What to do about a now-uneeded airline ticket/reservation?
September 5, 2006 8:29 PM   Subscribe

I bought two non-refundable airline tickets, now one of us will not be going. What to do about that ticket?

My girlfriend and I were going to fly to my brother's wedding two weeks from now. The wedding is still on, the girl and I are not - I'll be flying solo now, literally as well as figuratively.

I purchased tickets online to get a special "internet rate", but they are non-refundable. I have received an emailed "ticketless confirmation" and must print my boarding pass prior to checking in.

Do I:

a) print my pass, just show up without her or her pass, and fly;
b) cancel her ticket (eating the fare, which I will anyway);
c) print my pass, show up and let someone (who?) know I'm flying but she's not, and fly
d)none of the above.

I'd like the least potential hassle from TSA due to a late change in plans, so I'm leaning towards just cancelling her ticket, but...there's a very slight chance that she may come after all; and I may not be able to cancel just her ticket - since they were purchased together.

Opinions (relevant to the ticket situation, that is) are fine, pointers to relevant guidelines are better. Details: Southwest Airlines, Denver to KC, flying just a few days after September 11th.
posted by attercoppe to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Here are SW's fare rules. If your tickets are at the "Internet Special Rate", they say:

Fare is nonrefundable. Nonrefundable tickets may be used as credit toward the purchase of other tickets.

Call them up and see what they say.
posted by smackfu at 8:37 PM on September 5, 2006

If there's the chance she'll come, then it's probably a bit premature to cancel her ticket. I haven't flown domestic US for a few months (so pre-most-recent-scare), but I can't imagine a person not showing up would cause much hassle. If she doesn't end up going with you, maybe take her pass and hand it in when you hand yours in, explaining that she won't be flying. I'd imagine this kind of thing would be more of a hassle for the airline ("calling passenger X...") than for the TSA.

I guess the easiest thing would be to get a definite answer as to whether she plans to fly, and if not, try to cancel the ticket and take the hit on the fare. And on preview, do what smackfu says,
posted by djgh at 8:38 PM on September 5, 2006

What smackfu said. I had a friend with a similar problem, and though he was unable to get a refund, he was able to get a voucher for X dollars towards a future flight.
posted by chrisamiller at 8:44 PM on September 5, 2006

Best answer: Southwest Airlines is very pleasant to deal with. By all means, call them and ask nicely if you could trade it for a future travel voucher. You stand a very good chance of having them say "Sure!"

Here's how nice they are: before 9/11, a friend of mine & I were flying to a funeral from Portland, OR. While sitting near the gate, he was joking around with the gate agent. She was joking back with us. My dumb friend realized that he left his bag at the Wendy's a few kiosk spaces up. He ran back, got his bag (it was still sitting on the floor) and came back to the gate. As we were getting on the plane, he said "Whoops! Almost forgot the bomb!"

Dumb idea. His bag had a shirt and an electric razor and little else. We border the plane, only to have security say "You two idiots. OFF." The plane left without us, and the airport police and Southwest folks basically said "You dipshits."

Southwest Airlines refunded our money on the spot. These days, both of us would be in jail. Back then, the airline said "you moron. here's your money back."

What's my point? oh yeah. Southwest rocks. Call them.
posted by drstein at 8:53 PM on September 5, 2006 [1 favorite]

I've done the credit thing before, too -- but you might want to call them and see what the time limit on that is (it may be that you can only cancel and get credit up to 24 or 48 hours before the flight so don't wait until the last minute) and then as soon as you figure out the status of your relationship, cancel or keep the ticket before the deadline.
posted by echo0720 at 8:56 PM on September 5, 2006

Best answer: Sell it on ebay? I smell a nice gimmicky auction that could make you famous: "Win a trip with a newly eligible bachelor to a wedding...."
posted by fvox13 at 8:57 PM on September 5, 2006

Best answer: She can simply not check in and not fly. The amount of her ticket will be available for later use. I do this all the time (sadly - my travel schedule is pretty much all over the place and it never fails that when I make personal travel plans my boss comes up with a reason for me to travel for work).

Here's the hitch: the TICKET is in her name and in her name the funds have to stay. So YOU won't be able to fly on the funds unless Southwest has dramatically changed their policies in the last 8 months.
posted by FlamingBore at 11:24 PM on September 5, 2006

Even if the ticket is non refundable, you may be able to get the claim the airport taxes back . Worth checking out. (UK link)
posted by rom1 at 12:18 AM on September 6, 2006

fvox13: That would be great, except I'm willing to bet that his airline ticket, along with being nonrefundable, is also non-transferrable.
posted by antifuse at 2:09 AM on September 6, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks all - I marked one best answer and now I'm not able to get any others to take. I'll try again later. Off to call Southwest!
posted by attercoppe at 1:08 PM on September 6, 2006

Best answer: Okay, marked some more; also talked to Southwest and they were very helpful (and quick!) to cancel her ticket, leaving the "ticketless travel funds" under the same confirmation number to be used toward future travel - as long as they are used within one year from the original purchase date. Since the money came from my credit card, the funds are "mine", so I can purchase a future ticket for myself (it doesn't have to go back towards a ticket for her).
posted by attercoppe at 1:18 PM on September 6, 2006

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