Hmmm...sounds a little strange.
First off, you could have just changed your reservation online. Even better - if your new flight was cheaper than the old one, you would have gotten an automatic credit to use on a future flight! There was no need to call the airline in the first place since it all could have been handled on Southwest's website. Secondly, if you had a confirmation number then you had a ticket. I suppose it's possible the agent misheard the confirmation number or that you provided your name because you didn't have the number and the agent couldn't find it. Still, it sounds awfully strange.
Finally, Southwest allowed you to keep the funds in their system to use on future travel. Do you realize that practically NO OTHER AIRLINE ALLOWS THAT? Once you didn't take your flight, other airlines would have given you the 'too bad, so sad' routine - as happened to me after Hurricane Katrina (I had a ticket to New Orleans that I couldn't use because, well, the NOLA airport was being used as a hospital) when another carrier simply refused to refund the ticket or credit the funds to another purchase without a $100 change fee.
On time flights. No charge for snacks. No charge for sodas. No charge for pillows. No charge for blankets. No charge to check your bags. No charge to change flights. No problem changing to a cheaper flight and applying the difference to future travel. No hassles with the website. No being told where to sit. That's Southwest Airlines.
By the way, I say all this as a new convert. After years of just going with whoever was cheapest on an Internet travel site, a friend convinced me to try Southwest just this year. Not only was their fare actually the lowest, but the level of flexibility, service and lack of surcharges have convinced me. I signed up for a Rapid Rewards account and will be halfway to a free flight by the end of summer!
If your experience with Southwest was as described, it was a definite anomaly. Still, you have the funds for future travel and will not be charged a fee to use those funds...which speaks volumes about Southwest Airlines all by itself.
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