Southwest Airlines is trying to make travelers who were caught in its surge of canceled flights over the holidays feel a bit better about the airline by giving them 25,000 frequent-flyer points.
The airline says the points are worth more than $300 in flights and calls them a "gesture of goodwill."
Southwest included the offer in a letter — another apology for the meltdown — from CEO Bob Jordan.
"I know that no amount of apologies can undo your experience," Jordan wrote. He added the airline is acting "with great urgency" to process refunds, return lost bags and handle requests for reimbursement of costs incurred by stranded travelers.
17,500 Flights Canceled
Dallas-based Southwest canceled more than 17,500 flights between Dec. 22 and Dec. 30, according to tracking service FlightAware. The flight disruptions began with a winter storm that swept across the country. While other airlines recovered after a couple days, Southwest continued to struggle with crews and airplanes that were stranded far from where they were supposed to be.
Southwest said people booked on flights from Dec. 24 to Jan. 2 that were canceled or "significantly" delayed by three hours or more received the 25,000 points. It has not disclosed how many passengers were booked on those flights.
Meanwhile, it could be a full two weeks since Southwest's scheduling problems began before passengers are reunited with their luggage, CNN reports.
Southwest is relying on volunteer employees working alongside regular bag handlers to rectify the problem, Jordan said in a Tuesday memo seen by CNN.
So far, the airline has returned half of the lost luggage to passengers and is hoping to get most of the remaining bags to their rightful owners by the end of the week, Jordan said.
FedEx and a handful of competing airlines are helping Southwest deliver the luggage.
Meanwhile, Southwest Airlines has been sued by a passenger who said it failed to provide refunds to passengers left stranded when an operational meltdown led the carrier to cancel more than 15,000 flights late last month.
In a proposed class action filed on Dec. 30 in New Orleans federal court, Eric Capdeville accused Southwest of breach of contract after a fierce winter storm that swept across the United States shortly before Christmas upended the carrier's schedule.
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