I don't really see how this could have been more painful with other airlines, as Southwest here simply applied their normal change rules as if there weren't any environmental or health impacts that led to my wanting to change my plans to cancel travel to California and go home. As I was hoping for some real assistance that would not impact my wallet, instead Southwest treated me as if I made an at whim cancellation decision at the last minute (due to their day-by-day at the wire 48 hour notification that some "flexible changes" were going to be allowed for my travel date - which again, didn't apply to my situation), and then charging me to the hilt for the last minute change to my itinerary. I've written to Southwest now directly, to see if they will offer me a refund. I'm not hopeful but I'll try.
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I'm usually a huge fan of Southwest and their flexibility for reasonable reschedules but their rules for rescheduling due to the California Camp Fire air quality concerns (Nov. 2018) is completely unfair to loyal customers and cost me a lot of money to change my tickets. I am very upset with them to not allow me to return home to my originating airport. I was traveling to two cities to visit family over the holiday period, and booked from, that is originated from my home airport, traveling to DEN for a week stopover, and then booked a separate ticket to OAK for another two week stay before returning home to my originating airport on Ticket 1. While in the Denver area, the Camp Fire broke out, and air quality in the Bay Area was unhealthy for everyone and still is. I monitored the day-to-day situation and decided to postpone my trip to California and wanted to change my ticket to return home. Southwest refused to rebook my DEN-OAK ticket for no charge, even though the change was due to a situation outside of my control, a health concern in all the nearby airports in N. California, and the reschedule request was not just on a whim. I requested that instead of DEN-OAK, I be allowed to reschedule back DEN-SDF my originating airport, and Southwest charged me for the fare difference of more than $240, since I couldn't reschedule until they included my travel date under their flexible change rules. Those rules however, only allowed me to reschedule on the DEN-OAK itinerary which would not have allowed me to fly home. I think this is totally unreasonable, and I spoke to two representatives for over two hours on the phone (including the esclation point of Customer Relations line), and was told they were unable to help me. This is making me rethink using Southwest in the future, as previously they have been my airline of choice for all domestic travel. Very unfair to make me pay so much more, especially as fares go up a lot for a last minute change, and during the holidays.
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