A Louisiana man has filed a lawsuit against Southwest Airlines, accusing the carrier of breach of contract when it denied him and other passengers refunds for flights canceled during a winter storm over the holidays. Credit was offered instead.

The proposed class-action lawsuit, filed in New Orleans federal court on December 30 by Eric Capdeville, is seeking damages for passengers of flights canceled since December 24 and who were not given refunds and reimbursement for expenses incurred as a result was not done. cancellation.

Capdeville alleges in the lawsuit that she had tickets to fly from New Orleans to Portland, Oregon, with her daughter on December 27, but when her flight was canceled out of thousands, the carrier offered her a credit. Not even Southwest in the suite states could accommodate them on another flight.

“Southwest’s contract of carriage warrants a refund in this situation as well as full compensation for the costs incurred and the resulting cancellation,” the suit states. “Due to Defendant’s cancellation of their flights, Plaintiffs, and all potential Class Members, are unable to use their airline tickets without fault and are not receiving the benefit of their bargain with Defendant.”

The suit also claims the Dallas-based airline is in breach of its contract by failing to provide refunds within seven days for canceled tickets purchased with a credit card.

Analysts say Southwest’s antiquated computer system, lack of ticket sharing with other major carriers, and point-to-point flight system resulted in the operational failure in large part. More than 15,000 flights were canceled between 22 December and 30 December. The company has repeatedly apologized to customers and employees. The US Department of Transportation is investigating.

Southwest said in a statement that “efforts are underway to make amends to our customers, including processing refunds from canceled flights and reimbursing expenses incurred as a result of the irregular operation.” airline Launched a website to help the affected people Request a refund and reimbursement.

The downpour in Southwest, which caused more than 15,000 flight cancellations between December 22 and December 30, began with winter storms sweeping across the country. While other airlines recovered after a few days, Southwest continued to struggle with crew and airplanes stranded far from where they were supposed to be.

The situation prompted the US Department of Transportation to launch an investigation into what happened at the airline.

Analysts said that one reason for the debacle was that Southwest employs a “point-to-point” flight operating system where many major carriers operate on a “hub-and-spoke” basis, based in larger airports. Feeds in short flights back and forth. Point-to-point systems have aircraft flying in the same direction from destination to destination.

Another reason was workers were burned out from mandatory overtime, as well as many people getting sick due to a combination of flu, COVID-19 and RSV infections.

Since then, the carrier has repeatedly apologized to passengers and promised to fix their issues. On Tuesday, Southwest told affected travelers it would give them 25,000 frequent-flyer points, which it says are worth more than $300 in flights.

A letter to Southwest included the offer — another apology for the slowdown — from CEO Bob Jordan.

“I know that no amount of apologies can undo your experience,” Jordan wrote. He said the airline is working “with a sense of urgency” to process refunds, return lost bags and handle requests for reimbursement of expenses incurred by stranded passengers.

Southwest has not disclosed how many passengers were booked on the affected flights, but it is likely that more than one million people have canceled flights.

Contributed by: A.P.

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