Southwest promises refunds over snow chaos

STORY: Southwest Airlines has promised to reimburse passengers for expenses incurred following flight cancellations as a result of the massive winter storm in the U.S.

The carrier says it will cover the cost of things like hotel bills and car rentals, in addition to refunding tickets.

It’s warned that there will be an impact on earnings as a result, but says it’s too soon to put a precise number on that.

While other airlines got back on their feet fairly quickly, Dallas-based Southwest is still struggling.

It cancelled at least 16,000 flights over the past week, including about 60% of all services on Thursday (December 29).

Friday (December 30) cancellations were expected to be less severe, with the firm saying it was eager to get back to normal before the holiday weekend.

The bitter weather wasn’t the only issue for Southwest, which also admitted problems with dated technology for rostering crews.

Washington has called the meltdown a system failure, and vowed action.

Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg says Southwest will be held accountable if it doesn’t do right by customers.

Company chief Bob Jordan says tech improvements are in the works, but will take time.