Southwest Airlines New No Show Policy

September 17, 2013 by

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines’ new “no show” policy went into effect on Friday, September 13. The Dallas-based airline announced the new policy last April saying that it will help them to better predict available seats and reduce the number of empty seats on a flight.

Customers who buy nonrefundable fares like the Wanna Get Away and Ding fares must cancel at least 10 minutes before the scheduled departure time or forfeit the unused portion of full fares and the remaining reservation will be canceled.

Why the Change?

In the past, passengers had no incentive to let Southwest know they were unable to make their flight because customers could use the value of their unused ticket toward another flight (within one year). This policy resulted in empty seats that Southwest could have sold to somebody else. Now, if seats go empty it won’t always be Southwest footing the bill.

Southwest Airlines Empty Seats

Which Flights Does this Affect?

Southwest’s new policy affects nonrefundable airfares including Wanna Get Away and Ding fares that were made on or after May 10. For passengers who cancel their flights before departure, the new policy allows them to reuse their funds toward future Southwest travel without a change fee.

Until now, those who flew Southwest faced no penalty for not showing for their flight. Customers must think the new policy is fair because they aren’t complaining. All passengers have to do is let the airline know they won’t make their flight, much like one would treat a dentist appointment if they can’t make it.

The new policy does not apply to military fares, senior fares or travel during certain irregular operations like severe weather conditions.

Southwest customers with refundable, round-trip “Business Select” and “Anytime” fares can request a refund or hold funds for future travel. The airline still doesn’t charge high change fees like some of its rivals.

Photo credits: Ack Ook, kevin dooley

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1 comment

  1. Ruby T. says:

    That actually makes sense and it frees up seats for last minute tickets and people on stand-by. People usually know they are going to change or miss their flights so this is fair.

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