Southwest Airlines Cancellation Policy

In the fast-paced world of travel, having the flexibility to cancel your flight hassle-free is a valuable asset. Southwest Airlines, known for its customer-centric approach, offers a comprehensive cancellation and refund policy to make your travel experience as stress-free as possible. In this guide, we will delve into the details of Southwest’s cancellation policy, exploring what it covers, how to cancel your flight, understand the 24-hour cancellation policy, and much more.

southwest airlines cancellation policy online

Step-by-Step Guide to Cancelling Your Southwest Flight

Southwest Airlines makes it remarkably easy to cancel your flight.

  • Visit the Southwest Airlines Website: Start by opening your preferred web browser and heading to the official Southwest Airlines website.
  • Log into Your Account: If you booked your flight online, log into your Southwest account using your credentials. You can view the specifics of your reservation by doing this.
  • Find Your Reservation: Navigate to the “Manage Reservations” or “My Trips” section. Here, you can locate your booking by entering your confirmation number and the passenger’s name.
  • Select the Flight to Cancel: After accessing your reservation, choose the specific flight you wish to cancel.
  • Initiate the Cancellation: Southwest Airlines makes it incredibly straightforward. On the selected flight, you’ll see the option to “Cancel Flight.” Click on it.
  • Confirmation and Refund: Review the cancellation details and make sure everything is in order. Confirm the cancellation. The refund is handled as per the reservation fare.

Understanding Southwest Airlines Cancellation Policy

Non-Refundable Tickets

All tickets purchased through the airline’s website incur a non-refundable Southwest ticket cancellation fee. Southwest Airlines cancellation fees may vary based on the booking class, fare selected, and the timing of the request, following the airline’s policy.

Processing Fees

Costs of Southwest may charge travelers a processing fee, which can include taxes and surcharges, depending on the circumstances. Southwest Airlines’ cancellation policy aims to accommodate passengers while adhering to industry standards.

Infant Reservations

If an infant reservation needs to be canceled online, the entire Southwest reservation is canceled, including adults, and children. In case a passenger’s flight needs to be canceled individually. They should contact Southwest via the phone line for flight cancellation.

Time Constraints

Southwest Airlines’ cancellation requests made through the customer support line must be initiated at least five hours before the scheduled departure time for domestic flights and up to eight hours before the scheduled departure time for international flights.

Exceptional Circumstances

Southwest Airlines’ cancellation policy offers a unique provision for passengers facing situations such as illness or the death of a close relative. Travelers may cancel their flights and receive a full refund in such cases, provided they follow the airline’s guidelines.

Additional Costs

Southwest Airlines’ cancellations affect not only the initial flight ticket but also other travel necessities, including baggage, seat selection, and more. It’s essential to be aware of potential additional costs when canceling your flight.

Pregnancy-Related Cancellations

Southwest Airlines’ cancellation policy covers pregnancy-related cancellations after the 36th week of pregnancy. However, it’s important to note that an airline’s cancellation fee may still apply.

Medical Certificates

If a child falls ill, and the remaining passengers in the booking decide to cancel the flight, the child’s medical certificate can be used to obtain a full refund, including any Southwest Airlines cancellation fees. Similarly, if an adult in the booking becomes ill and the other passengers need to travel, a valid doctor’s certificate may lead to a full refund, covering the possible Southwest Airlines flight cost.

The 24-Hour Southwest Airlines Cancellation Policy

Southwest Airlines’ 24-hour cancellation policy is a traveler’s best friend. This policy allows passengers to cancel their reservation and receive a full refund within 24 hours of making a booking, provided the scheduled departure date is at least seven days away.

Key Points for Southwest’s 24-Hour Cancellation Policy:

  • Reservations made through Southwest.com, travel agents, or the Southwest mobile app are eligible for this policy.
  • Free tickets are forfeited if Southwest Airlines cancels a flight within 24 hours.
  • Southwest reservations must be made at least seven days in advance to qualify for this policy.
  • Within 24 hours, reservations can be canceled by calling the Southwest reservation phone lines.
  • Not all flight reservations are eligible for this service; non-refundable and non-transferable fares may not qualify.

