Travel News

At Least 15 Countries Affected By Southwest Blocking Access & Why This Is a Problem

Written by Charlie

Southwest is continuing to block many countries from accessing their website and they are losing customers as a result. Here are at least 15 countries affected by their blocking.


This is an issue that I first noticed happening over a year ago while trying to access Southwest from Greece. All of a sudden, I received the message “Access Denied” when trying to access the Southwest website.

At Least 15 Countries Affected by Southwest Blocking Access

southwest still geo-blocking

What I see when trying to access

Since that time, I have been in contact with many people from Southwest trying to make some sense of why they are blocking certain countries. Also since that time and one of my first posts on the subject, I have received hundreds of comments and e-mails from would-be Southwest customers that are extremely frustrated in their inability to access the Southwest website.

When I first mentioned it to Twitter, their response was:

What To Do

Everyone that has reached out to them as well receive similar responses. The problem is we don’t want to call and search through calendars to make a reservation! Yes, VPNs work and even accessing the mobile site or going through the app works for many. But, the problem is that Southwest is losing money and customers by blocking access to their website from certain countries.

I have received so many notes of frustration by those who are headed back to the US from a trip abroad and were trying to check-in at the 24 hour mark to get their seat for when they would arrive in the US. Guess what? They are not able to check-in which means they must wait until they land and then do it – and wind up with high “C” numbers which normally means they sit apart.

Not Intentional?

I am not quite sure what the reasoning is behind this move. According to all of the people I have spoken with, it is not something intentional. If it was intentional, it would be kind of dumb because the blocked countries that I know about so far are not ones where people may travel infrequently to the US. They are places like Sweden, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and even Guatemala! Considering the fact that Southwest flies to the neighboring countries of Mexico and Belize, that seems to be a particular error in judgement to block Guatemala.

Losing Money – and Customers

This should be a relatively easy fix – if Southwest wanted to do it. But it seems that they feel it is not enough of a priority on this issue. I suggest that if you are in an affected country or are traveling to one that you reach out to Southwest on Twitter or some other avenue to let them know how frustrating it is to have problems like this. It would be one thing if checking in wasn’t such a big deal but they have made a boarding model which does prioritize the time of check in for seat selection. Sure, you can purchase their extra to give you an earlier boarding number but that is definitely not something everyone wants to (nor should they need to) do when it is Southwest’s problem!

So, here is the list of countries that I know are affected by the Southwest blocking. In a strange twist, while checking some of them, I found that certain cities in some of these countries do allow access.

  • Bulgaria
  • Cyprus
  • Greece
  • Guatemala
  • Hong Kong
  • Indonesia
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Russia
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Vietnam

Here is a sample of the comments I have received that should give Southwest an idea of how this is affecting many people.

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My Plea to Southwest

Hey, Southwest!

You have a great airline with some great employees working for you. You have a great model that serves millions of people very well and I am a big promoter of your airline (and send you a lot of business). But, this is one area where you are falling quite a bit short and as you further expand your international reach, it would be nice if you would do the same digitally as well for all of your fans around the world.

Leave a comment below if you have received the “Access Denied” message from the Southwest website. Also, let us know which country you tried to access their site from.

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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.


  • What do thise countries have in common so that southwest blocked them? Terrorist/extrimist activities? Religious group? Races? Hackers origin? Can someone enlighten me please?

  • Not only do VPNs help with bypassing block content, I’ve noticed in some cases when I connect to a server in a diff country flight prices actually differ. Sometimes it’s cheaper, sometimes it’s more expensive, but still a nifty little trick. I use ExpressVPN btw.

    • You are right! It does work great for some vacation destination countries very nicely since the higher prices are for the people outside the country.

  • Not in a different country but I was getting that messsge here in the USA on my mobile phone. My APP quit working and said I needed to update but denied access to the newer version. If I tried to access regular website I got “access denied”. I was about to go on an international trip and tried to get them to find a fix. It happened in February. Basically they just said tech is working on it and you can call to check in. Now I can access website on Chrome but not IE and still can not download the APP. My phone is up to date and it makes no sense.

    • That is VERY strange! Thanks for adding the data point here as I know they are checking about this. Hopefully it will be resolved soon.

  • I currently spend a lot of time in the Philippines and have this issue all the time. I believe it is an IT issue caused by “lazy” security: Countries with a high volume of suspected internet fraud are identified and any user with an IP address in those countries is blocked.
    It would be easy to resolve that issue with additional conditions, i.e. using the user account information or a human verification (captcha) – that’s why I’m calling it “lazy” security (obviously I can’t be certain)…

    • I second that for the Philippines. However, the error message is more of a generic maintenance type error (that never resolves) and sometimes I forget that the Philippines is blocked that way, and then waste a bunch of time before remembering. I would prefer they just say something blatant like the error above. It’s irritating to say the least. I just went through it tonight. Originally I thought it was just buying flights, but realize it’s blocked when accessing “My Account” too.

  • Use Tunnel Bear VPN to change you IP address and change country to origin to US or others. Free.

  • I live in the USA and routinely see the “Access Denied” message for when browsing on any device when connected to my wifi network.

    When I use my phone using data (not my wifi network), I am able to browse without a problem.

    Fortunately, I very rarely fly American (or OneWorld) so it doesn’t really impact me.

  • I strongly suspect you are seeing a concept called IP Reputation at work. Basically it is a fraud prevention mechanism that tracks fraud attempts by their source Internet Protocol address and assigns a progressively worse negative “reputation” to an address based upon known/suspected attacks from that address. I am assuming that most/all of these errors are coming from people who are using a “shared” IP address originating from a shared internet access resource (coffee shop wifi, cellular data networks, hotel wifi, etc). If other folks have used these locations for nefarious purposes, or used compromised/infected systems which did so without their knowledge, then the collective reputation of that address would suffer over time. Companies like Southwest may chose to deny access to all ip addresses that fall below a certain reputation threshold.

    This would explain why it is inconsistent and not a blanket country ban. As politically incorrect as it may be yo say so, the bulk of the places that were cited in this post are known to have less-than-stellar security on their public networks. Think “tragedy of the commons”.

  • You can add Finland to the list. Considered to be one of the safest places to live on earth, it does not make sense we cannot access the SW website. Also I find it odd that you cannot find SW flights on expedia, tripadvisor, kayak etc. I heard they have good rates, but I guess they don’t want my money.

  • Just ran into this issue myself in Bulgaria :-/ Real pain in the butt, you’d think they could have a better system for this!

  • Currently in Armenia. I am having the same issue with both the app and web site. I return to the states in few months and wanted to purchase flights. Until now I use Southwest for both bussiness and private travel often. I am extremely frustrated.

  • SOUTHWEST is CREATING ILL WILL among a large group of customers in foreign countries. In my case I fly to the U.S. (San Francisco) from Colombia and I then take Southwest to other locations in the U.S. I like to plan ahead and have EVERYTHING WORKED OUT AND SCHEDULED BEFORE I START TRAVELING, and this, obviously, makes the entire process smooth and worry free.
    I feel sad, left down and angry by SOUTHWEST’S restrictions and on all future trips I will NOT BE USING SOUTHWEST ANY MORE!