Customers of Southwest Airlines are scrambling to change their travel plans after another day of heavy cancellations.
According to FlightAware, which tracks flight status in real time, more than 2,900 Southwest flights were cancelled on Monday, more than 2,600 on Tuesday, and nearly 2,500 on Wednesday.
“With consecutive days of extreme winter weather across our network behind us, continuing challenges are having an unacceptable impact on our customers and employees,” Southwest said in a statement. “As we work to restore our operation, we have decided to operate on a reduced schedule for the next few days, flying roughly one-third of our scheduled flights.”
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 may rebook or request a refund.
Furthermore, all Southwest customers who have flights scheduled through Jan. 2, 2023 may rebook for free or fly standby within 14 days of their original travel date between previously booked cities.
Flights can be rebooked online at Southwest.com or by calling 1-800-I-FLY-SWA. Customers who call should be prepared to wait a long time.
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 may submit receipts via email for reimbursement consideration.
“We will honour reasonable requests for reimbursement for meals, hotels, and alternate modes of transportation,” the airline stated on its website.
How many flights was Southwest forced to cancel?
According to FlightAware, Southwest cancelled just under 8,000 flights from Monday to Wednesday.
What steps is Southwest taking to address cancellations?
Southwest is contacting affected passengers and asking other customers who aren’t scheduled to fly within the next 72 hours to call later to avoid clogging up busy phone lines.
The airline also apologised for “falling short,” saying “our heartfelt apologies for this are just getting started.”
What is the reason for Southwest Airlines’ flight cancellations?
Southwest stated that it was “fully staffed and prepared” for the holiday weekend, but severe weather forced operational changes, which it is now attempting to recover from.
“We’re working with safety at the forefront to address wide-scale disruption by rebalancing the airline and repositioning crews and our fleet ultimately to best serve all who plan to travel with us,” the airline said, adding that the work was intentional, necessary, and aimed at avoiding “last-minute inconveniences.”
Is the government assisting with flight cancellations?
On Tuesday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told CNN that Southwest Airlines’ “system really has completely melted down,” and that he met with the carrier’s CEO to discuss accountability and next steps, including potential fines.
“I made it clear that our department will hold them accountable for their customer responsibilities, both to get them through this situation and to ensure that this does not happen again,” he said.
“The CEO promised me that they will not only meet, but will exceed the customer standards and commitments that they have made to us in the past and that we will be able to enforce,” he added.