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Winter Storm Thread: Waiting It Out - Everything Will Be Alright

Frequent Flyer C

Hi, everyone,


After reading many of the posts on this board, I cannot imagine what most of you are going through with the recent disruptions. As you are aware, last week's weather left much of Southwest's network in shambles, and many of those repercussions are being dealt with today.


An Explanation of What is Happening (based on my readings of press releases and statements)


Southwest runs its network generally on a point-to-point model, and for this model to work, all aspects must coincide seamlessly. Part of this includes the plane itself and the crewmembers. For example, you may have a flight from BWI to DEN, but the flight may be canceled even though there is no significant disruption between BWI or DEN, which may leave you wondering...why, which is a perfectly logical conclusion. This could be because the plane scheduled to take you on this flight is stuck in another city facing significant disruption, or there is no crew available to take you on the flight. This may seem like a simple solution or fix, but when these issues are repeated on a magnitude this great (affecting almost the entire network), then the teams that are working to improve this are severely overloaded, such as crew scheduling and command centers. Southwest has recognized this issue, and rest assured, this incident will serve as the 'wake-up call' to increase the capabilities of these teams to fix mass issues like this quicker. The same thing is happening to the Customer Service phone number as well, along with baggage tracking. This effort, however, will not be 'fixed' in the next week or so - it will take at least months to implement. What we can do now, though, is to wait. I know this is not the answer many of you are looking for. However, at the moment, all the mayhem is still ensuing and what Southwest needs is time to organize everything, coordinate efforts for re-accommodation, and address your concerns. There will be many lessons learned from this incident, and you can expect Southwest to take dramatic action after this to ensure nothing like it will occur again.


If you're waiting - I know it hurts, and there is nothing that we (the community) can do to help. All we can say (and this is the last thing you want to hear right now) is to keep waiting. Everything will get sorted out in the end, your concerns will be addressed, and if warranted, you will receive your due compensation. It may seem impossible to count on Southwest at the moment, but know that everyone is doing absolutely everything they can. Employees feel the same way right now and are on your side. A lot of the answers are missing, and they may not know as well. Crews are stranded, airplanes are out of service (because of airport closures), delays are occurring, and trust me, the people at the Baggage Service Office and Customer Service are feeling the same way. Many of the answers you need and want are not available right now. It's not your fault, and it's unfortunate.


Below are some answers to frequently asked questions in the community:



My flight was canceled. What can I do?


You can rebook yourself via the Southwest website or app. Please note that if you have bags checked, you cannot rebook through self-service on the app or the web as this is how the infrastructure is set up at the moment, so you will have to contact Southwest by phone or see a Customer Service Agent. The lines are long, and your patience is greatly appreciated. Additionally, keep refreshing your app. Southwest will try to roll you over to the next departure automatically. 


If you want a refund (only for canceled flights), you can tell the agent to refund your ticket or call Southwest and request a refund. Calling for a refund may be the best option. If its not time-sensitive, I would consider waiting so that passengers with more urgent issues can be prioritized.


If you checked bags and your flight was canceled, or you cannot find your bags: Please listen for an announcement as to what will happen with your bags. Bags may be checked to the final destination, or they may be available for pick up at baggage claim. This depends on the situation, what time it is (midday or night), and whether you are a local, connecting, or thru passenger. If you are missing your bags, please see a Customer Service Agent, as they can help you track your bags via the online tracking system or file a missing baggage report (or possibly reroute your bags). I have seen that lines for the Baggage Service Office (BSO) are out the door. Lines may take anywhere from 1-4 hours. As many have pointed out, customers cannot track their bags via the app now.


Once you file a missing baggage report with the BSO or Customer Service Agent, all you can do is wait. You will be notified via your preferences of when your bag arrives. Your patience is appreciated.


If you got in before your bags, or your bags are at the airport now: There are rows of bags adjacent to the baggage claim carousel. Check for your bags in those rows. Each group of bags comes from the same flight, so if your bag should have come from Chicago-MDW, carefully look at the bag tags for one of the bags in the group. If they came from Chiacgo-MDW, then you are looking in the right place.



I want my bag re-routed.


See a Customer Service Agent at a station, or contact the Baggage Service Office or phone number.



Will everything be okay?


Yes. As John Lennon said, "Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end."



How much compensation could I expect?


The amount of compensation depends on the circumstance and the causes of the disruption. Compensation can always be issued at a later date, however. You can always write or call Southwest after the incident to request appropriate compensation for warranted disruptions.


As a reminder, this forum is a customer-to-customer forum. Southwest cannot directly address complaints or requests specific to you here. Use the 'Contact Us' link below for that. Thanks!


This is all written from the customer's POV. Southwest employees provide the most up-to-date information.


Re: Winter Storm Thread: Waiting It Out - Everything Will Be Alright

Aviator A

Nice write up, thank you 



Re: Winter Storm Thread: Waiting It Out - Everything Will Be Alright

Explorer C

Nice write-up.  SW has experienced multiple different issues over the pandemic  causing similar issues- pilots sick and computers down summer 2021.  They have had plenty of time to get the act together. This was the worse I have ever seen.  APP and website sending back messages everything you do, text messages nearly 10 hours after flight was cancelled, on hold over 6 hours SW disconnected the call, and then another over 10 hours waiting on hold again  and just no resolution when you did talk to someone.  No flights for days.  And during all this - SW decides to convert the phone system too last week busiest travel week and a storm - talk about not thinking about best time to implement a huge change. NO option for A-listers on the customer service line like there normally is.