South West’s Holiday Delays Affect Thousands


NBC News

As a result of the severe winter storms, Southwest had to delay and cancel many of their flights.

Kylie de Best, Editor-in-Chief

Over the holidays, the United States and Canada experienced severe winter storms that left millions without power and resulted in about 102 fatalities. This caused a lot of inconvenience for those who were trying to celebrate the holiday season, but there was also an issue nationwide that was a result of these storms, leaving many stranded and without a lot of their personal belongings. This was a result of the thousands of delays and cancellations issued by Southwest airlines.


To see what could be done to get compensated as much as possible for the inconvenience, many turned to Erika’s Tiktok channel and podcast to learn about what the airport must give you. Even though a lot of these examples refer to Southwest and their flight delays and cancellations, many of these policies apply to other airports as well, so it is recommended to try these at another airport if you experience this as well.


For example, if Southwest chooses to cancel your flight, regardless of the reason, and you decide not to rebook your flight, you are entitled for a full refund, even if the ticket is said to be non-refundable. Even if they try to offer you a voucher, you are entitled to a full cash refund, which at times can be worth more than the voucher offered to you. If you paid for your flight by credit card, they must issue this refund within seven business days. The website to get your request for your refund is if your flight was delayed or canceled within the time frame of December 24, 2022 and January 2, 2023 (Southwest). 


Additionally, if your baggage is delayed, damaged or lost, “the Department of Transportation requires airlines to reimburse you for any reasonable and actual expenses up to $3800” (Erika Kullberg). This is why it is important to take a picture of both the outside and inside of your suitcase so you can show them what is inside and how much compensation they must give you. An example of this is if your flight was delayed, you can buy any essentials you need, such as clothing, hats, a bag, and save your receipt to submit them for a reimbursement. The website to submit a claim is A tip recommended by Erika to track your luggage is to add an AirTag to your luggage.

[My flight] was delayed as a result of maintenance. [It] was originally supposed to take off at 7:45 a.m., but [I] was not able to board until 12:15 pm.

— Sophie Zhang

Additionally, Southwest will rebook you at no additional cost, provide you a meal, voucher, or cash if you have to wait for more than three hours for any delays and cancellations not related to weather. If it is an overnight delay, the airport “must provide complimentary hotel accommodations and transportation to and from the hotel.” 


Although Sophie Zhang, a alumni from Yorba Linda High School, did not have her flight delayed because of the weather, her flight “was delayed as a result of maintenance. [It] was originally supposed to take off at 7:45 a.m., but [she] was not able to board until 12:15 pm. [She] did not receive any compensation for this flight” 


Though the winter storms may be starting to pass now, this is all important information to know for the future and for the next winter storm. It can save you a lot of frustration, money, and piece of mind.