Are you one of the many air passengers who experienced a flight disruption with Southwest?
You’ve come to the right place: we can help you get a Southwest flight compensation for your late or canceled flight. If you’ve been denied boarding because the plane was overbooked… we can also get you the money you deserve!
ClaimCompass protects your air passenger rights against airlines who have no respect for it. We’ve already helped thousands of travelers just like you get the money they deserved.
It’s true that with the exception of boarding denials, US regulations don’t protect flyers as much as airlines - but for certain flights, you can rely on the European law instead.
On this page, you’ll be able to:
As mentioned before, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) offers virtually no protection to passengers who experienced a delayed flight with Southwest on American soil… or rather, in the air.
But that doesn’t mean you can get money from the US airline! If your flight departed from Europe, then EU Regulation 261/2004 is applicable. Assuming you reached your destination in the US with more than 3 hours of delay and that Southwest was responsible for the schedule disruption, you could get compensated.
Now, the claiming process turns into a nightmare for many passengers, because the airline makes everything possible for people to abandon their claim.
That doesn’t happen with us. Simply fill out our Compensation Calculator and let us handle the entire process for you. It’s super easy - in less than 3 minutes, you’ll know if you’re eligible.
You might be entitled to up to 600€ from the airline!
The compensation amount for flight delay is fixed by EC261 (the European law). It states that when your flight is late by at least 3 hours at destination, you are entitled to:
Since flights between Europe and the United States are longer than 3,500km, you’ll be entitled to 600€. There’s only one exception: if the delay at your destination is between 3 and 4 hours, Southwest is allowed to reduce the compensation amount by 50%.
So, to summarize, for a delayed flight with Southwest between Europe and the US, you’re entitled to:
Now, there’s something important to note here: it’s the delay at arrival that matters, not at take-off. What does that mean?
If the flight took-off more than 3 hours after the initial departure time but lands less than 3 hours later than planned, then you are NOT entitled to compensation for flight delay with Southwest.
Again, the DOT doesn’t guarantee any protection for passengers whose flight was cancelled in the US. “Airlines do not guarantee their schedules”, they state. It’s a mention that you’ll also find in Southwest’s contract of carriage.
More often than not, the airline will do what it can to rebook you on the next flight so that you reach your destination as soon as possible despite the cancellation, provided that seats are available.
You COULD, however, be entitled compensation under EC261. For that, you need to have been notified of the cancellation less than 14 days prior to the day of the flight. There are other requirements that you can read about in our post on cancelled flight compensation.
Assuming that you are eligible, calculating the exact flight cancellation amount if tricky. The easiest option is to use our Compensation Calculator: in less than 3 minutes, you’ll know if you’re eligible and how much you can claim.
Do not forget that flight cancellations are identical to delays in the fact that to be eligible, the cause of the disruption must have been within the airline’s control and not an extraordinary circumstance. If you’re reading this when the epidemic struck, know that you’re not entitled to compensation if your flight was cancelled due to coronavirus (COVID-19). Other examples include:
Note that “technical problems” and “mechanical issues” are NOT considered to be extraordinary circumstances by EU law. If that’s the excuse the airline gives you when refusing to pay compensation, make sure to let them know about. Or let us handle it.
Finally, know that even if Southwest sets up a rebooking on a different flight, you might still be eligible for compensation. And if the rebooking is not convenient for your travel plans, you can request a flight cancellation refund instead.
The first thing you want to do is keep your travel documents, along with the receipts of the expenses that occurred as a result of the cancellation. You will need both to prove that you are entitled to compensation and, possible, a refund.
Sometimes, you won’t be warned about the cancellation until you’re at the airport. This happens when the flight is canceled at the last minute. In that case, try to talk to an airline representative or the gate agents to know what the reason for the disruption is. Insist on getting a written document stating the cause of the cancellation.
After that, you must ask to be rerouted to your final destination as soon as possible. Should Southwest not rebook you immediately, make the request yourself. Depending on seat availability, you may or may not depart immediately, if at all.
If the airline rebooks you on a flight that’s not convenient for you, you may request a refund instead. Now, if the new travel arrangements made by Southwest are good enough for you, you’re still likely to wait at the airport.
In the event that you are forced to wait for at least two hours prior to departure, Southwest must enforce your “right to care”. This means that they must provide a meal and refreshment (possibly in the form of a meal voucher), and a couple of phone calls, should you require it. It’s also possible that you won’t get to fly until the next day. In that case, Southwest must organize your stay at a hotel near the airport, along with transportation, free of charge.
If you agreed to be rebooked on a different flight instead of requesting a refund, take a look at how late you arrived compared to the initial schedule and use our Compensation Calculator to know if you’re entitled to compensation for the cancellation.
Yes, like most US airlines, Southwest is known to overbook flights. What does that mean?
Sometimes, the airline sells more tickets than there are seats on the plane. They usually do so based on historical data, knowing that some passengers simply do not show up for their flight. Rather than flying with empty seats, they sell more tickets, anticipating that some passengers won’t make it.
But when there are more passengers than seats, it’s inevitable that some won’t be granted access to the plane. Southwest must first ask for volunteers who agree to give up on their ticket. Do NOT volunteer, even if Southwest offers you a travel voucher as compensation, or you’ll be surrendering your right to compensation for boarding denial.
If you’re bumped off the flight against your will, you are entitled to compensation.
The denied board compensation amount varies depending on whether the EU Regulation or US regulations are applicable.
In short, under EC261, the compensation amount for overbooking is identical to that of a flight cancellation:
Unlike European law, US regulations use the price of your ticket to determine the compensation amount:
There is only one scenario that will allow you to choose under which law you wish to be compensated for boarding denial: when you’re bumped off a flight from Europe to the United States. Otherwise, you’ll have to calculate which law is more favorable for you, depending on the price of your ticket.
Now, there are situations in which you WON’T be entitled to compensation:
To reach and talk to someone from Southwest, dial 1-800-435-9792. A live person will be on the other end, once you’ve listened to all the automatic messages and pressed the appropriate keys.
Yes, on the condition that you have a Rapid Rewards account. The Southwest live chat is accessible from the Android or iOS app.
Southwest is one of the largest US airlines, with over 60,000 employees ensuring the departure of 4,000 flights every day. But, perhaps more importantly, it’s the largest low-cost airline in the world.
It was established on March 15, 1967 and was then called Air Southwest. Originally, it was only operating flights between Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas, where it is headquartered in the state of Texas.
Last year, Southwest expanded its services to Honolulu, Maui, and Kailua-Kona. The giant’s flights cover over 100 destinations in the United States, along with about a dozen other countries.
The tab below provides specific data regarding the airline's on-time performance. It includes the amount of flights operated by the airline each month, which portion of these flight arrived on time (i.e with less than 15 minutes delay), which portion consists of delayed flights, and the average delay of their flights in minutes. Source: Flightstats.com
On-time Performance Rating: 5.9 Compared with the other 3 large US airlines, Southwest’s flights arrive late more often. However this performance remain better than the industry average, which is close to 25%. Inversely, the average delay of the airline is below the industry average, but better than that of the other US airlines.