits if I ever need to adjust these flights in the future?


 

Yes.

 

Per Southwest's Contract of Carriage and DOT rules, you are entitled to a full refund, since Southwest cancelled or made a significant change in the flight schedule and you chose not to accept the alternative offered. You may need to insist on the refund, just cite the DOT enforcement notice if you're offered only travel funds.

 

The current accommodation being offered allows you to change your travel to a date 60 days from the original date of travel without paying any difference in fare if you are traveling between the same origin and destination. If you leave the flights as-is you should still be able to make another change later if necessary, or request the refund, as long as that accommodation is still in place (the expiration of which is unknown), but you may need to call to do that.

 

Please come back and let us know how it works out for you. Good luck!

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Re: Refund for being forced to rebook?

Top Contributor

Without knowing how much of a change to the original schedule has happened I'm going to disagree and say no, no cash refund will be available. The key phrase in DOT guidance is "significant schedule change" which they do not clearly define. More details regarding the schedule would be helpful. You're still welcome to contact Southwest and inquire about a refund, but I wouldn't get your hopes up. 

 

--TheMiddleSeat

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Re: Refund for being forced to rebook?

New Arrival

Thank you! They changed my departing flight by 2 hours earlier and returning flight is I believe 3 hours earlier. It is significant to me in terms of my family dynamics and the difficulty at which we'd have getting to the airport at the new designated times. Reading through the DOT guidelines, it says, "U.S. and foreign airlines remain obligated to provide a prompt refund to passengers for flights to, within, or from the United States when the carrier cancels the passenger’s scheduled flight or makes a significant schedule change and the passenger chooses not to accept the alternative offered by the carrier."

So it seems as if anyone whose flight was cancelled is eligible. And being my original flights no longer exist, that would be considered "cancelled," right?

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Re: Refund for being forced to rebook?

Top Contributor

While it may be inconvenient, arriving earlier than originally planned is not a significant delay, I do not believe you are eligible for a cash refund. Even if the change was 2 or 3 hours later than originally planned, I still don't see that as being significant in the eyes of the legal world. Again, you can always ask for a cash refund, but I don't believe you can argue that DOT guidelines support your case.

 

--TheMiddleSeat

 

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Re: Refund for being forced to rebook?

New Arrival

Thanks for your reply.

**Edited: What I'm saying is their guidelines mention cancellation OR significant change. They don't specify "delay" versus "arriving early," and they say "cancellation OR significant change," so significant change is not the only qualifier. Southwest completely eliminated my previously booked flights from their schedule. Is that not a cancellation?

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Re: Refund for being forced to rebook?

Top Contributor

@caityspaghetti wrote:

Thanks for your reply.

**Edited: What I'm saying is their guidelines mention cancellation OR significant change. They don't specify "delay" versus "arriving early," and they say "cancellation OR significant change," so significant change is not the only qualifier. Southwest completely eliminated my previously booked flights from their schedule. Is that not a cancellation?


Yes it is and you are due a refund if you want one.

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Re: Refund for being forced to rebook?

Top Contributor

It comes down to a debate of what is a schedule adjustment versus a cancelation. I'm not a lawyer and didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night so I won't try to explain my thoughts other than to say I don't see this as a cancelation. I can see where someone might think that way, I just don't agree. What matters is what Southwest thinks so you should call them if you feel strongly about it.

 

--TheMiddleSeat

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Re: Refund for being forced to rebook?

Top Contributor

If the flight number changed, it is a cancellation. The airline is not putting him on the aircraft it said he would be on.

 

If the flight number is the same, it is not.

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Re: Refund for being forced to rebook?

Top Contributor

As I said earlier, you are entitled to a refund.

 

Please let us know how it works out for you.