Don’t Forget to Cancel Your Southwest Airlines Flight 10 Minutes Before Departure

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This likely will not impact most travelers (who don’t cancel their flights) – but don’t forget to cancel your Southwest Wanna Get Away or Ding! ticket at least 10 minutes before departure if you don’t plan on flying.

You won’t get a credit for the price of your ticket if you don’t!

Southwest No Show Policy Change

Southwest Has A New No-Show Policy

Southwest No-Show Policy

If you cancel a paid flight on Southwest at least 10 minutes prior to departure, the ticketed passenger gets a credit for the entire ticket amount (no change fees on Southwest!) valid for up to 1 year from when you booked the flight.

But if you book a non-refundable Wanna Get Away or Ding! ticket and don’t cancel or change your ticket within 10 minutes of departure, you will lose the value of your ticket.  Which means that you won’t get a credit towards a future flight!

Business Select Or Anytime Tickets

The no-show policy only applies to the cheapest Wanna Get Away tickets.  If you buy a refundable Business Select or Anytime ticket and don’t fly on the ticket (i.e. no-show), you will still get a refund.

But you won’t get a refund if your Business Select and Anytime ticket has even one Wanna Get Away segment on it and you don’t call to cancel the segment.

Let’s say you book a Business Select fare from Kansas City to New Orleans and a Wanna Get Away fare on the return.

Southwest No Show Policy Change

Combining A Business Select And A Wanna Get Away Fare

You eat lots of Arthur Bryant’s, Oklahoma Joe’s, LC’s and Jack Stack BBQ the night before.  So you oversleep, and wake up at 9:00 am for your 8:30 am flight departure!

Before the change in policy, you would get a full credit towards another flight.  But now, you would lose the ENTIRE trip value because your return trip is a Wanna Get Away segment.  And you have to cancel 10 minutes prior to departure.

Bottom Line

You have to cancel or change your ticket 10 minutes before departure or you will forfeit the value of your Wanna Get Away or Ding! ticket.

You will also lose the value of your ticket if your Business Select or Anytime fare includes a segment with a Wanna Get Away fare.

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22 responses to “Don’t Forget to Cancel Your Southwest Airlines Flight 10 Minutes Before Departure

  1. Last week we are flying out of Baltimore BWI and there was so much traffic that we were afraid we would miss our flight. I called SW to see if we could switch our reservations to a later flight and they told me that as long as we arrived at the airport within two hours after our scheduled departure, we could be rebooked on the later flight.

  2. what if you are flying on points? Do you get your points back if you do not cancel I thought you did.

  3. Fishing4Deals – they call that the “flat tire” rule – if you just miss your flight due to traffic or a flat tire they will usually get you on the next one. Its always best to call though, especially if your flying to someplace popular (like Las Vegas) as the next flight may be sold out and you don’t want to spend 6 hours hanging around the airport.

  4. No fee cancellation, I have to give it up to you for sharing that. I had no idea. I have flown before with other airlines such as United and they always do charge you a fee, when you re-book the new flight using the Certificate.

    Btw, I am a new blogger 🙂

  5. Appreciate the post, and everybody’s responses! I honestly don’t know what I would do without Southwest – I have frequent business trips that require flexibility and frequent changes to schedule. This new rule concerned me, but as long as you just have to cancel 10 minutes before the flight I can understand why they would need to reduce risk of unsold tickets and can work with that.

    Thanks to everybody who responded with the “flat tire” responses. That’s great to know in case I ever get in trouble!

    For what it’s worth, I had an award flight that I forgot to cancel until right after takeoff. Called in a panic and the guy said “since it’s an award flight, it will be no issue to cancel without losing the award”.

    Love this blog!!

  6. I have canceled about 15+ Southwest flights in the past year and would love to quickly audit the list. I know I have tons of credits out there to use, and just want to make sure I have accounted for each and every dollar. Does anyone know of a way to generate a list of canceled itineraries – without knowing ALL of the confirmation numbers?

  7. I booked a flight after Christmas on Southwest and was sure I had the correct date. It turns out it was booked for the wrong date. Since it was Xmas I did not check anything until the last minute and was told I was a no-show and the remainder of my trip, my return flight, was also cancelled. This meant I had no return flight. There was no refund and I would have had to pay $500 more if I wanted to see my 101 year old mother. This is outrageous as I have never missed a flight in my life, was sure I had booked the correct date, etc. I was appalled at this policy. It is one thing to lose one leg of a flight but to not have the chance to use the other leg of the trip is just wrong. I would suggest booking each leg separately in the future in case this happens to you.

  8. Hi DW, I am in the same exact situation. Were you able to get them to give you a refund?

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  10. I had the unfortunate happenstance of missing a flight with the new no show policy. Doesn’t seem fair that they void the entire reservation. I agree with DW that its best to book each leg separately. At least it will save you money if the worst should happen.

