The Associated Press November 17, 2011, 7:06PM ET

Ill. man sues Southwest over free drink coupons

A Chicago area man claims Southwest Airlines owes him 45 free alcoholic drinks.

Adam J. Levitt filed a federal lawsuit this week against the Dallas-based discount carrier over a change in its free drink coupon policy.

Levitt booked numerous flights for the Business Select class, which gave travelers free drink coupons for beer, wine or mixed drinks worth $5 each and had no expiration date. But Southwest changed its policy last year saying Business Select travelers could only use the coupons on the day of travel printed on them, according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in Chicago's federal court.

The policy change left Levitt with 45 unredeemed drink tickets, copies of which were included in the lawsuit.

"This would be the equivalent of a consumer purchasing a gift certificate from a retailer, and then a month later, when the consumer tries to redeem the certificate, the store tells him: `Sorry, we're not honoring gift certificates anymore.' That's just plain nuts," said a statement from Levitt's Chicago-based attorney Joseph J. Siprut.

The lawsuit alleged that Southwest decided that it could make more money by choosing not to honor the coupons that consumers had already paid for with Business Select tickets. It called the unredeemed coupons a breach of contract.

The lawsuit seeks class-action status for Southwest customers nationwide who have unredeemed drink coupons.

"We are in the process of reviewing the litigation but do not have additional information at this time," said Southwest Airlines Co., spokeswoman Katie McDonald in an email Thursday.


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