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What would Southwest do in the event of missed connection for last flight out?

What would Southwest do in the event of missed connection for last flight out?

Old Feb 13, 20, 9:07 pm
  #1  
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What would Southwest do in the event of missed connection for last flight out?

I had this happen to me once: I was flying from Portland to Buffalo via Midway, but my flight was delayed and I missed my flight to Buffalo, which was the last flight out, so they put me up in a hotel for the night. It was actually really stupid -- when I landed in Midway, the gate next door was my flight to Buffalo, and the plane was still sitting there, and sat there for at least 10 more minutes, but they wouldn't let me on it. But they gave me a voucher for dinner from the food court, and then took me on a shuttle bus to a Fairfield Inn for the night. The next morning, I flew to Buffalo.

Will this always be the protocol? I am looking at the same route again and it's the very last flight for the day. The layover is also only 1h:15m. I'm wondering if I am risking myself having to sleep in an airport or pay for a hotel out of my own pocket. Will Southwest always cover me if there's some sort of delay that prevents me from being able to connect? What if it's a small delay, like 10 minutes? Is there some sort of window they limit it to?

Thank you!
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Old Feb 13, 20, 10:27 pm
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If the flight delay is weather related you are SOL and on your own. If the delay is mechanical or crew related the will give you hotel voucher. You also have to do some digging on your own and inquire. They do not always automatically hard out vouchers even when you are eligible.

Once doors are "closed" you have missed the flight even if the plane is still sitting there. If doors have not been closed, they will typically make every effort to get you on that plane has been my experience. Southwest is also one of the better airlines on holing flights for connecting passengers as long as possible. They would rather get you there then have to give you a hotel if possible.

If prior to departure you know you will miss your connection, ask to see of there is alternate routings.

I used to catch the last flight out of DSM to SJC and it was notoriously delayed often causing missed connection home. I would then work with GA and find another flight through PHX or DEN that had a mechanical delay and at least get half way home and have a hotel. You can use the system to your advantage to at least get a hotel room if you know the rules and have a cooperative GA.

Last edited by PAX62; Feb 13, 20 at 10:37 pm
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Old Feb 14, 20, 6:58 am
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I am surprised they did not hold the plane. They do when they can as they know connections are arriving
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Old Feb 14, 20, 7:07 am
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Whether the flight is held for late connections is a matter for Flight Operations and isn't quite as simple as it looks. On the one hand, the goal is not to delay passengers overnight. But, on the other hand, there are often crew rest restrictions looming later in the day. Holding a flight may mean that it has to be cancelled or held for a few hours until a reserve crew can be called in.

On the hotel front, it's all spelled out in the COC. If it's within WN's control, the hotel is on WN. If it's not, it's on you. Even if WN isn't covering the hotel, thee are often distressed traveler services managed by a vendor which collects availability at local properties and can provide a reservation at a deep discount at the very last minute. There should be fliers with the service's number available at gates and other counters (doesn't have to be WN). Don';t look for a suite at the Four Seasons, but it's worth a look if finances are a concern and your travel insurance won't cover.
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Old Feb 14, 20, 8:41 am
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Originally Posted by Blitzjb View Post
I am surprised they did not hold the plane. They do when they can as they know connections are arriving
from what I have been told it's a numbers game, if 2 passengers are going to disconnect they probably aren't holding the flight, if 29 people are going to disconnect, they will hold you as long as possible if it's the last flight of the day.
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Old Feb 14, 20, 8:56 am
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The only consistency I can conclude is that whatever they do and decide, it won't go in your favor.

I used to connect to the last MDW-ISP flight every Thursday night from MCI.

One week, due to weather, 4 of us were left stranded at MDW.

The every next week, we waited an hour for 4 passengers and their bags to be loaded before departing.

YMMV!
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Old Feb 15, 20, 9:38 am
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>>One week, due to weather, 4 of us were left stranded at MDW.


Perfect opportunity to take the Orange Line downtown and catch an electric blues show. Chicago's signature contribution to world culture, better here than anywhere I have ever seen.
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Old Feb 15, 20, 12:03 pm
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Originally Posted by Beachchaser View Post
from what I have been told it's a numbers game, if 2 passengers are going to disconnect they probably aren't holding the flight, if 29 people are going to disconnect, they will hold you as long as possible if it's the last flight of the day.
Yes, the more connecting passenger the better chance of hold but It is more than just a simple numbers of passengers game...it is what effect holing the flight will have downstream and will it cause other delays. Have seen quite a few lengthy holds for one passenger and have at times BEEN that one passenger.

