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Absolutely Appalled that when Southwest Cancels a Flight you CAN'T GET YOUR BAG back!

Explorer C

My daughter's second leg of her flight was canceled and she couldn't get another Southwest flight until the next day.  I made arrangements for her to spend the night at a friend of a friend's house, but Southwest WOULD NOT LET HER HAVE HER CHECKED LUGGAGE.  I spoke with them myself and they said absolutely not. 


I do NOT understand this.  Since the next leg was canceled, why weren't all the bags for that flight put out in the baggage carousel so passengers could have their things and attempt another flight on another airline, rent a car and drive, or take a bus or train??  Those are all normal options people take when their original second leg gets canceled, but Southwest made it IMPOSSIBLE for my daughter to take this option!!


To make matters worse, the flight they booked my daughter on after canceling her first flight, was to Rochester (which was really her final destination but Southwest rarely flies there from her city of origin) BUT her hostage luggage was due to fly out on the next flight to Buffalo (her original destination).  They told her that her luggage was going on the next flight to Buffalo no matter what.  Yet SHE was booked to go to Rochester.


The entire thing made NO SENSE.  We fly Southwest for the two free checked bags but between the horrid cattle drive boarding process and the fact they will cancel your flight but then hold your luggage hostage makes me want to never fly them again.


My second leg of an American Airlines flight was canceled and I spent the night at Reagan airport.  My checked bag came out at baggage pick up and I had it with me the entire time and was able to have access to the things inside it during my long night.  The next morning, when my rebooked flight came about, I took the bag to the counter and checked it again.  Why on earth doesn't Southwest do this???


Re: Absolutely Appalled that when Southwest Cancels a Flight you CAN'T GET YOUR BAG back!

Retired Community Manager

Hi @easttowest,


It sounds like your daughter had a long, exhausting trip. I know in those situations, when everything already seems to be going wrong, any added inconvenience can really make things seem unbearable. Perhaps I can shed some light on our procedures and help make sense of your daughter's experience. 


There are several reasons we don't send bags up from a canceled flight. Usually, we're able to accommodate Customers pretty quickly on another flight, so it doesn't make sense to send them down to the baggage claim area to retrieve luggage that would only need to be immediately rechecked. In a situation like the one your daughter was in, many of the bags would go unclaimed as people leave the airport to make overnight arrangements. All those bags would need to be re-screened and then reloaded, which would create further delays. 


Our goal is always for Customers to enjoy the time they spend with us, and it's a great privilege for us anytime someone chooses to fly with Southwest Airlines. I'm truly sorry that we fell short this time, and I hope that we have a chance to provide your daughter with better memories in the future.  

Re: Absolutely Appalled that when Southwest Cancels a Flight you CAN'T GET YOUR BAG back!

Explorer C

I don't care what they say or do, that would be the last time I fly Southwest.  The reasoning they give is as lame as can be.