Southwest Delayed Flight Compensation

Get Southwest Delayed Flight Compensation: Easy Step By Step Guide

Southwest experienced a full operational meltdown in the holiday 2022 season with thousands of flights cancelled.

If you were affected by delays and cancellations from December 24, 2022-January 2, 2023, be sure to submit your travel disruption information on Southwest’s travel disruption website to request a refund and submit your receipts for a reimbursement of expenses.

While you’re at it, be sure to follow these tips and steps to get LUV vouchers for any delays or cancellations you experienced. Want to learn how to use your voucher or turn it into a flight credit that doesn’t expire? Find out how here.

Traditionally, if you have a flight delayed by one hour or more on Southwest Airlines, they are known for almost always giving delayed flight compensation in order to keep you as a customer. This is true no matter the reason for the delay — even for weather. They are not required to compensate you but they almost always will — but only if you ask.

Southwest’s typically stellar customer service is one thing that makes Southwest is our favorite domestic airline. That, and the Companion Pass. Here’s how to get compensated.

Table of Contents

    How long of a delay should I contact Southwest Airlines about?

    Southwest Delayed Flight Compensation

    There are no hard and fast rules. As a general rule, I never contact Southwest for compensation unless the delay is longer than 1 hour. But it never hurts to ask.  A couple of travelers have reported reaching out to Southwest Airlines about shorter delays (around 45 minutes) and receiving vouchers.  The customer service agent will be able to look up your flight’s information and determine whether the delay was long enough to warrant compensation or not.  You can contact Southwest about a flight that was delayed for any reason: weather, a mechanical issue, staffing, etc. 

    What do I get from Southwest for a delayed flight?

    Southwest Delayed Flight Compensation

    The type of compensation Southwest Airlines gives for delayed flights is a LUV Voucher.  These vouchers can be used for the cost of a future flight (but not to cover taxes and fees) on Southwest.  LUV Vouchers include an expiration date of one year from the date they were issued.  The booked flight must be completed by the date on the voucher, not just booked by that date.  

    How can I contact Southwest to get delayed flight compensation?

    There are three main ways to contact Southwest Airlines customer service. You can do more than one method at once if you want to. Different agents seem to issue different voucher amounts.

    Direct message on the Southwest Twitter account

    Southwest Delayed Flight Compensation

    This is typically the fastest way to receive a response from a Southwest customer service agent.   Responses can come in minutes, but they most often take a few hours to respond.  I keep a Twitter account just so that I can message Southwest about delayed flights.

    Email Customer Service through

    Southwest Delayed Flight Compensation

    On this page you’ll click on the link that says “send us an email.” You will have to fill out a form that includes your flight information, confirmation number, name, etc.  This method takes a few days to get a response.  If it takes longer than 10 days, email them again, referencing the case number given to you in the auto response from your original email. Some anecdotes seem to indicate that email agents offer higher compensation amounts.

    Use the chat feature on the Southwest app

    I’ve never personally used this method of contact, but I know others have had success with it.  You need to get past the chat bot in order to chat with a customer service agent.  To do this, click on any of the preset options and then when it asks if your problem is solved, click “no”.  This will bypass the bot and a chat with agent option will pop up. 

    What should I say to get delayed flight compensation from Southwest?

    Southwest Delayed Flight Compensation

    When you contact customer service, include:

    • Your flight number
    • Your reservation number (and the reservation numbers for all of the people traveling with you)
    • How the delay inconvenienced your family or travel plans. 

    Most importantly, be gracious and polite to the customer service agents.

    Sample Template for requesting delayed flight compensation

    You can cut and paste this sample template when you contact customer service.

    Good evening,

    My family of 5 flew on flight XXXX yesterday evening from XXX to XXX. It was delayed by an hour due to (insert reason here). All of the delays resulted in (insert how it inconvenienced your travel plans/family).  We really love Southwest, but these delays were disappointing and made our travel day much more difficult. Our confirmation numbers were: HGOSN HSJNO SHJSN HSJSS SHSJS.

    Hint: If you message through Twitter and don’t get the response that you think is fair (for instance, you have a two hour delay and the customer service agent on Twitter doesn’t offer you vouchers), try one of the other methods of communication instead. 

    You can even copy and paste your original message and email it to see if you get a different answer.  This can also work the other way-if you get an email response you aren’t happy with, try Twitter instead. 

    Who can get Southwest LUV vouchers?

    Southwest Delayed Flight Compensation
    Twitter reply from Southwest customer service from a recent request

    Every traveler on a delayed flight can receive a LUV voucher, even those whose flights were originally booked with Rapid Rewards or Companion Pass.  When you write customer service, they should offer you a voucher for every person in your traveling party. If they don’t, follow up and remind them of the others traveling with you. Be sure to include their confirmation numbers as well (if different from yours).

