Can I find out why a flight was cancelled on Southwest?

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Dec 9, 2015
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#1
Greetings!

We were scheduled to fly on Monday DTW - Midway on Southwest 3023 departing 620 pm (Eastern), then on 2951 Midway - ABQ departing 7:50 pm (Central - 8:50 pm Eastern time). We were informed at 3:22 pm Eastern time that the second flight was cancelled, but no reason was given. Is there a way I can find out why the second flight was cancelled over 5 hours ahead of time? While Chicago had weather, I can not understand why it was cancelled 5 hours ahead of time.
We ended up having to get a hotel in Detroit, and pay for dinner. I asked the gate agent if there was anything they could do for hotel or food, and they said no since it was due to weather. I did not see him look anything up, but I'm not sure what he already saw on the screen. But flights were still flying into and out of Chicago at that time, about 5:15 pm Eastern.
So, experts! Is there any way to find out why the flight was cancelled? And if it was not weather, should I try sending in my hotel and dinner receipts for reimbursement? If this is an unreasonable request, please let me know, I've never been in this situation before!
I appreciate your advice!
Sandy
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#2
Sandy, the local weather has little to do with individual airplane schedules. Bad weather at one place can affect flights all over the country, it's a cascading affect involving crew, airplanes, landing/takeoff schedules, gate assignments and for all I know 7 other factors. There are a couple of advocates here who know how to find out the details for you, and I'm sure they'll chime in soon.

Meanwhile, you didn't finish the story ... when did you reach your destination? Did the airline offer you a voucher for a hotel room? My take on food is that you have to eat meals somewhere, but I think you should have had a hotel room courtesy of the airline. You should definitely submit a request for reimbursement, just compose a concise, polite email to customer service.
 
Dec 9, 2015
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#3
Meanwhile said:
We ended up getting home Tuesday night, landing in ABQ about 6 pm. We had a four hour layover in PHX. But we got home ! :) But had to take an additional day off of work :( No hotel room or food vouchers of any kind from Southwest.
Thanks for your reply!
Sandy
 
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Neil Maley

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#4
Sandy, the local weather has little to do with individual airplane schedules. Bad weather at one place can affect flights all over the country, it's a cascading affect involving crew, airplanes, landing/takeoff schedules, gate assignments and for all I know 7 other factors. There are a couple of advocates here who know how to find out the details for you, and I'm sure they'll chime in soon.

Meanwhile, you didn't finish the story ... when did you reach your destination? Did the airline offer you a voucher for a hotel room? My take on food is that you have to eat meals somewhere, but I think you should have had a hotel room courtesy of the airline. You should definitely submit a request for reimbursement, just compose a concise, polite email to customer service.
Not if it was weather related.
 

kenish

Verified Member
Sep 1, 2015
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#5
This is circumstantial, but MDW and ORD both had numerous cancellations on Monday. They were #1 and #2 for cancelled and delayed flights among all the world's airports. This was for all airlines, not only Southwest. In fact, your first flight (WN3023) was cancelled at MDW and did not continue to EWR.

Checking aviation weather, it wasn't ideal on Monday evening but visibility and clouds were OK. There were high winds. I'm speculating the weather caused Chicago airspace to go into "flow control" where the FAA limits arrivals and departures. Each airline has to decide which flights to operate and which to cancel. Bottom line, it does appear to be weather.
 
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Dec 9, 2015
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#6
Thanks everyone for your replies! Can we find out if the FAA actually called for flow control (not sure if this is the correct way to put this).
I really wish there was more information from the airlines - a little bit of knowing what is going on, instead of wondering and speculating goes a long way!

Sandy
 
R

Realitoes

Guest
#7
Below are the FAA Advisories for MDW and DTW on Monday. Both had weather issues which could possibly result in flight delays and cancellations.

If I had to guess, the weather at MDW caused a cascading affect of delayed/cancelled inbound flights, which resulted in not enough aircraft for all the scheduled flights, therefore, WN had to cancel quite a few outbound evening flights.


