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Morning Lineup – December 20

Thursday Morning – Bottoms Up!

Just about anybody who flies at least occasionally is bound to use Southwest Airlines once in a while.  The unique airline with a great safety record is staffed with seemingly-happy employees who spread their cheer on to the paying customers and help make the visit as pleasant as possible.  And now, thanks to a customer who happens to be a lawyer too, your next trip will be even more pleasant.  Providing you have been flying in the Business Select class, that is.  The Consumerist website sums it up nicely:

August 1, 2010 is a day that many Southwest Airlines Business Select fliers know well. It’s the day on which the carrier stopped allowing these passengers to carry over their unused free drink vouchers to future flights. More than two years and one class-action settlement later, Southwest is having to buy a lot of rounds.

We first wrote about the lawsuit last November, when a Southwest Business Select passenger from Chicago alleged the airline unjustly enriched itself by effectively voiding millions of dollars worth of drink coupons that these customers had not used by the Aug. 1, 2010 date. The named plaintiff in the case had 45 of these vouchers (worth around $5 each) in his possession at the time the policy went into effect.

While Southwest will not be changing its policy back — Business Select passengers must still use their voucher on the day of the flight for which the voucher is given — the Chicago Tribune reports that Southwest passengers who earned these vouchers before the 10/1/2010 date to get new vouchers from the airline. These vouchers will need to be used within one year of being issued.

Don't worry if you've thrown the things away thinking that they're no good anymore.  Part of the court's order includes requiring Southwest to search their records for the unused, outstanding coupons and notify the high flyers of their windfall.  But you only have a year to use them, so start planning your next trip now.  Bottom line:  Southwest is now liable to its passengers for 5.8 million free drinks that are worth $29 million.  Of course, in order to use them you have to book your next flight with Southwest instead of Puddlejumper Air, so the airline will come out of it ok, too.

Now tell me, what other fire blog sets you up with free coffee in the morning and free beer in the afternoon?  Huh, huh?

Let's start earning our drinks now and get this equipment checked out.  I'm getting the Bunn-O-Matic set up to take the coffee vouchers before we meet back in the Digital Day Room.

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