Oh, and so no one thinks I'm not concerned about safety, we did check which type of plane was scheduled for our flights PRIOR to the grounding to ensure they were not scheduled for a 737 Max, and they weren't. Changing our reservations was apparently the result of a trickle down effect from other flights being cancelled I guess. The one very obviously fixable item for the future is changing the policy (and the programming) regarding the cancellation of Early Bird when the airline, not the passenger, initiates a change. I will send that suggestion to the official Southwest link that folks have so helpfully shared thoughout a number of the discussion topics.
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Another inconvenienced flyer from the schedule changes here. We booked direct flights months ago at times that worked well for our other travel accomodations and personal plans and now have non-direct flights that are not as convenient (and like others have pointed out... although we had a choice months ago when we booked, there are no affordable alternatives now). At least we caught the fact that you were in the process of changing my originating flight to the next day and were able to **bleep** that in the bud. Flying from Florida to California in time to miss my grandson's birthday party would have been a REALLY bad situation. However, with new (albeit, non-direct) flights now at least booked on the same days (and my husband and I back on the same flights), the policy that really pains us is your cancellation of the Early Bird service that we booked months ago. Sure, you're refunding the funds and I have the "opportunity" to rebook Early Bird, but as it says on your website, "Boarding positions are assigned based on the time stamp of the EarlyBird Check-In purchase relative to passengers within the same fare class." So, not only was the primary product we originally purchased downgraded (from direct flights to non-direct), doing a replacement purchase of Early Bird also provides us a less valuable service for the same price. I'm losing the boarding priority of having booked months ago even if I purchase Early Bird again. We kept the same reservation number when the flight changes were made by Southwest, so how hard it is to keep the Early Bird purchase intact with the original purchase date attached to the reservation instead of canceling/refunding it and making us book it again? There is an obvious solution for this for the future: I would strongly suggest that you have your programmers make a software change to allow a reservation to keep a previous Early Bird purchase wtih the original purchase date when a flight change is initiated by Southwest. This way, you're not hitting your customers with a double whammy when you change their long-booked scheduled flights.
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