Midwest Airlines Has Good Customer Service

Midwest airlines has topped a Travel & Leisure magazine survey of airline customer service, according to MSN Money.

Midwest scored 75.64 in the 2007 World’s Best Service readers’ poll in the magazine’s June issue. Readers evaluated airlines’ customer service and in-flight service.

The runners-up were JetBlue, Hawaiian Airlines, Southwest, and Sun Country Airlines. Hooray for good customer service!

According to Midwest’s website, they bake fresh chocolate chip cookies on board the airplane. We feel that this is an excellent strategy. Who doesn’t like the smell of baking cookies? —MEGHANN MARCO

Midwest’s service tops in magazine poll [MSN Money]
(Photo: Drewski2112)

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  1. SaveMeJeebus says:

    “Plaintiff states that Midwest Airlines overserved him fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies causing him to gain weight”

    The real question is do they give you free milk to go with the cookies?

  2. stpauliegirl says:

    The chocolate chip cookies are the best, except if your flight is too short and they only have time to bake them but not to hand them out (tortured by cookie smell!). That’s only happened to me once, though.

    Too bad AirTran keeps pushing for a hostile takeover. AirTran will turn Midwest into just another budget airline with crappy service.

  3. stpauliegirl says:

    @SaveMeJeebus: Yes, you can get milk. They are based out of Wisconsin, after all!

  4. tazewell78 says:

    Yes, the milk is free as well. But it probably won’t be if they get bought out by AirTran (the cattlecar in the sky). Midwest has started a website, http://www.savethecookie.com, to try and prevent this, but it doesn’t look good. They also have 2-across leather seats on most of their flights (So the entire plane is like first-class).

  5. isilia says:

    and AirTran is trying to take it over in MKE… :(

  6. isilia says:

    sorry–here’s the link i was trying to post:

    http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=610025

  7. aparsons says:

    This is by far the worst airline I’ve flown (and I travel every week). Here is why:

    1) They are never on time. I’ve flown them a couple of time, and usually was stuck in god-awful Milwaukee for 2 hours because of “weather delays.” A map of the US on my phone showed no storms in the US on every occasion.

    2) They don’t staff their ticket counters. I lost my ID and wallet and went to Newark for a flight. 30 Minutes before the flight, the ticket counter was empty. So, I had to sleep in Newark’s airport until the morning when an agent showed up 10 minutes late. When I explained to her I missed a flight because I lost my wallet (and didn’t know how to get through security), she suggested that I “BEG for money in the terminal.” No joke. If that is ‘good customer service,’ I’d hate to see bad customer service.

    3) Their large, luxurious leather seats are inviting for the people who can’t fit (width-wise) in a standard airline seat. So, your seat neighbor will probably eat you, AND your cookie.

    I’ll stick to flying southwest. The service is better, and they deliver what I paid them to do: get me to where I’m going, and get me there on time.

  8. Buran says:

    For $627.00 ONE WAY for a flight from St. Louis to Newark in late June they had better be REALLY REALLY REALLY good cookies.

    Sorry, Midwest, you’re a freaking ripoff. I’ll find someone else to take me where I want to go (sadly, Southwest doesn’t go where I need to be or I’d take them like I always do…)

  9. Lewis says:

    Yeah, Midwest is ridiculously awesome. Too bad they only fly nonstop to Kansas City and Milwaukee (from NYC.)

    It’s how “coach” should be – decent seats (actually, more than decent), good service, good buy-on-board food (which they accept credit cards for!).

  10. FatLynn says:

    @aparsons: What did you expect them to do for you when you had lost your wallet?

  11. aparsons says:

    @FatLynn:

    Well, I was hoping that the ticket counter would have told me that I don’t really need ID to go through security (they just go through all of your luggage on the other side of the gate). So, I didn’t know what to do and consequently missed my flight because the counter wasn’t staffed. The next morning they charged me a $100 re-booking fee , and when I explained to them I lost my wallet, they suggested that I “beg for money” instead of waiving the $100 change fee. Total bullshit.

