Southwest Flight Delay Compensation — A Comprehensive Guide

If you are reading this page, it must be because your Southwest flight has been delayed or canceled recently. Considering that Southwest has just announced that it is extending Boeing 737 Max jetliner flight cancelations until August 10, we should ready ourselves for some turbulent summer airline situations. While delays and even cancelations are quite a normal occurrence in air transportation in general, it doesn’t mean that they are easy for us to bear.

Canceled flights or lengthy delays can sometimes cost us both time and money. It is only natural that we would want to get some kind of reimbursement for our loss. Luckily, Southwest Airlines typically compensate their fliers for inconveniences caused by the carrier itself. If you want to know if you are eligible for a refund and how you can easily get it using the DoNotPay app, we’ve got all the scoop below.

Does Southwest delay or cancel flights on a regular basis?

According to the Bureau of Transportation, Southwest departure flight delays have dropped from 22,14% in 2018 to 19,70% in 2019. Flights canceled, on the other hand, have gone from 1,40% to 2,60% in the same one-year period. This goes to show that there is a solid likelihood that your flight may be canceled unexpectedly. There is even a roughly one in five chance that your Southwest flight will be significantly delayed. 

There are many reasons why a flight may be postponed or canceled, including but not limited to:

  • Weather conditions
  • Technical problems
  • Power outage
  • Equipment malfunctioning
  • Maintenance
  • Public safety concerns
  • Air traffic

When the problem is on your carrier’s side and when they should have predicted the issue, you are entitled to some kind of compensation for your inconvenience. The best way to check whether you can be reimbursed or not is to contact Southwest customer support. Skip the long waiting in line for the operator with DoNotPay. We will do the queueing for you and let you know as soon as someone picks up!

Southwest canceled my flight. How can I get a refund for flight delays and cancelations?

Find out just how simple it is to get compensated for delayed or canceled flights.

How To (Almost) Guarantee Flight Refunds | 70% Success rate

In the unfortunate case that you experience a Southwest flight cancelation or a significant delay, you must be wondering if you are entitled to get a refund from the airline. You may not like the answer. 

Although there are often good grounds for reimbursement, there are many situations in which you will not get compensation from the carrier. That applies to unforeseen events such as:

  • Inclement weather when taking off would be a violation of safety protocols
  • Busy sky traffic, when the air traffic control instructs the pilot not to fly until favorable conditions are restored
  • Airport equipment breakdown, which is beyond the airline’s control and, therefore, not a reason for a refund
  • Multiple schedule changes, when it may happen that your delayed flight takes off when originally planned against all odds, causing you to miss it

If your Southwest flight cancelation or delay was not caused by one of the above, you may get reimbursed. In that case, you would need to lodge a complaint with a representative of the airline. This usually proves to be a time-consuming task. You would need to negotiate with the rep and prove your case. The fact that compensation in these cases is not regulated by law (only oversold flights are, as a matter of a fact!) means that your refund is not guaranteed.

How can DoNotPay app help me get compensation?

The DoNotPay app can help you with the tedious process of claiming your refund from this carrier. The app is super easy to use. Open it in any browser or get it on your iPhone or any Apple gadget of your choice. You will be asked to report your customer service issues. State which airline you are having problems with. 

The app will first offer you the option of skipping being on hold and letting the airline support call you back at their convenience. What this means is that we will wait in the queue instead of you and let you know when the wait is over. Alternatively, you can choose that the app fights the issue on your behalf. 

Explain the problem and give us all the necessary information. Try to provide as much detail on the matter at hand as possible:

  1. What kind of issue you are having (a canceled or delayed flight)
  2. What amount you expect to be compensated with
  3. What is your flight confirmation number (make sure to have that on hand)

If you are a member of Southwest’s Frequent Flier program, we need to know that as well. Apart from those details, we need the departure and arrival locations and then we’re all set! Confirm your contact email address and lay back while we do the boring stuff for you. The Southwest phone queues can last up to 45 minutes. We will connect you to the customer service rep as soon as we get them on the line. 

About Southwest airlines

Southwest Airlines Co. is one of the major American airline carriers and the biggest low-cost airline world-wide. It was founded in 1967 with headquarters in Dallas, Texas.

Southwest has bases at airports in the following cities:

  • Baltimore
  • Dallas–Love
  • Las Vegas
  • Denver
  • Chicago–Midway
  • Phoenix–Sky Harbor
  • Houston–Hobby
  • Atlanta
  • Los Angeles
  • Oakland
  • Orlando

Southwest Airlines has used Boeing 737 jetliner planes almost exclusively from the start. It is the biggest operator of these aircrafts in the world. The use of the same model of airplanes by the same manufacturer means lower pilot training costs and easier mechanical maintenance, which is most likely what we owe our low-cost Southwest flight ticket prices to. Currently, Southwest has 752 of these planes and each of them flies six times per day, one average. The average fleet age of Southwest Airlines is 11.8 years, which is mid-range compared to its competition.

What is the Southwest flight delay and cancelation compensation policy?

In the United States, there are no legal requirements for airlines to compensate passengers in the event of a flight delay or cancelation. The US Department of Transportation has clearly set rules on what rights fliers have in the event of overselling the flight and involuntary denied boarding of a passenger. Southwest Airlines abide by these rules fully.

In case of a delay, cancellation, or overbooking, there are no clearly defined rules. Whether an airline will compensate a customer in such cases and in what way is entirely up to the carrier. 

In the event of a significant delay or a canceled flight, Southwest Airlines offers its clients to rebook on the first available flight to their desired destination. If that is not suitable for the passenger, there is an option to get a refund on the unused part of their ticket. Although there are no legal obligations to do so, the carrier reimburses around $50 per hour of delay to its customers.

