Problems Accessing Southwest.com Internationally

Written by Charlie

For some reason, certain countries are having problems accessing Southwest.com. Find out what Southwest says about this and what you need to do.

This is something that is very annoying and has been happening to me for a while. An airline website should be something that allows you to purchase travel and not limit you when you are traveling outside of the US.

Problems Accessing Southwest.com Internationally


TFoxFoto | Shutterstock.com

Yet that is exactly what is happening with Southwest.com. As someone who blogs about miles, points, and travel, I routinely check the various airline sites for news and deals. But, for the last few weeks, I have not been able to access Southwest.com from Greece. Fortunately, I have a VPN so I will turn that on from a US server and try again. Then it will work. But, it has not worked anywhere around Greece from multiple devices and networks. It is also not just Greece as Southwest said they knew about the problem and I was on a foreign VPN and could not access it as well (I cannot remember which country it was right now).

accessing Southwest.com

What I see when trying to access Southwest.com

Here is what they said when I tweeted about it 3 weeks ago:

What To Do

After a while and still not able to access it, I tweeted them again and they said they did not have a date for the resolution of the problem. They said to call 800-435-9792 for any help.

The problem is, I don’t want to call and have to go through searching for sales and reservation information on the phone! That is the convenience of having a website. But, for someone who is traveling in an affected country by this, your only options are to call (hopefully with an internet service or expect big cell bills) or use a VPN (if you have one).

If you are traveling and need to get something done on Southwest, consider giving them a call or sign up for a free trial with VPN service to be able to access it until you get home. It is a bit of a pain, but it will work.

If you are having an issue with this “Access Denied” issue on Southwest.com, let them know about it as well so that maybe they will get moving a little quicker on a fix.

Are you having this problem from a different country on Southwest.com? 

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • June 25, 2016, am receiving the same error. A major issue as I have a SWA flight scheduled as soon as I return to the US and wanted to be able to make a change to it in advance!

  • I am having the exact same problem trying to get an access to their official website from South Korea. On May 23, I left a message on their facebook and they seemed to be aware of the problem. UNfortunatelty it is the only airline that offers direct flights to my destination. I was so frustrated that I ended up making two international calls. They said that the only known issue for them is the one with using Safari, which is uncompatible with their website. They told me that there is nothing they can do ans asked me to file a complaint in writing so the message gets delivered to whomever in charge. What a non sense! On July 13, I wrote them a letter with the images of the access denied website along with the tripadvisor posts by international users. Hopefully they will do something about it. But so far they have been fairly reluctant to fix it.

  • Problems here in Finland on both the Southwest web page and app. Don’t they realize the number of people, both US citizens and others who need service outside the US? Or does this have to do with the Trumpish views gaining ground?

    • Actually, I got access again this morning so not sure if their upgrade yesterday helped or not. Hopefully this works for all countries.
      It turns out it is not working again which means that this is something that they chose to shut off again as it was working.

  • I cannot access the website from Norway. I’ll be in the US later this year and I prefer flying Southwest, sadly I may have to choose a different airline if I can’t access the website.

    • Southwest Airlines just does not know how many bookings are made from outside the USA. The easiest thing to fix for sure!

  • Same problem here in Switzerland. Trying to fly my daughter, in school in the US, around the country, and it’s been impossible for months to access the website.

    • I heard from an IT technician here the reason for it. A simple fix. They are losing money unnecessarily.

      • Don’t even bother. I made like 5 calls to customer service back in May and they decided to close the case and ask me not to call again because “they don’t care about international customers.”

        • Where is the CEO of Southwest! I have had the same problem when in Taiwan for several years. I called Southwest when I went back to USA and they claimed they did not have any problem with their website and they asked me to fix firewall on my end. They don’t know how much business $$$$$ they will lose if they don’t spend a little $ to fix it.

  • I can’t access the website from Taiwan. I book many flights for clients and family members flying everywhere in the US. Having a website to check for lower fares after booking, and then changing the reservations to get money back used to be a convenience for me, now it’s not. The volume of flights I book will not work if I need to call it in, international nonetheless…

    Have been booking using other airlines, and have been getting fuss from people regarding higher fares and bag fees…

  • I have the same probelm – Webpage and App do not work from Switzerland. I have a flight going this friday and i wasn’t even able to check on that or get a check in. I love to fly with Southwest, bu as I am not able to book any other flights, I have to get another Airline.

  • Can’t access via Hong Kong. Second trip in a row where I was planning on booking via Southwest, but instead I will be using United since they provide easy access to people who want to pay them for their services.

  • No access from South Africa either! Seems silly since they can gain a lot of business from those not currently in the US.

  • I am getting the same “access denied” that everyone else on this comments thread is getting — I am based in Taiwan. I was able to access the mobile site but trying to enroll in Rapid Rewards turned out to be a 30 minute “enrollment from hell” that was a waste of time. This is the only airline site that has this problem in my experience.

    • The canary in the mine. These are the indicative symptoms of USA descending into a banana level country when even airlines, that should need a basic level of competence, can not get their act together.

      • If a bridge collapses in Nigeria, (has one?) one might not be surprised.
        When a major multilane bridge crumbles in the USA, (as has happened) should one still be surprised ?

  • I believe you must have got it by now: it’s not a bug, it’s a feature. For whatever reasonss, they DON’T WANT to allow global access to their regular website, but don’t want to admit it either. Use their mobile website.

  • Same thing today from Sweden. Again. Tried to book a flight, but still it shows “ACCESS DENIED” message. Do they even care for other customers, that want to book their flights from outside USA?
    Seriously. Is it that difficult to fix it? Or maybe it is too difficult for the IT crew?
    FIX IT. Or people simply will choose maybe bit more expensive, but reliable airline.

