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Old 07-25-2010, 01:01 PM
11,938 posts, read 21,528,320 times
Reputation: 11715



Southwest: Breakdown is now an act of God

Airline limits liability in case of 'mechanical difficulties'

If there's a God who controls floods and earthquakes, does the deity also have a hand in an airline's mechanical problems?

Apparently so, according to Tucson's most popular airline, which recently added "mechanical difficulties" to the list of acts of God and other events for which the carrier will not be liable if travel is delayed.

Southwest Airlines quietly made the change a few weeks ago, to the puzzlement of some industry analysts.

It appears on page 11 of 32 pages of fine print called a "contract of carriage," which many passengers don't read, but which spells out their recourse in mishaps such as flight interruptions or baggage loss.

Mechanical difficulties - what type is not defined - now appears on a list of events such as wars, riots, storms, earthquakes and other acts of God that are "outside of (Southwest's) control."

In such cases, the contract says, passengers are entitled to refunds only on the used portion of their tickets. Southwest has no obligation to provide compensation for "any type of special, incidential or consequential damages."

Last edited by wheelsup; 07-25-2010 at 01:22 PM..
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Old 07-25-2010, 05:36 PM
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,569 posts, read 39,952,759 times
Reputation: 23704
won't discourage me, I know of no other airlines than make it so ez to recapture and use your travel $. (Can't go for any number of reasons (don't feel like it > act of God) ... no problem... up to one yr to utilized 'credit' of ticket with just your 'Locator Number'. Saves my bacon many times / yr.)

(And on SWA I don't have to wait for the 'baggage barons' to stash their bulk carry-on bags and THEN look for a specific seat.)

Knowing the profit margins as you do, I would say this change in policy was prudent, tho I hope the mechanics and insurance companies don't follow!!. Just got rear-ended by #4 'cell phone talking SUV'. (Glad I have a fleet of (26) 50 mpg cars they are dropping like flies.)

I would have to say they should have re-written the policy to include "non-PM' mechanical issues, rather than making it sound like they don't need to maintain their fleet. SWA is usually much faster at 'gate' repairs than the average Joe, who likely has a few 'different' birds in the sky. (& parked at the gate)
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Old 07-25-2010, 08:31 PM
68 posts, read 178,705 times
Reputation: 52
SWA making this change doesn't get me excited - they are the best by far in my experience. Every time I can possibly fly SWA vs. any other carrier, even if it means a longer drive in the rental car at the destination I will do it. Been too many 'acts of the other airlines' at the other airlines! My last trip earlier this month a perfect case in point!!
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Old 07-25-2010, 08:35 PM
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
26,346 posts, read 83,000,765 times
Reputation: 17515
Southwest is the most flexible airline I've ever flown on.

Also, since there probably is no god, there are probably no acts of god. Everything has a scientific explanation or theory.
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Old 07-26-2010, 11:50 AM
Location: Victoria TX
42,663 posts, read 74,259,760 times
Reputation: 36087
I think it is a First Amendment violation for any contract with a government-regulated or interstate commerce common carrier to contain a clause that compels anyone to acknowledge that there is a God. That's a textbook example of the establishment of religion.
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