AUSTIN, Texas - Southwest Airlines says they will be canceling approximately 1,000 daily flights from Sunday, March 22 until April 14. They will also be suspending service to all their international destinations.
In a release, the airline says they recently implemented a plan to reduce capacity by at least 20 percent from April 14 through June 5. The decision, according to Southwest, was driven by the drop in travel demand in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
"On Friday, Southwest made the tough decision to further revise our schedule by canceling approximately 1,000 of our almost 4,000 daily flights from Sunday, March 22 until the previously revised schedule begins on April 14, 2020," the airline said in the release. "We sincerely regret any inconvenience to our Customers and our Employees."
Southwest says they will continue to assess the demand for their service with the goal of canceling flights that have alternative options and that affect the fewest number of travelers. Southwest will also implement the cancellations on a "rolling, multiple-day basis" to provide advance notice and alternate flight options to travelers, as well as contacting affected customers as soon as possible to alert them of the cancellation.
Southwest says they will also be suspending service to all their international destinations beginning at the end of the operating day on March 22. They say the decision is due to the number of governments restricting air travel across their borders and that they hope to resume normal international operations on Monday, May 4.
Southwest is also enacting flexible accommodation policies for all canceled flights, including:
- Those wanting to rebook can change their travel up to 60 days from original flight date by going online. Flights that have seats available will display as "Available." Southwest recommends doing it online as call volumes are likely to be very high
- Those unsure of their future travel plans do not need to take any action. Funds used to pay for this trip will be available for the customer named on the ticket to use through June 30, 2021. Customers can simply use their original confirmation number as the way to access these funds in the future
Southwest recommends travelers to check their flight status online and to read the latest travel advisories for more details about changes and cancelation policies.
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