Mistake Over Change Fee at Southwest

Change Fee Deemed Mistake by Southwest Airlines

 

Southwest Airlines 737 Winglet at Sunset

A Southwest Airlines Winglet at Sunset on a Boeing 737-700 in-flight.

Lousville, KY – April 16, 2013 (FlyersPulse.com): Yesterday, April 15, 2013, Southwest Airlines officially started service outside of the 48 contiguous US states to Puerto Rico. The launch of flights to the island was announced in a press release which discussed an additional four new Southwest markets, Charlotte (CLT), Flint (FNT), Portland, Maine (PWM), and Rochester (ROC).

New, introductory fares were also announced, as is the case when an airline enters a new market. In this case, Southwest announced a one-day fare sale of $39 each way to and from San Juan from Tampa (TPA) and Orlando (MCO).

The new, promo fare was fantastic and something Southwest normally does.

Taking a look at this new introductory fare Southwest offered into San Juan (SJU), there was something which caught my eye — something which Southwest normally does not do — when looking at the fare rules for this specific promo fare:

Fares are available only on southwest.com and swabiz.com and can be purchase by April 15, 2013, 11:59 pm PT. Travel to/ from San Juan and Orlando valid on Apr 16-21, 23, 25, 27, 30; May 1-2, 7, 17, 30. Travel to/ from San Juan and Tampa valid on Apr 16-18, 23-25; May 1-2, 7-8, 26. Displayed prices are inclusive of all government taxes and fees. All fares are one-way. All fares are non-refundable and a $75 fee per person applies to any change made after purchase, plus any applicable increase in airfare.

A $75 Change Fee or a Mistake?

A $75 change fee on a ticket would be a new one for Southwest. After FlyersPulse published an article about the change fee with the above rules, it caught the attention of many people today, including Rob Hahn, a Team Leader Customer Advocacy and Social Media for Southwest Airlines. According to Hahn, “That [change fee in the press release] was an error on our part and the press release has been updated. Thanks for the heads up!”

It appears Southwest Airlines may have used a template when preparing the press release meant for their wholly owned subsidiary, AirTran, since their tickets do attract change fees.

Hahn notified FlyersPulse the press release, which we originally received via PR/Newswire, was updated to reflect the change. The new fare rules read as follows:

Fares are available only on southwest.com and swabiz.com and must be purchased by April 15, 2013, 11:59 pm PT for the respective time zone of the originating city. Travel to/ from San Juan and Orlando valid on Apr 16-21, 23, 25, 27, 30; May 1-2, 7, 17, 30. Travel to/ from San Juan and Tampa valid on Apr 16-18, 23-25; May 1-2, 7-8, 26. Available on published, scheduled service only. Fares valid on nonstop service only. Displayed prices include all government taxes and fees. All fares are non-refundable but may be applied to future travel on Southwest Airlines. Fares are available for one-way travel. Fares may be combined with other Southwest Airlines combinable fares. If combining with other fares, the most restrictive fare’s rules apply. Fares are not combinable with Senior Fares. Fares are not available through Group Desk. Any change in itinerary may result in an increase in fare. Standby travel requires an upgrade to the Anytime Fare. Fares are subject to change until ticketed. Seats are limited, subject to availability, and may not be available on all flights.

As of now it appears to be an error on behalf of Southwest and a big one at that. In closing, I’m glad to hear Southwest is going to continue with their no change fee policy.

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