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Back in April, Southwest announced an upcoming change to their passenger “no show” policy. Until end of day today, there has been an extremely lenient policy if a passenger just doesn’t show up for their flight – you’d get the entire amount paid back in a credit or if points were used they’d be deposited right into your account. You would not even have to call Southwest to request this, you’d get an email a few days after your flying saying that you have X credits tied to a certain reservation number or X number of points have been deposited back into your account.
However, starting tomorrow (September 13, 2013), a new policy will be put into place. For PAID Wanna Getaway Fares or DING Fares booked after May 10, 2013, if a reservation is not cancelled prior to the flight taking off (within 10 minutes of the scheduled departure time), the amount paid will be lost. Anytime Fares and Business Select Fares are not impacted along with flights booked with points – you can still just not show up without cancelling (although I do not suggest this as it hurts the airline).
I personally think this is more than fair of Southwest. To cancel a flight simply takes just a few minutes and you can do it by calling 1-800-I-FLY-SWA or online at www.southwest.com. The fact that there is still NO cancellation fee is HUGE! And the flight only needs to be cancelled 10 minutes ahead of time, which should be easy! The only way I see someone negatively impacted is if they are connecting to a Southwest flight from another carrier and the other carrier is delayed causing them to miss the flight. If you are on a plane with no internet, you might have a challenging time cancelling this flight. In this scenario, I’d suggest a friend/family member monitor your flight and just in case this happens they can call Southwest and cancel for you.
One thing to keep in mind: If you do not cancel your flight your entire itinerary will be cancelled. So if you were planning on cancelling the outbound flight, but taking the return flight, that return flight will be cancelled – so be careful!
This really should not have a major impact on folks at all, just remember to cancel if you need to – even if it is last minute!