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Nearly 2/3 of Southwest Airlines flights are canceled Tuesday, Wednesday. Here’s what travelers should know. – B87FM
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Nearly 2/3 of Southwest Airlines flights are canceled Tuesday, Wednesday. Here’s what travelers should know.

Written by on December 27, 2022

Southwest Airlines customers are scrambling to change travel plans amid another day of heavy cancellations.

More than 2,900 Southwest flights were canceled Monday, more than 2,600 flights are canceled Tuesday, and nearly 2,500 are canceled for Wednesday, according to FlightAware, which tracks flight status in real time.

“With consecutive days of extreme winter weather across our network behind us, continuing challenges are impacting our customers and employees in a significant way that is unacceptable,” Southwest said in a statement. “As we continue the work to recover our operation, we have made the decision to continue operating a reduced schedule by flying roughly one third of our schedule for the next several days.” 

Here’s what Southwest customers should know.

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Passengers wait in line to check in for Southwest Airlines flights at LaGuardia Airport on Dec. 27.

What happens if Southwest cancels my flight?

Customers whose flights are canceled may rebook or request a refund for their flights. 

Additionally, all Southwest customers who were scheduled to fly through Jan. 2, 2023 may rebook without paying additional charges or fly standby within 14 days of their original travel date between previously booked cities.

Flights may be rebooked on Southwest’s website or by phone at 1-800-I-FLY-SWA. Customers who call should expect long wait times.

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Is there any way to get refunds on Southwest?

Customers whose flights were canceled may fill out a form on Southwest’s website to request a refund, if they choose not to rebook.

The Department of Transportation requires all airlines to offer refunds when a flight is canceled for any reason. Rules about delays are more complicated and vary widely. The DOT’s dashboard for travelers lists policies by airline.

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Can I be reimbursed for extra expenses? 

Southwest customers impacted by cancellations or a “significant flight delay” between Dec. 24 and Jan. 2 may submit receipts by email for reimbursement consideration. 

“We will honor reasonable requests for reimbursement for meals, hotel, and alternate transportation,” the airline said on its website.

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How many flights did Southwest cancel?

Southwest has canceled just under 8,000 flights between Monday through Wednesday, according to FlightAware.

What is Southwest doing about cancellations?

Southwest is reaching out to impacted travelers and asking other customers, who aren’t scheduled to fly within the next 72 hours, to delay calling to avoid tying up busy phone lines.

The airline is also apologizing for “falling short,” saying “our heartfelt apologies for this are just beginning.”

Both the Department of Transportation and Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation plan to look into the cancellations. President Joe Biden said airlines will be held accountable.

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Why is Southwest Airlines canceling flights?

Southwest said it was “fully staffed and prepared” heading into the holiday weekend, but severe weather forced operational changes, and it’s now trying to recover.

“We’re working with safety at the forefront to urgently 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, calling the work intentional, necessary and aimed at avoiding “last-minute inconveniences.”

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