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Rebooking fees-why I will now always AVOID flying Southwest


Jan 1st, 2011, 03:02 PM
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Rebooking fees-why I will now always AVOID flying Southwest

Just saw the new ad campaign by Southwest airlines that they never charge change fees and could not help but post this topic. While it is true that they do not charge to change your flight, they will always charge you the current fare difference at the time of the change. Yes, it is true that other airlines charge as well but consider this...
Arriving early at the airport for a return flight from Albuquerque to Dallas, I was told there were plenty of seats available on an earlier flight than the flight I was booked on but would have to pay more than $100 to get on it because of the current fare. Trying to reason with the staff that they were going to fly me to Dallas on either flight and there were plenty of seats available on both flights did not deter them from their position of wanting more money. Needless to say, I spent an extra hour (Southwest has multiple flights flying between Dallas and Albuquerque) in the airport saving more than $100 in my pocket and not in theirs. Isolated case? I don’t think so.
American Airlines however has always changed my flight while I am at the airport for no additional fees...standby of course...but when you buy a seat, you buy a seat. The current Southwest commercial making fun of airlines charging the change fee for such things as picking up the phone, clicking a mouse, etc. is the real abuse by airlines of the customer. Beware of the Southwest claim that they do not charge change fees...you will see in the "fine print" that they do charge the difference in fare when the change is made.
malinc is offline  
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Jan 1st, 2011, 03:06 PM
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All first-time posters who type AVOID, in all caps, in the title:

- Are idiots
- Are evil
- Will never, ever show their face in another topic. Ever.

Happy New Year, malinc.
DonTopaz is offline  
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Jan 1st, 2011, 03:12 PM
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I guess everyone needs something to complain about. It is a nice, straight policy. You can cancel any ticket at anytime and get full credit. Who else will do that for you unless you buy a refundable ticket? I bet you booked the later flight because it was cheaper and now what to move to a more expensive fare. Personally I like their polices because it is easy to understand. You are making a weak argument.
fmpden is offline  
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Jan 1st, 2011, 03:16 PM
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Feel free, don't fly Southwest. It'll leave more seats open for the likes of me and fmpden and rizzuto.
sf7307 is offline  
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Jan 1st, 2011, 03:17 PM
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jeeze -- how do we attract all these hit-and-run kvetchers???

Like the guy over on the Airlines forum who will NEVER fly such and such an airline because they wouldn't let him board an international flight after missing the 60 minute check in cut off (we never heard from him again either)
janisj is offline  
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Jan 1st, 2011, 03:57 PM
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I won't swear to it, but I am pretty sure Delta [and others too] charge you at least $50 a ticket to go on an earlier, same day flight, maybe more.

Southwest's prices are time based; the earlier you book the flight, the less you pay. When you want to change the flight, even on the same day, you have to pay current fare. This is clearly stated. IF the fare had somehow gone down, you would have received a credit for the difference, so this seems fair.

As stated by fmpden, certain flights on any given day are less than others, so it could easily have been this causing the difference.

Not for nothing, but all of this *itching for having to wait an hour for your ORIGINAL flight?? Oh, the horror!
DebitNM is offline  
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Jan 1st, 2011, 04:05 PM
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Same-day Confirmed Travel
The same-day confirmed option allows you to change your flight time on the same day of travel for a fee of $50. To use the same-day confirmed option, you must confirm your new flight within 3 hours of the scheduled departure time. If you have a flexible fare (usually a refundable ticket), you may be able to change your itinerary without a fee. The same-day confirmed program is subject to change and the rules in effect on the date of travel will apply, regardless of the date of ticket purchase.

On the same day of travel as your scheduled itinerary, you can confirm a seat on an alternate United flight within three hours of the time of your request. If eligible seats are available on the alternate flight, your change will be confirmed for a $75 fee.*

You can get a confirmed seat for same-day flight changes for domestic travel† on all fares for a $50 charge*. Passengers can call Reservations or handle the transaction at the airport ticket counter or Self-Service Check-In machines. The alternate flights must be for your same itinerary and your flight change can only be confirmed within 12 hours of departure of the desired flight. This option is subject to availability of eligible seats. Also, American continues to offer the same-day option of standing by for an earlier or later domestic flight for select customers at no charge.


Same Day Change
Customers holding restricted* tickets can make same-day flight changes for a discounted fee of $50 or a $25 fee for OnePass Gold Elite Members. OnePass Platinum members may request a same-day change at no charge. The following conditions apply:

The itinerary must be wholly operated by Continental**.
The same-day flight change option will be available within 24 hours before your original scheduled flight. Requested flight can be in any fare class and be departing within the next 24 hours from when you are making the request. Changes must be made prior to your original scheduled flight.
When the original ticketed fare class is available within 24 hours of departure, the same-day flight change fee will apply.
When the original ticketed fare class is not available within 24 hours of departure, the same-day flight change fee will apply (instead of the change fee stated in the fare rules) plus any additional collections or refund due.
You may standby if seats are not available in the purchased fare class. In these cases, the Same Day Change fee will apply, but will not be charged unless you are assigned a seat on your alternate flight. Changes in routing are not allowed when standing by. Standby may be requested on the day of departure at the airport kiosk or with a Continental airport representative. Once you are added to the flight standby list, you can check your real-time standby status at continental.com/info.
Upgraded tickets will be automatically added to the upgrade standby list at your applicable upgrade priority. Once you are added to the upgrade standby list, you can check your real-time upgrade status at continental.com/info.
Changes are only available for the exact origin and destination airport. Connection points may be changed provided the new routing is permitted by the fare purchased.