    How can I use Southwest LUV vouchers I get as delayed flight compensation?

    After you receive your vouchers from a delayed or canceled flight via email, you can use those vouchers to buy plane tickets for ANYONE!

    The vouchers you receive will have a name on them, but they do not have to be used to book a flight for the person named on the voucher. 

    This is different from a Ticketless Travel Fund (typically from a flight you cancel yourself) which generally has to be used for the person the original flight was booked for. 

    Southwest Delayed Flight Compensation

    Southwest LUV vouchers can even be stacked to pay for one plane ticket. You can have up to three forms of payment in one transaction, but you only stack up to two vouchers because they can’t be used to pay taxes, so your third form of payment will have to be a card for the taxes/fees. 

    Be sure to read our complete guide on LUV vouchers, including how to use them for booking flights and how to turn them into a transferrable flight credit that won’t expire.

    Southwest LUV Vouchers Guide

    Success Stories

    Here are some messages from other people who were able to get LUV vouchers as compensation for their delayed flights.

    Have a success story? Share it with us in the comments!

    15 thoughts on “Get Southwest Delayed Flight Compensation: Easy Step By Step Guide”

    1. My daughter and I came back from a cruise into FLL. Boarded our first flight along with 175+ other people (aka full flight) only to have the pilot come out and tell us of a mechanical issue that was going to take at least two hours to fix. We all unloaded and sat and waited. Then all of a sudden the gate agent called us up as they knew we were going to miss our connecting flight in DCA. They voluntarily rerouted us through STL instead but while we were standing there, another agent next to us was voluntarily telling his customer about the voucher grid for delayed flights which we knew nothing about. Our flight delay was in the 3 to 5 hour range so we each got $100. But in the end, we were delayed 7 hours in FLL so when we landed in STL, I went to the gate agent there and asked if we had now moved into the next grid on the voucher amount for delayed flights. It took a while, but in the end we each got another $200 voucher. Had it not been for the honest, forthright agent in FLL who voluntarily offered this compensation to his customer we would never have known to even ask for any voucher or get any compensation. That just goes to show how good Southwest customer service is. They didn’t have to voluntarily let us know we were entitled to compensation and could’ve left it up to us to ask for it. Even though I fly a lot, I never would’ve thought to ask for delay compensation. I know to ask for meal, vouchers, and hotels when I take a bump, but I’ve never experienced a mechanical delay that long to get compensated. Made the 3am arrival at home much more palatable!

    2. I’ve had one delay of about 2 hours and one flight cancellation that ended up delaying me to my destination by about 7 hours (both maintenance issues). I got LUV vouchers of $100 and $200 without even asking. I have a Southwest Rapid Rewards account but no premium status – perhaps having the RR account automates things a bit.

    3. If you had round trip flight that was delayed on both ends ( same confirmation #) should you submit those together or separately? It seems like there is only one spot to fill in the flight number, destination, etc?

    4. Southwest cancelled our flight 27 Dec, 2022 from DCA to FLL the day before we were to fly. We had tickets to see Dave Chappelle in Hollywood Fl on 29 Dec 2022. We also had tickets to a New Year’s Eve gala on 31 Dec 2022. We couldn’t reschedule our flight with Southwest until 31 December leaving DCA at 5:30 PM arriving FLL at 7:30 PM. How can we get compensated Or inconvenience and tickets? When

      1. Did you submit your expenses to Southwest? They were very generous with a lot of people I talked to as far as reimbursements of costs.

    5. Vouchers? I don’t want vouchers! I want my $900 1-way flight on another airline because Southwest couldn’t get me on any of THEIR flights from where I was until 5 days later and I needed to be home THAT day.

    6. I have tried twice to submit an Expense Reimbursement Request. I have tried twice and it want let me submit it.

    7. Do you have an experience or tips on if a flight is delayed overnight and one would choose to get a one-way car rental just to get home instead? Currently have a flight book with the last leg being from MDW – CLE and am worried about there being problems with an evening flight out of Midway. Looking ahead I think we’d prefer to just drive home that night rather than stay in Chicago if there’s a flight problem.

      Would Southwest reimburse the rental car cost (or unused flight portion costs?) Would it be better to ask them to pay for a hotel and meals (and vouchers) and take the the next-day flight instead? I supposed with a significant delay we would be entitled to vouchers either way?

      1. This also can come down to what credit card you booked with! If you book with a card that provides trip delay insurance, that would probably cover the alternate transportation with rental car. Southwest isn’t required to do that (and if it was a delay due to weather, they probably don’t even have to provide a hotel).

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