Southwest Airlines Refund Request

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May 30, 2020
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On January 27, my wife and I bought non-refundable tickets to Dallas. We planned to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary with friends there. We were scheduled to leave Orlando on Wednesday, March 18. On Monday, March 16, after much anguish, we made the decision to cancel this trip, due to warnings from the federal government against non-essential travel because of the world wide corona virus pandemic . . . especially for those in our age group. My wife and I are 73 years old.

I understand the nature of non-refundable tickets, and Southwest Airlines' policy regarding these tickets. I have communicated via email with 2 different "customer service" employees of the company, requesting a refund of our money and received the same response, which is that we can use these tickets to travel anywhere they fly, until January 26, 2021.

Are you aware of any other avenue or contact person to whom I might make an appeal for a refund, rather than a credit?

Thank you for your thoughts on this matter.

Danny D. Dunn
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
Unfortunately if you canceled the flight, there is no requirement that an airline must provide a refund for a nonrefundable ticket. If the airline cancels- that’s when they are required to provide a refund.

This article will tell you about you canceling.

 
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justlisa

Feb 12, 2019
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Southwest isn't going to give you a refund for a flight you canceled. I feel like I'm beating the drum of my personal covid experience a lot on this board - but Southwest didn't make an exception to their stated covid policy when I had to cancel my flight because the government closed a port and my ship was rerouted over 1100 miles away. Given this I don't see them refunding for someone who chose to cancel.

However, you're wrong about when your funds expire. They might not have gotten to updating yours, but your cancellation was in the window in which they are extending all travel funds until Sept 2022. I know because I cancelled my flight on March 15 - so the day before yours. I will say it took them a while to actually adjust the expiration date - mine wasn't updated until the end of April. When was the last time you checked your expiration date on your travel funds? If you check it and the funds still have the January 2021 expiration date you should go back to them asking why your travel funds haven't had the expiration date changed according to their own policy.


If you look at that same page you'll see that Southwest is working on the ability to change your travel funds to Rapid Rewards points. As the points don't expire it essentially allows you to use your points whenever you want. Also, you can buy tickets for other people with points as well as transfer points to someone else as well.

This flexibility - funds expiring in Sept 2022 and eventually being able to convert them to non-expiring points - is probably the reason why Southwest isn't being so flexible that they're giving refunds. However the flexibility is some of the best of the airlines.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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Southwest has extended the ticket credits through Sept 2022. Thus, it is extremely unlikely that they will bend on this rule. While you may be able to find a sympathetic executive, since you acknowledge this is a non-refundable fare, I would not encourage you to push this up the executive chain. Sometimes, it is better to save your "get out of jail card" for when you are really in trouble and need that "favor."
 

mmb

Verified Member
Jan 20, 2015
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Not to berate you you or throw fire, but Southwest has senior fares that are fully refundable, which are just slightly higher than the Wanna Get Away fare.
I’m posting this for the edification of other seniors who may be resting this post.
I am hoping, for you, that you will be able to convert your vouchers to points in the near future and either sell or gift the points to friends or family who can use the points, joyfully.
Sorry you didn’t get to go to Dallas.
 
May 30, 2020
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Thank you for your reply. I understand the nature of non-refundable tickets and Southwest Airlines' policy regarding this matter. However, the circumstances that caused us to cancel our flight are clearly unprecedented. Our cancellation was caused by a world wide pandemic and federal government warnings regarding non-essential travel, for goodness sakes. The purpose of our trip was to celebrate a once in a lifetime event . . . our 50th wedding anniversary. We were trying to be good citizens and follow our federal government's request and do our part to limit the spread of the corona virus, as well as reduce our exposure to this deadly virus.

My request of you is to seek an exception to the company's "standard" policy on our behalf, or to provide me with specific contact information of a higher corporate decision maker with whom I could make this request.

Thank you again for your assistance.