  • Also a problem in Bulgaria in December 2016. Pretty sure this is just not a priority for them. I’ll just fly Delta or something.

  • Same here in Hong Kong. Amazed it’s been going on for months. Southwest seems eager to be an isolationist company when it comes to the global market

  • I just had the same access problems while in Singapore on Dec. 29 2016 – Jan. 1 2017. Phone app worked though but as we all know the apps functionality is limited compared to the full website.

    I did; however, have access to their website while in Thailand Dec. 24-29 2016 so I find it odd that it works in some countries within the region but not others.

  • Couldn’t access from Hong Kong during the first week of February, 2017. How long is this going to go on, Southwest?

  • Southwest is a joke . pathetic.

    I am seeing comments going back multiple months that it is not just me – that interernationally we cannot access the web site to spend money on their services.

  • I have access to their website from the J but it won’t process my booking because

    a) they won’t accept my visa delta card

    2) I haven’t filled in their billing address phone no fields. But you can’t fill in either fixed line or mobile numbers into their fields

  • I can lookup flights on Southwest.com. However I can’t login to my Southwest account from Guatemala where I’m staying. So I can’t purchase tickets. Had this problem all of 2017. Can use the date on my cell phone to login into my account.

  • No Access from Vietnam. Calls aren’t taken and aren’t professional. Tired face book, it redirects you to their website which I cannot access.

  • NO luck from Bali… as DJT would say, “SAD!”
    Make southwest internationally friendly again

    It is 2017.

  • Can’t get it from Portugal. Especially frustrating since we are living here while stationed with NATO, and I often need to arrange travel for trips to/within the US.

    • Southwest Airlines full desktop site not working internationally is bizarre, or a sign of the isolationist trends in the USA. The mobile site however may work, but is there a way to force a non-mobile browser to use the mobile version?

  • No access from Indonesia…… And the isolation of the US from the rest of the world starts with this???

  • Still no access from Switzerland. Via Twitter, always the same bla-bla with the 1-800… number. Even Air Koryo’s website is open and bookable from Switzerland 😉
    I just don’t get it, what’s wrong with Southwest?

  • Indeed, even Air Koryo works hahahaha

    I travel to the US about three or four times a year and for my internal flights I never book Southwest. Simply because I have not been able to access their website from my home country for two years now.

    It’s getting to the stage that even if they eventually fixed the bug, I still wouldn’t fly with them, just out of spite.

  • Can’t access from China without a VPN. Oddly enough, you can book some Southwest flights on the Chinese travel website Ctrip. When I was looking at options from PDX-CHI Southwest was an option, ended up booking AA as the flight time was better. I wanted to use Ctrip (so I could book with my Chinese card rather than my U.S. Card), to book a WN flight from CVG-MDW, but Ctrip only offered UA, AA, and DL to ORD. I turned on my VPN and booked WN with my US card.

  • Tried today from the Netherlands. Same error. Considering this has been going on for over a year and a half, this is incompetence.

    Work around if you have a US smartphone with you: don’t use WIFI, use your data plan. That worked for me

  • Same problem here in the UK today … but strangely this has just happened as I had no problems previously accessing the website.

  • I am in Taiwan till end of April 2018. Need to buy a ticket from Albuquerque to Portland, Oregon around 6-23-2018, but could not get in southwest airlines’ website. “Access denied” no matter how I tried. Can you help. Can’t call them. Can they call me?

    • Hello Grace,

      I am currently in Taiwan as well. Here are some pointers to help you out.

      1) “Access Denied” is not an error message, southwest website does not allow the majority of foreign IPs to access their website. This has been happening for several years now.

      2) You may download the southwest APP on your phone. It’s not a sure thing though, as itt was working fine for me that way until about two weeks ago. Now the APP won’t work either.

      3) If you are computer and internet savvy, get a good VPN that can bypass the firewall.

      4) You had mentioned that you can’t call them, why not? Just call them at 800-I-FLY-SWA (800-435-9792). You can use wifi calling on your phone with a US SIM card for free, or it’s free if you have SKYPE.

      5) If all else fails, just wait until you get back to the States. You also mentioned that you will get back stateside in April and your planned date of travel isn’t until June. Two months out is still plenty of time to get pretty lowe fares (if not lowest). They have sales all of the time, by getting your ticket now does not mean it will be cheaper vs April.

  • I had notified SWA agent & tech support personnel when I was back in US last summer. Also told one agent who called me back after I wrote a thank-you note for SWA allowing me to change flight date from HOU to PDX due to Hurricane Harvey, about this access denied issue. Nothing improved yet. They did not believe me. She told me to write from Taiwan if happened again. Could not contact SWA because my access to help also was denied.

    • Give them a link to this thread. This is a well known issue with travellers.

      SW tries hard enough to extract the extra dollar. This would be an easy extra source of income. How condescending of them not to believe you! :-O

      Does the SW IT manager get kickbacks from whoever incompetents make the SW website? I can not think of any other reason for such gross oversight and damage to their income flow.

  • Honestly the fact that this has been going on for over a year and they have made no attempt to fix the issue makes me not want to fly with them anymore. I was an avid southwest customer for years, I’m a member of their points program, and had their credit card up until I moved to Greece (had to cancel it because the foreign transaction fees made it useless to me). I just tried to access their site to buy tickets for my upcoming trip to the US and ran into the same issues. If they have no desire to fix the problem so people in other countries can spend money on their services, then screw them. I’ll spend my money with a company that wants me as a customer.

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  • This is ridiculous. That we are still talking about the same issue YEARS after it was first posted shows the absurdity of this problem. It comes to a point where the free bags just isn’t worth the hassle with VPNs and intermittent access anymore. Going with other airlines now…

  • Cannot access from Netherlands. I need to make travel plans for later this month to Oakland from LA. Very annoying.