    Midwest never gave me an apology, so this past year I spent $40k on air travel – all of which went to Southwest. As Sam Walton once put it:

    “The consumer is boss. He can hire or fire anyone he wishes up to the CEO based on where he chooses to spend his money.”

    An apology and a few bucks for my inconvenience would have netted Midwest $40K. I’m glad to see midwest will be part of AirTran… serves them right.

  12. crnk says:

    @aparsons:
    Well seeing how you were in EWR and WN doesn’t fly to ANY of the NYC airports, I suppose you’ve had a tough time avoiding other airlines.
    I flew YX in the fall of last year and loved it. Sure they were a bit late, but all traffic that day was pretty late from the looks of it.

    @Buran:
    Don’t know about your problem, but in the fall I flew YX LGA-MKE-ATL and back for 120++ for a total of 165 total. Great deal, you just have to know when to travel.

  13. categorically says:

    I have to day, they are nice while in the sky, but on the ground it is a nightmare.

    Plus I don’t think they’ve ever been on time.

  14. aparsons says:

    @crnk:

    I flew in 2005, but vividly remember flying from:
    MCI –> MKE –> LGA
    EWR –> MKE –> MCI

    It was seriously the trip from hell, so I doubt I’ll ever forget it.

  15. aparsons says:

    By the way, I wrote a letter to Christopher Stone, SVP of Human Resources. To my surprise, he answered via email after my bad experience, but offered no compensation and was somewhat cavalier in his response, putting all of the blame on me and assuring me that Midwest doesn’t hire employees who don’t deliver good customer service. Which too, is bullshit, because I’ve never received good customer service from anyone who works in Jersey. Anyway, his email is:

    Christopher I Stone

    After finding out that he graduated from Penn State, I didn’t really expect much.

  16. aparsons says:

    Argh, filter!

    Christopher [dot] Stone [at] midwestairlines [dot] com

  17. kalikidtx says:

    This is by far my favorite domestic airline. If they are flying to and from where I am needing and within similar prices of the others I always try to fly Midwest Airlines. Friendly staff, leather seats with foot rests, mini tv’s w preloaded movies, excellent food and food choices, and of course the warm cookies. No one else even compares. Great job MidWest!

  18. aparsons says:

    Argh, filter, again!

    C h r i s t o p h e r . S t o n e
    at
    midwestairlines
    dot
    com

  19. fastm3driver says:

    aparsons?
    Wow that was the first complaint I heard about Midwest.
    First, what is wrong with the Milwaukee airport? You prefer Newark? Yikes. I have long considered that the worst airport ever and avoid it at all cost’s.
    Second, I don’t know how many flights Midwest flys to Newark but I bet it isn’t many. Kind of like to Regan. They have a super small staff so I wouldn’t that great of service. You also didn’t have your wallet; not exactly their fault.
    Third, having flown them 50+ times I believe they are the most consistent on-time airlines.
    Southwest is a cattle herd. I will say they are efficient in their use of time but the boarding process makes me feel like a Russian trying to get bread in Moscow circa 1985. Their seats bite and everything stinks of low-rent. Not really my thing but cheap is cheap.

  20. tqbf says:

    It does not sound like an apology really would have netted Midwest $40k from you. If you value cost, predictability, and infrastructure most, Midwest isn’t your airline; Southwest is. I’m sometimes the same way. If you really want the room, two seats booked in advance on Southwest often come in cheaper than a round trip on Midwest.

    There are other knocks you can give Midwest too. They fly a decrepit fleet, they hub in out-of-the-way places, and they run a really crappy “low-cost” airline on the side. As someone who’s flown Midwest a lot over the past 10 years, I think I speak for the group when I say they’ve kinda hit the skids.

    On the other hand, Mitchell is an excellent airport. The Midwest people are still pleasant. On short notice, for business travel, Midwest is price competitive with everyone but Southwest and Airtran, and they’re a better value than the majors. I’d probably book first class on Airtran before I booked Midwest, but I’d do Midwest instead of Northwest in a heartbeat.

