DALLAS — With many Southwest passengers finally making it to their destination as of Friday, now a lot of people will begin the process of trying to get reimbursed from the airline.
The CEO of Southwest Airlines apologized for the weeklong chaos for travelers stranded when the company canceled thousands of flights amid a winter storm across much of the U.S.
Friday was the first day since Christmas Day that Southwest didn't have a double-digit percentage of its flights canceled.
Dallas' Dee Dee Overley had a plane ticket for her 88-year-old father to get him back to his home in Tennessee. He was in Dallas visiting Overley and her family. However, he wasn't supposed to stay very long. Overley's dad only had a limited supply of heart and cancer medication for his trip.
So when Overley's dad had his Southwest flight canceled earlier this week, she and her husband got in the car and drove more than 10 hours to get him back home.
"My dad doesn't want to ever fly again," Overley said.
Friday afternoon, Overley and her husband were on the road headed back from Tennessee. Overley plans to submit receipts for reimbursement when she gets to Dallas.
"I have not heard anything from them," Overley said. "I plan to file as soon as we get back for reimbursement on all of this mileage. There's distrust now with the whole airline."
Falynn Szelinski lives in Houston and recently flew her 12-year-old stepdaughter in from Nashville to see some of her family.
She was supposed to fly Thursday. However, that flight got canceled and Szelinski couldn't find another one.
"We had to enlist in family members to like do legs of this trip," Szelinski said, explaining how different people had to help with driving and getting her stepdaughter home to back to Nashville.
Szelinski tried to go through the refund process but she said someone from Southwest told her the ‘Wanna Get Away’ ticket she bought for her 12-year-old stepdaughter was non-refundable.
"This, what would have been a $300 ordeal has become a $1,500 ordeal and a lot of stress on my kid," Szelinski said. "At this point in time, I'm pretty sure that I'm not going to get refunded. That's what they've made clear to me. So I don't know any other way."
WFAA asked Southwest whether ticket type affects refund eligibility. The airline responded by saying, “customers whose flights were canceled are eligible for a refund,” but didn’t answer our question about Szelinski's case.
According to the department of transportation, if your flight is canceled and you choose to cancel your trip as a result, you are entitled to a refund–even for non-refundable tickets.
In a letter to Southwest Airlines, Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Southwest must provide ticket refunds to passengers within seven days if they paid by credit card and within 20 days if they paid by cash or check.