One of the most important things you can do as a passenger is to know your rights. This will help you get fair pay if your flight is late or canceled. Reading the Southwest flight delay reimbursement page can be very helpful since your rights on U.S. flights are very different from those on E.U. planes.
Unfortunately, no U.S. government law requires U.S. airlines to pay compensation for delayed internal flights in the U.S., and Southwest does not fly to or from the E.U., where the laws require Southwest to pay compensation for delayed flights. If you only look at U.S. law, Southwest flight delays don’t mean you’ll get any pay. However:
- You are eligible for Southwest flight delay compensation if you were forced to be turned away from a flight and your new flight is late.
- Southwest Airlines may give pay for delayed flights, but this is up to the company alone.
Key Points Relating to Southwest Flight Delay Compensation Policy
- U.S. rules (Department of Transportation’s Airline Customer Service Dashboard) say that Southwest can only do the following if your flight is delayed or canceled for reasons it can’t control:
- You will be put on a different trip at no extra cost.
- If you have to wait 3 hours or more for a new flight because of a delay or cancellation, you get a meal or a cash ticket, or you get paid for it.
- Giving you free hotel rooms (or paying you for them) if you have to stay overnight because of a delay.
- Getting you to and from the hotel for free (or pay you for it) if you have to stay overnight.
- Southwest Airlines offers flight delay compensation in the form of a LUV Voucher. This compensation is solely at the discretion of the airline.
- This can be used to pay for future travel on Southwest, excluding taxes and fees.
- The voucher is valid for one year from the date it is issued. You must use the voucher and complete your trip before the expiration date.
- All passengers, including those who booked their flights with a Companion Pass or Rapid Rewards, are entitled to receive this. If any passenger on your booking does not receive a voucher, make sure to follow up and remind Southwest’s Customer Service. When you do this, make sure to include the names and confirmation numbers of the passengers.
- You can use the voucher to buy a ticket for anyone, even if the voucher has someone else’s name on it. LUV vouchers are not the same as Travel Funds, which you usually get when you cancel a flight and can only use for yourself.
About Southwest Delayed Flight Policy
The Southwest delayed flight policy states that:
- If your flight is delayed on the tarmac for almost 2 hours because of mechanical issues, air traffic rules, or limited space at the gate, you will be given snacks, water, and access to restrooms.
- If your flight on Southwest Airlines is significantly delayed or canceled, the airline will:
- If your flight is delayed for 30 minutes or more, let you know by phone, text, or email as soon as you know.
- Southwest will put you on the next flight that’s open at no extra cost.
- If you have to wait more than 3 hours for your next trip, you should be given a meal or a coupon for money.
- If the delay means that you have to stay overnight, you should pay for your hotel room.
- If the delay means you have to stay overnight at the hotel, provide free ground transportation to and from the hotel.
Southwest’s policy on delayed flights does not include free rebooking on routes with partner airlines or other airlines with which it does not have a deal.
U.S. rules don’t give money to people whose flights are late unless they can’t get on the plane for no fault of their own. Since Southwest doesn’t fly to or from Europe, its flights aren’t covered by the European Union’s Flight Reimbursement Regulation 261/2004. This law says that if a flight is delayed by 3 hours or more, travelers are entitled to reimbursement.
Can I Get Compensation for Southwest Flight Delays?
According to U.S. laws, Southwest flight delays do not have to offer compensation, except in cases of involuntary boarding denials. If your flight is delayed and you haven’t been denied boarding against your will, you won’t qualify for any compensation.
If your flight is delayed, Southwest will:
- When a flight is stuck on the ground for close to two hours, give people water, snacks, and access to the bathroom.
- Tell you by phone, text, or email if there will be a wait of 30 minutes or more.
- You can be put on the next flight which is free of charge.
- If you have to wait at least 3 hours for your new flight, give you a cash ticket or a meal (or pay for the meal).
- If you need it, give you a place to stay the night for free or pay you for it.
- If you need it, give you free ground transportation to and from the hotel, or pay you for it.
If you want to find out about compensations for involuntary boarding denials, look for the section called “Southwest Delayed Flight Compensation.”