  21. aparsons says:

    @fastm3driver:

    For someone who travels on business every week, I assure you that I’m not there to pick a seat. I’m there to get where I’m going, and get there on time. Again, Southwest has somehow delivered on-time flights for the past year.

    Second, travel schedules for business are hectic and difficult to coordinate. Southwest has the most expense account-friendly policy I’ve ever seen. I pay full refundable fare on all of my flights, and I don’t have to worry about $100 change fees, and managing account credits that get billed to different clients.

    If I need to cancel a flight on southwest, no problem. 100% of the money is refunded to my credit card and I don’t have to take a mental note of where all of my money is.

    Other carriers take note: Southwest is business-friendly for their lax refund policies.

  22. FreePirateBobblehead says:

    well the full southwest refund is whenever you book their outrageous 600 dollar round trip flights …

    i’d expect someone in jersey to laugh at you if you showed up to the airport without wallet and ID 30 min before your flight

  23. Islingtonian says:

    i’m flying midwest tomorrow for the first time, lga to kansas city to see my boyfriend’s parents. he’s flown midwest a lot of times and only has good things to say. personally, i’m looking forward to cookies and bigger seats.

    aparsons, if spending $60k a year to fly for business, why aren’t you in business class on one of the big-boy airlines?

  24. maestrosteve says:

    I haven’t flown Midwest in about 10 years, but I remember they were totally different than any other airline. Their seats in coach were the same seats as in 1st Class, meaning very wide. The meal they served was on china, not plastic or paper, and they did bake those chocolate chip cookies onboard. Back then, I was making quite a few trips a year back and forth from Newark, NJ to Milwaukee, WI and Midwest airlines was always my airline of choice.

  25. tqbf says:

    Because business class on a major airline is a huge rip-off? What a strange question.

  26. thwarted says:

    The cookies alone are why I fly them whenever I get a chance. Customer service has always been great, too.

  27. Sudonum says:

    I used to fly Continental and was one of their “Elite” fliers. Loved the free upgrades. After 9/11 I quit working on the road and as a result don’t fly nearly as often as I used to. No more free upgrades. Well once you’ve been in the “good” seats you’ll do just about anything to stay in them. As a result I was flying Midwest whenever I could. Then Katrina came and they quit flying out of New Orleans. God I miss them.

  28. Sudonum says:

    @tqbf:
    If you’re travelling that much the upgrades are free.

  29. Rick Rockwell says:

    I wouldn’t call their fleet “decrepit,” the average age is 9.5 years. Compare that to American (14.1), United (12.5), or Southwest (9.8). http://www.airfleets.com.

  30. aparsons says:

    Like I said before, I’m too busy to be concerned about where I sit on the plane. I just want to get to where I’m going, and get there on time.

    You could give me first class seats that recline and massage my back and sandwich me between Pamela Anderson and Jenn Jameson, but I’m not going to be happy if I’m late for a meeting and have to stay an extra day on the road as a result.

    I refuse to spend money on things that don’t deliver and things that have bad customer service… which is pretty much why we are all here reading the consumerist, right?

    I’m just saying that Midwest doesn’t deliver on time, and I’d rather choose a company who’s slogan is “Best Care in the Air AND ON THE GROUND.”

    I don’t need the gigantic seats in business class or on midwest because I can fit in a coach seat.

  31. tqbf says:

    They’re only “free” if you’ve lost your short-term memory like that guy in Memento. Otherwise, they’re really, really expensive. I spent a few years “gaming” NWA’s Silver program, and from what I can see, on the majors, it’s very hard to get a free upgrade now without a Platinum card.

  32. Uurp says:

    Midwest used to be much better. I first flew with them in 1986, last time was last April. Starting in the late ’90s their service seemed to get a little worse each time, the planes a little dirtier, the food a little less toothsome. Last three flights did not even include a damned cookie. I now rank them on my personal scale as a step up from Northwest, but just below American. I truly regret I had to say this. Midwest used to be the best little secret in the air.

