Southwest refused refund for pregnant passenger during Hurricane Dorian

BAY POINT, Calif. (KGO) -- When Hurricane Dorian hit the Atlantic Coast this summer, major airlines responded by waiving fees for cancellations or changed flights, but one Bay Area women struggled to get a refund.

The Bay Point woman and her mother were all set to go to MOMcon in Orlando -- a convention on empowering moms to be both better parents and leaders. Hurricane Dorian forced a change of plans that could have been costly.

It's an understatement to say things are quite busy at the Hein household. With four kids ages three weeks to 6 years, the home is filled with a symphony of sounds.

"Oh yes, that's a normal sound right now especially with Ezekiel being two weeks," said Veronica Heins as her kids created a ruckus in the background.

She was 32 weeks pregnant with Ezekiel in September when she was scheduled to fly to Orlando for MOMcon.

Just how severe Hurricane Dorian would be became a guessing game.

"At that point we decided it's not worth it to go anymore," Veronica said.

RELATED: Hurricane Dorian disrupts Bay Area travel plans

Her husband Jeremy had handled the purchase of the tickets.

He booked an American Airlines flight to Orlando, and a return trip on Southwest.

American agreed to refund the money.

Southwest refused.

"Southwest wasn't willing to because it was a couple of days after the hurricane had already passed when the return flight was scheduled to come back," said Jeremy.

But since Veronica had cancelled her trip altogether because of that hurricane, there was no need for a return flight.

Southwest offered a one year credit from the date of purchase.

"That would have put us (at) like five months and the new baby would have been like four months old," said Jeremy, doing the math on when this credit would expire.

He decided it wasn't worth the effort to fight Southwest, but says Veronica's dad suggested he contact 7 On Your Side.

"Well I said it can't hurt, so I went ahead and sent the email contact on their web page," Jeremy said.

We contacted Southwest and the airline called him a day or two later, informing him he would get a full refund.

The airline told us: "Hurricanes are dynamic. Therefore our policies move with the storm... In this case since the storm had ended, a manual refund had to be processed."

"That's certainly resource of funds that we can put in lots of other ways," said a happy Veronica.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.