Recently, Southwest implemented a plan to reduce capacity by at least 20 percent for the time period from April 14 through June 5, 2020. That difficult decision was driven by the drop in travel demand in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
We’ve now made the difficult decision to further revise our schedule canceling approximately 1,000 of our almost 4,000 daily flights until March, 27, 2020. We’ll then cancel approximately 1,500 of our almost 4,000 daily flights until the previously revised scheduled begins on April 14, 2020. We sincerely regret any inconvenience to our Customers and our Employees.
During this unprecedented time, we will continually assess the real-time, market demand for flights with the goal of canceling flights that have an alternate flight or route options and that affect the fewest number of Customers. Additionally, we’ll implement the cancellations on a rolling, multiple-day basis to provide Customers with advance notice of changes and alternate flight options.
As a note, these cancellations also capture our decision to suspend service to all of our international destinations at the end of the operating day on Sunday, March 22, 2020. We’ve made this decision due to some governments restricting air travel across their borders as well as guidance from our own government, and we hope to restart service to our international cities on May 4, subject to change.
The entire Southwest Team appreciates the ongoing patience and understanding as we all adjust to these evolving challenges. We are working diligently to minimize disruptions to travel, and the well-being of our Customers and Employees remains our main priority.
Here are ways we are supporting our Customers:
The Southwest Team is targeting cancellations to routes that have multiple flights or options for alternate travel. Our primary goal is to keep our Customers and Crews moving safely to their destinations, as promised.
We’re also being strategic and matching the latest round of cancellations to flights with the least amount of bookings. In this way, we disrupt travel for the fewest Customers.
If a flight is canceled, Southwest will proactively notify affected Customers as soon as possible to alert them of the cancellation, so there is no need to contact Southwest.
Finally, we are enacting our flexible accommodation policies for all canceled flights to ease the inconvenience to our Customers. If a flight is canceled, we’ll offer these options to affected Customers:
If you would like to rebook, you may change your travel up to 60 days from your original flight date by visiting Southwest.com/rebook. Flights that have seats available will display as “Available.” Doing this online is your best option as call volumes are likely to be very high to reach a Southwest® Representative.
If you are unsure of your future travel plans, you do not need to take any action. Rest assured, the funds used to pay for this trip will be available for the Customer named on the ticket to use through June 30, 2021 (an extension from our previous time limit of one year from date of purchase). Customers simply use their original confirmation number as the way to access these funds in the future—similar to “store credit” at most retail establishments.
Please know that our desire to deliver Southwest Hospitality is as strong as ever, and we look forward to welcoming you onboard again one day very soon!
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As of August 1, Southwest Airlines will no longer serve peanuts onboard and will instead serve pretzels on all flights. This decision wasn’t made lightly, but in the interest of providing the best Hospitality and a welcoming and safe onboard environment for Customers with peanut or peanut-dust allergies, we felt it was the right thing to do.
Although peanuts are very much a part of our Company’s heritage and have always been part of Southwest Airlines’ identity, it became clear after careful evaluation that the risks of serving peanuts outweigh the rewards. We hope that Customers who will miss our peanuts will enjoy our free pretzels and wonderful selection of snacks on longer flights.
Of course we’ll always be NUTS about Southwest and our Company will continue to honor the significant role that our peanuts played in our history, but at the end of the day, we’re most proud of our People and their Hospitality that sets us apart.
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Southwest has a history of stimulating new markets by offering low-fare competition; unfortunately, stimulating sufficient demand in some of our Cuba city-pairs has been very challenging, primarily due to the ongoing prohibition in U.S. law on tourism to Cuba for American citizens.
Though Cuba was a totally unexplored commercial air service market from the U.S. during the 46+ years Southwest has been operating, we’ve been looking hard at the data , reviewing and analyzing our performance in the three Cuba markets we have been serving over many months. Today, we are announcing that we will cease operations in both Varadero (VRA) and Santa Clara (SNU) at the conclusion of the summer travel season, with the final flights operating on the U.S. holiday that wraps-up Labor Day weekend.
So many Southwest Employees worked hard to put Cuba on our map and I want to thank each of them for a Herculean effort to open all three Cuba cities last year and to serve well our Customers traveling aboard those flights from Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Tampa International Airport.
We still are seeking additional service to Havana and have a pending application with the U.S. Department of Transportation for an additional daily roundtrip between Ft. Lauderdale and Havana, which would bring Southwest to four roundtrips daily between Florida and the Cuban capital.
We remain committed to serving travelers who choose the value that only Southwest’s Cuba service will continue to offer our Customers traveling to and from Havana.
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