That is one reason I like WN over the legacy carriers like Delta cuz they will close the doors as soon as last person is on and not give a rat's arse...hence DELTA actually standing for Don't Ever Leave The Airport
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Old Feb 16, 20, 3:18 pm
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Originally Posted by Beachchaser View Post
from what I have been told it's a numbers game, if 2 passengers are going to disconnect they probably aren't holding the flight, if 29 people are going to disconnect, they will hold you as long as possible if it's the last flight of the day.
The only time this has happened to me there was something like 30-40 passengers connecting and the plane was parked at the next gate when the inbound arrived then ended up pushing out just as ours started to unload.

I get all the decision making and logistics going on behind the scenes but it's still super frustrating when it happens to you.
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Old Feb 17, 20, 2:36 pm
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Just to follow up, no one answered the rest of my question and just talked about my incident at Midway. My question was how long Southwest needs to have a flight delayed for them to give me a hotel for a missed connection. If my layover is 1h:15m and I am only delayed 30 minutes but still miss my flight, would they accommodate me? What is the cutoff? Does the connection need to have boarded by the time I landed, etc? Usually I get food and go to the bathroom during the layover...
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Old Feb 17, 20, 3:26 pm
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You can hypothesize a hundred scenarios. No airline is going to proclaim a fixed time window or itemize relevant contingencies.

Determining the IROP to be in the airline's control is circumstantial. WN agent is "authorized" to provide a hotel voucher. The word "shall" does not appear.
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Old Feb 17, 20, 3:58 pm
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Originally Posted by oreocookies View Post
Just to follow up, no one answered the rest of my question and just talked about my incident at Midway. My question was how long Southwest needs to have a flight delayed for them to give me a hotel for a missed connection. If my layover is 1h:15m and I am only delayed 30 minutes but still miss my flight, would they accommodate me? What is the cutoff? Does the connection need to have boarded by the time I landed, etc? Usually I get food and go to the bathroom during the layover...

There is no time limit.

If your flight is delayed and you miss connection due to weather or any other reason beyond Southwwest's control (like ATC ground stops) then you are SOL and on your own.

If you miss your connection due to mechanical or crew issues that are not weather related then you are entitled to hotel voucher if they cannot reroute you to your final destination.

If you miss your flight because your are getting food and using restroom on a quick layover with doors of connection about to close...well, then that is 100% on you.

Length of delay is irrelevant but in either scenario they will make every effort to get you to destination if alternate routes are available.
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Old Feb 17, 20, 4:31 pm
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Originally Posted by PAX62 View Post
If you miss your connection due to mechanical or crew issues that are not weather related then you are entitled to hotel voucher if they cannot reroute you to your final destination.
Massive winter storms can mean crippling downstream disruptions.

"Crew issues" could be collateral. Or unique.

No pax is going to know.
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Old Feb 17, 20, 5:52 pm
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Originally Posted by oreocookies View Post
Just to follow up, no one answered the rest of my question and just talked about my incident at Midway. My question was how long Southwest needs to have a flight delayed for them to give me a hotel for a missed connection. If my layover is 1h:15m and I am only delayed 30 minutes but still miss my flight, would they accommodate me? What is the cutoff? Does the connection need to have boarded by the time I landed, etc? Usually I get food and go to the bathroom during the layover...
if weather is not the reason....

if you had had a long mechanical delay before leaving Portland either

1 thely kerp you on flight knowing you miss connection
2 they try to reroute you connecting elsewhere if you can make it back like sending you thru phx in a late arriving glight
3 you could stay in Portland and fly out the next day

this is true with other airlines

there is no rule on when they cancel. Nor is there a rule on when to hold for connecting pax. A factor in the hold is pilot clock time.
Not just how many connecting pax.

thus happened to me..I booked one of those no plane change but 2 stop flights from east to west coast. My last stop was denver. There was a delay in thus flight. WN replaced the final leg with a different plane and crew from den to west coast city. I had to be rebooked in a different flight.

i have bern on my fair share of Westto east flightswhere mechanical delay occurred resulting in missed connection and needing to stay in hotel. This was an American flight thru charlotte. They knew folks would miss connection so they rebooked connections and set hotels for that night and next day.

in October I had a flight leaving at noon from Central time to east time. Mechanical cancelation but there was no routes available that day so hotel that night and flight the next day.
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Old Feb 17, 20, 6:24 pm
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The length of the delay is irrelevant. What matters is the time of day and the reason for the delay. A six hour delay at 10:00 AM won't get you a hotel room. At 10:00 PM, it ought to, if the reason for the delay otherwise meets the criteria.
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