(CNN) – Federal officials say they are working on “thousands” of complaints from Southwest Airlines customers after the days-long travel meltdown — including complaints that Southwest is not living up to its promise to issue refunds.
The DOT “sent each complaint directly to Southwest” and now requires the airline to “provide substantive responses” to each complaint within 60 days.
“Since the Southwest collapse, the Department of Transportation has received thousands of consumer complaints about Southwest — including complaints about non-refunds of tickets and compensation for services when a passenger was stranded,” the Department of Transportation said in a statement first provided to CNN.
Southwest Airlines said it canceled more than 16,000 flights between Dec. 21 and Dec. 31, noting in a financial filing that the successive logistical failures cost the airline between $725 million and $825 million in lost revenue, additional crew costs, and refunds. Passengers.
CNN has reached out to Southwest for comment.
The Department of Transportation required Southwest to honor passenger refund requests “within 7 business days if the traveler paid for the ticket by card and 20 days if paying with cash or check,” if Southwest cancels or significantly delays a flight, no matter what.
Southwest customers must first submit their refund request to Southwest through its website, the Department of Transportation advises. If they do not receive refunds, they must then file a complaint with the Department of Transportation.
The announcement comes after Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told Southwest leaders Dec. 29 that the agency “will use the full extent of its investigative and enforcement powers to hold Southwest accountable if it fails to live up to promises made to compensate passengers.”
TOP PHOTO: Southwest Airlines planes at Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) on December 28, 2022 (Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)