Litigation Begins Over Lack of Refunds in Southwest Flight Delay Debacle

The fallout continues from Southwest Airlines’ recent failure to get travelers to their destinations over the 2022 holiday season. Wintry weather conditions stranded airline passengers on over 15,000 flights in late December.

The Dallas-based airline blamed the crisis on outmoded software for scheduling flights, as well as a dearth of personnel to work their flight routes. Unlike most other airlines, passengers cannot purchase tickets using third-party global distribution platforms. Everyone who flies with them is required to purchase their airline tickets either online or by booking directly with Southwest ticket agents.

Plaintiff Eric Capdeville of Marrero, Louisiana, through his attorney, Matthew B. Moreland, of Jim S. Hall & Associates, filed a contract lawsuit, Capdeville v Southwest Airlines Co, on Dec. 30 in New Orleans U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Plaintiff alleges breach of contract since the airline pledged to refund ticket costs and reimburse reasonable expenses like meal costs, rental cars and hotel charges for their stranded passengers.

The case is set to be heard by Judge Jay C. Zainey.

Plaintiff, who is seeking class-action status for the lawsuit, claims he and many others have yet to receive any compensation from Southwest Airlines. The petition further notes the company’s Contract of Carriage “mandates refunds … [and] full compensation for … costs and … cancellations for the failure of the carriage contract.”

In addition to the claims of breach of contract, Capdeville also included a claim for redhibition and seeks pre-judgment interest, as well as actual compensatory damages or other alternative provisions available under the airline’s Contract of Carriage.

The airline spokesperson has not yet commented on the pending litigation. Previously, Southwest stated that they intended to “do right by [their] customers,” and that “high priority efforts [were] underway” to remedy the damages their passengers suffered.

Bob Jordan, CEO of the beleaguered passenger carrier, acknowledged that Southwest’s “legacy systems” were overdue for an upgrade. According to U.S. Dept. Of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the flight disruptions were unacceptable and arose from decisions the airline made and actions they took.

Southwest did not fully restore services until after Dec. 30. Meanwhile, other airlines had already rebounded days earlier from the storm’s setback.