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Southwest Airlines Cancellations: A Complete Guide


Southwest Airlines Co., often referred to as Southwest, is the world's largest low-cost carrier and one of the major airlines in the United States of America.

Southwest has its headquarters in Dallas, Texas, and has a scheduled destination service to about 121 locations in the U.S. and ten additional nations. In 2018, the airline transported more domestic passengers than any other airline in the United States.

Southwest Airlines was established back in March 1967 by Rollin King and Herb Kelleher. It was previously known as Air Southwest Co., which was later replaced with its current name, Southwest Airlines Co. In 1971, the airline began operating as an intrastate airline within the state of Texas, traveling to locations such as San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas.

Southwest Airlines expanded nationwide from 1979. Southwest Airlines currently operates in 42 states and many other Central American locations. Read on to learn more about Southwest Airlines Cancellations.


According to Thepointsguy, Southwest Airlines is one of the world's most awarded and admired airlines that offer exceptional hospitability in each of its 121 airports across 11 nations.

Southwest has a long legendary history of returning huge profits to its shareholders, with more than $13 billion in returns through dividends and re-purchases.

In 2020, Southwest generated a profit of $639 million through the payment of $188 million in dividends and $451 million in the re-purchase of common stock.

Since its establishment in 1971, Southwest Airlines has been popularly known for offering low-cost air travel and currently transports more travelers within the United States than any other airline in the state.

The airline's business model is different from the other airlines operating in the United States as it uses a point-to-point network, allows free checked baggage, and uses a rolling hub.

Hospitality to Clients

In addition to maintaining an Employee-first corporate culture, Southwest Airlines has an unmatched record of delivering exceptional hospitality to its clients.

According to, Southwest Airlines carries more than 130 million travelers annually. The year 2021 marks 50 years since the airline was established.

To celebrate its 50th Anniversary, the airline is promising to continue to develop policies toward an environmental sustainability goal of cutting down on its carbon emissions.

Southwest Airlines also maintains an unrivaled record of no involuntary layoffs or furloughs in its iconic history. The airline exclusively uses the Boeing 737 planes in its fleet.

It employs more than 60,000 employees and facilitates about 4,000 departures daily during the peak travel season.

Southwest Airlines Cancellations

As of 2022, Southwest Airlines Co. has cancelled 20,000 flights. According to ZDNet, the airline blamed these cancellations on harsh weather conditions in Florida and air traffic control problems, which was caused by staffing shortages.

The Dallas-based airline said that the mass flight cancellations and delays that disrupted air travel for thousands of their clients cost them $75 million.

On 8th October, one of the Southwest airports in Orlando responded to an issue in a customer apology after the airline had canceled more than a third of its scheduled departures.

Its main rivals, including airlines in Florida, experienced relatively minimal flight cancellations during this period, while Spirit Airlines canceled only 6% of its departures and American Airlines scrapped 16% of its scheduled flights.

With business air travel resuming after the recent economic recession, Southwest Airlines has fully committed itself to offering customers basic flight technology.

They also plan on spending $2 billion on enhanced tech features such as power ports and free Wi-Fi connectivity on their planes. Customers will get to enjoy more entertainment options, new self-service capabilities, and free iPads.

Southwest Airlines plans on dealing with the staff shortage by hiring thousands of fully trained employees to answer all your questions and ensure you have an exceptional travel experience.

Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly validated these claims after releasing the airline's 2022 schedule. The airline reported a $1.6 billion loss last year and a profit of $446 million.

The schedule also reflected more conservative employment assumptions and several recommended upgrades to their planes.

Southwest's cancellation policy

The Southwest Airlines flight cancellation policy is very straightforward. It states that you can cancel your flight at your convenience, with no cancellation fees imposed.

However, this is only applicable ten minutes before your flight's scheduled departure. Other key takeaways in their flight cancellation policy include:

If you booked your flight with cash and want to cancel the flight, you will be refunded as your payment method or converted into Southwest travel funds. This also depends on the type of fare you booked.

You can cancel your flight even for non-refundable reservations. Here, you will only be refunded as the original form of payment or have it converted into travel funds if you cancel within 24 hours of booking.

Additionally, if you booked your flight with Rapid Rewards points, you would be refunded back into your loyalty account. It should be noted that if you receive Southwest travel funds after canceling your flight, there will be some restrictions on using your credit.

This is because travel funds are only accessible with the name of the original ticketed traveler and a confirmation number. You will not be able to transfer your ticket to anyone else, and you will need to use the travel funds by looking for a flight within one year after the initially booked flight.

How Is Southwest Airlines Different From Other Airlines?

Over the past two decades, Southwest Airlines has been considered a successful airline company that thrives when other airlines are struggling.

According to USAToday, any company operating in the airline carrier industry must strengthen and maintain some competitive advantages from its airline competitors.

The amazing success of Southwest Airlines is mainly attributed to its effective business model that is based on low-cost pricing, efficient flight operations, and highly innovative logistic solutions.

