Jade Rodriguez and her family were all packed to go on their ultimate Japanese vacation. Her son had asked for the trip for his 21st birthday, and it included time at one of Disney’s top Resorts, Tokyo Disneyland. The family planned out their “surreal” vacation, ready to take Japan by storm and have the best time. Unfortunately, when it came to booking their dream trip, they decided to fly with Southwest Airlines.
Now, they are out more than $7,000 and looking for some answers.
Rodriguez spoke to Business Insider and said that when they arrived at the airport in Tuscon, Arizona, their flight didn’t have a crew, but they were still told that they should check their luggage.
“It was just a lot of miscommunication. One attendant was saying, ‘We’re not getting to LAX,’ another was saying to check in our bags,” Rodriguez said. “It was utter confusion.”
After all the conflicting information, Southwest finally canceled the flight altogether about seven hours before their American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo was scheduled to take off.
The drive from Tuscon to Los Angeles is about seven and a half hours, so if the family had been informed of the cancellation earlier, they would have made the long drive in order to make their connecting flight. They tried to book another flight that would get them to Tokyo from Tuscon, but Rodriguez said that the family was unable to make it work.
The big problem was that Southwest could not get them on another flight for nearly a week. And even then, they would be traveling for more than 20 hours and most of their trip would be nearly half over by the time they finally made it to Japan and the Disney Park.
Now, the family is struggling with more conflicting information as they try to get as much of their money refunded as possible. Sadly, it is unlikely they will get much from Tokyo Disney, as they don’t typically issue refunds for their theme parks. Per Business Insider:
Now they are trying to get as much of the trip refunded as they can, including from Southwest, American Airlines, the hotel in Japan, and Tokyo Disney — where they had already purchased tickets — among other expenses.
Rodriguez said they have received conflicting information from Southwest, with one email saying they would be getting a full refund, and another saying they’d only be getting flight credits to be used in the future.
They are still hoping to reschedule a trip for next year, depending on how much they can get refunded or rescheduled, but are unsure when they will be able to make a trip work for the whole family.
Sadly, the Rodriguez family was not the only one affected by Southwest’s massive failure. Many airlines experienced cancellations over the holidays because of storm systems throughout the country, but none of them were as big of a mess as Southwest. Southwest canceled more than 60% of its flights and, of the flights that weren’t canceled, more than 80% of those were delayed.
Southwest is currently working with thousands of travelers to refund the money they had to spend to get where Southwest could not take them.