  33. FatLynn says:

    @aparsons

    Sorry, I really don’t think you can fault the airline when you lost your wallet. Did you ask anyone at security what to do? Did you call the airline’s customer service number? You probably should have done that as soon as you lost your wallet.

    (BTW, I am a frequent business flyer, and I carry a second government-issued ID on me in case I were ever to lose my wallet.)

  34. aparsons says:

    @FatLynn:

    Well, ok, I lost my wallet. BUT, I wouldn’t have missed my flight if the desk was staffed by an agent. I asked TSA security what to do and they said “Uhh, we don’t know what to do. Can you ask midwest airlines.” I mean, come on, it is TSA and it is Jersey… I’m surprised those people can form semi-complete sentences.

    I’m glad you carry a second government-issued ID, but then that is a second government-issued ID to lose. Good luck getting a third government-issued ID without having your first or second one. I play it semi-safe and keep my second government issued ID in my filing cabinet at home. Because I guarantee that dealing with the DMV is worse than dealing with any airline.

    The airline’s customer service number actually said “you already checked in online and you will have to talk to a representative at the airport.”

    I don’t know how to make the fact that Midwest’s customer service sucks any clearer. So let me lay it all out on the table:

    If I had my choice of dealing with Midwest’s customer service, or having both of my hands chopped off with a rusty bandsaw and outfitted with oversized ice-cream scoops, I would opt for the ice-cream scoops.

    Hopefully it is clear now that this said survey placing Midwest in the #1 spot for customer satisfaction is flawed.

  35. BigHeadStu says:

    I want to preface this by saying that I take particular pride in Midwest’s success as an airline…I grew up in Milwaukee and they are a GREAT example of a company that supports their home community. I fly them almost exclusively, and have logged over 150 flights with them in my lifetime. I am not a Midwest employee or stockholder, although I should go buy some. I am deeply troubled by some of the posts I have seen, and I feel it incumbent to rebut…

    To Aparsons:

    First, I want to address your specific complaints that don’t run direct comparisons to other airlines…I’ll get to that second

    How can you hold the airline accountable for your mistake, they didn’t lose your wallet…I think FreePirateBobblehead hit that point right on the head.

    And then you said “I was hoping that the ticket counter would have told me that I don’t really need ID to go through security…” What reality are you living in?? How could you expect that?!?! They would more likely detain you for attempting to pass through security without ID…

    And what are you doing arriving at check-in 30 minutes before your flight?? If the airport is not a hub or focus city for a particular airline, it is highly likely that those check-in staff are at the gate prepping for boarding…with Midwest or ANY airline…and good luck with Newark, they are the third tier airport for service out of New York City…

    As to your weather argument, you have to take into consideration that commercial public weather information is focused on precipitation; temperature and humidity (stuff that affects people directly). Those weather maps on the weather channel are not the data types that the FAA uses to guide aircraft, they have to account for things like the likelihood of ground lighting strikes, air currents, and other things that affect safe air and ground operations…unless you are using your cell phone to analyze the latest data from NOAA, you wouldn’t be seeing what the FAA sees.

    As for your gripe about the change fee…I overslept on a flight the day that the London terrorist thing happened, and they moved me to a standby for no charge, whenever everyone was having problems. Perhaps you weren’t asking that question correctly??

    Second – Your comparison between Southwest and Midwest is apples and oranges.

    The business model behind Southwest is totally focused on cramming as many people on to a plane for a minimum cost. This is all in an attempt to appeal to those people who see air travel as otherwise too expensive. Make it cheap enough and they might not mind the fact that they don’t get to reserve a seat, that they have to sit in 17″ wide seats and that there are 3 seats across in EVERY plane in their fleet. Let’s not forget the fact that there is no food offered on any flight, for purchase or otherwise. Essentially, they are the McDonalds of air travel–get em in, get em out, at the lowest POSSIBLE cost, without regards for service. And to their credit, they do it REALLY well. You hear people say that Southwest is a great airline…that’s the wallet talking. How could you justifiably complain about a 69 dollar flight? It’s the same consumer culture that keeps wal-mart afloat…they are just too cheap to ignore…

