The Southwest Airlines Cancellation policies depend on what type of fare that you originally booked.
Here are the different type of Southwest fares that you can book:
- Business Select
- Senior fares
- Wanna Get Away
Business Select fares are the most expensive type of fare Southwest Airlines Reservations offers. These fares are fully refundable but they also come with additional perks.
These perks include:
- Guaranteed A1-A15 boarding
- Fly By lane access
- Free premium drink
- 12 Rapid Rewards per dollar spent
If you fail to cancel your Business Select fare prior to 10 minutes to take off then your funds will be converted into Southwest travel funds. The terms and conditions state:
All remaining unused Business Select, Anytime, and Senior funds will be converted to reusable travel funds for the originally ticketed Passenger only. If you no show your reward travel reservation, the points will be redeposited to the purchaser’s Rapid Rewards account.
Any taxes and fees associated with your reward travel reservation will be held for future use in the form of reusable travel funds under the name of the traveler(s).
Anytime fares are also fully refundable. They also have the same no-show policy. So if you failed to cancel 10 minutes prior to take off then your funds will also be converted into travel funds.
Thus, if you are booking a Business Select or Anytime fare you need to cancel at least 10 minutes prior to departure to receive a full refund.
Wanna Get Away
Wanna Get Away fares are not refundable. However, if you cancel them you can get a credit applied toward future travel on Southwest Airlines for the originally ticketed passenger only. This means that you can’t cancel and then do a name change and expect to use those travel funds for the new passengers.
You also need to make sure that you cancel your ticket at least 10 minutes prior to departure. If you fail to do this then you will lose ALL of your funds.
The terms and conditions state:
Customers who fail to cancel reservations for a Wanna Get Away fare segment at least ten (10) minutes prior to travel and who do not board the flight will be considered a no show, and all remaining unused Wanna Get Away funds will be forfeited
However, if you made a points booking and you failed to cancel, then the points will be redeposited to the purchaser’s Rapid Rewards account.
24 hour exception
If you call or cancel online at Southwest.com within 24 hours of booking, Southwest will offer you the option of refunding the airfare back to the original form of payment, or retaining the credit to be used toward future travel.
This actually a requirement from the Department of Transportation’s consumer rule “Enhancing Airline Passenger Protections” (14 CFR 259.5(b)(4), which requires carriers to hold a reservation at the quoted fare for 24 hours without payment or allow a reservation to be cancelled within 24 hours without penalty.
Southwest Earlybird Is a great way for some people to secure a better seat by allowing them to automatically check-in for their flight. However, Southwest Early bird is a non-refundable purchase so you will lose this if you cancel a flight and you will not be reimbursed. This is regardless of the type of fare that you purchased.