Southwest Airlines Compensation and Reimbursement Rules:

Ever had a flight delay or cancellation with Southwest Airlines and wondered what you’re entitled to? Well, you’re not alone. Understanding Southwest Airlines’ compensation and reimbursement rules can be a bit tricky. But don’t worry, we’re here to break it down for you.

Southwest Airlines, like any other airline, has certain obligations when it comes to compensating its passengers. Whether it’s a delayed flight, cancelled flight, or overbooking, knowing your rights can make all the difference.

In the following sections, we’ll investigate into the specifics of these rules, helping you to understand what you can expect in different scenarios. So, let’s get started and unravel the mystery of Southwest Airlines compensation and reimbursement rules.

Understanding Southwest Airlines’ Compensation and Reimbursement Rules

It’s vital to comprehend that Southwest Airlines has its own defined policies when dealing with disruptions like flight delays, cancellations, and overbooking. They may not always align with expectations based on usual industry standards. Let’s dive deeper into their unique practices.

First, you should know that unlike EU airlines, US carriers are not legally required to compensate passengers for delays and cancellations. But don’t let this discourage you. Southwest values your time and provides flexible solutions like rebooking on the next available flight, issuing a travel credit, or even refunding the unused part of your ticket in these scenarios.

About overbooked flights, Southwest follows a different strategy. They do not overbook their flights intentionally. Instead, they apply a no-show policy. Under this policy, if a passenger who’s bought the ‘Wanna Get Away’ fare does not check-in to their flight at least 10 minutes before departure, their reserved place may be released. If this happens, you can be offered that seat.

If you end up involuntarily bumped due to this no-show policy, Southwest ensures that you are taken care of. They provide compensation in the form of travel credits. The value of these credits is usually higher than the actual cost of your flight.

Let’s summarize the key points here:

  • Southwest Airlines have their unique compensation rules.
  • For delays and cancellations, they offer flexible solutions.
  • They don’t overbook but have a no-show policy.
  • If bumped involuntarily, you’re likely to receive travel credits as compensation.

In the next segment, we’ll explore these rules in more detail and guide you on how to claim your rightful compensation. As you navigate these waters, keep in mind that knowing your rights as a passenger empowers you to make the best decisions during travel disruptions.

Obligations of Southwest Airlines for Compensating Passengers

Often, it’s the rules laid out by an airline that defines the extent of its obligations to passengers during travel disruptions. Southwest Airlines stands apart from other industry players in this aspect. Their compensation and reimbursement practices, while not obligated by law, are remarkably flexible in handling passenger woes.

Let’s explore some of these scenarios in detail:

Flight Delays and Cancellations

When it comes to flight delays and cancellations, Southwest’s primary obligation is to get you on the next available flight to your destination. You can also choose to rebook on an alternate Southwest flight within 14 days with no difference in fare. If none of these solutions is convenient for you, their practice is to refund the portion of your fare relating to the unused ticket.

No Show Policy and Overbooking

In scenarios where you miss your flight due to circumstances within your control, the “No Show Policy” kicks in. If you don’t cancel your reservation at least 10 minutes before departure, you may lose the funds applied towards that flight. But, there is an exception for those who purchased their tickets with Rapid Rewards points, where the points get redeposited into their account.

Even though Southwest does not intentionally overbook flights, its unique open seating policy could sometimes create situations where passengers are involuntarily bumped off. In these cases, Southwest provides compensation in the form of travel credits, usually higher than the actual cost of your ticket.

Compensation and Reimbursement for Delayed Flights

When your flight with Southwest is delayed, you may be wondering what your options are. It’s here that you’ll start to appreciate Southwest’s unique approach to handling such situations.

Unlike many of their counterparts, Southwest Airlines is not legally obligated to offer financial compensation for delayed flights, as US regulations don’t demand it. But, the airline is known for its passenger-friendly policies and they strive to minimize any inconvenience you might experience. Let’s unpack what this means for you.

If a significant delay, the airline may offer to rebook you on the next available flight, taking the destination, flight availability, and passenger preferences into account. In some emergency scenarios, such as inclement weather or unexpected technical issues, Southwest Airlines will arrange alternative transportation.

Also, there’s the Southwest LUV Voucher – a travel credit offered by the airline under certain circumstances. It could be an apology if your flight is excessively delayed. This can be used toward the purchase of future travel with the airline.

Another interesting and passenger-friendly policy of Southwest emerges here – if you choose not to travel due to a flight delay, your ticket’s value remains intact. This is unlike most airlines, whose value depreciated over time. So, if the delay isn’t working to your schedule, you can choose to cancel your reservation and the airline will hold the refund for you and is available to be used for future travel.

The table below outlines these options for you:

Scenarios Southwest’s Solutions
Flight Delay Rebook on next flight, alternative transportation
Excessive Delay Issue of Southwest LUV Voucher
Cancellation due to Delay Value of the ticket held for future travel

In short, while Southwest doesn’t promise monetary reimbursement for flight delays, they do provide a number of options to ensure that you can continue your journey with as little disruption as possible.