Dan Dunn
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
Thank you for your reply. I understand the nature of non-refundable tickets and Southwest Airlines' policy regarding this matter. However, the circumstances that caused us to cancel our flight are clearly unprecedented. Our cancellation was caused by a world wide pandemic and federal government warnings regarding non-essential travel, for goodness sakes. The purpose of our trip was to celebrate a once in a lifetime event . . . our 50th wedding anniversary. We were trying to be good citizens and follow our federal government's request and do our part to limit the spread of the corona virus, as well as reduce our exposure to this deadly virus.

My request of you is to seek an exception to the company's "standard" policy on our behalf, or to provide me with specific contact information of a higher corporate decision maker with whom I could make this request.

Thank you again for your assistance.

Dan Dunn
Here are the SW contacts: https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/southwest-airlines-co/
We do not "seek an exception to the company's "standard" policy ". You need to advocate for yourself on this issue.
 
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justlisa

Feb 12, 2019
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You can attempt to seek an exception, but you have to realize that you already have an exception to their standard policy. The standard policy is that the monies expire in January - Southwest has made an exception by extending the expiration for more than 18 months beyond that and will give you an option to extend the expiration indefinitely.

So when you write to the contacts keep in mind that you are asking for an exception to an already generous exception that Southwest made.
 
Sep 4, 2019
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Not to berate you you or throw fire, but Southwest has senior fares that are fully refundable, which are just slightly higher than the Wanna Get Away fare.
I’m posting this for the edification of other seniors who may be resting this post.
I am hoping, for you, that you will be able to convert your vouchers to points in the near future and either sell or gift the points to friends or family who can use the points, joyfully.
Sorry you didn’t get to go to Dallas.
I just want to note that Southwest discontinued senior fares as of last December.
 
Jul 13, 2016
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You should also remember that you are not an isolated case. There are thousands and thousands of travelers in a similar situation. If Southwest made an exception due to the unprecedented circumstances you cite, then they are going out of business very soon.
 

Mel65

Mar 23, 2015
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Thank you for your reply. I understand the nature of non-refundable tickets and Southwest Airlines' policy regarding this matter. However, the circumstances that caused us to cancel our flight are clearly unprecedented. Our cancellation was caused by a world wide pandemic and federal government warnings regarding non-essential travel, for goodness sakes. The purpose of our trip was to celebrate a once in a lifetime event . . . our 50th wedding anniversary. We were trying to be good citizens and follow our federal government's request and do our part to limit the spread of the corona virus, as well as reduce our exposure to this deadly virus.

My request of you is to seek an exception to the company's "standard" policy on our behalf, or to provide me with specific contact information of a higher corporate decision maker with whom I could make this request.

Thank you again for your assistance.

Dan Dunn
Literally EVERY traveler since mid March has had to make this same tough decision, and I'd bet 80% didn't bother to buy insurance. I'm in the same boat. I just had to cancel a July trip to Hawaii that we'd planned and paid for in October. I had FC tickets, AND the airline had made an unwanted change to my itinerary, so I thought "Hey I have a good case for a refund." Nope. I have a travel credit for $3500 that I can use for 24 months with restrictions, (like "Can only be used for flights on United metal--no Alliance partner flights") which will make it difficult to find flights that I can use it on, but after my initial b***hing and grousing, I've accepted that a refund isn't in the cards and will work on finding trips to allow me to use the vouchers. Hopefully, you will plan a vacation back to Dallas when this settles down and can use the generous credit extension SW has offered you. Good Luck.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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Thank you for your reply. I understand the nature of non-refundable tickets and Southwest Airlines' policy regarding this matter. However, the circumstances that caused us to cancel our flight are clearly unprecedented. Our cancellation was caused by a world wide pandemic and federal government warnings regarding non-essential travel, for goodness sakes. The purpose of our trip was to celebrate a once in a lifetime event . . . our 50th wedding anniversary. We were trying to be good citizens and follow our federal government's request and do our part to limit the spread of the corona virus, as well as reduce our exposure to this deadly virus.

My request of you is to seek an exception to the company's "standard" policy on our behalf, or to provide me with specific contact information of a higher corporate decision maker with whom I could make this request.

Thank you again for your assistance.

