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Southwest Airlines settles lawsuit over drink coupons

January 20, 2013|By Hugo Martin
  • A settlement has been reached on a lawsuit over Southwest Airlines' drink vouchers.
A settlement has been reached on a lawsuit over Southwest Airlines'… (Southwest.com )

For millions of Southwest Airlines passengers, the drinks are on the house.

The airline has reached a tentative settlement with passengers who sued Southwest over vouchers for alcoholic drinks that were given to “business select” passengers before Aug. 1, 2010.

On that date, Southwest changed its policy, saying that even though the drink vouchers had no expiration date, the airline would only honor them on the date passengers were traveling.

In the lawsuit filed in 2011, the plaintiffs, Adam Levitt and Herbert Malone, said the policy change amounts to a breach of contract and made the coupons worthless.

The airline had previously said that it changed its policy because passengers were making photocopies of the vouchers to get free drinks.

Under the settlement, Southwest could be on the hook to redeem up to 5.8 million vouchers. Since the airline charges $5 for alcoholic drinks, the settlement is worth about $29 million. The airline is also responsible for  paying legal fees of up to $7 million. If you think Southwest owes you a drink, get details online on how to file a claim for a new voucher. You must file before Sept. 2, 2013.

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Follow Hugo Martin on Twitter at @hugomartin

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