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I live near Niagara Falls , Canada, can't cross the border, what about our non-refundable trip May 1

New Arrival
 
13 REPLIES 13
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Re: I live near Niagara Falls , Canada, can't cross the border, what about our non-refundable trip M

Top Contributor

Don't do anything now. You can cancel up to no later than 10 minutes pre departure time and get exactly the same thing you would get by cancelling now: a travel fund.

 

All airlines are cancelling lots of flights. If you happen to be on a flight that is cancelled, you are eligible for a refund or a travel fund - your choice.

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Re: I live near Niagara Falls , Canada, can't cross the border, what about our non-refundable trip M

New Arrival

Thanks for your response, I was planning on waiting to see if Southwest cancels the flight (Las Vegas) but nothing has changed. I will probably get a refund only if the flight is cancelled. I may have the opportunity to get a travel fund but that is no good if the border is still closed. I know from past experience a close friend got a refund from Southwest due to medical issues but this is different maybe Trump can give me  a letter or something.

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Re: I live near Niagara Falls , Canada, can't cross the border, what about our non-refundable trip M

New Arrival

Thanks for your response. Problem is the flight is to Las Vegas and there is no indication any flights to Vegas are being cancelled at this time. Taking a travel fund at this time would be fruitless if the border is still closed at the newly chosen date. Have to hold out as long as possible to see if the flight is cancelled and request a refund , or if not cancelled re-book and hope the boarder is open. Can't be upset with Southwest as they did give a close friend a refund after proving she could not travel due to medical issues. Perhaps Trump could issue me a letter to submit to Southwest. Seriously let's hope all of us North and South of the border are considerate of each other.

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Re: I live near Niagara Falls , Canada, can't cross the border, what about our non-refundable trip M

Top Contributor

Be patient.

 

At the moment Southwest is only cancelling about 3 days in the future. On the routes I fly, there are large numbers of cancellations thru Wednesday, and none at all on Thursday or Friday -- yet. I'll bet that changes as we get closer to Thursday and Friday.

 

On another note, there is no guarantee that the border will still be closed in early May.

 

As I said earlier, it doesn't cost you anything to  wait a while longer.

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Re: I live near Niagara Falls , Canada, can't cross the border, what about our non-refundable trip M

New Arrival

Thanks, stay healthy

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Re: I live near Niagara Falls , Canada, can't cross the border, what about our non-refundable trip M

Top Contributor

same to you.

 

I don't know when you bought your ticket, but you may want to check prices .

 

Ticket prices are down A LOT since the end of February.

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Re: I live near Niagara Falls , Canada, can't cross the border, what about our non-refundable trip M

Active Member

dfwskier gave you the incorrect information it is not your choice to get a travel credit or refund, it depends on your ticket type, if it is a non refundable ticket you are only able to obtain a travel credit on future travel, sw has extended the dates to use that credit, but sw will NOT give you a refund. There are several petitions on change.org with over 3500 unhappy sw customers as of yesterday that would like their refund, We will look into a class action lawsuit to determine if refunds can be made as sw will not make refunds available. Sign the petition. 

 

If you purchased a refundable ticket, you will be able to request a refund.

 

SW says they care but the only thing they care about is themselves. tell as many people as you can about how unhappy you are with SW.  Imagine how many credits thet they took the customers $ for that will never be used that they will keep, a% of credit holders will die, some will be too sick to travel and some too scared and SW will make pure profit form all those groups while at the same time asking for $$ from the federal government.

 

Shame on SW.

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Re: I live near Niagara Falls , Canada, can't cross the border, what about our non-refundable trip M

Top Contributor

@apm wrote:

dfwskier gave you the incorrect information it is not your choice to get a travel credit or refund, it depends on your ticket type, if it is a non refundable ticket you are only able to obtain a travel credit on future travel, sw has extended the dates to use that credit, but sw will NOT give you a refund. 

 

Stop spewing bad information apm. FEDERAL DOT REGULATIONS rule: if the airline cancels your flight you have the right to a refund.

