Class Action Takes on Southwest Over Holiday Time Nationwide Service Collapse

A suit filed in federal court in Louisiana before the close of the year claims that Southwest Airlines Company (SWA) breached its customer agreement and violated federal law by failing to fairly compensate thousands of passengers for canceled flights during the 2022 holiday season disruption that began on Friday, December 23.

According to Department of Transportation (DOT) reporting, SWA is the nation’s largest domestic carrier, a rank it achieved in 2003. The Dallas-based airline reportedly serves more than 130 million passengers annually and flies to 102 U.S. destinations and ten countries.

The Louisiana plaintiff claims his situation is representative of others. Reportedly, his December 23 SWA flight from New Orleans, La. to Portland, Or. via Phoenix, Ariz. was canceled prior to departure due to weather issues. The airline continued to cancel flights through December 28, the complaint says, resulting in 14,500 canceled departures in a six-day period. 

Although the airline pointed to weather delays, the DOT said it was in part due to “Southwest’s decision and actions,” while the company’s CEO, Bob Jordan, confirmed on December 28 that “the airline needed to upgrade its legacy systems.”

Under federal law and the terms of SWA’s customer agreement, the class action alleges that the airline “mandates refunds in this situation as well as full compensation for incurred costs and resultant cancellations for the failure of the carriage contract.” 

The suit seeks to hold SWA accountable for its failure to honor this promise on behalf of a nationwide class and states claims for breach of contract and redhibition, which under Louisiana Civil Code, makes Southwest liable for the price of the ticket, plus interest from the time of payment, the reimbursement of reasonable expenses occasioned by the sale and also for damages and attorneys’ fees. 

The plaintiff and proposed class are represented by Jim S. Hall & Associates LLC.