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Weather vs. Holiday Staffing Issues

New Arrival

Attempting to travel to NYC from SFO. Been traveling over 24hours. Planned departure from SFO at 6:00am. But due to mechanical issues that couldn't be addressed because they did not have staff resulted in off boarding. From there they put us as many random flights as possible. No one offered accommodations or options other than wait and get on the next flight. And the part that really frustrated was blaming weather that we were thrown to because the original flight was not honored.


How do we get refunded?


Re: Weather vs. Holiday Staffing Issues

Active Member

Sorry to hear about your travel troubles.  I would suggest writing a letter to customer service explaining what happened; however there is no guarantee that the airline will provide any monetary response for either mechanical or weather related issues.  


Regarding mechanical issues, the airline has to operate as safely as possible.  I have also been delayed on an early flight out of a smaller, non-hub airport.  Although grateful not to be on an airplane that did not pass a pre-flight checklist, it is painful to wait while they fly either a new plane or a mechanic and part in from another airport.  No airline that I know of keeps all parts at every airport, and all mechanics cannot fix every issue.  Some have more experience than others.  But I knew it would take a fairly long time and in a smaller airport on the coast, it meant the long wait, so I said to myself that it was better to be on the ground with a problem than in the air with a problem.  The airlines want to keep planes moving but they do not compromise safety which means preflight checks every flight.


going from one coast to the other on Southwest, the low cost, short haul carrier, they do not have a lot of other choices than to send you on different flights with a lot of stops when the long one-way is cancelled.  I know it is not the best choice but the other option might have been wait until the next day (and there may not have been any seats left).  I had a relative who was stranded for a week because their flight to Iceland was cancelled on another airline, so they just had to wait for the next flight.  That airline only had one flight per week.  It can be a potential flight delay vs price trade-off when something goes wrong and gets delayed.


As a person who flies a lot, I can tell you that delays and bad flights happen, but safety has to come first.  If you write into Customer Service explaining what happened, they may choose to reward you with a travel voucher for future travel.  Go to the “contact us” webpage for the address.  I would suggest writing rather than calling because (1) it is a busy time of year and (2) it allows a customer service representative to see that you took the time to put something together because you felt strongly enough about it to write and (3) they have more options than the phone reps.  


Some people get upset enough that that they never want to fly a specific airline again, so if you do not want a travel voucher, but want a refund on a non refundable ticket, I suspect you will be out of luck.  The terms and conditions of a nonrefundable ticket are that the traveler will accept mechanical or weather delays.  The pricing structure is not unique to Southwest, and it helps all airlines keep prices low.  


I understand your frustration and I am thankful that delays were the worst thing that happened.  Writing into customer service would be my suggestion — outlining flight numbers, cost, confirmation numbers,  locations and dates — as your best chance for some sort of compensation.  


Best of luck and I am sorry that you had the problems; although as an experienced traveler, I have experienced it myself and I understand how and why it happened based on the business model of keeping price low and the FAA regulations for passenger fares. 

Re: Weather vs. Holiday Staffing Issues

Top Contributor

Sorry to hear about your travel problems.


When a flight get's cancelled this time of it creates all kinds of problems as other flights are already full due to holiday travelers returning home. Pair that with weather problems in the middle of the country that caused hundreds and hundreds of cancellations from Kansas City to Houston and the complications just get greater. Hundreds of more flights out of Dallas (DFW) and Houston are still

being cancelled today..


I had a friend that was to fly from Dallas to Chicago 5 pm yesterday afternoon. After being delayed several times to a 9 pm departure time the flight was. cancelled. Because he was on the last flight to Chicago to be cancelled (there weere two other nonstops cancelled), there were no seats available today. He was on hold with Southwest reservations for almost 2 hours, he lucked out to find that someone had just cancelled a seat on the 8 am flight this morning. He's boarding as we speak.


I would advise against cancelling. Flights are full. Only expensive fares are available for the few seats that are available. If you cancel, you'll end up paying those high fares when you do book a reservation. Southwest will fly you to you destination for what you originally paid.


Just try to be patient. Because of the weather, regardless of who you fly, you will need to be patient.

Re: Weather vs. Holiday Staffing Issues

Active Member

If you did make the flight you can always let southwest know in the web site about your experience and let them know what you experienced. I don’t think you will get a refund but you might get some sort of compensation for the time you had to wait so I would suggest to do it!