Southwest LUV Voucher
A Southwest LUV Voucher is something Southwest gives you if your flight is delayed or your luggage is delayed. It’s a way for them to make up for the inconvenience. Southwest has a way to make customers happy. Southwest Airlines has a tradition of giving out LUV Vouchers for flight delays that last more than 1 hour. However, they are not obligated to do so and it is solely up to their discretion.
- LUV Vouchers are acts of kindness and are different from Travel Funds/Flight Credits.
- Flight Credits never expire and cover taxes and fees. On the other hand, LUV Vouchers have a 1-year expiry date, can be transferred to someone else, do not cover taxes and fees, and can be used up to 2 times. Once you use your voucher to book a ticket, it becomes unusable for anyone else.
- LUV Vouchers are typically sent via email to individuals who book a flight and have a flight confirmation number.
- You can use a Southwest LUV Voucher for your future air travel:
- Online via Southwest.com
- Southwest Airlines Mobile app
- At Airport Counter
- The coupons can’t be sold for money because they don’t have any.
- If the ticket gets stolen, lost, or destroyed, it won’t be replaced, so keep the email that came with it.
- To see how much money is left on a LUV Voucher, go to Southwest.com and click on Flight, Check trip funds, and then Southwest LUV Vouchers. Enter your Voucher Number and Security Code, and the voucher’s balance will show up.
- LUV Vouchers can only be used for one year and can’t be extended. This means that you must have booked your flight and flown before the voucher’s expiration date.
- You can book any type of price with a LUV Voucher, but you can’t pay taxes or fees with it. Those must be paid with a credit card or another accepted way of payment.
- LUV Vouchers are given out in a person’s name, but they are not tied to that person. This means that you can book a trip for anyone you want with your LUV Voucher.
- If you can’t use your LUV Voucher by the date it expires, you can turn it into Travel Credits/Travel Funds and then use the Travel Credits to pay taxes and fees. If you don’t do this, you won’t be able to pay the taxes and fees with your LUV coupon.
Flight Delay Compensation Detail
Southwest only gives reimbursement for delayed flights to people who were not allowed to board their original flight and were given a substitute flight with a later arrival time (i.e. after their original flight). As shown below, the amount of compensation for a delayed flight due to forced boarding denials will depend on the route (national or foreign) and the length of the wait.
- The reimbursement for a delayed flight will be at least 2 times the price to the passenger’s first stopover or destination, or USD 775, whichever is less, if the estimated arrival time of the alternative transportation at the time of the arrangement is:
- Between 1 and 2 hours after the scheduled arrival time of the original flight on a domestic route, or
- The flight on an international route is delayed by more than 1 hour but less than 4 hours from its scheduled arrival time.
- If your Southwest flight is delayed and they don’t provide another option that gets you to your first stopover or destination on time, you will receive compensation. This compensation will be either at least 4 times the fare you paid to your destination or first stopover, or a maximum of USD 1,550, whichever is lower.
- For domestic flights, if the original flight is delayed by 2 hours or more, or
- for international flights, if the original flight is delayed by 4 hours or more.
You can choose to get compensation in the form of a draft or a Southwest LUV Voucher. The voucher can be used for your travel within one year from the date it is issued.
Is It Possible to Receive Compensation for Flights That Are Delayed?
If your flight in Europe is delayed for more than 3 hours, you might be eligible for compensation under EU261. However, this only applies if the delay was not caused by exceptional circumstances like bad weather, air traffic decisions beyond the airline’s control, political unrest, security risks, and so on. You can take advantage of this offer if you are flying within the European Union, flying from the E.U. to any country, or even if you have connecting flights booked within the U.S.
In the United States, Southwest does not offer compensation for flight delays unless you are denied boarding and the alternative flight you are given is also delayed and arrives later than your original flight. The amount of compensation you receive will be based on whether your flight is domestic or international, as well as how long the delay is.
Southwest provides compensation for flight delays caused by boarding denials. The details of the compensation are as follows:
- At least 2 times the fare to your final destination/first stopover or USD 775, whichever is less, if you’re offered alternate transportation scheduled to arrive at your first stopover, or if there’s none, your final destination:
- For a domestic itinerary, if your original flight arrives between 1 and 2 hours late,
- For an international trip, if your original flight arrives between 1 to 4 hours later than scheduled
- If you’re not given another way to get to your first stop or final destination, you’ll either pay at least 4 times the fare or $1,550, whichever is less.
