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Your Rights If Southwest Cancels Your Flight & Compensation You Can Expect

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In today’s day and age, with demand ebbing and flowing and in the midst of a global pandemic, airlines may cancel your flights unexpectedly.

And sometimes we have incidents like the ones Southwest has experienced in 2021 and early 2022 with repeated disruptions that affected the majority of their flights.

For all of you affected by this, I am so sorry!

But if you’re looking for your rights and compensation if Southwest cancels your flight, I’ve got some information…

Here’s what to do if you have a flight on Southwest that THEY (not you) cancel.


My family saves more than $8,000 every year flying free and I can show your family how to make it a lifestyle, too! Join my Families Fly Free membership to learn my simple Fly Free Formula for Families, so you can start making more precious travel memories before your kids leave home. We also have a SECRET PHONE NUMBER we share with members to bypass the hours-long wait when you need to call Southwest and rebook and insider tips about how much of a Southwest credit you should expect. Learn more below…

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What to Do If Southwest Cancels Your Flight

Southwest cancelled flight
Credit: Southwest Airlines, Stephen M Keller

Southwest says they will reach out to you if they cancel your flight to let you know of the cancellation, and they may also reach out to provide a refund and some sort of compensation.

But we have found that is not necessarily the case for everyone.

There have been SO many people affected in the last year.

And if you’re caught in a major incident, it’s doubtful they will be able to reach out to every single person.

Be sure to check your flights and KEEP checking your flights for changes or cancellations.

Here’s the typical procedure…

They are first going to offer to re-book you to a different flight or a later time.

If you do accept a rebooking, ASK FOR A LUV VOUCHER PER PERSON at that time for the inconvenience.

In the summer of 2021, they were most frequently giving $100 vouchers. In October 2021, many people have reported vouchers of up to $250 per person!

This likely depends on if you had to find a hotel room, rent a car, pay out of pocket to fly another airline, etc.

If you didn’t ask for your LUV voucher at the time of your cancellation, you can still reach out to them online later to request this.

Twitter seems to also work well for people in terms of getting a quicker response.

If you don’t want to rebook or aren’t satisfied with the options they offer, they will offer you a Southwest travel fund (basically a “credit”) that is good from 12 months from your original booking date and must be used by the same person.

But if you’d prefer a full refund, you ARE entitled to it…


Am I Entitled to a Refund If Southwest Cancels My Flight?

southwest cancels flight

You ARE entitled to a full refund via your original method of payment EVEN if you booked a nonrefundable Wanna Get Away fare IF Southwest cancels the flight (and not you).

You will likely have to be the one to ask them for it, but, during the pandemic at least, they have said they will offer refunds if you ask.

You should ALSO be refunded any associated fees by law like Early Bird, which is a fee that grants you earlier check-in than everyone else. 

Read a complete explanation of your rights if an airline cancels your flight on the Department of Transportation’s website HERE.

You may have to persist to get your refund, but keep at it.

You ARE entitled to it!

Want to cancel a Southwest flight yourself?

Here’s how to do it…

What About Other Compensation for the Inconvenience?

Typically in these situations, Southwest gives $100 LUV vouchers to affected individuals — one per passenger.

But reports from October 2021 indicate they are giving LUV vouchers of up to $250 per passenger, depending on how bad your situation was.

It certainly never hurts to ask for more!

LUV vouchers are not the best thing to work with, and inside our Families Fly Free membership, we help with you with the best ways to utilize these as part of your Fly Free Plan that each person receives.

Unfortunately, they can be tricky and cannot be combined with points.


How to Contact Southwest About Your Cancellation


I know Southwest’s phone lines can sometimes be an hours-long wait.

Other options include opening the app (here’s everything you need to know about the Southwest app) and seeing if online chat is available.

We also have a “secret” phone number we only share with Families Fly Free members that allows you to bypass the sometimes hours-long wait these days.

We’ve also got some insider tricks to let you move your flight date and times to better flights, days and times without paying a fare increase.


[Learn more about Families Fly Free membership]


Stay safe and good luck rebooking your flight and getting your LUV vouchers!


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8 thoughts on “Your Rights If Southwest Cancels Your Flight & Compensation You Can Expect”

  1. This event has only high lighted the SCAM SW has been doing with the Early Bird fee which can amount to up to $100.00 round trip for 2 people for some timer now. If you cancel your flight and do not re-book it you loose you $ 100.00. I strongly feel that there should be a Class Action Lawsuit started on behalf of the folks who are being taken advantage by this action.

  2. SW canceled my connecting flight, sent me re book link while I was on the first plane. When I got off plane and went to re book it kept giving an error. By the time the new flights loaded NOTHING was available and me and my child had to sit in the Houston Airport for over 10 hours because I had to purchase a flight from a different airline so we could get home. No options online to re book a flight that SW canceled. Flight status clearly shows connecting flight is canceled but does not give option to re book. There needs to be an update made for this!! If the airline is canceling flights we need to be able to re book these as soon as the canceled notification comes to our phones/emails. The customer service line DOES NOT ANSWER! I NEED A REFUND ON MY CONNECTING FLIGHT FOR ME AND MY DAUGHTER!

    • Hi Brittnay,
      I’m so sorry that happened to you! It sounds like a lot of people were left stranded Monday and Tuesday. I agree there does need to be an option to help you rebook right away. I have no affiliation with Southwest; I just write about them a lot. But in these cases, I have typically seen Southwest be very generous. I’m sure it will take them a few days to sort all this out since so many people were affected, but I expect they will well compensate you. If you’re not able to get them on the phone, try going into the Southwest app and seeing if the online chat feature is available. You can can also try sending them a message through Southwest.com. Good luck!

  3. Southwest canceled my flight to San Diego at midnight. Now I can’t fly out until 7:50 pm the next night . What a mess my car rental and hotel were accommodating. Still not sure if I’ll get to fly out on a 2 hr phone time to hopefully see if I can get out sooner. . This is so irritating my vacation is messed up

    • Yes a lot of people are struggling with canceled flights right now. Sorry you are having trouble! My best suggestion is to ask for a $100 LUV voucher per person from Southwest when you go to rebook your flight. It’s best to do it then, but if you don’t do it then, you can request it online later. That is what they seem to be giving everyone. We also have a “secret” number inside my Families Fly Free membership to help you bypass the hours-long wait everyone else is experiencing when they call to rebook. Good luck!

  4. I need to go home, My flight has been canceled twice, third try tomorrow morning. Don’t know if should look into other companies or are they all having issues as well?

      1. So sorry you were having trouble Kim. All the airlines seem to be struggling right now between weather and staffing. I recommend when flying Southwest these days to get travel insurance as the right policy will allow you to book with another airline so you can attempt to get to where you need to go when you need to go and be reimbursed. Southwest is the BEST airline to fly free, but they won’t typically pay for you to fly another airline. They’ll only get you rebooked on another of their flights, which could be days.

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