Julia Buckley, CNN
Its insistence on not charging for baggage has long made it a passenger favorite, but Southwest Airlines have now worked out how to keep passengers loyal — by announcing that credits with the airline will no longer have an expiration date.
As part of what Southwest calls a $2 billion attempt to improve customer service, Ryan Green, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, has announced that as of July 28, any flight credits created by Southwest will be valid until whenever the customer wants to use them. Green called it “ultimate flexibility that is unmatched in the industry” in a statement.
Any credits created before this date, but which have yet to expire, will also have their expiration date removed — although passengers who couldn’t take flights at the start of the pandemic, and had not rebooked, will not be helped by the announcement.
Have a valid credit? There’s no need to do anything — the new rules will apply automatically. You might initially see your credit has been allocated an expiration date of December 31, 2040 — but this is just a placeholder, says the airline. Once the technology can, it will obliterate all expiration dates.
Southwest is already generous with its allocation of credits. Travelers canceling a nonrefundable flight more than 10 minutes before the scheduled departure time are given a credit with the airline. There are also no change fees.
“We repeatedly leaned in during the pandemic to give our customers more time to use their flight credits beyond a full year, which was our previous policy,” Tony Roach,vice president of customer experience & engagement, said in a statement.
“Introducing this change in our policy is part of a massive effort to improve the things that are most important to our customers.”
Other initiatives in the Southwest passenger experience revamp include enhanced Wi-Fi, new in-seat power and larger overhead bins. There are also enhanced online capabilities, including frequent fliers being able to add family members, and an easier way to check your travel funds.
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