Moreover, the airline mainly focuses on their customers, ensuring they have an exceptional traveling experience.

The Southwest staff have also played a significant role in ensuring the company's success; they have been described as well-accommodating and friendly.

The year 2020 forced many several airline companies to go out of business, but Southwest Airlines was able to survive this period without the need for significant staff layoffs.

Southwest Airlines is a strong company in terms of size and cost perspective, meaning that it has more extensive reserves in vital assets such as credit and cash.

The company is also able to control its overall costs by ensuring minimal to no wastage or overspending. Being listed as the only large airline in the U.S. that offers low-cost carrier services, Southwest Airlines carries the most significant number of air travelers in the state within a year.

Southwest Airlines is listed among the big four U.S. airlines: United, America Airlines, and Delta.

Why Should You Choose Southwest Airlines?

Apart from their low-cost flying tickets, there are a number of reasons why you should travel with Southwest Airlines; they include:

1. Well-trained staff

Since the airline industry is highly competitive, each airline needs to have well-trained and skilled staff. Southwest Airlines boasts of being a people-oriented airline that solely focuses on hiring the right personnel.

The Dallas-based airline operates with approachable and friendly employees ready to attend to your flight requirements. Per its strategic business model, Southwest Airlines only employs people who embody the airline's brand messaging. Southwest also has very strict staff hiring policies and practices.

That helps ensure team coordination and a healthy work environment within the company. Moreover, this airline operates on a customer-oriented focus. This ensures all of their customers enjoy their travel with the company. This is so they are willing to recommend the airline to their friends and families.

2. Flexible Policies

Compared to the other airlines in the United States, Southwest Airlines has a wide array of set procedures and policies that are designed to make flying easier and more comfortable.

One of these policies includes the Southwest flight cancellation policy, which allows you to cancel your flight reservation up to ten minutes before your flight's departure.

Moreover, the refunding process is straightforward without any delays. Southwest's flexible policies are one of the main reasons for the company's high levels of customer loyalty.

3. Innovative policies

Southwest Airlines has an impressive track record of creating very forward-thinking policies and procedures. This includes a flexible business model that supports a large consumer base and rapid growth.

By continuously creating innovative ideas, the company can deal with any economic disruptions and control business losses more effectively. Additionally, the airline is planning on creating lower-cost flight solutions for their customers.

4. Amazing Rewards and Pricing

Southwest Airlines has one of the best customer reward programs in the airline industry. For example, Southwest gives reward points to its customers after every travel.

Customers use these reward points to book a flight in the future after they accumulate to a certain number. Southwest Airlines has partnered with Chase Bank to offer their customers Southwest credit cards. These cards will allow them to accumulate the airline's reward points when making purchases.

By keeping its customers engaged, Southwest Airlines gains a huge competitive advantage over its rival airlines. Furthermore, Southwest Airlines has a well-motivated staff that offers customers satisfactory service.

The airline also operates on a very effective pricing strategy that provides its customers with low-priced flight tickets. The airline also has very few aircraft types, which effectively reduces airline operating costs.


1. Can I re-book or change my Southwest Airlines flight?

As mentioned earlier, the Southwest Airlines flight change policy is straightforward. No change fees are imposed if you want to change your flight reservation. You can also change your flight as many times as you want. But you need to pay the price difference if you book a flight that is more expensive.

2. How can I get a refund on my Southwest Airlines ticket?

Getting a refund for a canceled Southwest Airlines flight usually depends on the type of ticket purchased. It also depends on the payment method, i.e., rapid reward points or cash.

There are also some flight add-ons, such as Early Bird boarding, that are non-refundable. You will only receive Southwest travel funds for flights booked with cash if you want to cancel.

If you prefer to get your cash back instead of a travel voucher, book a Business Select or Anytime ticket. If you booked with Southwest's rapid reward points, your points will automatically be refunded.

Moreover, if any fees or taxes were paid for the ticket, they can be refunded. They go to the initial payment method or are converted to travel fund points.

3. Can I change my Southwest Airlines flight?

Similar to canceling a Southwest flying ticket, changing a Southwest Airlines flight is also straightforward. You will need to visit the airline's official platform and change a one-way trip or the whole booked trip.

After clicking on the "Change flight" link, you will be allowed to select new dates. You may also choose a completely different destination for your flight. If you want to make other changes to your booked flight, you can click on the "Explore option" tab. Alternatively, you can call Southwest Airlines offices to change your flight.

4. Am I entitled to a refund if Southwest Airlines cancels my flight?

According to Businessinsider, you are fully entitled to a complete refund via your original payment method. This also applies even if you booked a non-refundable Wanna Get Away ticket and the airline cancels the flight. In most cases, the refund process is automatic.

5. How do I contact Southwest Airlines about my cancellation?

There are several options to contact Southwest Airlines, such as through the phone or by visiting their official app. It is advisable to use the app method since Southwest's phone lines can sometimes have a long-hours wait.

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Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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