Cancelling Your Southwest Flight

Southwest Airlines provides several convenient methods for canceling your flight. Here’s how you can do it:

Southwest Airlines Cancellation Online

To cancel your Southwest reservation online, follow these steps:

  • Select the ‘Lookup reservation’ tab on southwest.com or the Southwest mobile app.
  • Enter your confirmation number and passenger name to access your Southwest flight booking.
  • Review the refundable balance, if any, next to the flight confirmation number. Passengers with refundable balances can opt for a refund or future travel credit.
    • To cancel the flight for all individuals in the booking, click ‘Cancel flight.’
    • Be aware that the Southwest Airlines cancellation fee may vary based on factors such as booking class, fare selection, and timing of the cancellation request.
  • It may take up to two billing cycles for the Southwest Airlines refund to appear on your credit card statement.

Southwest Airlines Cancellation by Phone

If you have a restrictive fare or prefer personal assistance, you can cancel your Southwest flight by calling Southwest Airlines’ helpline.

  • A representative from Southwest Airlines will get in touch with you soon.
  • Ask to cancel your booking by providing your six-digit confirmation number.
  • The agent will assess whether your flight booking has a refundable balance and provide details on the refund amount.
    • Passengers with refundable balances can choose between a refund in the original form of payment or converting the balance into future travel credit.
  • Please be aware that when canceling your Southwest Airlines reservation, there might be a fee that you can’t get back, which means it’s not refundable.
  • Your refund will go back to your original payment method within 7-10 business days once Southwest Airlines approves your cancellation request.

Cancelling Your Southwest Flight at the Airport

If you prefer to cancel your flight at the airport where you are departing, follow these steps:

  • Visit the Southwest Airlines ticket cancellation counter at the airport.
  • You can cancel your Southwest flight up to 120 minutes before the scheduled departure time at the airport.
    • Provide the airline employee with your Southwest flight confirmation and request them to cancel your reservation.
  • Review the refundable balance associated with the unused portion of your flight reservation.
    • Southwest’s cancellation fee policy allows travelers to receive a refund for the unused portion of the ticket.
    • Refunds at the airport are available in the form of travel credit, valid for one year from the original booking date, or as cash, credited back to the original mode of payment.

Handling Flight Disruptions with Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines makes every effort to get passengers to their destinations safely and swiftly. In cases of flight delays or disruptions, here’s what you need to know:

Delayed Flight

If your Southwest flight is running late, the airline will tell you why and let you know the new departure time using different communication methods. It’s essential to amend your flight information using the Manage Booking section if needed.

Missed Connecting Flight

If you miss a connecting flight and your flights were all booked together, Southwest Airlines will help you book a new flight to reach your final destination. Please note that due to the limited availability of alternate flights, rebooking may take some time.

Southwest Canceled Flight

In the event of Southwest Airlines canceling your flight, you have several options:

  • Change your trip dates.
  • Be rerouted to your final destination or a stopover as soon as possible, based on availability.
  • You can check your updated flight details on the Southwest website or mobile app after they’ve rearranged your flight.

Dealing with Overbooked Flights

Southwest Airlines occasionally accepts more passengers than the aircraft can accommodate due to the likelihood that not all passengers with a valid Southwest reservation will make the flight.

  • Southwest Airlines asks for volunteers to switch to a different flight.
  • If there are insufficient volunteers, Southwest Airlines will arrange another flight as soon as possible, maintaining the same level of service as the original booking.
  • If you don’t like the other flight they offer, Southwest allows you to cancel the part of your ticket you didn’t use for free.

