For a couple of years now, I have written about the continued problems of accessing Southwest from various countries around the world. I have spoken to several Southwest people, some at higher levels, and they all say they will check into getting it fixed. The problem is that this is a problem by Southwest’s own making, this isn’t some little bug that they cannot fix.
The Problem Accessing Southwest Internationally Is Getting Worse
To make it worse, this ban on certain countries accessing the Southwest website has grown. Not only that, but the workarounds that I and others have used for quick access have now been closed as well.
Here is the original list I posted last year of countries that cannot access the Southwest website. This list was formed by reader reports as well as my own trial and error with various countries through a VPN.
- Hong Kong
- South Africa
Since that list, I have heard that Finland has problems accessing now and, in a bit of a surprise, the UK is also having access problems! I am not sure what is going on there but I have heard from readers that the problem went away for a bit but is back again now and denying access to the Southwest website.
The Workarounds That Are Closed
I wrote a post last year about an easy, though not perfect, workaround that worked in accessing Southwest.com from overseas. If the customer used the app, it would work without a problem (perfect for trying to check in for a flight) or if you visited the Southwest mobile website from a desktop browser (mobile.southwest.com) it worked as well.
Unfortunately, both of those loopholes have closed, at least in some of the countries that I have tried it from.
However, you can still access the Southwest.com website by using a VPN or by using a phone with a US-based SIM card (like T-Mobile or Google Fi).
Why Is It Important To Access Southwest Internationally?
There were a few people that did not see this as a problem and instead a decision that Southwest has a right to make. True, it is their right to make it but it is a big problem for their customers. Here is why:
People Connecting to Southwest For Domestic Flights
There are tons of people that use Southwest to connect for international flights for a couple of reasons – free bags (only domestic carrier to allow that) and free changes. Both of those things are great if you are connecting with an international flight on a different airline.
But, the problem with not being able to access Southwest while you are abroad on your trip is no early check-in – in fact, no check-in at all! If your incoming flight back to the US is delayed, you have no way to do anything about that and when you are finally able to check-in at the airport, you are going to be getting separate seats – in the back, in the middle – for sure!
People Trying to Book Southwest Sales While on Trips
The other group of people is the one that is traveling when the really good Southwest sales come up (the $49/79/99) or any other sales that help them. Because they are traveling, they are unable to book those sales and take advantage of the good deals.
This is a big problem that Southwest has caused and that Southwest really should fix. I have heard from hundreds of readers who have flown Southwest a lot but the problems in trying to access the website while abroad on a trip have really soured them on the Southwest experience.
Yes, it is Southwest’s choice to do this and their right. But I wish I would stop being told that it is “being looked into” or “it will be fixed soon” and that they would just come right out and be honest with their customers.
Even if they said something like “we have had to limit access to our website from certain countries that we have seen a large number of fraudulent access attempts from.” What’s wrong with owning your decision and saying something like that? They have already turned away any customers in those countries affected anyway so making a simple statement like that will not cost them any more customers in those countries!
Have you had problems accessing Southwest from abroad? If so, which country or countries?
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