    Midwest on the other hand, was born from a private corporate airline, and when they moved into public passenger carriage they carried the executive mentality with them. As Maestrosteve mentioned, cookies (which they still do) and meals served on china which were not only edible, but quite delicious!!! They also served complimentary wine, as well as champagne at breakfast. Unfortunately those went by the wayside when the entire air travel industry went on life support post 9/11. They fly the widest domestic coach seats in the sky at 21″, which rivals MOST of the 1st class options in the sky (source: Seatguru.com), even their regional craft have wider seats then Southwest. Their routes focused are on major business destinations from Milwaukee, NY or DC for instance…And as to their timeliness…they are one of the most timely airlines in the sky, and when they are not, it is because they do everything within their power NOT to strand a passenger. I have been in several occasions where a weather delay held up a flight and the flight attendant notified the captain and first officer and they called ahead and notified our connections. I have NEVER been left behind…unlike on some other airlines. They are focused on the customer and making air travel an enjoyable experience, not finding the cheapest way to move people from point A to point B.

    So where Southwest is the McDonalds of air travel, Midwest is more closely aligned with a high class fine dining restaurant…

    Yes, this means that they are more expensive…but you do pay for what you get…

    Aparsons, it sounds like you are a southwest customer thru and thru, looking for the bottom dollar experience. You even quoted Sam Walton for crying out loud…but the point is, you are likely coming at this with the wrong perspectives, and Midwest is the wrong carrier for you.

    To Buran:
    You were probably looking at a time when air travel is peaking. All airlines increase fare cost as a flight sells out…I bet that same flight on a different day (not as full) is 200 dollars…I almost had to pay 650 dollars for a flight in June, I switched the date to one day earlier and it dropped back to 200…

    To TQBF: You mentioned a decrepit fleet…what planes are you flying on?? The majority of the Midwest fleet is the Boeing 717, a model which only entered service in 1999. They are great aircraft (REAL SHAME Boeing discontinued the line) and Midwest keeps them in excellent shape! Yes, they do fly the older MD-80 on their leisure routes in addition to the fact that their regional carrier flies a combination of smaller types…but the average age of their fleet is only 9.5 years…quite young in comparison to most of the majors…

    Ok, apologies for the long windedness…but I had to speak up when someone was criticizing what I consider to be the home-team…

    I just hope that everyone finds something that works for them!!

  36. pbc says:

    I’m so glad that there is finally a story on here about Midwest–I’ve been surprised at the sparse mentions of this airline and hope to see more in the future!

    @BigHeadStu: WOW! Before I had a chance to post… you said it all so well!

    Here is what I was just about to post:
    The dispute between a few people in these comments is not helpful and is actually kind of annoying. Instead of one or two people posting over and over again, it might be helpful to SHUT UP and let others weigh in on the topic at hand :) You got your say in… we get it! Anyway, I am sorry that a few of you had a bad experience with Midwest.

    My positive experiences with Midwest Airlines:

    I have flown midwest MANY times in the past ten years and have always had a great experience. Whenever anything has gone wrong, I have been adequately compensated and always treated with respect. Perhaps the fact that I live in Wisconsin and often fly out of their main hub, Milwaukee, has something to do with it? Who knows. Further, their airplanes are great, the agents are great, the on-board service is great, and the fares are almost always the same price as other carriers in the same market! If you want good fares, use the tools on this website to help you…and plan in advance.

    No company is perfect, as we see over and over again…. but midwest is one of the few companies that continues to treat customers well and provide great, reasonably priced services at the same time. It might also be my Wisconsin/Milwaukee pride, but I have seen the ways in which Midwest is a responsible member of my community.

  37. tazewell78 says:

    aparsons: You are a nimrod. You really took 100 flights last year? Right. Sounds like if you don’t have face time, you couldn’t close a bathroom door.