- For a domestic trip, if your original flight arrives less than 2 hours late, or
- If you have an international itinerary, you should arrive at your destination within 4 hours of your original flight’s scheduled arrival time.
Payment of Compensation
Southwest Airlines will provide compensation for denied boarding on the same day and at the same location. If the airline arranges another way for you to travel before giving you compensation, you will receive the compensation within 24 hours of being denied boarding. It will be sent to you by mail or another method.
At first, you will be given the choice of receiving payment through a draft or, if you agree, a LUV Voucher that can be used for future travel.
1-Hour Delay Compensation
If you are denied boarding on a Southwest flight and they offer you an alternative flight that is delayed by at least 1 hour, you may be eligible for compensation. If you are denied boarding against your will and given another flight that will arrive at your first stopover or, if there is no stopover, your final destination, you will receive compensation of at least two times the fare or USD 775, whichever is less.
- If you have a domestic flight within the United States that is scheduled to arrive at least 1 hour after, but 2 hours before the scheduled arrival time of your original flight.
- If your international flight is scheduled to arrive between 1 and 4 hours after the scheduled arrival time of your original flight.
2-Hours Delay Compensation
If your Southwest flight is delayed by up to 2 hours and you have been denied boarding involuntarily, you may be eligible for compensation. If you are denied boarding against your will and not given another flight, and the flight you end up taking arrives late at your first stopover or destination within 2 hours of your original domestic flight, you will receive compensation of at least 4 times the fare or USD 1,550, whichever is less.
3-Hour Delay Compensation
The Southwest 3-hour delay compensation applies to passengers who are involuntarily denied boarding. This compensation also includes international flights that are scheduled to arrive late by:
- The new flight will depart between 1 and 4 hours after the original scheduled arrival time.
- The original flight was scheduled to arrive less than 4 hours ago.
The compensation for the 3-hour delay on the Southwest flights mentioned above is:
- For international flights that arrive between 1 to 4 hours after the scheduled arrival time of the original flight, the fare will be the lower amount between 2 times the fare or USD 775.
- If Southwest did not offer you another flight, the fee for international flights that arrive less than 4 hours after the originally scheduled arrival time is the lower amount between 4 times the fare or $1,550.
Methods to Apply for Southwest Flight Delay Compensation
If your flight is disrupted in the U.S., it’s a good idea to apply for flight delay compensation as soon as possible. Southwest is not legally required to give compensation for flight delays. However, they may offer restitution for long delays in the form of LUV Vouchers. These vouchers can be used for future travel. In order to submit a compensation request, you will need to provide your flight information, including details such as the flight number, date, and time. Make sure to save your ticket number for future reference.
There are several ways you can apply for flight delay compensation:
- Via Website
- Via Email and Phone
- Via Customer Care
Keep Handy These Information
- Flight Number
- Reservation Number
- Cause of Delay
Does Southwest Airlines provide compensation for flight delays within the United States?
No, according to U.S. laws, Southwest Airlines is not obligated to offer compensation for flight delays on domestic routes, except in cases of involuntary boarding denials.
Is Southwest Airlines obligated to pay compensation for flight delays on international routes?
Southwest Airlines does not fly to or from the European Union, where flight delay compensation laws apply. Therefore, Southwest flights are not covered by EU regulations requiring compensation for delayed flights.
What kind of compensation does Southwest offer for delayed flights?
Southwest Airlines may provide compensation for delayed flights in the form of LUV Vouchers. The amount of compensation is solely at the discretion of the airline.
What are the key points of Southwest’s delayed flight compensation policy?
Southwest Airlines will provide alternate transportation at no extra cost, meals or cash tickets for significant delays, free hotel rooms, and ground transportation if a passenger needs to stay overnight due to a delay.
How can I apply for Southwest flight delay compensation?
You can apply for compensation by providing your flight information, including the flight number, date, and time, either through the Southwest website, email, phone, or customer care. Make sure to save your ticket number for future reference.