Southwest explains hotel voucher policy amid mass flight cancellations and delays

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Southwest Airlines canceled over a thousand flights nationwide this weekend, leaving some passengers stranded at BNA. Customers told News 2 service representatives from Southwest told them to go to the airport for hotel vouchers. When they arrived, they were told Southwest did not have any. 

After reaching out to Southwest over the weekend about vouchers, the airline explained the company’s policy to News 2 on Monday.

A Southwest Customer Service representative told News 2, occasionally hotels will give vouchers to airport employees for customers needing accommodations, however, hotel vouchers are not a guarantee.  

When asked if Southwest reimbursed hotel expenses for customers whose flights were delayed overnight, they said typically they do not cover those costs.  

Carly Wilson and Hope Lyon were two passengers trying to fly out on a flight to Houston Saturday. They told News 2 the earliest flight Southwest offered them was on Wednesday. They ended up getting a rental car to make the 12-hour drive on Sunday. The two said they had a friend in Nashville they were thankfully able to stay with until they could pick up their car.  

Wilson and Lyon said they were able to get a refund on their airfare. 

“Now we’ve spent the additional money on the rental car, we’re spending gas, out time and things like that,” Lyon said. “I think they have an opportunity for growth in customer care in that regard, especially when it comes to reimbursing those additional travel costs that are a repercussion of this.”  

Southwest told News 2 they typically do not reimburse travel-related expenses following a canceled or delayed flight. 

When asked if there were any plans to change the hotel voucher or travel-related expense policy, the representative said she was unsure.  

Nashville International Airport does allow customers to stay in the non-secure side of the terminal overnight, however, terminals past the TSA checkpoint are closed during the middle of the night for security reasons. 

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