A Guide to Air-Passenger Rights: Southwest

Southwest


Notifications of Delays, Cancellations, Diversions

The best information regarding the routing or status of Southwest flights is available on Southwest.com, 24/7. Passengers can also check a flight's status by calling 1-888-SWA-TRIP. Flight information is also available during hours of operation at each airport Southwest serves.

If the status of a flight changes with respect to a known departure delay of 30 minutes or more or a cancellation, Southwest will, within 30 minutes, notify passengers of the best available information regarding such known delay or cancellation through the Automated Outbound Notification system, via the means selected at the time the reservation was made (email, voice call, text) and at the airport via the flight-information display screens and gate announcements.


Cancellations by Traveler

Southwest will allow reservations to be canceled without penalty if the passenger calls or cancels online within 24 hours. A refund will then be processed in the form of payment of the ticket purchase.


Cancellations Within Airline Control

If, for any reason, a passenger’s Southwest flight does not operate as scheduled, Southwest Airlines will, at the passenger’s request, refund the unused portion of the passenger’s fare or will assist him or her by arranging transport to the passenger’s destination on another Southwest flight with available seats. If the passenger elects to take an alternate Southwest flight, he or she will not be charged any more money even if the ticket for the disrupted flight has usage limits or fare restrictions.

If circumstances within the airline's control cause a passenger to miss the last possible flight or connection of the day to his or her destination, Southwest's customer-service agents have the authority to arrange for overnight lodging for that passenger and will find the passenger a hotel or motel as near to the airport as possible, at no additional cost. Customer Service may also arrange for ground transportation to the overnight facility.


Cancellations Beyond Airline Control

If the cause of the passenger’s inconvenience is not within Southwest's means of control, staff will do their best to assist passengers by securing a discounted rate at a hotel or motel at or near the airport. The passenger’s Southwest ticket may be refunded, but Southwest will not pay for tickets on other airlines or absorb the difference between Southwest fares and higher fares on other airlines.


Delays

If circumstances within the airline's control cause a passenger to miss the last possible flight or connection of the day to his or her destination, Southwest's customer-service agents have the authority to arrange for overnight lodging for that passenger and will find him or her a hotel or motel as near to the airport as possible, at no additional cost. Customer Service may also arrange for ground transportation to the overnight facility.

Southwest will, at the passenger's request, refund the unused portion of the fare or will assist the passenger by arranging to transport the passenger to his or her destination on another Southwest flight with available seats, with no extra charges.

Southwest will not begin the boarding process if the airline knows that the flight will be delayed at the gate for two or more hours. In the event of a delay of a known duration, boarding will commence no sooner than 30 minutes in advance of a firm, revised estimated time of departure. Once the affected flight is available for boarding, a general boarding announcement will be made in the departure gate area, and a "final call" for that flight will be made in the general terminal area where permitted.


Onboard Ground Delays

Southwest will endeavor to make refreshments available, to make every effort to ensure that lavatories remain serviceable, to inform passengers when and if it is safe to use personal electronic devices, to work with airport officials to acquire equipment by which passengers may deplane, to ensure that first aid and other routine medical services remain available, and to make every reasonable effort to minimize the duration of any onboard ground delay and passenger inconveniences.

Southwest will provide status updates within 30 minutes of a known delay and passengers will be updated every 30 minutes of the flight's status changes.


Overbookings (Involuntarily Denied Boarding)

Customer-service agents will ask those who have checked in and received a boarding pass if they are willing to volunteer to take a later flight. If a volunteer gives up his or her seat in an oversale situation and Southwest can rebook them on a Southwest flight that will arrive within two hours of the originally scheduled arrival time, Southwest will give that passenger a travel voucher in the amount of $100 plus an amount equal to the face value of the one-way flight coupon(s).

If Southwest cannot confirm the passenger's travel within two hours of the originally scheduled arrival time, the passenger will be placed on a "priority standby" list and the passenger's compensation will increase to a travel voucher in the amount of $300 plus an amount equal to the face value of the one-way coupon. If the passenger is not accommodated as a standby passenger, Southwest will confirm the passenger on a later Southwest flight(s) that day with seats available to the passenger's destination. The passenger will not incur an increase in fare.

If Southwest does not receive enough volunteers, all passengers who have purchased travel and have met the check-in time but do not hold a boarding pass will be involuntarily denied boarding. Southwest will confirm those passengers on the next Southwest flight to their destinations with seats available. If the passenger's alternate flight is scheduled to arrive at the destination or stopover point within two hours of the originally scheduled flight, the passenger will be compensated in an amount equal to two times the face value of the remaining one-way flight coupon(s), up to $650. If the alternate flight is scheduled to arrive at the destination or stopover point more than two hours later than the originally scheduled flight, the passenger's compensation will increase to an amount equal to four times the remaining one-way flight coupon(s), up to $1,350.


For more information, visit Southwest.com.


Other Airlines:

Air Canada

Alaska

Allegiant

American

Delta

Frontier

Hawaiian

JetBlue

Spirit

United

US Airways

Virgin America

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