Dan Dunn
I understand your frustration, but your specific situation is not unique. There are literally hundreds of thousands of travelers (if not millions) who got their travel disrupted. There are tens of thousands of people (if not more) who have planned a "trip of a lifetime" where they opted to cancel a flight for a variety of reasons. I am pretty sure that I speak for every advocate on this forum, that we had a trip canceled due to the "unprecedented" event.

I truly sympathize, I lost a 2 trips myself. Because so many people are involved (through no fault of either the traveler or company), it is unlikely that an appeal to the executives will get them to make an exception. If they make an exception, it would literally be an exception for everyone, and they have already changed their policies to make it easier for affected travelers to rebook.

Just warning you, that you may not get the satisfactory answer, even if you self-advocate. Of course stranger things have happened.

Here are the contacts if you want to continue to try and pursue your case

I would discourage you to write the execs over this matter, because I don't think your request is reasonable. But, you now have the resources to continue to pursue.
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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Playing devil's advocate.......Southwest could respond by saying: "This situation is unprecedented; through no fault of our own we had to cancel thousands of flights requiring us to refund hundreds of thousands of people and furlough/lay off employees. We are trying to be a responsible business and follow the government's request to do our part in stopping the spread of the virus. So, if those passengers that are not due a refund would please not request one as an exception, we may be able to weather the financial fallout as a result of the pandemic." Just putting a little spin on things to help gain appreciation for a different perspective.
 

justlisa

Feb 12, 2019
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Playing devil's advocate.......Southwest could respond by saying: "This situation is unprecedented; through no fault of our own we had to cancel thousands of flights requiring us to refund hundreds of thousands of people and furlough/lay off employees. We are trying to be a responsible business and follow the government's request to do our part in stopping the spread of the virus. So, if those passengers that are not due a refund would please not request one as an exception, we may be able to weather the financial fallout as a result of the pandemic." Just putting a little spin on things to help gain appreciation for a different perspective.
The do touch on half of that on their covid page. They don't reference layoffs and financial fallout but they do talk about the rest. From their page:

"Southwest Airlines® is aware that government mandates have resulted in restrictions on air travel due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Unfortunately, many of the restrictions will result in flight cancellations, potential quarantines upon arrival, and/or temperature checks upon landing, and we sincerely regret any inconvenience created by the travel disruptions.

Notifying affected Customers: Taking care of you
Once Southwest® becomes aware of any government’s travel restriction that results in a flight cancellation or self-quarantine, our Team will notify you as soon as possible with your options. Rest assured, we will offer maximum flexibility and accommodate Customers to the best of our ability. As always, the Southwest Team appreciates your patience and trust in us during this unprecedented time."

The rest of the page spells out options if you chose to cancel the flights. And something I just notice on this read through to see what they did say - they allow you to cancel it for travel funds up to 10 MINUTES before the flight. I believe most others are requiring you to do it the day before.




The email they sent me in response to my request for a refund was very similar and definitely a form letter. It didn't even reference that I asked for a refund though.
 
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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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Life is a balancing act. A consumer cannot expect an airline to refund his money because of a pandemic. The airline is suffering just as much as the consumer is; they're not the ogre here, the virus is. An airline doesn't have to refund a non-ref tix, nor should they. Their priority is the business itself and remaining solvent. The consumer's problem is spending money on a trip that didn't happen. The pandemic created this scenario. I think that airlines are stretching way out for their customers by offering them a full credit with generous terms. I just hope that June of 2022 finds most of the big travel providers still in business and financially recovering ... just as I hope June of 2021 finds all of us off on wonderful trips that we booked through the largess of the travel providers.

Before anyone starts throwing rocks at my head, please know that I have no connection to any travel provider and never have had. I am a self-employed business owner and the whole picture is very clear to me. The above is my opinion from that perspective.
 
Jul 7, 2018
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I recently had to postpone our 50th high school reunion planned for Oct. 2020. I have decided to rebrand the reunion and we are now going to be having the 50+1 reunion in the fall of 2021. Since you have a credit just plan another adventure for 50+1 and use your vouchers. 50 years is a big deal but make 50+1 even better.
 
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