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Beware-SW does not care about "acts of god"

thibodeauxcpa
New Arrival

I booked a flight to Miami Florida in November of this year.  I did not realize that “wanna get away” meant nonrefundable. 

 

My bad. 

 

But I’m going to tell my story anyway, and why I will not travel with Southwest again.

 

I live in Lake Charles, Louisiana.  You probably did not hear much about my town because we are not a heavy travel destination like New Orleans or Houston, and most of the town had the ability to evacuate, and did.  Therefore there were less than 100 deaths.  

 

In late August of 2020, my town was directly hit by Hurricane Laura, which was the strongest hurricane to Louisiana in over 150 years.  Its regards to wind speed, it was the 5th strongest storm on record to hit the country

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evI-JWLpsPA

 

Our homes and town were devastated.  

 

One month later, Hurricane Delta came in as a category 2 and took the same path.  My city was hit again with nearly a direct hit.

 

Needless to say, this caused great financial hardship to my family and there is a lot of work to be done.  It was no longer financially feasible or even responsible to be sipping Margaritas on a beach in Florida, with so much work to be done and so much of my money to be spent on rebuilding.  So I cancelled my trip.  I was refunded my room, but not my flight.  I appealed to Southwest for a refund for the reasons stated in this account, but  I was denied again.

 

My funds remain in a travel account.  I am 43 years old and have flown twice in my life.  Once for business and only once for a personal trip.  I will be out the cost of this flight.  I know I will not be flying in the upcoming year since I am nowhere close to a frequent flyer, but I can assure you that the next time I fly, it will NOT be with Southwest.

9 REPLIES 9

Re: Beware-SW does not care about "acts of god"

TheMiddleSeat
Top Contributor

I am glad you are safe.  As you said, you did purchase a non-refundable fare and Southwest does let you cancel your trip and save the cost of your trip for future travel (must be completed within one year of original purchase).  All airlines do allow customers to adjust plans during a major weather event such as a hurricane, but I know of no airline that would allow someone to cancel their trip and get a full refund on a non-refundable fare months after the weather due to personal financial hardship.  In fact, Southwest is a rare airline that will let you cancel and retain the full value of your fare for future use so if you plan on flying another airline beware their policies will certainly not be friendlier.  

 

--TheMiddleSeat

Re: Beware-SW does not care about "acts of god"

dfwskier
Top Contributor

I agree with themiddleseat about being glad that you survived two different hurricanes.

 

Also, as mentioned above, had your ticket been on American, Delta, United, Spirit or even Lufthansa (basically all airlines) you would have been treated in exactly the same way that you were treated by Southwest.

 

Hopefully your situation will change and you will find a way to use your travel fund.

 

 

Re: Beware-SW does not care about "acts of god"

thibodeauxcpa
New Arrival

I don’t care what the other airlines would have done.  I purchased my ticket with southwest, no other airline.  This topic is about southwest. 

but I get it.  I unknowingly purchased a non refundable ticket.  My. Bad.  The cost of a flight that I did not take is not gonna break me boo.  However,  I will remember, that when I was at a point in my life I where I needed a little help or sympathy more than any other time, that I appealed to southwest for a refund and was denied.  And that’s ok, that’s business.  But I will remember.  And I will never give southwest another dime.  And I’ll tell this story any time Southwest comes up. 

Re: Beware-SW does not care about "acts of god"

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

@thibodeauxcpa wrote:

I don’t care what the other airlines would have done.  I purchased my ticket with southwest, no other airline.  This topic is about southwest. 

but I get it.  I unknowingly purchased a non refundable ticket.  My. Bad.  The cost of a flight that I did not take is not gonna break me boo.  However,  I will remember, that when I was at a point in my life I where I needed a little help or sympathy more than any other time, that I appealed to southwest for a refund and was denied.  And that’s ok, that’s business.  But I will remember.  And I will never give southwest another dime.  And I’ll tell this story any time Southwest comes up. 


 

No disrespect, but it sounds like maybe you don't travel by air much? Sadly, situations such as this are how many people first find out how air travel and non-refundable tickets work (the most commonly purchased ones). The reason we mention other airlines is because all carriers are exactly the same in this regard -- non-refundable means non-refundable, unless the carrier cancels the flight.

