What was supposed to be a golfing getaway to Cabo got derailed when a group of Chicago-area women say they got bad information from Southwest Airlines.
Last January, Sue Milnamow, Carol Ramsay and two other friends decided to take their golf game on the road and booked four tickets to Mexico on Southwest that summer.
“We like their two bags fly free policy and so we timed it so that when they start flying to Mexico, we’d have our little vacation,” Milnamow said.
But tropical storm Dolores had other plans. As the women watched it move along the coast of Mexico, shutting down one tourist attraction after another, they knew they had to make a decision.
“So we watched all the deadlines for canceling and kind of last minute we decided let’s cancel and reschedule,” Milnamow said.
They say they called Southwest to cancel and were told by customer service that their tickets were good for one year after issue, which was this January.
"I asked if there was any way we could change that to July and they said no. But once they expire, you can ask for a 6 month extension,” Milnamow said.
So the women say they took turns calling customer service every month, just to be certain, and heard the same thing each time: call back and ask for an extension once the tickets expire. When that day came, they say they made the call, and couldn’t believe what they heard next.
"I'm sorry you were misinformed, but we can't do that," Milnamow said.
The mix-up left the group out of $1,600 in airline tickets with no help in sight.
"They made a bad mistake and it unfortunately was very costly for the four of us," Ramsay said.
Initially, Southwest Airlines told NBC 5 Responds twice, by phone, it couldn’t help. But when asked for a statement explaining the issue, Southwest said it would make a “very unique one-time exception” and granted a 6 month extension on all four tickets. The airline said it can’t say for sure what happened, but does say policies vary when it comes to extensions. For domestic flights, they are given on a case by case basis. But for international travel, Southwest said there are no extensions allowed.
"It took [NBC 5 Responds] getting involved to resolve it," Milnamow said. “It’s amazing. We’re very grateful.”