Skip to main content

Southwest Airlines Community

Auto-Cancellation Rules? What is the system looking for with Point to Point reservations?

surferMD
Explorer C

Does anyone know what the system is looking for when auto-cancelling reservations?

I have had a huge headache the last week with SWA cancelling my flight out of Belize because I did my own point to point reservation to get back to Sacramento.

What are the rule the system uses to cancel?

I know you aren't supposed to have 2 reservations that overlap the same time. 

What about creating your own point to point?  how much time do you need between domestic and international flights so the system doesn't cancel one to the tickets?

60 minutes?  90 minutes?

I have called customer care many times and I get different answers from everyone I speak to.

 

SWA, you REALLY NEED TO UPGRADE YOUR RESERVATION SYSTEM TO ALERT CUSTOMERS OF A POTENTIAL CONFLICT OF RESERVATIONS. YOU WOULD SAVE YOUR VERY DEVOTED AND DEDICATED CUSTOMERS BIG HEADACHES AND STRESS FROM THIS MYSTERIOUS AUTOCANCELLING SYSTEM!!!

14 REPLIES 14

Re: Auto-Cancellation Rules? What is the system looking for with Point to Point reservations?

surferMD
Explorer C

I have talked with a customer service individual via Facebook for 3 days and she was trying to get an answer...but she can't find one.  

It so hard to believe no body at SWA knows the rules of their own auto-cancellation system for committed customers who want to safely book a point to point. This is cRAZY!!!!

"I do get why you are frustrated. I know that all you want to know is the rules of the auto cancellation system which it appears that no one in our department seams to know. It is grey as far as the times and I will admit that we don't have a definite idea. The 90 minutes is just safe for any international connection and we are going off of what we have seen working here. I'm trying to find the answer and the right people but it just hasn't happened yet. I am sorry about that"

Re: Auto-Cancellation Rules? What is the system looking for with Point to Point reservations?

chgoflyer
Aviator A

@surferMD wrote:

I have talked with a customer service individual via Facebook for 3 days and she was trying to get an answer...but she can't find one.  

It so hard to believe no body at SWA knows the rules of their own auto-cancellation system for committed customers who want to safely book a point to point. This is cRAZY!!!!

"I do get why you are frustrated. I know that all you want to know is the rules of the auto cancellation system which it appears that no one in our department seams to know. It is grey as far as the times and I will admit that we don't have a definite idea. The 90 minutes is just safe for any international connection and we are going off of what we have seen working here. I'm trying to find the answer and the right people but it just hasn't happened yet. I am sorry about that"


 

Unfortunately, as people are reporting, the system does seem to be getting more aggressive. I don't know why it isn't limited to just overlapping flights. And I doubt anyone at Southwest who knows how it's programmed is at liberty to disclose that info.

 

One possible "hack" that may help would be to not include your RR number on one of the reservations, which may (or may not) keep a flight from being auto cancelled (you can always add your RR number up to a year following travel). 

 

Please keep us posted on your experience. The more data we have the better.

Re: Auto-Cancellation Rules? What is the system looking for with Point to Point reservations?

chgoflyer
Aviator A

@surferMD wrote:

I have talked with a customer service individual via Facebook for 3 days and she was trying to get an answer...but she can't find one.  

It so hard to believe no body at SWA knows the rules of their own auto-cancellation system for committed customers who want to safely book a point to point. This is cRAZY!!!!

"I do get why you are frustrated. I know that all you want to know is the rules of the auto cancellation system which it appears that no one in our department seams to know. It is grey as far as the times and I will admit that we don't have a definite idea. The 90 minutes is just safe for any international connection and we are going off of what we have seen working here. I'm trying to find the answer and the right people but it just hasn't happened yet. I am sorry about that"


 

Here's the stated policy, fyi:

 

Prohibition on Multiple/Conflicting Reservations: to promote seat availability for our Customers, Southwest prohibits multiple reservations for the same Passenger departing from the same city on the same date, or any multiple reservations containing conflicting or overlapping itineraries (such as departures for the same Customer from multiple cities at the same time). Furthermore, without advance notice to the Passenger or purchaser, Southwest may cancel such reservations, or any other reservations that it believes, in its sole discretion, were made without intent to travel. With the exception of Southwest gift cards, funds from proactively canceled reservations by Southwest will be returned to the original form of payment. Reservations paid for with a Southwest gift card will have the amount applied from the gift card held as travel funds for use by the Customer on a future Southwest Airlines flight.

 

So, essentially, the system should only auto-cancel flights that overlap, or when one of two flights is impossible to complete (same day to two different destinations, for example). It should not cancel sequential flights that happen to have a short layover in between, which is what sounds like was your situation.

 

That said, the policy includes language allowing Southwest to cancel any flights that it "believes were made without intent to travel, " which essentially allows it to cancel anything, really.

 

As I mentioned earlier, people are reporting more difficulties with auto-cancelled legitimate flights these days. It's unclear at the moment if the system has been tweaked to be more aggressive, or if there's some sort of glitch going on (something with international time zones perhaps). Customer Relations will usually work with the customer to rebook the cancelled flight (if it's not sold out), but that of course takes time and effort. And while agents often offer to make notes on the itinerary, that appears to have no effect at all in stopping the system from auto-cancelling again. Your only recourse at the moment is to continue to call and rebook each time. 😞

 

 

Re: Auto-Cancellation Rules? What is the system looking for with Point to Point reservations?

dfwskier
Aviator A

@surferMD wrote:

Does anyone know what the system is looking for when auto-cancelling reservations?

I have had a huge headache the last week with SWA cancelling my flight out of Belize because I did my own point to point reservation to get back to Sacramento.

What are the rule the system uses to cancel?

