Southwest Airlines to resume normal flight operations on Friday before New Year's Eve

Southwest Airlines said Thursday that it plans to resume normal flight operations on Friday, Dec. 30, following days of delayed and canceled flights that left passengers and employees stuck at airports – and in long lines and on hold with customer service – across the country.

"We are encouraged by the progress we've made to realign Crew, their schedules, and our fleet. With another holiday weekend full of important connections for our valued Customers and Employees, we are eager to return to a state of normalcy," the airline said in a statement posted to its website.

"We know even our deepest apologies – to our Customers, to our Employees, and to all affected through this disruption – only go so far," reads the statement.

Southwest said the winter storm over Christmas weekend compounded by holiday demand, its own flight network and schedule, and the failure of some of its own internal systems led to the nationwide issues. The Department of Transportation previously said it was concerned about the number of delays and cancelations and would launch an investigation.

"We have much work ahead of us, including investing in new solutions to manage wide-scale disruptions," the airline said.

Because of the canceled flights, many people were forced to buy last-minute and expensive flights on other airlines, book hotel stays, or rent vehicles and continue their journey on the road. 

Southwest said people could submit receipts for additional expenses incurred and would consider "reasonable" requests for reimbursement, including hotels, car rentals, other flights, and meals. However, specifics on how Southwest defines "reasonable" is unknown.

FOX 35 reached out to Southwest on Wednesday seeking clarification and was referred to the info on the airline's website.

How to submit receipts for reimbursement to Southwest

Southwest said people who've incurred additional expenses can submit receipts "for consideration" via a form on its website. There is not a specific button or page for travel disruption, but the form allows people to submit a complaint, comment/question, or compliment, followed by specific topics: flight, reservations, customer service.

People should be prepared with images of receipts for expenses, flight information, and contact information:

  • Flight and event date
  • Airport
  • Flight number
  • Confirmation number
  • Origin city
  • Destination city

How to file claim for lost or missing luggage 

For those who were scheduled to travel between Dec. 20-27, 2022, and have lost or missing luggage, Southwest Airlines late Wednesday made a separate web page for people to submit a baggage report,

There is an online form that will need to be filled out.

You will want to have the following information ready:

  • Reservation confirmation number
  • First and last name
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Departure date
  • Departure airport and destination airport
  • Bag manufacturer, bag type, color, and delivery method.