  11. forget bryants.. and check the health inspections on lc’s.. not appetizing at all

  12. I didn’t know about the new policy and had a change of plans that required me to take an earlier flight back. Just out of common courtesy I tried to cancel the return portion online. Guess what the masters of “do everything on our convenient website” do not give you a way to only cancel portion of a flight. I figured it wouldn’t be problem (under the old policy) and never got around to calling to cancel. They said they might do something if I could show my browser history showing I was online trying to cancel so I am contesting the cost ($430!).
    To me, with everything being done online and making it as hard as possible to get a person on the phone, it was negligent to not give me a way to cancel online. Will update you on whether I am successful.

  13. i hope you all are proud of yourselves for coming up with your “call 10 minutes in advance to cancel” policy. my wife and i had booked round trip flights from ft lauderdale to st louis many months in advance for last week. we got stuck in the horrible miami traffic and made it to the airport about a half hour before our flight was to take off. as we were staying away for a week we went to the economy parking lot which is literally miles away from the terminal. after waiting for the shuttle to show up, we were dropped at the southwest check in about 8 minutes before departure. the rude guy at the counter told us the flight was now closed but we could book another flight for about 8 hours later at quite the higher fee. when asked if we could get credit he said we would if we used it within one year of the date. we then booked another two tickets to get to st louis with another airline. a week later when we were due to return home my wife called the airline (southwest) to confirm our return flight. she was told since we didn’t cancel our departing flight that we missed that our return flight was cancelled. the guy at the counter didn’t tell us about this. now we had to book another set of tickets again with another airline which meet our schedule and was cheaper than southwest. southwest will be forever off our choice of airlines. to me this is an underhanded way to get double booking for a seat and screw their customers. congrats on getting my money this time! savor the flavor though because you will not get the chance to do it to me or anyone i know who considers using your airline. i will use any means necessary to put the word out on what you all did to us last week. we lost nearly $800.00 to southwest over two minutes. why is it when i am delayed on one of your flights due to your fault i don’t get rewarded as you did? enjoy the money we worked hard for as you won’t be getting anything else from us except bad publicity.

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  15. Just like everyone else’s story, I was severely sick in bed, and was a no show. The “rocket scientists” at their customer care center explained to me that I had to have been hospitalized or in the emergency room in order for them to consider releasing the funds for another ticket.

    It doesn’t matter if you’re sick and incapacitated, you better still get off your a$$ andl call them 10-minutes before the flight in order to preserve your funds.

  16. I was just affected by Southest’s no show policy. Southwest refused to give me a credit for future use so I filed a DISPUTE with the credit card company. I simply did not receive the services I paid for. In addition, Southwest scrubbed their website of the online purchase. There was absolutely no online record of my payment associated with my rapid reward account. I smell a class-action in the wings.

  17. It’s comical to me to sit and read some of the excuses in the various posts above. How hard is it to call and cancel a flight instead of coming up with excuses of why the airline screwed you over. Be responsible, it’s really not that difficult. Our society has turned into a world of excuses. Be accountable. I travel 40 weeks a year, 2-3 days per week. SWA gets most of my business b/c of their flexibility in schedules, locations and no change fees. Come on folks, this isnt rocket science. If you cant remember to pick up a phone and call more than 10 minutes before your flight, you probably should stay off airplanes. Cheers 🙂

  18. I agree with JD. Southwest has one of the most lenient no show policies in the industry. Why gripe and complain if it was your fault, not the airlines, that you missed a flight. All you have to do is call beforehand and you can save your $. I for one, am very thankful for Southwests lenient policies concerning cancellation, baggage allowance, and fees. They are the best value airline in the business as far as I’m concerned.

  19. Kathleen,
    How did it go with the credit card dispute?

  20. It is not hard to call and cancel a flight ahead of time, but most people are griping about the lack of notice regarding the new policy. 1. So many people wouldn’t have made this ‘no calling ahead’ error if they hadn’t been allowed to *not* call ahead for years and still get credit. 2. As for notice, Southwest may argue that it gave plenty of notice in its fine print, but if so many intelligent and educated travelers are making this error, is the fine-print notice actually reasonable and sufficient to notify long-time Southwest customers?

  21. In reference to 2centsworth – Intelligent and educated travelers – now that is funny. I think it would just be common courtesy to cancel a reservation so that seat may be available to another traveler regardless if SW had a policy in the past saying you could NO Show but still get your money back. Interesting too how all these intelligent and educated travelers knew of the old policy but knew nothing of the new policy until they were No Shows. I have been on many Southwest flights and I never realized they had such a policy in the past where you could just be so rude as to not show up and not be penalized.

  22. I have a credit from a ticket I cancelled on 12/27/13. I can not use the credit before the 27th.
    Is there anything I can do to get an extension or maybe a partial refund or extension?