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Recovery efforts in San Juan, Puerto Rico

lbarnett Employee


Notice: Southwest Airlines resumed scheduled flights to/from San Juan (SJU) with a reduced schedule starting today, Thursday, September 28. Seat availability is extremely limited due to high demand. For details on offered flights and availability, please check online or call us at 800-I FLY-SWA (800-435-9792). If you are a Southwest Customer impacted by Hurricane Maria, we are offering flexible accommodations for those Customers holding reservations from San Juan (SJU) from Monday, September 18, through Wednesday, November 1, and want to alter their travel plans. We will operate a humanitarian flight (SJU-MCO) on Friday morning for those who are stranded. Customers wishing to standby for the humanitarian flight on Friday, September 29 should arrive at the airport by 6:00 a.m. local time.


Our thoughts continue to be with the people of Puerto Rico as they recover from this devastating storm. We are hopeful conditions there continue to improve so that we can operate more frequently and continue to increase our role in that recovery. 


Friday, September 29, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. CDT 

I wanted to give you a closer look at one of our humanitarian flights and the work our Employees are doing on the ground in Puerto Rico.


This footage was captured by Patric, from Southwest's Multimedia Team. He was able to fly down and back earlier this week on one of our humanitarian flights.  One of the terminals regained power today, but there are still many challenges on the ground. Our hearts are heavy, but what our Employee Ramzes said in the video brings it all home. He said, "that smile and that thank you, also the handshake, that's what keeps me moving. People."


Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at 10:30 p.m. CDT

Today, we've been able to connect with many of our Customers in San Juan to inform them about our humanitarian flights. Power outages are widespread, and internet and cellular connectivity are extremely limited. The airport has largely been energized using backup power generators. Access to operate flights into and out of San Juan (SJU) is still heavily restricted by the FAA, following the impact of Hurricane Maria. 


SJU+V1+350x350.jpgSJU Ramp Supervisor Ricardo Berrios Perez greets Robert Robles,Ground Operations Regional Manager for International, as the initial Assessment Team arrived in SJU on Sunday, Sept 24.Since Sunday, we've been flying in a crew to assess the damage and assist with operating a limited number of daily relief flights, carrying supplies into San Juan and more than 1200 passengers back to Orlando (as of Thurs). We operated two of those flights earlier today and are planning two more for tomorrow (Wednesday), based on the number of slots we are given to operate in and out of the San Juan airport. Air space congestion has been a significant issue since Saturday, and early on, we ran the risk of our Crews spending too much time in the air waiting for entry to San Juan. Both relief flights from San Juan on Tuesday departed full. Terminal B, where we operate our Southwest flights was badly damaged and we have had to run manual operations from other terminals as we await repairs. We continue to coordinate with government and relief agencies to identify ways we can assist.


We have canceled all scheduled service through at least Wednesday, Sept. 27, including our originating flights from San Juan on Thursday, Sept. 28. We still plan to operate two relief flights out of San Juan on Wednesday, from Orlando. If you are a Southwest Customer in SJU and your Southwest flight has been cancelled, please call (800) 435-9792 if you are interested in traveling on one of these humanitarian flights. 


1A0F4223-.jpgThis equipment from our friends at Sprint is scheduled to be sent as they travel in with us on Thursday, and will help with improved cell service.

Notes from individuals like Cristina Rodriguez and Stephen Mueller are what remind us about the impact and importance of Southwest's role in recovery. Cristina was on our first humanitarian flight out of San Juan on Monday:



Please continue to follow this blog post for the latest updates from San Juan.

New Arrival

Humanitarian flights!! What does that mean??? Get the people out of there instead of sending people that are NOT helping, just taking the space and using resources that people there need. I have been trying to get my mother, who is elderly and sick out and you are telling me "humanitarian" efforts are going in and out. Those flights shoud be for the people that have been waiting days to leave.

DerekH Employee

@sheila_874 Thank you for reaching out to us and being a member of our Community. We do hope your mother is okay and has already received help or will soon. We appreciate your question and the opportunity to let you know about our efforts in San Juan. As Laurie mentioned above, we have been offering humanitarian relief flights into San Juan. Since Sunday, we’ve been operating a limited number of daily relief flights, carrying supplies into San Juan and more than 900 passengers back to Orlando. Yesterday, Wednesday, September 27, we operated two relief flights from San Juan to Orlando. Both flights from San Juan on Wednesday departed full. Additionally, Laurie mentioned we are seeking authority to operate a humanitarian flight (SJU-MCO) on Friday morning for those who are stranded. We plan to resume scheduled flights to/from San Juan (SJU) with a reduced schedule starting today, Thursday, September 28. Please keep an eye on Laurie’s blog for updates, as well as for the latest information. Thank you again.



Southwest Airlines Community Moderator

New Arrival

I made reservations before Maria hit Puerto Rico.  I am traveling to Aguadilla via San Juan on November 2th , 2017.   What can I expect?   Do you expect normal road conditions by that date?  I understand that there will be limited resources, gas, water, and food.  I don't want be one of those people who use up precious resources but I want to visit my family.  

New Arrival

Does Southwest have a program to donate reward points for persons to fly Southwest out of San Juan to the mainland?  If so, please let us know.  I visited Southwest's webpage for the donation of points for charity, but none of those were specific to the crisis in Puerto Rico.

New Arrival

@DerekH @lbarnett While I appreciate your answer. It does not resolve my problem. Since I posted this, her flight was canceled, again. I need solutions. I know we are all under stress, but I just need to know how can I put a 71 yr old diabetic in one of your planes that will actually take off. Simple! Waiting for answer and real solutions. Flights ARE taking off, I just need one seat. Just one!

New Arrival

Southwest - please let us take new in the box generators into SJU. This is a regulation you control as other airlines are allowing it during this disasterous time. Please allow us to help our families!