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October 22, 2014

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Southwest Airlines begins enforcing no-show policy

Image

Matt York / AP

A Southwest Airlines jet takes flight in this undated file photo.

Passengers who fail to cancel bookings on Southwest now face loss of the ticket's value if they don't show up.

The new policy took effect with today's flights. Customers who buy nonrefundable tickets such as Wanna Get Away fares must cancel at least 10 minutes before scheduled departure or forfeit the ticket's value.

In the past, there was little incentive to cancel because Southwest let customers use the value of the unused ticket toward another flight within one year. That meant seats flew empty when Southwest could have sold them to somebody else.

A Southwest Airlines Co. spokesman says there's been no reaction yet from customers.

Southwest is still letting passengers change nonrefundable tickets ahead of time without penalty. Most other big airlines charge a $200 change fee.

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