Should I continue??
DebitNM is offline  
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Jan 1st, 2011, 04:09 PM
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"Should I continue??"

Nah - the OP probably won't ever come back to read it
janisj is offline  
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Jan 1st, 2011, 04:17 PM
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You are right, post and run at its' finest.
DebitNM is offline  
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Jan 1st, 2011, 05:02 PM
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That must be a relatively new policy for American. I've changed numerous flight times with them and never been charged a change fee.....
JeanH is offline  
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Jan 1st, 2011, 05:09 PM
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"trying to reason with the staff...".....Well, that's where you went wrong, don't ever try to do that with an airline employee!
tracys2cents is offline  
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Jan 1st, 2011, 05:48 PM
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When yo bought the ticket you made a contract with Southwest. You got to the airport early and wanted to changed flights and they were willing to do so - per the ticket/contract you have with them.

You didn't like that - and wanted to do so based on some internal rules of your own.

They chose to enforce the contract.

If you choose to sit in the airport for an hour to save a few $ - well I think that's called cutting off your nose to spite your face.

And this post is making a mountain out of a molehill.
nytraveler is offline  
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Jan 2nd, 2011, 12:20 PM
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Yes their latest ad campaign is misleading. I can see how travelers without a solid date-of-travel might book with southwest thinking it is "safer", yet might possibly pay more in the long run to change their flight than they would have using a different airline.

However the title of your post is also misleading, as a "rebooking fee" is not charged by Southwest.

All the airlines force you to pay the "current fare" when you re-book a ticket. Most airlines also charge you a pesky "change fee" of over $100 on top of that. Southwest does not add this fee.

The exception to airlines charging "current fare" is for same-day standby travel. Southwest does not allow same-day changes for no fee or for a small fee and some other airlines still do allow this. Mostly it's to their advantage, as this opens up seats on some full flights while allowing an empty seat not to go to waste on an earlier flight.

What they try to prevent is too much seat-jumping. If Southwest were to offer a $129 flight at 8am and a $59 flight at 9am, they don't want everyone purchasing the 9am flight because it's cheaper, and then trying to get on to the earlier flight instead.

It would probably be to Southwest's advantage to allow the gate agents to "call 'em as they sees 'em" when a situation like yours arises, but instead they stick to their policies. It may cause them less headaches with lost-luggage and luggage transfers as well as have some security benefits too....it would be difficult to keep track of passengers and luggage if everyone were jumping from one flight to another all the time, at no charge.
clarkgriswold is online now  
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Jan 2nd, 2011, 03:18 PM
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If Southwest were charging ticket-changers a higher fare than people buying an original ticket, I would find that to be a dishonest and misleading way of charging a change fee, without actually calling it that.

But I don't think that happened. The OP probably bought a "wanna get away" ticket, which must be purchased in advance. For the Albuquerque-to-Dallas route, those cost $100 less than an "anytime" ticket, no matter how far in advance you book. The OP wanted to change from a discounted "wanna get away" ticket to an "anytime" ticket, and Southwest wanted to charge him or her the same price that a person walking into the airport and buying a ticket de novo would pay. I don't see a problem with that.
hawksbill is offline  
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Jan 2nd, 2011, 04:30 PM
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I love SW.

We have saved lots of money over the years, because they will credit back the money if you cancel a flight. And I have saved money by re-purchasing the same flight at a lower fare. They credit the difference to my account. And it is easy to get free passes, because they count the flights not the miles.
PeaceOut is offline  
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Jan 2nd, 2011, 04:33 PM
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There is always a dimwit around every corner trying to beat the system. I love it when they are so clueless as to stand up and make themselves obvious to others. Good thing we'll never have to sit next to that freak on Southwest ever again!
NorthwestMale is offline  
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 09:19 AM
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Most of the time with most airlines, it is all up to whatever the person at the counter wants to do. There are guidelines and rules, but they can make an exception most of the time. If you are nice to them, they generally help you more. Southwest has changed things for me several times. I find them the easiest of any airline to deal with.
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 11:27 AM
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How much you wanna bet that the OP's vow to avoid SW for the rest of his/her life doesn't last the year? That's the problem with airlines: they all have misleading policies, and they all offer spotty-to-lousy customer service, making boycotting one or another carrier kind of pointless.

FWIW, I agree that what was charged was not a change fee, and that SW offers somewhat better service on the whole than other airlines.
NewbE is offline  
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 11:35 AM
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I have encountered change fees with all the major US airlines
when I hoped to jump on an earlier flight at my connecting airport.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 12:13 PM
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Is it just a coincidence that this is posted on the Texas forum?

Thank you Southwest for sticking up for your generous reuse and ticket change policies on nonrefundable airfares. The policies on these are clearly stated, pay the fare difference and you can fly standby on same day of travel.

Try that with Jetblue and their policy says it's $100 plus the fare difference, for changes to a nonrefundable ticket.

If you don't like the SW policy and want full fare flexibility, buy the Southwest Anytime ticket. Better yet, do us SW flyers a favor and go with another airline.
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