Southwest Airlines Overbooked Flight: Right to Claim Southwest Airlines

It’s happened to all of us, arriving in the departure lounge ready to board the plane, and you’re greeted by a dramatic scene of people yelling at airline staff, faces of anguish and denial, … The flight is overbooked. Anyone would get angry and say that if a plane has three hundred seats, no more than that number of flights can be sold. However, there’s a reason this seemingly foolproof logic doesn’t work.

Why is Southwest overselling theft?

Some passengers who purchase a flight do not show up, either due to delays and cancellations or last minute changes. This represents a loss for the airline, so after a calculation of probabilities, we establish a number of tickets that it is possible to oversell.

There are three scenarios that Southwest Airlines must respond to, in addition to providing communication, food, and accommodation if needed.

To avoid setbacks and anger that can lead to certain explosions as has happened historically, caused by the overbooking of flights, it is necessary to know what US law says about this practice used by the airline, to avoid empty seats and reduce the impact on your revenue.

Obviously, overbooking of flights affects passengers, but it is allowed in the global airline industry, since some passengers who have confirmed their reservation end up changing their itinerary or not boarding the plane, causing unoccupied seats that require coverage.

Although there is no ban on this practice, there are rights for passengers, which ensure that airlines have obligations towards them, to avoid confrontations. In the event of a flight overbooking, the first right is to board the next available flight.

Under aviation law, when it becomes necessary to free up seats after overbooking, Southwest Airlines must ask volunteers to stay and offer them benefits in return, as well as transportation on the next available flight. If you decide to stay, the air carrier must provide you with food, if the wait is more than three hours, and accommodation if it is more than six.

What more should be demanded before flights are overbooked?

However, there is another scenario, where the airline offers a later date, which adapts to the customer’s agenda with direction to the same destination, although a third possibility is added based on the law on the civil aviation, which requires reimbursement of the total price of the ticket, or at least the proportional part of the flight not taken.

It is important that you take into account that minors, pregnant women, connecting travellers, disabled people and people traveling under legal conditions cannot volunteer.

They must also refund you the full price of the ticket or the proportion that corresponds to the unused part of your trip. Another option is for Southwest Airline to fly you on a date convenient for you and the airline.

In the event that one of these last points occurs, the airline must compensate with a minimum of 25% of the ticket price. Additionally, The Federal Aviation Administration FAA explains that when a passenger has this experience, the airline must provide certain services. If Southwest engages in overselling flights, at a minimum, and free of charge, it is its obligation to provide customer telephone communication services, food while on hold, and accommodation if necessary.

Does the airline have to pay the costs generated, speaking of accommodation or additional expenses?

In accordance with the rules of air transport in the United States, the obligations imposed on airlines in the face of overbooking of flights are: on the same airline, you must board as soon as possible on another airline; and compensate the user for an amount equivalent to 25% of the value of the trip.

Compensation paid to passengers

When the passenger is transferred to another flight of the same airline or another, he will be compensated according to the waiting time until the departure of this other flight:

– When the delay is more than one hour and less than three, the passenger will be offered a snack and a telephone call not exceeding three minutes.

– When the delay is more than three hours and less than five, in addition to the above, the passenger must be fed (breakfast, lunch or dinner, depending on the time).

– When the delay exceeds five hours, Southwest must also provide you with accommodation if you are not at your place of residence and transportation costs between the airport and the place of accommodation and vice versa.

In the same vein, it is specified that it must be taken into account that the passenger can conclude an agreement with the airline to voluntarily change the flight, but this does not prevent the company from having to comply with what is established by the competent authority.

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