 

If you're going to switch airlines because of this, be aware that the other carriers actually have worse policies in many other respects, including charging additional fees (up to $250) just to use travel funds towards a new booking. I'm sure it doesn't seem that way right now, but Southwest has actually the most customer-friendly policies when compared to other carriers.

 

You do have one option here, should you be unable to travel prior to the funds expiration. Once your travel funds have expired, you can reach out to Customer Relations (not the "regular" phone line) and request they be reissued as a Voucher. There's a fee of $100 per travel fund/passenger, so this may or may not be worth it to you. You have 6 months after expiration in which to make the request, and the Voucher will be valid for 6 months from the date of issue. Vouchers can be used for travel by anyone, but only for the airfare portion (not any taxes or fees). This would at least give you more time in which to try and use your funds.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Contact Customer Relations 

Re: Beware-SW does not care about "acts of god"

thibodeauxcpa
New Arrival

Chgoflyer-no disrespect taken.  As I stated in original post.  No, I haven’t traveled by air very often at all.  

I get policies and the reasons for having them.  But I also know that the world is not always black and white.  But I understand business and I understand that I have no right to a refund.  But I also understand that I appealed to southwest as a customer.  I appealed as a human with what I think are valid reasons for an exception and I was denied. By southwest.  Not by any other airline not by any other business.  I was denied by southwest while living in third world conditions for two months.  We got through it with little help, with little media coverage.  But we will remember.  

ask yourself, would you have been able to take a vacation or leisure after this?  

https://youtu.be/-BhYBd1ooho

 

 

 

Re: Beware-SW does not care about "acts of god"

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

@thibodeauxcpa wrote:

Chgoflyer-no disrespect taken.  As I stated in original post.  No, I haven’t traveled by air very often at all.  

I get policies and the reasons for having them.  But I also know that the world is not always black and white.  But I understand business and I understand that I have no right to a refund.  But I also understand that I appealed to southwest as a customer.  I appealed as a human with what I think are valid reasons for an exception and I was denied. By southwest.  Not by any other airline not by any other business.  I was denied by southwest while living in third world conditions for two months.  We got through it with little help, with little media coverage.  But we will remember.  

ask yourself, would you have been able to take a vacation or leisure after this?  

https://youtu.be/-BhYBd1ooho

 

 

 


 

Essentially, it comes down to whether or not another carrier would have been any more helpful than Southwest with regards to your situation. I suspect, unfortunately, that it's unlikely.

 

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, all carriers locked down their customer accommodations and basically removed the ability to act on discretion from their previously empowered customer service staff. Right now, airlines are losing millions every day just keeping their operations afloat. That's not an exaggeration -- as of just a few weeks ago, Southwest was spending $13 million each and every day. Delta's CEO said Friday that he doesn't expect they'll return to a positive cash flow until Spring, at the earliest. From a purely bottom-line standpoint, carriers can't afford to go beyond anything but a strict "black and white" application of their policies right now. That's just how it is.

 

No one is questioning the severity of your situation. What you've had to endure is horrible, and I'm sorry you had to go through that (and, I assume, are still dealing with it). Hopefully things will be looking up for you soon, and better days are ahead.

Re: Beware-SW does not care about "acts of god"

gsking
Active Member

You're barking up the wrong tree.  You booked with the ONLY airline that gave you one year to use the funds for another flight, without penalty.  Your cancellation fee on any other airline would have exceeded the cost of your ticket.   At BEST, the other airlines would have given you free rescheduling... What you're already getting here.

 

I have a suggestion.  Fly more often.   Enjoy life.    Consider that you have a free flight to Florida.  Flights are still cheap.  Find a cheap hotel and enjoy a trip, instead of beating yourself up for not reading the fine print.

 

 

Re: Beware-SW does not care about "acts of god"

thibodeauxcpa
New Arrival

Yes.  I did cancel a month and a half after the hurricane.  I didn’t have electricity for a month, and internet took almost 2 months to come back.  Nothing changes my point.  Southwest does not care about natural disasters and will not make any exceptions for them.  Periot!  So, buyers beware.  Don’t buy the “wanna get away” ticket because apparently even if you die southwest will come for your soul. 

Re: Beware-SW does not care about "acts of god"

dfwskier
Top Contributor

Actually, if you have any kind of ticket and die , Southwest will provide a refund to the original form of payment.

 

It's about the only time an exception is made.

 

Why? Well if you are dead, you really can't use the travel fund.