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Re: I live near Niagara Falls , Canada, can't cross the border, what about our non-refundable trip M

Top Contributor

@dfwskier wrote:

@apm wrote:

dfwskier gave you the incorrect information it is not your choice to get a travel credit or refund, it depends on your ticket type, if it is a non refundable ticket you are only able to obtain a travel credit on future travel, sw has extended the dates to use that credit, but sw will NOT give you a refund. 

 

Stop spewing bad information apm. FEDERAL DOT REGULATIONS rule: if the airline cancels your flight you have the right to a refund.


 

Unfortunately, this isn't really true.

 

The DOT says that refunds are required when the airline cancels the flight if the air carrier is at fault. It's arguable that service reductions caused by the current global pandemic are not due to the airline's fault. And any caused by a governmental travel ban or closed airport certainly aren't. Meaning the DOT does not require refunds in these situations.

 

In general, the DOT advises that customers review the contract with the air carrier for specific policies.

 

Southwest's Contract of Carriage (pdf download) is the legal document that covers the transaction between passengers and the carrier. And the language of that document is written in such a way that there are multiple interpretations which allow Southwest to deny all refunds on non-refundable fares should they decide to do so.

 

First, the pertinent sections say that they can rebook you or issue a refund. Therefore, rebooking satisfies that requirement.

 

Secondly, the Force Majeure clauses allow Southwest to claim, should they want, that the current situation is out of their control, meaning refunds aren't required as they would be in normal situation. From the CoC:

 

Force Majeure Event means any event outside of Carrier’s control, including, without limitation, acts of God, and meteorological events, such as storms, rain, wind, fire, fog, flooding, earthquakes, haze, or volcanic eruption. It also includes, without limitation, government action, disturbances or potentially volatile international conditions, civil commotions, riots, embargoes, wars, or hostilities, whether actual, threatened, or reported, strikes, work stoppage, slowdown, lockout or any other labor related dispute involving or affecting Carrier’s service, mechanical difficulties by entities other than Carrier, Air Traffic Control, the inability to obtain fuel, airport gates, labor, or landing facilities for the flight in question or any fact not reasonably foreseen, anticipated or predicted by Carrier.

 

That said...

 

This is a time of unprecedented uncertainty, so confusion from Southwest customer service -- with internal policies changing daily -- is not unexpected. We're seeing large numbers of customers being denied refunds in situations where previously a refund was allowed. It's possible that this is simply because of all the confusion. 

 

It's also possible, however, that there has been internal guidance disallowing all refunds of non-refundable fares. That Southwest has changed it's policies in light of the pandemic.

 

There has been no published announcement to this effect, but earlier information published here, that included statement of previous policies, has now been deleted and all references to refunds have been removed.

 

That now-deleted information stated that refunds would not be allowed in cases where the cancellation was caused by travel ban or airport closure (emphasis mine):

 

If we are forced to cancel a flight because airports are closed or if travel bans are put into place due to the extraordinary environment and response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will work with each Customer to book flights at a later time or issue a travel credit for the value of the ticket. The only compensation we will offer in these instances—for non-refundable Wanna Get Away tickets—are Residual Travel Funds. These cancellations are not eligible for a cash refund. Current examples of where this policy applies are Grand Cayman, Aruba, the Dominican Republic, and Costa Rica—however, this list is likely to grow.

 

So... this could suggest that there's been a policy change, and refunds are no longer granted on non-refundable flights. Or, alternately, the deletion of this information could also indicate that external messaging now focuses on the travel funds expiration extension as a way of containing the amount of refund requests (although there's been no policy change).

 

It's even possible, perhaps likely, that Southwest management is still trying to figure out what they need to do at this juncture. Hence the confusion at the customer service level.

 

I'm certainly hoping that Southwest, who has always been more customer-friendly than any other air carrier, will continue to support their long-standing policies, and issue refunds on request when they cancel a flight. Given these unprecedented times however, it's possibly that this may no longer be feasible, and that refund disallowance is perhaps as an act of self-preservation.

 

Hopefully, we'll know more in the coming days.