Southwest Airlines Cancelled and Delayed Flight Compensation

Airline Rating & Flight Compensation

Are you one of the many air passengers who experienced a flight cancellation with Southwest? Or a flight delay? Maybe your flight was overbooked and you were denied boarding?


In any case, you’ve come to the right place: we can help you recover money or get flight compensation for your late or canceled flight with Southwest Airlines, or any other flight disruption.


Service by ClaimCompass protects your air passenger rights against airlines that have no respect for it. We’ve already helped thousands of travelers just like you get the money they deserved. 


With the Service app, you automatically recover money for your flight disruptions, be it cash, vouchers, or miles. In fact, the average traveler gets $300 back per year!


On this page, you’ll be able to:


Southwest Flight Cancellation Compensation

It’s not only during the pandemic and extraordinary events like the storms in Florida that Southwest cancels flights. But if your flight was canceled, you could get compensation in the form of cash, a voucher, or airline miles. 


What are my passenger rights when Southwest cancels a flight?

Again, the DOT doesn’t guarantee any protection for passengers whose flight was canceled 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. 


That being said, even though they are not forced to do so, Southwest may offer you compensation in the form of cash, voucher, or miles when they cancel your flight. With the Service app, you automatically claim compensation for flight cancellations.


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. 


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 it. Or let us handle it. 


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. 


What to do in case of Southwest flight cancellation?

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, possibly, 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 have the Service app on your phone, we will automatically contact Southwest so that you can get money back for your inconvenience. 


What can I do in cases of mass flight cancellations by Southwest?

During the weekend of Oct 9, 2021, Southwest canceled over 1,800 flights as a result of bad weather, air traffic control issues, and staffing shortages. That was more than 28% of their weekend activity, according to FlightAware. What can you do when something of the sort happens to you?


As soon as the flight status switches to “canceled”, you want to get a hold of your airline and ask to be re-routed to your destination on another flight. In the case of a massive meltdown like the one above, it’s unlikely that the airline will rebook you on a flight of theirs. But they may book you on another airline’s flight instead. Alternatively, Southwest Airlines should refund the price of your ticket. 


Keep in mind that, although they are not obligated to do so, some airlines will offer some form of compensation when passengers suffer from their canceled itineraries. With Service, we automatically claim compensation on your behalf when your flight was canceled. 


Can you get a refund if you cancel your Southwest flight? 

Southwest’ cancellation policy varies depending on the type of ticket that you purchased: 


Get a refund of the value of your ticket, or keep the value of the ticket in a “travel fund”, to be used on a future flight.

Keep the value of the ticket in a “travel fund”, to be used on a future flight.


If you purchased EarlyBird Check-In, know that its value will not be refunded should you cancel your ticket. 

Obviously, you’re not entitled to compensation for canceling your flight yourself.


Check your flight in 3 minutes

You might be entitled to up to 600€ from the airline!


      Southwest Flight Delay Compensation

      How do I claim compensation for a delayed flight with Southwest?

      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. With the Service app, you don’t have anything to do: we’ll handle filing your claim and communicating with the airline to get you some money back.


      How much can I get in compensation for a Southwest flight delay?

      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:


      Nothing if the delay is less than 3 hours


      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.


      Now, keep in mind that for domestic US flights, you are not legally entitled to flight delay compensation. But with Service, it’s more likely than not that we’ll get you something for your trouble with Southwest.



      Southwest Overbooking Compensation

      Can I get bumped off a Southwest flight?

      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 denied boarding compensation. 


      How much can I get in compensation for an overbooked Southwest flight?

      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:


      Have you ever had a delayed flight with Southwest Airlines in the past 5 years? Check out if you’re eligible to compensation! The airline may owe you up to 600€: it takes less than 3 minutes to find out!

      Southwest Customer Service

      How do I talk to a person at Southwest?

      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. 


      Does Southwest have a live chat?

      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. 



      Southwest Airlines Ratings










      Southwest Airlines On-Time Performance

      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:

      Number of flights
      On-time (<15 min delay)
      Delayed (15+ min late)
      Average delay (in min)
      Sep 2019
      Aug 2019
      Jul 2019
      Jun 2019
      May 2019
      Apr 2019
      Mar 2019
      Feb 2019
      Jan 2019
      Dec 2018
      Nov 2018
      Oct 2018
      Sep 2018

      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.