 

When you say you made point to point reservations, do you mean seperate reservations each with a distinct confirmation number? That would be one reservation from Belize to point A, and then a second reservtion from point A to Sacramento?

 

I know the system cancels double booked reservations (same day, same routing). Was not aware of it for other reasons. 

 

In the past I've personally done multiple point to point (ie DAL/AMA, then AMA/ DEN  on the same day .or. DAL/MCI and then MCI/MDW on the same day and never had a flight involuntraily cancelled. The risk is that the first flight turns out to be late and then you miss the second. Then the question becomes "would the connection have been legal (ie did you leave as much time between the two flights as the minimum required by the airline). If the connection was legal the airline would work with you.

 

 

I know you aren't supposed to have 2 reservations that overlap the same time. 

What about creating your own point to point?  how much time do you need between domestic and international flights so the system doesn't cancel one to the tickets?

60 minutes?  90 minutes?

 

 There is no single answer to that question. It varies by airport and it likely varies depending on whether or not you are changing airlines. It's a shorter time for domestic flights than it is for flights with an international component - courtesy customs. You may want to look at the "middle" airport's eb site to see if it says anything about minimum connection times. I would think it's either 90 or 120 minutes

 

 

I have called customer care many times and I get different answers from everyone I speak to.

 

SWA, you REALLY NEED TO UPGRADE YOUR RESERVATION SYSTEM TO ALERT CUSTOMERS OF A POTENTIAL CONFLICT OF RESERVATIONS. YOU WOULD SAVE YOUR VERY DEVOTED AND DEDICATED CUSTOMERS BIG HEADACHES AND STRESS FROM THIS MYSTERIOUS AUTOCANCELLING SYSTEM!!!


 

Re: Auto-Cancellation Rules? What is the system looking for with Point to Point reservations?

DancingDavidE
Aviator A

@surferMD wrote:

Does anyone know what the system is looking for when auto-cancelling reservations?

I have had a huge headache the last week with SWA cancelling my flight out of Belize because I did my own point to point reservation to get back to Sacramento.

What are the rule the system uses to cancel?

I know you aren't supposed to have 2 reservations that overlap the same time. 

What about creating your own point to point?  how much time do you need between domestic and international flights so the system doesn't cancel one to the tickets?

60 minutes?  90 minutes?

 


I'm just speculating like the others on the community, but what does the "packaged route" say for Belize to Sacramento? If the connection you are trying for isn't available, that in itself may be the red flag - that you are booking a combination that may have been disallowed by their own internal rules for what would be allowed as a single ticket.

 

As for the timing, if you had only carry on luggage it probably could be done in an hour at many airports, I'm not sure about your specific airport. 

 

If there was a Belize / SMF option, then I think you may need to book that first and then call to have the domestic leg changed to the earlier flight.

 

If there is not an option available, then I believe I would also call to avoid the auto-cancel.

 

 

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.

Re: Auto-Cancellation Rules? What is the system looking for with Point to Point reservations?

Jwalsh3rd
Adventurer A

Good to know I am not the only one with auto-cancel issues. My concern is that I fly between the same destinations frequently, sometimes several times in the same week.  It would be nice if I inadvertently book two flights by mistake if the system would tell me about the issue and give me a chance to cancel the flight of my choice.  They do have my money after all.  Instead, two times since the system was implemented I have had my more preferable flight time become the cancelled flight...and each time the cancelation was after Business Select was sold out on the preferred flight.  I have found that since the changes in May two years ago, IT at SW is not transparent and customer service shows frustration with that non-transparency.

Re: Auto-Cancellation Rules? What is the system looking for with Point to Point reservations?

Zac55
Explorer C

You hit in on the head. I had an experience today where I had a ticket for a flight and they auto cancelled me. When I went to sleep the night before the flight I had a ticket, when I woke up at 4AM for my flight, I had an e-mail saying ‘I’ cancelled my reservation. I had another reservation for later in the day I intended to cancel upon learning my early flight was indeed taking off. 

As I’m flying for a contracted event, I needed to make sure I get to my location. SW has cancelled flights on me same-day so many times. 

Now, after talking with 2 gate agents, calling a-list customer service twice, I was able to get on the original flight. When I went to sleep the night before I was A1. When they put me back on the original flight, I got added as standyby. Then at the gate, the agent couldn’t clear me off standby and had to call their support. 

finally the icing, my original flight was $190 business select. Now I’m wanna get away paying $400. 

I’ve reviewed their contract of carriage and I believe their system is wrong. If anything it should have cancelled the flight I hadn’t checked into, not the flight I had a ticket to. 

I forgot to include the aggressive customer support. All in all feels like this automatic computer cancelling caused a whole fuss that many humans had to rectify. Feels vindictive. Not feeling the love as an Alist. I plan on disputing the credit charge and I don’t really have anything else I can do. 

Re: Auto-Cancellation Rules? What is the system looking for with Point to Point reservations?

dfwskier
Aviator A

Well, the contract of carriage does forbid double ticketing. So, if you do it, you should be prepared for the consequences. When it's done, the airline will cancel one of the tickets. Which one? I dunno.

 

If you feel a need to do it, use two airlines. United lets you cancel and use all the funds from the canceled ticket. I don;t know about the others.

Re: Auto-Cancellation Rules? What is the system looking for with Point to Point reservations?

Zac55
Explorer C

Sure. I hear you think I broke the rules in the fine print and I deserve to be punished. Like I said, having read the fine print, I echo the frustration from the lack of clarity on this policy. I don’t believe my trip deserves to sabotaged for me looking out for me. I’m responsible to get to work on time. SW does not share that responsibility. They cancel when they want and I’m stuck to figure it out. 


Given their policy, I still don’t think canceling a flight I had a ticket for and checked for in makes sense. 

 

Thanks for the heads up on United.