    I especially enjoy your first post:

    They are never on time (on the two flights I admit taking in the next sentence). I’ve flown them a couple (read, 2) of time, and usually (how can the word ‘usually’ be used when you’ve done something twice? Apparently my econ degree didn’t have math to cover that little gem) was stuck in god-awful Milwaukee (so you’ve seen ‘Dogma’)for 2 hours because of “weather delays.” A map of the US (where else?) on my phone showed no storms in the US on every (great, we’ve upped the ante from ‘usually’) occasion.

    I think you’re full of shit, and about as truthful as the ‘moving company scam’ whiner. Go find some of the glengarry leads, shirley.

  38. FreePirateBobblehead says:

    @aparsons, ice cream man: maybe you should just fess up that its no fault of the airline’s and more of your own fault? i bet southwest would have stranded you in the same situation, no ID, no boarding pass, 30 min before the flight (i think most airlines require you to be at the gate at LEAST 1 hour before departure).
    i’ve flown midwest and southwest several times and midwest was always capable of putting me on a more convenient flight or time whereas i remember being stranded in chicago MDW (b/c all southwest flights require a 6 hour layover there) because southwest wouldn’t put me on an empty flight.
    Also, with the clientele that southwest attracts, you may be giving the wrong impression with the ice cream scoops when you are crammed into that middle seat.
    forums like these should be used for actual consumer advocacy reasons, not for whining about your own mistakes.

  39. aparsons says:

    @FreePirateBobblehead:

    You obviously do not know what you are talking about. Southwest has no mandatory 6 hour layover in MDW.

    Also, southwest seems to have the common sense to actually staff their ticket counters up until the last flight leaves. Genius!

    I have no problem being “crammed” into a center seat. Why? Because I fit in the middle seat.

  40. aparsons says:

    @tazewell78: I’m glad that your econ degree has afforded you a great education in math.

    100 flights = 2 per week, sometimes 3 if I’m double booked between two clients. So yes, most people who travel “80 to 100 percent” would probably be taking 100 flights per **year** (sorry). But I’m sure you knew this, with your econ degree and everything.

  41. aparsons says:

    @BigHeadStu:
    I actually don’t ever pay for the cheapest Southwest flight. Quite the contrary, actually. I ALWAYS book fully refundable, rack-rate, airfare on southwest, which is usually more expensive than ANY other airline. Why? Because I can call Southwest to cancel a flight and get 100% of my money refunded to my credit card – no red tape, no fine print, no $100 change fee. It is a businessman’s blessing when you ultimately bill airfare to clients (and sometimes 2 or 3 clients per week).

    Like I said, I have had nothing but positive experiences on Southwest, and wouldn’t want to fly any other way.

  42. JustAGuy2 says:

    @aparsons:

    Honestly, I severely doubt the veracity of what you’re saying. Either that, or you’re remarkably ignorant for someone who claims to travel as much as you do.

    1. If you reserve a full Y ticket on ANY airline, you can get 100% of your money back, no muss, no fuss, no change fee. That’s what a full Y ticket means. If you’re really paying more for a Southwest full Y ticket than one on another carrier (which I doubt, SWA’s Y fares are very competitive), you’re overpaying.

    2. You travel for business for clients who will pay for full Y tix, but couldn’t expense a hotel room at Newark when you missed the last flight of the day?

    3. Had you checked in online ahead of time? If not, and you arrived less than 30 mins before departure, you couldn’t check in anyway, regardless of whether the desk was staffed.

    As for your statement that “Hopefully it is clear now that this said survey placing Midwest in the #1 spot for customer satisfaction is flawed,” the only thing that’s clear is that your experience with Midwest isn’t typical – unless you believe that all surveys should only take your opinion into account.

    By the way, and just for the record, you don’t need ID to fly. You will get the full SSSS treatment, but they’ll let you through the checkpoint.

  43. BigHeadStu says:

    @aparsons: So if you ALWAYS book the refundable flight on Southwest, why didn’t you do the same on Midwest?? They offer it…

    You are trying to make a comparison between different products. What you are saying essentially equates to being mad that the gallon of milk that you bought doesn’t taste like fresh squeezed oranges.

