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Refunds due to government shut down

New Arrival

Hello,

      The state of Nevada shut down the hotels and the facility where our event was to be held  and they cancelled the event, so we were forced to cancel our trip. I have made numerous attempts to get a refund, but SWA refuses to process a refund stating that the flights weren't cancelled or re-scheduled. It is my understanding that DOT's recent information put out states that our tickets are refundable due to the governments intervention. Can you please verify this? See below. 

 

The U.S. Department of Transportation today issued an Enforcement Notice clarifying, in the context of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency, that 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. The obligation of airlines to provide refunds, including the ticket price and any optional fee charged for services a passenger is unable to use, does not cease when the flight disruptions are outside of the carrier’s control (e.g., a result of government restrictions).

The Department is receiving an increasing number of complaints and inquiries from ticketed passengers, including many with non-refundable tickets, who describe having been denied refunds for flights that were canceled or significantly delayed. In many of these cases, the passengers stated that the carrier informed them that they would receive vouchers or credits for future travel. Because the COVID-19 public health emergency has had an unprecedented impact on air travel, DOT’s Aviation Enforcement Office will exercise its enforcement discretion and provide carriers with an opportunity to become compliant before taking further action. However, the Aviation Enforcement Office will monitor airlines’ refund policies and practices and take enforcement action as necessary.

9 REPLIES 9
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Re: Refunds due to government shut down

Top Contributor

Assuming you purchased a Wanna Get Away fare, that is a non-refundable ticket and can only be refunded as cash if the airline cancels the flight.  DOT was reiterating policies that require a refund if the airline cancels the flight.  In your case, you cancelled your trip so no cash refund would be available.  You do get travel funds from Southwest for the value of the ticket and can use those to travel before June 30, 2021.

 

--TheMiddleSeat

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Re: Refunds due to government shut down

New Arrival

So am I misinterpreting this verbiage? 

 

The obligation of airlines to provide refunds, including the ticket price and any optional fee charged for services a passenger is unable to use, does not cease when the flight disruptions are outside of the carrier’s control (e.g., a result of government restrictions).

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Re: Refunds due to government shut down

Top Contributor

@jimmieb25 wrote:

So am I misinterpreting this verbiage? 

 

The obligation of airlines to provide refunds, including the ticket price and any optional fee charged for services a passenger is unable to use, does not cease when the flight disruptions are outside of the carrier’s control (e.g., a result of government restrictions).


Unfortunately, yes. The DOT guidance only applies when the carrier cancels the flight -- not if the customer does. 😞

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Re: Refunds due to government shut down

Top Contributor
Solution

In your case, as mentioned by Southwest when you called, there was no flight disruption.  Flights continued as scheduled so Southwest has no obligation to provide a refund.

 

The key phrase is before the one you quoted:

"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"

 

--TheMiddleSeat

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Re: Refunds due to government shut down

New Arrival

Okay...... Thanks for your time. I will be email SWA corporate and filing a complaint with DOT and FAA. 

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Re: Refunds due to government shut down

Top Contributor

Lol, a complaint based on what? You must have lots of time to waste. 

 

--TheMiddleSeat

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Re: Refunds due to government shut down

Active Member

You were not forced to cancel. Under the conditions (hotels closed), you chose to cancel. It is a fine distinction, but you had a choice, and you chose to cancel. According to DOT rules and the SWA CoC, you do not get a cash refund.

 

And, if you believe that is unfair because it isn't your fault, consider that it wasn't Southwest's fault either. That's life. You lost very little in this matter so be happy. Plan a vacation for the fall. I had Disney cancel my Alaska cruise for the summer. We are rebooking for next year, and my family is looking forward to going, even if it is delayed.

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Re: Refunds due to government shut down

New Arrival

I also had to cancel my Disney trip, in the meantime I will be moving from the city that Southwest flies to, to a place where they do not.  So how does a voucher help me, if I cannot get a flight at my home airport?

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Re: Refunds due to government shut down

New Arrival

SOUTHWEST SHOULD REFUND THOSE THAT REQUEST SUCH! NOT DOING SO, AND THEN BULLYING, POTENTIAL PASSENGERS IS JUST PATHETIC! IT IS A PANDEMIC!