Southwest Customers Repeatedly Charged For Same Ticket

12:14 AM, Aug 5, 2012   |    comments
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File photo: Southwest Airlines (Getty Images)

DENVER - Travelers want to get away alright. They want to get as far as possible from the online ticketing issue that left bargain hunters charged dozens of times for a single Southwest Airlines ticket.

Angry customers plastered complaints on Southwest's Facebook page. So far all victims were those who attempted to take advantage of a one-day 50 percent off fare sale they were confronted with an error message about their payment being denied and they later found they had been charged multiple times for the same ticket.

Nancy Olewnick of Denver wanted one ticket to fly from Denver to Philadelphia to see her mother. She ended up with at least 35 charges.

"How many seats are on a plane?" Olewnick said wryly. "I have a whole plane if anyone wants to go."

Less humorous is the $9,000 drain on her bank account.

"I was infuriated that a business could allow my credit card to be charged over 35 times," Olewnick said. "I was outraged."

Southwest's promotion was a celebration of hitting the three million fan mark on Facebook. Now their page is marred with a string of complaints from people who claim they were overcharged, sometimes dozens of times.

Southwest spokeswoman Ashley Dillion said the airline was still calculating the number of customers impacted and might not release that tally when it's determined. The focus, she said, is contacting customers and offering refunds.

"It was an error with our system and we're taking responsibility for it," Dillon said. "We're working to make sure it never happens again."

Southwest plans to reach out to impacted customers and there is no need for people to wait hours online for swamped customer service representatives, the airline said.

Additionally, banks should refund any overdraft charges once the erroneous charges are refunded, Southwest said.

Because the duplicate charges were tied to single ticket numbers, Southwest said it is confident that it can identify which customers were overbilled, as opposed to those who intentionally purchased multiple tickets.


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