Southwest Airlines Refund Policy

Here are key points to remember about Southwest Airlines’ refund policy:

  • To initiate the refund procedure, you must cancel any direct cancellations with Southwest either through the official Southwest website or by getting in touch with a designated airline representative.
  • Refunds will follow Southwest’s rules, and you’ll typically get your eligible refund within seven business days after asking for it.
  • Southwest Airlines will send the refund to the person whose name is on the ticket or the one who booked the flight. This follows Southwest’s refund rules.

Please note that non-refundable ticket rates such as Wanna Get Away, Anytime, and Business Select fares have specific refund policies. If you paid for your flight using a gift card, the rules are slightly different.

Gift Certificates

Gift cards are not refundable if you use them to pay for your flight.

  • Unused funds from a gift card will remain available as reusable travel credits, typically for a duration of 12 months.
  • If you cancel your flight less than 24 hours before takeoff and paid entirely or partially with a Southwest gift card, you must contact Southwest Customer Relations.

Final Thoughts

Southwest Airlines’ cancellation and refund policy is a traveler’s ally, offering flexibility and convenience when unexpected changes occur. Understanding the intricacies of the policy can help you navigate the complexities of canceling a flight and getting the refund you deserve.

Should you require additional information or have specific questions related to Southwest Airlines’ cancellation policy, we recommend reaching out to the experts at Flyinguidelines. They can provide comprehensive guidance on navigating the cancellation process and ensuring your travel experience remains as stress-free as possible.


In conclusion, Southwest Airlines’ cancellation and refund policy exemplify their commitment to providing travelers with a seamless and flexible experience. With provisions for various scenarios, including the 24-hour cancellation policy and exceptional circumstances, passengers can confidently navigate the complexities of flight cancellations. Southwest’s dedication to customer-centric services ensures that travelers can book their flights with peace of mind, knowing they have the support they need for stress-free travel.”

Feel free to contact them for any assistance you might need for Flight Expert Support.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the Southwest Airlines Cancellation Policy?

    The Southwest Airlines Cancellation Policy outlines the rules and procedures for canceling your flight with Southwest. It includes details on fees, eligibility, and the 24-hour cancellation window.

  2. How do I cancel a Southwest Airlines flight?

    To cancel your Southwest Airlines flight, visit their official website, log into your account, access your reservation, and follow the cancellation process. You can also call Southwest’s customer support.

  3. Is there a Southwest Airlines cancellation fee?

    Yes, there may be a cancellation fee, depending on factors like your fare type and timing. Review the policy for details on fees.

  4. What is the 24-hour cancellation policy with Southwest Airlines?

    Southwest’s 24-hour cancellation policy allows you to cancel a reservation and receive a full refund within 24 hours of booking, as long as your departure date is at least seven days away. No cancellation fee is imposed within this window.

  5. Are non-refundable tickets eligible for cancellation with Southwest?

    Yes, non-refundable tickets can be canceled, but a cancellation fee may apply. Refer to Southwest’s policy for specific terms.

  6. Can I cancel a Southwest flight due to illness or a family emergency?

    Southwest Airlines provides flexibility for exceptional circumstances like illness or the death of a close relative. You may be eligible for a full refund if you follow their guidelines.

  7. What is the process for canceling a Southwest flight at the airport?

    To cancel a flight at the airport, visit the Southwest Airlines ticket cancellation counter, request the cancellation, and review the refundable balance associated with the unused portion of your reservation.

  8. How is the refund processed for a canceled Southwest flight?

    Refunds for canceled Southwest flights are typically processed within 7-10 business days and are returned to the original mode of payment.

  9. Can I rebook my Southwest flight if it’s delayed or disrupted?

    If your flight is delayed, Southwest will make efforts to rebook you. In cases of flight disruptions, such as cancellations or missed connections, Southwest offers various options, including rebooking and refund.

  10. What are the key considerations in Southwest Airlines’ refund policy?

    Southwest Airlines’ refund policy covers aspects like the initiation of refunds, processing time, and the treatment of non-refundable ticket fares, such as Wanna Get Away, Anytime, and Business Select.

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