Breaking News
More () »

Senators propose legislation to protect travelers' rights after Southwest holiday chaos

Thousands of Southwest travelers had their flights cancelled in December.

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — In December 2022, Southwest cancelled thousands of flights which left travelers all over the country stranded or scrambling to find other airlines. 

This happened around the holiday weekend and came at a last-minute notice for many. 

Since the chaos, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Edward J. Markey introduced two bills that will ensure travelers are compensated if it happens again. 

 "What Southwest did was airline malpractice," said Blumenthal. 

Over 60% of Southwest's flights were cancelled back in December. 

The airline cited reasons such as weather, crews being out of place and staffing shortages. 

Some travelers ended up spending their holiday in an airport or hotel. 

"Despite receiving $54 billion from Congress during the pandemic to stay afloat, airlines were painfully unprepared," said Markey. 

The two senators have introduced two bills called The Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights and the FAIR Act (The Forbidding Airlines From Imposing Ridiculous Fees). 

The intent of the legislation will end the nickel and diming for the fees that have grown exponentially and unreasonably for travelers. 

"If your flight is delayed by more than four hours, you get $1,350," added  Blumenthal. 

Sign up for the FOX61 newsletters: Morning Forecast, Morning Headlines, Evening Headlines

The proposed legislation would allow passengers to change flights at no expense if the flight is delayed one to four hours, and if it is cancelled entirely, passengers would be reimbursed. 

Stratford mother Christine Pastore was a victim of the cancellations when she was supposed to visit her daughter in Denver for her birthday. 

Her daughter is currently fighting an illness and the last time she saw her was August of last year.

"Some airlines did have seats available but they were charging close to $3,000 per person one way for a flight to Denver," said Pastore. 

Current Southwest travelers who are applauding the proposals. 

"A lot of attention was focused on them for what they did so maybe now they’re trying to be on their best behavior," said Phil Riley of Middletown. 

Both senators stated these bills are supported not just by travelers but pilots and flight crews themselves. 

When it comes to reimbursement for chaos in December, Southwest said it is ongoing.

Have a story idea or something on your mind you want to share? We want to hear from you! Email us at newstips@fox61.com


Download the FOX61 News APP

iTunes: Click here to download

Google Play: Click here to download

Stream Live on ROKU: Add the channel from the ROKU store or by searching FOX61.

Steam Live on FIRE TV: Search ‘FOX61’ and click ‘Get’ to download.



Before You Leave, Check This Out