Compensation and Reimbursement for Cancelled Flights

After delving into the general ins and outs of Southwest Airlines’ compensation policies, let’s dial down to specifics and explore what happens when your flight is cancelled.

Southwest Airlines prioritizes its passengers’ needs in all circumstances. If your flight is cancelled, you can take solace in the fact that Southwest will bend over backwards to ensure you’re not stranded. Although U.S. law does not require airlines to compensate passengers for cancelled flights, Southwest does not leave its passengers in the lurch.

When faced with cancellations, Southwest provides two primary options which aim to minimize disruption to your plans:

  • Rebooking: An immediate solution offered by Southwest is rebooking. They’ll place you on the next available flight at no additional cost. This ensures you reach the intended destination with minimal delay. But, if you prefer a different flight, you may select your own rebooking options through the Southwest website or mobile app.
  • Refund: If rebooking does not suit your plans, you can opt for a refund instead. The value of your unused ticket is held for future use. You’ll be given a prorated refund directly to your original method of payment or in the form of Southwest credit that you can use for any future travel.

No matter what option you choose, Southwest aims to streamline your travel experience and reduce stress caused by unexpected flight cancellations.

Beyond that, if you’ve been inconvenienced due to the cancellation, Southwest tends to offer a form of compensation in the shape of Southwest LUV Vouchers. While not guaranteed, this gesture of goodwill is pretty common, especially in cases of significant delay or disruptions. The vouchers can be used for future travel within the stipulated validity period.

Let’s move forward and talk in detail about Southwest’s ‘no-show’ policy next.

Compensation and Reimbursement for Overbooking

When considering Southwest’s policies on overbooking, it’s important to note that unlike many carriers, Southwest doesn’t intentionally overbook flights. But they do have a so-called no-show policy. If a ticketholder doesn’t check-in on time, Southwest reserves their right to release the seat.
Imagine missing your check-in window and seeing your seat taken when you arrive at the gate! That’s not an ideal situation, but Southwest has a plan in place for these scenarios.

Passengers bumped due to the no-show policy aren’t left without options. They are typically rebooked on the next available flight without additional charge. But, if there’s no convenient flight available and rerouting isn’t an option, Southwest may compensate you with travel credits. In most cases, these credits are higher than the actual cost of the bumped flight!

Situation Southwest’s Solution Reimbursement
No-show Rebooking on the next flight/Travel credits, Usually higher than the flight cost

Keep in mind that Southwest loves to show its gratitude for your patience in these situations through Southwest LUV Vouchers. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself in possession of one following an overbooking incident. It’s Southwest’s apology and a representation of their commitment to customer satisfaction.

While navigating the tricky world of airline’s policies, remember that all airlines aren’t created equal. Southwest’s specific policies mean more flexibility and consideration for you, the passenger. It goes to show that even within the turbulent world of flights, you can find instances of customer-focused approaches. Southwest’s unique compensation and reimbursement rules for overbooking situations embody this spirit of caring and understanding.

The next part of this continuously unfolding guide will jump into what happens when flights are canceled in more detail.


Navigating through Southwest Airlines’ compensation and reimbursement rules can seem daunting. But armed with the knowledge from this blog post, you’re now well-equipped to handle any flight disruptions. Southwest’s unique policies offer you a great deal of flexibility, and their commitment to customer satisfaction is evident in their handling of delays, cancellations, and overbooking situations. Remember, while U.S. airlines aren’t legally required to compensate for delays and cancellations, Southwest offers solutions like rebooking, travel credits, or refunds. And, if a no-show, they may even offer travel credits as compensation. So next time you’re flying Southwest, rest assured that they’ve got your back. Their policies are designed with you, the passenger, in mind.

What is Southwest Airlines’ policy for flight delays?

Southwest Airlines handles flight delays flexibly. Passengers can be rebooked on the next available flight or receive alternative transportation. For excessive delays, the airline may issue a Southwest LUV Voucher as an apology.

How does Southwest Airlines compensate for flight cancellations?

For flight cancellations, the value of the passenger ticket is held for future travel. Southwest offers two remedies: rebooking on the next available flight or a refund. Southwest LUV Vouchers may also be offered for inconvenience caused.

Does Southwest Airlines overbook their flights?

Southwest Airlines does not intentionally overbook. However, they have a no-show policy that releases reserved seats if passengers do not check in on time.

What happens if I am involuntarily bumped off a Southwest Airlines flight?

If you are involuntarily bumped off a flight, Southwest offers compensation in travel credits, typically higher than the actual cost of the flight.

What does Southwest Airlines offer for a no-show scenario?

In a no-show scenario, Southwest Airlines provides options such as rebooking and travel credits. Southwest LUV Vouchers might also be offered as a sign of their commitment to customer satisfaction.

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