Is my flight on Southwest Airlines gonna be cancelled? 12/30/22?
December 28, 2022 1:27 PM   Subscribe

Flying from AUS to CMH on SW2272 on 12/30/2022. Flight here Shows that every version of this flight has been cancelled since Dec 23, and tomorrow's flight is already cancelled. I'm gonna book now on another airline if I can reasonably assume my southwest flight will be cancelled. Anyone have better info? Thanks!
posted by maxexam to Travel & Transportation around United States (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
At this point with SWA I would assume the flight will be canceled and I would rebook. I don't have any special information, but I've been reading about this all day off and on, and I cannot imagine how in two days it will be solved enough for there to not continue to be knock-on effects for flights that "look ok" now.
posted by Medieval Maven at 1:54 PM on December 28, 2022 [8 favorites]

From the WSJ:
Southwest plans to operate just over one-third of its typical schedule in the coming days to give itself leeway for crews to get into the right positions, he said, adding that the reduced schedule could be extended.

A Southwest spokeswoman confirmed that the airline’s current plan is to keep its announced flight cuts in place through Thursday. The airline was operating its reduced schedule Tuesday, with about 63% of its flights canceled, according to FlightAware.

So it sounds like even Southwest isn't sure about your flight's status. It seems reasonable to me to book a flight on a different airline.
posted by oceano at 2:00 PM on December 28, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I flew on Southwest yesterday and it was an absolute shitshow. Let me tell you my experience:

- The first leg of my flight was cancelled within about 12 hours of take-off. I didn't receive any message from Southwest about this, although I was signed up for alerts. I knew Southwest was having flight cancellations, so I proactively checked. The online interface was giving me error messages when I tried to make sure I was still checked in for the second flight. So I wasn't sure whether I would have a seat on the second flight (since when you don't show up for one leg of your flight, usually the whole reservation is cancelled). My husband and I spent about an hour repeatedly calling Southwest's customer service and getting a busy signal. My mom finally called them and got through, and then we spent 4 hours on hold (11am - 3am).

- After 4 hours on hold, the customer service rep could confirm I was still on the second leg, but couldn't switch me to a later flight or to a new flight leaving out of my original airport: she told me they're not rebooking anyone at this time until the situation stabilizes. She also thought my second leg might well be cancelled, but she said we wouldn't know until shortly before takeoff. (She promised to email a compensation voucher for all this hassle, but so far, it hasn't arrived.) So at 4am, after an hour's sleep, we woke up so my husband could drive me 3 hours to the second airport, to catch the second leg of my flight.

- The Southwest area of that airport was a zoo. I thought I would be spared: I went to the self-service kiosk and printed out my boarding pass, but my checked bag tag didn't print. The message I got from the kiosk read something like: "Flight delayed. See agent." (This, in spite my flight still reading as "on time" on the board.) I went to the bag tagging agent and told her, and she instructed me to wait in the enormous queue for people whose flights were cancelled.

- I wanted an hour and 20 minutes in that queue. I was somewhat concerned that I would miss my flight because the queue was moving so slowly: I mentioned that to a staff member passing by, and she told me that didn't have any way to deal with people other than that queue, there was no way to be accelerated, and if I missed my flight, too bad.

- Finally, I reached the front. It turned out that their system was in error: my bag tag should have printed out from the kiosk, the agent said, so I shouldn't have had to stand in the queue. So frustrating.

- Upon reaching the gate, there was an announcement that our flight was delayed for an unknown amount of time. This went on for maybe an hour. Finally, a pilot made an announcement that they had zero out of three flight attendants that they needed, and no idea if they could get any. I spoke to the pilot, asking him whether he thought the flight would actually go, and he said "I would strongly urge a plan B". After two hours and 20 minutes, we at last got flight attendants from another city.

- While I was waiting, I spoke with many people who had had much worse experiences than I had. Many had driven, like I had, from the first airport to the second airport, to try to catch the second leg of the flight after the first leg had been cancelled. Some had spent the night in the airport. Many had been on flights previous days that had been cancelled, and this was their third or fourth or fifth attempt to fly out. One guy had already spent $300 in taxi fare to and from his relatives' house and the airport, in order to try to catch 4 flights that had been repeatedly cancelled after he had been rebooked on them.

- Anyway, about 2 hours and 20 minutes late, we took off. The flight itself was normal, although upon arriving at my destination, there was a sea of Southwest bags and it was all extremely disorganized. I consider myself very lucky, though. I then cancelled my Southwest return flight and booked on United.

