The Southwest Airlines complaints have been pouring in

The Transportation Department says it has received thousands of complaints about Southwest since the carrier’s operational meltdown over the December holidays. 

Among the complaints are ones “about lack of ticket refunds and reimbursements for services when a traveler was stranded,” the department said in a statement. The DOT said it “has sent every complaint directly to Southwest.”

Southwest canceled 16,700 flights between Dec. 21 and Dec. 31, including more than 13,000 flights between Dec. 24 and Dec. 29, a collapse that the carrier estimates cost Southwest between $725 million and $825 million. The airline has said it will provide reimbursements for expenses incurred by customers due to cancellations between Dec. 24 and Jan. 2, including for hotels, meals and transportation. 

  • Related: Southwest meltdown getting Senate hearings

Last week, CEO Bob Jordan said the airline was processing tens of thousands of refunds and reimbursements per day.

A Southwest spokesman on Tuesday said, “Southwest continues issuing refunds and expense reimbursements arising from canceled and significantly delayed flights. In fact, Southwest is processing flight refund requests within an average of approximately three days.  … As we clear the queue of refund requests, we are moving on to processing a higher percentage of reimbursement requests each day — a process that also has been ongoing for the past several weeks with a high rate of completion.” 

The DOT said it is requiring Southwest to pay back ticket refund requests for all canceled flights within seven business days for tickets purchased by card and within 20 days for tickets purchased via cash or checks. 

“No amount of financial compensation can fully make up for passengers who missed moments with their families that they can never get back, but DOT will continue to work to ensure that Southwest takes care of its customers,” the department said. 

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