Skip to main content

Southwest Airlines Community

Flight Cancellation Manners

Explorer C

Was flying on SWA 2085 from El Paso to Las Vegas with a stop in Phoenix (no plane change required) yesterday. Leaving El Paso there were 53 empty seats. After the flight landed in Phoenix and the Phoenix passengers exited, 18 of us were sitting on the plane waiting to go on when the flight attendant said out of the blue, “sorry folks your flight has been cancelled, but just step  off and proceed to C17 and they will put you on their flight.”  The flight attendant said he didn’t know why the flight was cancelled, but it couldn’t be due to weather.


We were very surprised to find that there wasn’t a flight to Vegas at C17, and they would instead be putting us on a flight over  five hours later and cancelling our early check in status (was refunded though). When asking the gate agent why the flight was cancelled, she became uncomfortable, looked around, and said she didn’t know....”maybe a closed runway in Vegas???” The weather she agreed, wasn’t the cause as it was beautiful in both PHX and LV. This delay cost us a lot of extra money and several missed events in Vegas. My guess is that the flight wasn’t full enough to justify the cost of sending it to Vegas. Any any rate, I am left wondering why SWA couldn’t be honest and tell us why the flight was cancelled??? Also wondering how our baggage beat us to Vegas by several hours??? I used to love how up front and courteous SWA was, but now it seems like they are just like the others. 


Re: Flight Cancellation Manners

Aviator A

Unfortunately, SW is the only party that can answer this question.


I will say that SW is not under the normal practice of cancelling flights that are not full.  They network that SW runs is dependent on planes making every route each day so that subsequent routes for any one plane can go on as planned as well.


It is also possible that the flight attendant and gate agent did not even have full knowledge of the situation, especially if for some reason it was complicated.


That said, you are totally fair in wanting to know the cancellation reason.  For that, I would reach out to SW directly either via Twitter or one of the methods at Contact Us below.  


I'm sorry you had a poor experience!


-A List, Companion Pass holder

Re: Flight Cancellation Manners

Explorer C

Thank you! I will reach out to them using Twitter. 

Re: Flight Cancellation Manners

Aviator A

Cancelling flights causes major disruption to airlines. Hence, they try to avoid cancellations.




1) When your plane did not get to Vegas, SW had to either find another plane to fly from Vegas to whatever destination that yours was supposed to go  ...and the next ..and the next ... and the next.


2)The crew of your plane didn't get to Vegas. Crews don't typically spend all day on the same plane. So whatever plane they were supposed to be on out of Vegas did not have a crew. SW had to find one.    Due to the above, if SW didn't find a plane or a crew in Vegas, then SW then SW had to cancel flights out of Vegas.


3) Due to the above, it is frequently cheaper for an  airline to fly an empty plane than it is to cancel a flight becasue a lot of seats are empty.


Airlines cancel flights becasue they have valid reasons to cancel, and not for the reason you allege

Re: Flight Cancellation Manners

Frequent Flyer A

Cancellations stink for everyone, and I'm sorry you had this experience. As mentioned, be sure to speak with the airline (Twitter, phone, etc.) to see how they can assist further.

Community Champion | PHL based | ex-Companion Pass Holder | Southwest Passenger