Southwest Airlines: Miss your flight, lose your ticket value

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Southwest Airlines has made a significant change to its policy about missed flights. Beginning today – September 13, 2013 – unless you cancel your “Wanna Get Away” or “DING!” fare reservation at least 10 minutes prior to your flight, you will lose all value associated with that reservation.  This includes later segments in the reservation booked with Business Select or Anytime funds.

By making this change, Southwest joins the ranks of other major airlines with strict “use it or lose it” policies.  While some airlines offer a cancellation grace period until the end of the travel day, others operate on a by-the-minute deadline, meaning that if you don’t cancel your booking before departure, you will lose all remaining value on the ticket.

This change does not affect Southwest Rapid Rewards award bookings or Companion Pass bookings.

This change won’t come as a surprise to frequent flyers, who know to assume “caveat emptor”, or “let the buyer beware” when it comes to airline ticket. The moral of the story: Cancel any bookings you know you won’t be using before the time of the flight’s departure.  This will protect any value on the ticket and save it for a future booking.


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Ryan has been a travel expert for more than ten years. His journeys have taken him to all six inhabited continents, including living in the Middle East and backpacking across Australia, Asia and Europe.

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