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Southwest rescheduled - can't get actual refund?

New Arrival

 

This morning I received an email from SW changing our original booked flight to a much later booking that did not work in with our plans. In trying to reschedule a better option online, all I got was constant error messages and I was unable to do anything on the website. I tried calling but was told the hold time would be 71 minutes - obviously impossible when calling from England on my mobile phone. 😞

 

Subsequently I had no choice but to book a new flight with another airline. The problem is only after I cancelled my rescheduled SW flight was I informed that there is no actual refund but a flying credit instead. This was not made clear on the page before pressing the 'REFUND' button. 

 

I understand Wanna Get Away flights are usually non refundable in the true refund sense, but surely as SW changed the agreement, the circumstances are outside the regular guidelines? I've searched for hours online for an answer to this to no avail. 

 

We have already booked all our other internal flights with SW - a further 3 flights. We will not be returning to the USA in the foreseeable future after this big trip so a flight credit doesn't work for us - it's literally money lost. 

 

I have emailed the airline and am awaiting a response but I feel nauseous just thinking about this as it was a 2 person fare, so not small change. 

 

Has anyone had a similar experience that can reassure me? 

9 REPLIES 9
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Re: Southwest rescheduled - can't get actual refund?

Top Contributor
Solution

When the airline reschedules you due to a flight cancellation, and you find the new flight unacceptable, you are entitled to a refund -- even on a non refundable fare.

 

When the airline gets back to you, it should tell you that. If it does not, you should demand a refund.

 

The above assumes you did not reschedule the rescheduled flight and then cancelled.

If you had done that, you would not be entitled to a refund

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Re: Southwest rescheduled - can't get actual refund?

Top Contributor

You are entitled to a refund. Southwest requires the customer request the refund, however, and until issued the funds are held as Travel Funds. 

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Re: Southwest rescheduled - can't get actual refund?

Top Contributor

@chgoflyer wrote:

You are entitled to a refund. Southwest requires the customer request the refund, however, and until issued the funds are held as Travel Funds. 


I'm not exactly sure of the interface that came up for you during the cancelation, but in other scenarios there could be two options presented with radio buttons, one for refund and one for travel funds so that you could choose (why?) to have travel funds instead of a refund.

 

EDIT: clarification from @chgoflyer  that the MAX waiver process is different than normal cancelation

Anyway - it is possible that this came up and wasn't clear and you may have chosen travel funds, or else it wasn't presented as an option but should have been - either way you should contact Southwest for a refund either calling at some off-hours period (might be relatively easier for you to do from England since your day will be well started when the phone lines first open) or else use Live Chat from the app if you are a Rapid Rewards member, or possibly Twitter. If you use Twitter don't send any personally identifying information until asked for a direct message.

 

 

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.
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Re: Southwest rescheduled - can't get actual refund?

Top Contributor

While that does apply in other scenarios, it does not when the flight is under the MAX waiver (and potentially all waivers going forward, as this seems to be a new policy). 

 

Also, there is no way to request the refund if one cancels with an agent at the airport, or the flight is cancelled by Southwest.

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Re: Southwest rescheduled - can't get actual refund?

Top Contributor

@chgoflyer wrote:

While that does apply in other scenarios, it does not when the flight is under the MAX waiver (and potentially all waivers going forward, as this seems to be a new policy). 

 

Also, there is no way to request the refund if one cancels with an agent at the airport, or the flight is cancelled by Southwest.


So specifically for the waiver they will default to travel funds, but accomodate upon request?

 

Thankfully I hadn't experienced this scenario to see the alternate approach.

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.
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Re: Southwest rescheduled - can't get actual refund?

Top Contributor

 


@DancingDavidE wrote:

@chgoflyer wrote:

While that does apply in other scenarios, it does not when the flight is under the MAX waiver (and potentially all waivers going forward, as this seems to be a new policy). 

 

Also, there is no way to request the refund if one cancels with an agent at the airport, or the flight is cancelled by Southwest.


So specifically for the waiver they will default to travel funds, but accomodate upon request?

 

Thankfully I hadn't experienced this scenario to see the alternate approach.


Correct. The waiver doesn't actually mention a refund at all, and neither does the normal accommodation policy, but in the FAQ of the MAX update, it says that refunds can be requested.

 

I'm not sure what the text of the notification emails might say (I have thankfully also not been affected) -- maybe someone could update us with that info?

 

Screenshot_20190417-120849.png

 

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Re: Southwest rescheduled - can't get actual refund?

Top Contributor

The topic is covered in the airlines contract of carriage (bolding is mine):

 

(4) Delays or Involuntary Cancellations. If a Passenger’s scheduled transportation is
canceled, terminated, or delayed before the Passenger has reached his final
destination as a result of a flight cancellation, Carrier-caused missed connection,
flight delay, or omission of a scheduled stop, Carrier will either transport the
Passenger at no additional charge on another of Carrier’s flights, refund the fare for
the unused transportation in accordance with the form of payment utilized for the
Ticket, or provide a credit for such amount toward the purchase of future travel.

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Re: Southwest rescheduled - can't get actual refund?

Top Contributor
Solution

@dfwskier wrote:

The topic is covered in the airlines contract of carriage (bolding is mine):

 

(4) Delays or Involuntary Cancellations. If a Passenger’s scheduled transportation is
canceled, terminated, or delayed before the Passenger has reached his final
destination as a result of a flight cancellation, Carrier-caused missed connection,
flight delay, or omission of a scheduled stop, Carrier will either transport the
Passenger at no additional charge on another of Carrier’s flights, refund the fare for
the unused transportation in accordance with the form of payment utilized for the
Ticket, or provide a credit for such amount toward the purchase of future travel.


 

That's actually the section that applies when Southwest cancels a flight. The OP was unhappy with Southwest's changes to their itinerary -- Southwest didn't cancel their flight, the customer did. 

 

Luckily, the Southwest Contract of Carriage (pdf download) covers this as well. For flight schedule changes, this is the relevant section (bolding is mine):

 

a. Failure to Operate as Scheduled
(1) Canceled Flights or Irregular Operations. In the event Carrier cancels or fails to operate any flight according to Carrier’s published schedule, or changes the schedule of any flight, Carrier will, at the request of a Passenger with a confirmed Ticket on such flight, take one of the following actions:
(i) Transport the Passenger at no additional charge on Carrier’s next flight(s) on which space is available to the Passenger’s intended destination, in accordance with Carrier’s established reaccommodation practices; or
(ii) Refund the unused portion of the Passenger’s fare in accordance with Section 4c.

 

 

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Re: Southwest rescheduled - can't get actual refund?

New Arrival
Solution

Thank you everybody for yoir input. I have heard back finally from Southwest and a full refund is being issued to my card. 

 

"While we did our best to reschedule flights in an effort to limit the impact to our Customers, we understand that you were disappointed by the changes. In this situation, we do not provide reimbursement or compensation; however, if the available flights do not meet your needs, you can contact us to cancel and refund the reservation, or you can rebook the reservation for another date as long as travel takes place within 14 days of the original reservation. Since you canceled your reservation given the change to your scheduled travel, I have requested a refund of $XXX per Passenger (which is equal to your one-way fare), which will be processed to the account ending in XXXX within 30 days."

 

I appreciate you all taking the time to respond.