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Been left stranded by Southwest Airlines? Here’s what you need to do.

How to rebook, request a refund, and get reimbursed

Travel problems with Southwest Airlines during the holidays seen at Logan Airport.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

If your Southwest Airlines flight has recently been canceled or delayed, and you had to book a hotel room, rent a car, or make other travel arrangements, did you know you can be reimbursed for those additional costs?

You can also request a refund for your unused tickets or rebook without paying additional charges. Here’s what you need to do.

How to request a reimbursement

If you ended up staying at a hotel unexpectedly, or having to rent a car, or buy other airline tickets, or even if you just had to buy food after your travel plans were dashed before your eyes — be sure to keep all of those receipts. Southwest Airlines officials say they will honor “reasonable requests” for reimbursement for the costs of meals, hotel, and alternate transportation from travelers who were affected by flight cancellations and significant delays between Dec. 24, 2022, and Jan. 2, 2023. Receipts can be submitted via the “Email Us” page on Southwest’s website.

Ask for a refund

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If your flight was canceled, you can request a refund of your unused ticket to the original form of payment. Refund requests can be submitted by filling out an online form at southwest.com/traveldisruption.

How to rebook

Southwest Airlines customers who are traveling through Jan. 2, 2023, can rebook in their original class of service or travel standby without paying additional charges — as long as they complete their travel within 30 days of the originally scheduled itinerary and no changes are made to the cities in the original reservation. Flight reservations can be changed online at southwest.com/traveldisruption. If you have a reservation that was partially flown or one that wasn’t booked directly via the Southwest website or mobile app, you’ll need to make any changes over the phone by calling 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792) and talking to a customer service representative.

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Getting through

As you can imagine, the Southwest Airlines phone system has been busy.

“High demand is impacting our ability to connect with our customers as quickly as we’d like,” Southwest officials said.

If you’re on the phone and been on hold for a long time, be patient. If you’re not traveling within the next 72 hours and can wait to call, Southwest officials recommend waiting and calling back later. If you need to reach an agent urgently, just keep trying to call.

Due to high call volumes, Southwest officials suggest using their online self-service tools to rebook your trip.

If you can’t find any seats available when you try to rebook, don’t lose all hope. “With so many different ways to book and many customers seeking reaccommodation, flight availability may change throughout the day,” Southwest officials said. “We encourage you to keep looking.”

What if your luggage is lost?

Once again, Southwest officials are asking customers to be patient. “We recognize that many of our customers are currently separated from their belongings, and we’re working to resolve the situation as quickly as possible,” they said in a statement.

Southwest is currently finalizing a resource to assist customers with reuniting with lost or missing baggage, officials said.


Emily Sweeney can be reached at emily.sweeney@globe.com. Follow her @emilysweeney and on Instagram @emilysweeney22.