Southwest Airlines sued over drink coupons
An Illinois man who said Southwest Airlines rewarded him with at least 45 drink coupons for buying premium-priced "Business Select" tickets is suing the airline, saying it now refuses to honor the coupons.
Such drink coupons were once printed without expiration dates, but Southwest changed its policy on Aug. 1, 2010, saying the tickets given to Business Select passengers may be used only on the day of the travel.
The plaintiff, Adam Levitt, said the policy change amounts to a breach of contract and makes his coupons worthless. He is asking for compensatory and punitive damages, to be determined at trial.
"Southwest decided that it would make more money -- improve its bottom line -- by choosing not to honor the coupons that consumers had already paid and bargained for," said the complaint filed in federal court in Chicago.
The lawsuit seeks class-action status for Southwest customers in the U.S. with unredeemed drink coupons.
The airline declined to comment on the lawsuit, but Southwest spokeswoman Whitney Eichinger said the airline changed the policy because some passengers were making photocopies of the coupons to get free drinks.
"We made the decision to post an expiration date on the coupon to prevent the unauthorized copying of the coupons," Eichinger said
-- Hugo Martin
Photo: A Southwest drink coupon. Credit: Southwest Airlines