ATCSCC ADVZY 039 MDW/ZAU 12/07/15 MDW GROUND STOP
DESTINATION AIRPORT: MDW
FACILITIES INCLUDED: ZAU ZMP ZKC ZID ZOB
GROUND STOP PERIOD: 07/1430Z - 07/1530Z
REASON: LOW CIGS/VIS
REMARKS: SWA AIRCRAFT LANDING 31C ILS-Z APCH EXEMPT
071430-071630
15/12/07 14:44 DCCOPS./nfs/lxstn25


MESSAGE:

CTL ELEMENT: DTW
ELEMENT TYPE: APT
ADL TIME: 2207Z
GROUND STOP PERIOD: 07/2207Z - 07/2300Z
DEP FACILITIES INCLUDED: (Manual) ZOB
PREVIOUS TOTAL, MAXIMUM, AVERAGE DELAYS: 0 / 0 / 0
NEW TOTAL, MAXIMUM, AVERAGE DELAYS: 93 / 26 / 19
PROBABILITY OF EXTENSION: MEDIUM
IMPACTING CONDITION: WEATHER / LOW CEILINGS
COMMENTS:

EFFECTIVE TIME:

072210 - 080000

MESSAGE:

DTW IS APPROACHING BELOW CAT I MINIMUMS. CONDITIONS ARE NOT EXPECTED
TO IMPROVE FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME.USERS CAN ANTICIPATE
ARRIVAL HOLDING AND PERIODIC GROUND STOPS THAT CAPTURE APPROPRIATE
CATEGORY AIRCRAFT FOR THE CONDITONS. EXPECT UPDATES AS CONDITIONS
WARRANT.

EFFECTIVE TIME:

072225 - 081300

TERMINAL CONSTRAINTS:
DTW/ORD/MDW-VIS/CIGS
TPA/MCO/MSP/SFO-CIGS
SEA-RA
SEA-RWY 16C/34C CLOSED
LAS-RWY 07L/25R CLOSED
 
Last edited by a moderator:
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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
6,617
6,627
113
San Francisco
#8
Below are the FAA Advisories for MDW and DTW on Monday. Both had weather issues which could possibly result in flight delays and cancellations.

If I had to guess, the weather at MDW caused a cascading affect of delayed/cancelled inbound flights, which resulted in not enough aircraft for all the scheduled flights, therefore, WN had to cancel quite a few outbound evening flights.


ATCSCC ADVZY 039 MDW/ZAU 12/07/15 MDW GROUND STOP
DESTINATION AIRPORT: MDW
FACILITIES INCLUDED: ZAU ZMP ZKC ZID ZOB
GROUND STOP PERIOD: 07/1430Z - 07/1530Z
REASON: LOW CIGS/VIS
REMARKS: SWA AIRCRAFT LANDING 31C ILS-Z APCH EXEMPT
071430-071630
15/12/07 14:44 DCCOPS./nfs/lxstn25


MESSAGE:

CTL ELEMENT: DTW
ELEMENT TYPE: APT
ADL TIME: 2207Z
GROUND STOP PERIOD: 07/2207Z - 07/2300Z
DEP FACILITIES INCLUDED: (Manual) ZOB
PREVIOUS TOTAL, MAXIMUM, AVERAGE DELAYS: 0 / 0 / 0
NEW TOTAL, MAXIMUM, AVERAGE DELAYS: 93 / 26 / 19
PROBABILITY OF EXTENSION: MEDIUM
IMPACTING CONDITION: WEATHER / LOW CEILINGS
COMMENTS:

EFFECTIVE TIME:

072210 - 080000

MESSAGE:

DTW IS APPROACHING BELOW CAT I MINIMUMS. CONDITIONS ARE NOT EXPECTED
TO IMPROVE FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME.USERS CAN ANTICIPATE
ARRIVAL HOLDING AND PERIODIC GROUND STOPS THAT CAPTURE APPROPRIATE
CATEGORY AIRCRAFT FOR THE CONDITONS. EXPECT UPDATES AS CONDITIONS
WARRANT.

EFFECTIVE TIME:

072225 - 081300

TERMINAL CONSTRAINTS:
DTW/ORD/MDW-VIS/CIGS
TPA/MCO/MSP/SFO-CIGS
SEA-RA
SEA-RWY 16C/34C CLOSED
LAS-RWY 07L/25R CLOSED
Wow, Realitoes, this was very cool to read ... my opinion is that 75% of passenger rage is due to lack of information. People feel taken advantage of, and ignored. Airlines should post this kind of information at the airport, on screens for all to see. I'll bet it would cut the disgruntled passenger list in half.

I remember an 8-hour delay on Alaska Air from SFO to Mazatlan ... the gate people would tell us NOTHING. I went walking, found a gate with agents but no passengers, and THEY told me what was going on ... Seattle and Portland were both fogged in and the planes full of people in SFO couldn't fly north. When I asked the obvious question, they explained to me that flying to Mexico has certain crew requirements, so they couldn't take the plane at SFO, unload all the Portland passengers, and fly us to Mazatlan. The wait was still awful, but I no longer felt angry.
 
