PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A man whose flight from New Orleans, La. to Portland, Ore. on Dec. 27 was canceled — amid Southwest Airlines’ systemwide meltdown — has filed a class action lawsuit against the company, claiming it violated its own policy to refund passengers.
Eric F. Capdeville, of Marrero, La., and his attorneys filed the complaint in Louisiana on Dec. 30, 2022. The lawsuit is on behalf of Capdeville and all others like him who found themselves stranded and unable to reach their destinations around the holidays.
The class action accuses Southwest Airlines of violating the conditions of its own contract of carriage.
This contract states that if Southwest Airlines cancels flights, the carrier will either transport a passenger at no additional charge on another Southwest Airlines Flight to reach the passenger’s destination or, at the customer’s request, refund the unused portion of the customer’s fare.
The section of Southwest’s contract of carriage that explains refunds states that refunds for tickets purchased with a credit card should be processed no later than 7 days following a refund request, or should be refunded in the form of a flight credit, at the direction of the customer.
In the lawsuit, Capdeville said he was not given the option to fly on another Southwest Airlines flight to reach Portland. The flight he and his daughter were scheduled to take, which had a connection in Phoenix, Ariz., was canceled.
The lawsuit states that Capdeville’s reservations and stay in Portland had been lost without reimbursement as a result of his canceled flight.
According to the lawsuit, Southwest Airlines did not offer Capdeville a refund to his credit card for the two flights he had purchased. Instead, it said he was only offered credit to use on a future Southwest Airlines flight.
Southwest Airlines experienced several factors over the holidays that contributed to its slew of canceled flights, including challenging winter weather and an out-of-date crew-scheduling system.
According to The Associated Press, it’s possible more than a million passengers missed their flights as a result of Southwest Airlines’ cancellations.
The U.S. federal government has said Southwest Airlines must provide customers with reimbursements and the White House has said the U.S. Department of Transportation will fine Southwest Airlines if customers aren’t reimbursed.
The lawsuit seeks damages for Capdeville and other Southwest Airlines passengers who were not properly reimbursed for their canceled flights.
Southwest Airlines shared the following statement when KOIN 6 News inquired about the lawsuit.
There are several high priority efforts underway to do right by our Customers, including processing refunds from cancelled flights, and reimbursing Customers for expenses incurred as a result of the irregular operations. We have a long and proud 51-year history of delivering on our Customers’ expectations, and we are committed to the all-important imperative of taking care of them during operational disruptions. In fact, on December 28, we launched a website to assist Customers with requesting refunds and reimbursements, and those requests are being processed and issued. www.southwest.com/traveldisruption
KOIN 6 News contacted Capdeville’s attorneys for additional comment but did not receive an immediate response.