The insurance company executive wasn’t eligible for a refund and happily accepted $878 in Southwest Airlines credit because the suburban Chicago family travels three or four times a year and goes out of its way to fly Southwest.
She didn’t think about the money again until a couple weeks ago when she tried to book three tickets from Chicago to Baltimore for a late-June trip to her teenage son’s lacrosse tournament in Delaware.
Southwest’s website flashed an error: the travel credits couldn’t be used because they expire before the end of the planned trip.
McClaskey dug up the email from her canceled flight and saw that the expiration date for her Southwest “travel funds” is June 2. That’s a year after she bought the tickets for the California Christmas trip. A year is the standard deadline for rebooking and, in Southwest’s case, completing a trip using credits. But Southwest and other airlines extended expiration dates when travel ground to a halt a year ago due to the coronavirus pandemic.
McClaskey figured she was covered by Southwest’s more generous COVID-19 policy, which broadly extended credit expiration dates to September 2022. But that policy covered travel funds that expired or were issued between March 1 and Sept. 7, 2020. Her credits weren’t issued until Nov….