This is just to give you one best-case scenario snapshot. It has gone much worse for many people. And, perhaps most importantly, from what I saw and from the news I have subsequently watched, it doesn't appear to me that it's getting better. You're traveling in only 2 days. After what I went through, I'd give a hard pass on traveling with Southwest any time soon, especially in two days' time.
posted by ClaireBear at 2:05 PM on December 28, 2022 [28 favorites]

As of yesterday at HOU, flights that say they're not canceled are still getting canceled after multiple delays (due to the crew timing out, or other unstated reasons). They're also telling folks they can't rebook them on flights that leave before Dec 31. If I were you, I would book elsewhere.
posted by unknowncommand at 2:38 PM on December 28, 2022 [1 favorite]

We canceled our Southwest flight today and will be flying tomorrow on American instead. Ours was the only flight between the city pairs that was still on, out of 5 daily nonstop flights. We cancelled anyway, because we have multiple checked bags of expensive sports equipment and the risks of our bags getting lost/not loaded onto our flight was too high even if the flight itself miraculously went as scheduled.

I would definitely buy an alternate flight if you can swing it. It's not worth the risk and anticipatory stress of wondering if your flight will get Fd-up and you will be stranded or your bags lost. You can request a refund of your flight even if you were the one to cancel, which I am hoping they will honor. Link here:

My impression is that Southwest is trying to fly a consistent 20-30% of their normal schedule, eg picking the same flights to run each day. If your flight has been cancelled in prior days I wouldn't be optimistic about it being on before Saturday or Sunday as they start to unsnarl this. And as unknowncommand points out, even if your flight looks like it's a go the rug could be pulled out from under you at the last minute.
posted by foodmapper at 2:48 PM on December 28, 2022

A friend's flight was canceled and Southwest told her to try another airline. If you can rebook elsewhere, you should.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:54 PM on December 28, 2022

If you can I highly recommend checking other airlines to see what the options are and cancelling on Southwest if you can get a refund.

I was able to book a much, much cheaper (and non-stop) flight on Alaska Air after my Southwest flight was cancelled for the third time.
posted by forkisbetter at 3:58 PM on December 28, 2022

My flights on Southwest for today (28th) were canceled via 3 identical text messages on the 27th. I tried to find alternatives on other airlines, but wasn't willing to pay $1000-2000 per ticket, so decided to stay home.

However, I also received the "don't forget to check in for your flight" emails and when I looked at the online reservations, they still looked to be live (no indication they were canceled) and offered me options such as "change" and "cancel".

About 12 hours later I got the email titled Irregular Operations which had a link to click to submit a refund request.

TLDR: Southwest's systems are falling apart.

I highly recommend FlightAware which lets you search for a flight and see the status, but actually shows you were the plane is right now. When I do that, I see my flight is indeed cancelled, and the plane is apparently sitting in Denver right now (not San Diego). Note that Southwest uses the same flight # for multiple legs, so be sure to scroll down and see the Upcoming Flights and Past Flights tables at the bottom which may show the actual segment upon which you were booked.
posted by soylent00FF00 at 4:23 PM on December 28, 2022 [3 favorites]

Southwest seems to be having a total meltdown throughout the rest of the year and the first few days of 2023 and they are having a HUGE problem trying to dig themselves out of it, since everything else is out of position. You should rebook at a different airline ASAP, because the problem just keeps snowballing.

To explain it, let's just say Southwest was running "so lean" an operation, EVERYTHING had to run like clockwork, and they had a hard time coping with staff shortages due to COVID already. Add the inclement weather all over and everything just snowballed from there. And they can't dig themselves out of the situation because then all the planes and crew are out of position and they had to replan EVERYTHING from scratch. Add some ground crew problems (like weather so cold ground crew have to limit their time outside to load luggage and refuel) and it just makes things worse for subsequent flights, and again, it snowballs.
posted by kschang at 4:25 PM on December 28, 2022 [2 favorites]

I have three different friends who have had to book flights on different airlines and one who opted for a 16 hour drive instead of waiting for a SW flight.

Remember you are entitled to compensation for this. There is a lot of good info on the exact legal parameters, and it's especially easy to find at the moment. If I have a moment later I may pop back in with links but it's an easy Google search.
posted by ananci at 4:51 PM on December 28, 2022

The CEO of Southwest said in a statement last night (Tuesday the 27th) that he is "optimistic to be back on track before next week."

So even in the best case you should probably not expect anything from them before the 2nd.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:32 PM on December 28, 2022

Per NPR, "Southwest plans on near-normal operations Friday after widespread cancellations". Whether you should actually believe this might be another matter entirely.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 1:43 PM on December 29, 2022

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