What is the Southwest overbooking compensation policy?

Although it isn’t illegal, Southwest stopped overbooking their flights back in May 2017. In case of the last-minute changes to the seating capacity, it may happen that the carrier oversells the flight. This can happen when a larger aircraft needs to be exchanged for a smaller one. In that case, the airline staff will search for volunteers who would give up their seats to those who need them more urgently in exchange for compensation. 

The volunteer would be booked for the next available flight that can arrive at the desired location no more than two hours after the original flight does. The volunteer would also get a $100 voucher and compensation that equals the price of a one-way flight to the destination in question.

If there are no volunteers, the airline employees would select passengers who would involuntarily be denied boarding. The law prescribes the following reimbursement:

  • If the arrival to the destination was delayed for under two hours, the passenger would receive an alternative Southwest flight to the location free of charge, as well as the double price of a one-way ticket to there, but no more than $650
  • In case the client reaches the destination in over two hours, they would get the next available flight at no additional cost, compensation of four times the value of a one-way ticket, but not exceeding $1350.

Southwest codeshare partners

At the moment, Southwest doesn’t codeshare with any other carrier. What this means is that you won’t be able to book a seat with a different airline through Southwest, not even in the case of extensive delays or flight cancelations. 

Domestic and international Southwest flight destinations

Country City
Domestic destinations
United States (Alabama) Birmingham
United States (Arizona) Phoenix, Tucson
United States (Arkansas) Little Rock
United States (California) Burbank, Orange County, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, Ontario, Sacramento, San Francisco, San José
United States (Colorado) Denver
United States (Connecticut) Hartford
United States (Florida) Pensacola, Fort Lauderdale, Panama City, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Orlando, Palm Beach, Tampa
United States (Georgia) Atlanta
United States (Hawaii) Kailua-Kona, Honolulu, Kahului, Hilo, Lihue
United States (Idaho) Boise
United States (Illinois) Chicago
United States (Indiana) Indianapolis
United States (Iowa) Des Moines
United States (Kansas) Wichita
United States (Kentucky) Covington/Cincinnati, Louisville
United States (Louisiana) New Orleans
United States (Maine) Portland, ME
United States (Maryland) Baltimore/Washington, D.C.
United States (Massachusetts) Boston
United States (Michigan) Detroit, Grand Rapids
United States (Minnesota) Minneapolis/St. Paul
United States (Missouri) Kansas City, St. Louis
United States (Nebraska) Omaha
United States (Nevada) Las Vegas, Reno/Tahoe
United States (New Hampshire) Manchester
United States (New Mexico) Albuquerque
United States (New York) New York City, Rochester, Albany, NY, Buffalo, Long Island/Islip
United States (North Carolina) Charlotte, Raleigh/Durham
United States (Ohio) Cleveland, Columbus
United States (Oklahoma) Oklahoma City, Tulsa
United States (Oregon) Portland, OR
United States (Pennsylvania) Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
United States (Puerto Rico) San Juan
United States (Rhode Island) Providence
United States (South Carolina) Charleston, Greenville/Spartanburg
United States (Tennessee) Memphis, Nashville
United States (Texas) Amarillo, Harlingen/South Padre Island, Corpus Christi, El Paso, Dallas, Houston, Lubbock, San Antonio, Austin, Midland/Odessa
United States (Utah) Salt Lake City
United States (Virginia) Norfolk, Richmond, Arlington, Dulles
United States (Washington) Seattle/Tacoma, Spokane
United States (Wisconsin) Milwaukee
International destinations
Kingdom of the Netherlands (Aruba) Oranjestad
Bahamas Nassau
Belize Belize City
United Kingdom (Cayman Islands) George Town
Costa Rica Liberia, San José
Cuba Havana
Dominican Republic Punta Cana
Jamaica Montego Bay
Mexico (Baja California Sur) San José del Cabo
Mexico (Jalisco) Puerto Vallarta
Mexico (Quintana Roo) Cancún, Cozumel
United Kingdom (Turks and Caicos Islands) Providenciales

How to use DoNotPay to reach Southwest customer service?

In case you need to get in touch with the Southwest customer service as soon as possible, DoNotPay can make the process easier for you. We have the ultimate guide for contacting Southwest customer support, and we can help you get their attention faster than via other channels.

The best news is that you won’t have to waste your precious time waiting in a phone queue for a customer service rep to pick up. We are more than happy to do that for you! Download the DoNotPay app on your iPhone or any other Apple device or use the web app in any browser. Give us your basic flight info and sit back. We will contact you as soon as we get a human on the line.

Other ways of getting in touch with Southwest customer service

Apart from DoNotPay, there are also traditional ways of contacting customer support at Southwest Airlines:

  1. Visit their official website to try and find the information you need among the FAQ 
  2. Call 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792) to get help in the United States (for other countries, the contact numbers are listed here)
  3. Send them an email through the form on southwest.com but note that you may not get an answer in 48h or so

Given that Southwest Airlines is one of the major carriers in the US, if you go through these standard channels, you may not hear back from them in several days. This is because they have hundreds of customer inquiries to process every day. You will be pleased to hear that there are other ways to make them notice you:

  1. Find them on Facebook
  2. Post a question on their official Twitter account
  3. Check them out on Instagram

If you draw attention to yourself on their public social media profiles, you may have a better chance of making yourself heard.

As you can see, DoNotPay may be the most viable and the least time-consuming option to get in touch with Southwest customer service.

What else can DoNotPay do for you?

Besides helping you get compensation for delayed flights, DNP can help you solve other annoying problems with subscriptions, tickets, refunds, or complaints. Don’t hesitate to turn to us because we can also help you with: