According to FlightAware, which tracks flight status in real time, Southwest resumed normal operations on Friday after cancelling more than 15,000 flights in just over a week.
“We appreciate the tireless efforts of the Southwest team to restore our schedule, and we anticipate minimal disruptions over the weekend,” the airline said in a statement Friday. “We welcome the opportunity to address any customer needs in the coming days as we strive to return to our previous level of Southwest hospitality and dependability.”
According to FlightAware, approximately 1% of Southwest’s flights are cancelled on Friday, compared to roughly two-thirds of flights in previous days. Many customers are still attempting to locate lost luggage, rebook travel, or obtain reimbursement for cancelled trips.
“We understand that our deepest apologies – to our customers, to our employees, and to everyone affected by this disruption – can only go so far,” Southwest said on Thursday. “We have a lot of work to do, including investing in new solutions to deal with large-scale disruptions.”
Customers of Southwest should be aware of the following information.
What happens if my flight is cancelled by Southwest?
Customers whose flights have been cancelled can rebook or request a refund on Southwest’s website.
Additionally, all Southwest customers who have flights scheduled through Jan. 2 can rebook for free or fly standby within 30 days of their original travel date between previously booked cities.
“You shouldn’t have to call or stand in line, and you can make any necessary flight changes at Southwest.com,” said the airline’s Chief Commercial Officer Ryan Green in a video Wednesday.
Customers who choose to call 1-800-I-FLY-SWA should be prepared for lengthy wait times.
Is it possible to get a refund from Southwest?
Customers who have had their flights cancelled may fill out a form on Southwest’s website to request a refund if they do not wish to rebook.
When a flight is cancelled for any reason, the Department of Transportation requires all airlines to provide refunds. Delay rules are more complicated and vary greatly. The DOT’s traveller dashboard categorises airline policies.
Can I be reimbursed for unforeseen expenses?
Customers who experienced cancellations or a “significant flight delay” between December 24 and January 2 can submit receipts via email or the company’s website.
in order to consider reimbursement.
Customers are directed to a support page where they can describe their situation and upload receipts by clicking on Complaint, then Flight, then Cancellation, and then Next from Southwest’s Email Us page.
“We will honour reasonable requests for reimbursement for meals, lodging, and alternative transportation (such as rental cars or tickets on other airlines,” the airline stated on its website.
What happened to my luggage?
Unclaimed bags from Southwest customers who did not make it as far as their checked luggage have accumulated at airports across the country.
The airline has created an online form that passengers can use to help them reunite with their bags. Luggage will be delivered for free.
What caused Southwest Airlines to cancel flights?
Southwest stated that it was “fully staffed and prepared” for the holiday weekend, but severe weather forced operational changes that it struggled to recover from.
“With our large fleet of aeroplanes and flight crews out of position in dozens of locations, and after days of trying to operate as much of our full schedule across the busy holiday weekend,” Southwest CEO Bob Jordan said in a video Tuesday, also apologising.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told CNN’s “The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer” that after meeting with Southwest’s leadership, “they indicated a number of issues that they’re having with systems, legacy systems for managing their schedule and where their crews are.”
“Our technology could not align our resources due to the magnitude and scale of the disruptions,” Southwest Airlines told USA TODAY. “As a result, our crew schedulers are tackling the issue manually, which is a time-consuming, lengthy process that requires time and trained resources to complete.”
“Clearly, we need to double down on our already existing plans to upgrade systems for these extreme circumstances so that we never again face what’s happening right now,” Jordan said.
Randy Barnes, president of Transport Workers Union of America Local 555, which represents Southwest ground crews, added his voice to the chorus of condemnation. “If airline executives had planned better, the recent meltdown could have been mitigated or avoided,” Barnes said in a statement.
How many flights was Southwest forced to cancel?
According to FlightAware, Southwest cancelled 15,716 flights between Thursday, December 22 and Thursday, December 29.
What steps is Southwest taking to address cancellations?
Southwest has been contacting travellers and asking customers who aren’t scheduled to fly within the next 72 hours to call later to avoid crowding busy phone lines. The airline also apologised for “falling short,” saying “our heartfelt apologies for this are just getting started.”
“We always take care of our customers,” said Southwest CEO Gary Kelly. “And we will lean in and go above and beyond what they expect. Teams are working on all of this, including processing refunds and proactively reaching out to and caring for customers who have experienced costly detours and reroutes, to name a few examples.”
Some legislators want more. Sens. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., issued a joint statement calling for “not only rebooked tickets, ticket refunds, and reimbursement for hotel, meal, and transportation costs, but also significant monetary compensation for the disruption to their holiday plans.”
What is the government doing in response to Southwest’s “meltdown”?
The Transportation Department and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation are investigating the cancellations, and President Joe Biden has stated that his administration will hold airlines accountable.
“What we did, particularly during this year’s problems, was to press the airlines to increase their customer service commitments. They did it. They did so in writing, and now that we have that in hand, we can hold them to a higher standard than was possible last year “Buttigieg told Lester Holt on “NBC Nightly News.”
“This has clearly crossed the line from an uncontrollable weather situation to something that is directly the airline’s responsibility,” he added.”