  44. brown_cloud says:

    Thank you for flying on Midwest. Some of our staffing in other cities is contracted out. Although they are supposed to adhere to our customer service rules, some choose to go it their own way.
    I apologize if you were treated badly as it is a poor reflection on the company as a whole.

    Flights out of New York are consistently delayed due to the amount of air traffic. Unfortunately, as another poster has mentioned, the smaller airlines in the smaller airports get bumped as other flights get out on time. Also, weather in Detroit or Dallas can affect flights all over the world due to the domino effect.

    Yes, it used to be first-class meals served on fine china with complimentary wine and crystal salt and pepper shakers. Our planes were thoroughly cleaned nightly and every seat was business class.

    Meals are still professionally prepared and quite tasty. Our soda is free and we will give you the whole can. We are flying so much that the planes only get the royal treatment once in a while and there are those of us here that complain and want the planes as immaculate as before. Our “Signature Service” flights are 100% business class and our “Saver Service” flights are 2×3 seating.

    Things could be done differently, sure, and we all want things to go back to the way they were -free meals, wine, etc., but it just won’t. (unless we are all willing to pay the full fare price)

    Anyway, thank you again for flying Midwest Airlines. You get to where you want to go and you put food on my table. Oh, not all of us in Milwaukee are too big to fit in the middle seat :)

  45. aparsons says:

    From my understanding (and I never really looked into it because I found an airline that works for me) is that “fully refundable” on other airlines means “we’ll refund it as credit into your account.”

  46. JustAGuy2 says:

    Ap@aparsons:

    Nope, fully refundable means fully refundable – you get your money back.

    All tickets (or virtually all, there may be some narrow exception somehwere) are changeable to the degree that you can cancel and get a credit (usually less a $100 change fee) that can be used for travel within the next year, so long as you cancel before the trip starts.

    I notice no response to any of my other comments about your post.

  47. aparsons says:

    @JustAGuy2: Let me break it down for you.

    CLIENT-A needs work done. I agree, and plan all of my travel and book a flight on AIRLINE-A. Two days prior to me coming out to their site, CLIENT-A says “nevermind, we figured it out.”

    I’ve already booked airfare, and my credit card has already been charged $300. Now, I have a $200 (full fare minus $100) credit on Airline-A, but a $300 charge still exists on my credit card.

    Somehow, I need to bill for that full $400 cost (ticket + change fee). So, a week later, CLIENT-B comes to me and says “I need work done.” Well, in order to recoup that $300 charge on my credit card, I actually need to bill CLIENT-B $400 in airfare because the ticket will probably cost $300, and I’m certainly not eating the $100 change fee.

    One will argue that I should bill CLEINT-A anyway. Well, when you work in a big corporation, contracts don’t work that way and it is an uphill battle to get reibursed change fees in addition to late credit card payment fees (because I’m not paying a corporate bill out of pocket).

    The easiest way when juggling 3 – 4 clients at a time – who may or may not need work done from week to week – is to book through southwest. Because when CLIENT-A says “I dont need service,” I can immediately call southwest and have 100% of the fare posted back to my credit card. I don’t have to go through the hassle of keeping track of what airlines I have credit on, where I have to pay change fees, etc. But that is only on their fully-refundable fares. “Fully refundable” on other airlines as you pointed out JUSTAGUY2 means “Fully refundable, less $100.” Last time I checked, that wasn’t fully refundable….

  48. JustAGuy2 says:

    @aparsons:

    You’re really still not getting it. Buy a fully refundable (Y class) ticket on Continental, or United, or American, or US Airways, or whatever, for $300. If you call up and say “I’m not going, refund my ticket,” you’ll get $300 credited back to your credit card. No charge, no change fee.

    If you buy a _nonrefundable_ ticket from any of these airlines (say paying $200, instead of $300), and then cancel, you’ll get $200 in credit, less a $100 change fee, so $100 in net credit.

    Fully refundable fees are fully refundable, regardless of airline.