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kenish

Verified Member
Sep 1, 2015
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#9
@judyserienagy Agree- I've had UA be very open about delays, and it's really good. That said, do you really expect Joe and Jane Passenger, or even the gate agents, to be able to read the coded FAA advisories, and more importantly interpret what they mean? Could you understand it, for that matter ?(the only reason I can is I'm a private pilot!) Not being critical or anything...but assuming you're more savvy than a typical traveler, it would be pretty meaningless to most travelers.

@Realitoes , where did you get the historic info? I only know how to get current/future FAA bulletins.
 
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R

Realitoes

Guest
#10
@judyserienagy Agree- I've had UA be very open about delays, and it's really good. That said, do you really expect Joe and Jane Passenger, or even the gate agents, to be able to read the coded FAA advisories, and more importantly interpret what they mean? Could you understand it, for that matter ?(the only reason I can is I'm a private pilot!) Not being critical or anything...but assuming you're more savvy than a typical traveler, it would be pretty meaningless to most travelers.

@Realitoes , where did you get the historic info? I only know how to get current/future FAA bulletins.
https://www.fly.faa.gov/adv/advAdvisoryForm.jsp
 
Likes: kenish
Dec 12, 2014
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#12
Even though the cancellation seems to be weather related and Southwest is not legally on the hook for any hotel or food reimbursements, it will not hurt to contact the Customer Service department in writing and explain your inconvenience. I had a similar situation a few weeks ago & received a $50 voucher; not much, but better than nothing.
 
Dec 9, 2015
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#13
Can someone help me interpret these advisories - what does it mean, and especially how to read the times? Our flight 7:50 pm (8:50 pm EDT) from Midway (MDW?) to ABQ was cancelled at 3 pm EDT and I am still trying to figure out why it was cancelled 5 hours early.

Thanks!
upload_2015-12-21_12-17-56.png

upload_2015-12-21_12-16-21.png


upload_2015-12-21_12-10-58.png

upload_2015-12-21_12-12-33.png
 
Dec 9, 2015
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#15
Thanks for your reply.

Flight was cancelled 3:22 pm - 5 hours before it was scheduled to depart. Other flights, on same airline, (Southwest), flew both into and out of Midway before and after this flight. What I dont understand is how, 5 hours ahead of time, they can cancel one flight out of hundreds for weather that is that far in the future, and have flights landing and departing, at the same airport with the same weather conditions, both before this flight was scheduled to leave, and AFTER this flight was scheduled to leave.

In other words, They knew 5 hours in advance the weather was going to be bad enough that this flight was not going to be able to fly???

Don't the airlines need to publish WHY a flight was scheduled? Is there a database at the FAA for this?

Thanks again, everyone!
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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#16
It seems the problem was at your destination airport.

I have had that happen to me as well. My last flight from New Orleans to Ny was delayed 5 hours in New Orleans because of issues in NY.

It's better to be delayed at the airport vs getting on the plane and sitting in the plane for 3 hours because of problems at the destination you are going to. And that would be why other flights were taking off- they weren't flying where you were going.

It happens all the time,
 
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JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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#17
The weather in the departure airport often has nothing to do with weather cancellations. It likely what "weather front" was forecast for the planned routing later in the day or a weather forcasted at the arrival airport. Some kind of weather was happening and strongly forecasted for later that day.... This is often the case!
This kind of event causes havoc with the airlines as they end up with airplanes and flight crews out of place. Trouble for you and them. It's a domino effect.
 
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#18
Your flight technically was not canceled due to weather. It was canceled for the convenience of the airline not having crews and aircraft out of position and not operating past 1130p which means crew rest gets blown for the early am departures which cascades the delays into tomorrow.
 

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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#19
Your flight technically was not canceled due to weather. It was canceled for the convenience of the airline not having crews and aircraft out of position and not operating past 1130p which means crew rest gets blown for the early am departures which cascades the delays into tomorrow.
Wondering Joe how you have come to that conclusion ?
 
#20
It is an observation that is simply the flip side of the coin. Southwest is great at considering the rest of their employees and not operating flights until 3 and 4am just to get the schedule operated.

Was weather a factor? Sure. Only they can tel you the precise analysis that goes into canceling a flight.

It's not like 100% or even 70% of flights cancelled. More like 80% operated. So why was THIS one canceled? It was not solely weather. It was for the convenience of the airline.