Southwest Airlines settles drink coupon class action

Posted on: December 12th, 2012 by Steve Larson

If you’re a Southwest flyer you were probably upset when the airline decided to stop honoring some its drink coupons without any notice a couple years ago. Luckily, a few irate customers took Southwest Airlines to court and have reached a class action lawsuit settlement over the fiasco.

Southwest Airlines on Monday agreed to pay between $29 million and $58 million to settle the Southwest drink voucher class action lawsuit.

Customers alleged in the class action lawsuit that the company breached its contract with customers when it announced it would no longer accept certain drink vouchers that did not come with a printed expiration date. These coupons were given to customers that either purchased them or received them through the purchase of a Business Select ticket. The Southwest drink coupons did not have an expiration date, yet Southwest announced in August 2010 that it would no longer honor them and retroactively voided all previously issued coupons. 

Southwest denies it violated any laws in revoking the drink vouchers, but agreed to a class action lawsuit settlement to resolve the litigation.

Under the proposed Southwest drink voucher settlement, each Class Member will receive one drink voucher to replace any voucher that was not redeemed prior to August 1, 2010. There is no limit or cap on the number of replacement vouchers per Class Member, which explains the $29 million to $58 million settlement.

There were at least 5.8 million Southwest drink vouchers, each valued at $5, that were never redeemed, according to the Southwest Airlines settlement motion.

Class Members of the Southwest drink coupon class action settlement include all Southwest customers who received an eligible drink voucher through the purchase of a Business Select ticket or otherwise prior to August 1, 2010 and did not redeem it.

The Class does not include Southwest customers who obtained drink vouchers or drink coupons through the Southwest Rapid Rewards program unless those customers separately purchased, but did not redeem, vouchers through the purchase of a Business Select ticket or otherwise.

The case is In re Southwest Airlines Voucher Litigation, Case No. 11-cv-08176, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.