Yesterday I posted that AirTran is increasing their change and cancellation fees starting in August. While I HATE to see airlines make changes to their program, there is a way around this, sorta. As you are probably aware by now, Southwest and AirTran have merged and you can now fly AirTran operated flights when booking with Southwest (and visa versa). Regardless of who the flight is operated by, the policies that you need to abide by are those of the airline that you booked by (not the airline you are actually flying with). So if you book a flight on Southwest.com which is operated by AirTran and you need to cancel you will follow Southwest’s cancellation policy.
If you’ve seen any Southwest advertisement you are probably well aware that Southwest has NO change or cancellation fees (although starting soon you must change/cancel at least one hour in advance of your flight’s departure time). With Southwest if you cancel on a paid ticket the entire ticket price will be available to be used for a year from the purchase date – no fee deduction or anything! If this same flight was booked on AirTran.com you’d be subject to a $75 loss in the credit, and starting in August it will be $150.
Now a few things to keep in mind:
- If you book on Southwest.com you are earning Southwest Rapid Reward Points, NOT AirTran A+ Rewards (regardless of who operates the flight). So if you are interested in A+ Rewards points than booking via Southwest might not be of interest to you.
- Typically prices are the same, but make sure to check both sites to ensure Southwest.com is the same price (or cheaper) if you were to book on AirTran.com.
Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.