By Cami Sauder
While planning and taking vacations is always on my TO-DO list, when it comes right down to the nitty gritty of life, being there for my family and friends definitely ranks at the top of the list.
When my mom was diagnosed with cancer and then scheduled for chemo treatments, surgery and more chemo treatments to follow, I was able to use Southwest’s generous no-fee cancellation policy, which allows you to cancel your reservation up to 10 minutes prior to your flight with no penalty, and their generous refund policy to their full advantage for my own personal situation.
Because I was booking flights using my Southwest points, their refund policy allows me to cancel any flight up to 10 minutes prior and get all the points I used to book the flight refunded immediately back to my Southwest Rapid Rewards account.
There is no other airline in the industry that even comes close to what Southwest allows you to do completely FREE, and it made this difficult time with my mom less stressful than it needed to be.
Since I am my mom’s youngest daughter and the most available of my siblings, I was able to help during her surgery and the month following to help with her recovery.
However, no one knew exactly when this surgery would be scheduled, as it was based on how she managed her three chemo treatments, so I didn’t know when exactly to book my flight to see her. We knew it would at least be sometime within the month following her third chemo treatment.
I started booking one-way tickets with my Southwest points to see her about two months ahead of the month following that third treatment. Then I kept repeating booking flights and canceling the reservations as the time drew closer, and the surgery wasn’t scheduled yet.
I also booked one-way tickets for my return flight home, repeating the same process of canceling them as they were unneeded.
When she had her follow-up appointment after her third treatment, and doctors scheduled the surgery a mere six days later, one of my booked tickets worked perfectly for me to be there the day following her surgery.
I canceled all of my other tickets and kept two return tickets in place, knowing I could cancel the one I ended up not needing.
Based on her day-by-day recovery, I was able to take time to decide up until the last possible moment when I would return home and cancel the return ticket I didn’t need.
My mom’s battle with cancer is not over yet, but I’m grateful that Southwest allowed me to be there for her when I was most needed without adding the burden of a high-cost ticket and change and cancellation fees in addition to my plate.
Has there been a time when Southwest has allowed you to do the same?
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