You’ve most likely heard about the “meltdown” Southwest Airlines is currently experiencing. It started with a bit of bad weather, but then the airline’s antiquated software failed to dig the company out of the hole. Thousands and thousands of flights were canceled, travelers are stranded, people are mad. It’s a mess.
Southwest Airlines hopes to have everything back and running by this weekend. But, I’m a bit skeptical. I have a flight on Southwest next week, and I decided to make a backup plan just in case.
My Backup Plan
I’ve never booked a backup flight before. But, there has never been this type of airline meltdown for an extended period before. My kids need to return home to start school. And, I’m not going to rent a car and drive for 20 hours. No way.
So, I booked a flight on American Airlines for the day after my scheduled Southwest flight. I used AA miles to book a Web Special Award for 15k miles. If I don’t end up needing the flight, I can cancel it and get my miles back. Using miles is a better option than paying cash, as I would only get a future flight credit if I needed to cancel. There are many seats left on this flight, so I don’t feel like I’m taking up a spot on a super in-demand flight.
Why don’t I just cancel my Southwest flight and go with this new flight? It’s because I booked Early Bird Check-in for me and my kids to the tune of $60 total. If I cancel, I won’t get that money back. Plus, I like the time of the Southwest flight. And if it flies, I’d prefer to be on it.
But, if Southwest is still melting down, we will simply get a hotel room and take the AA flight the next day. My annual trip insurance policy will pay for the hotel room.
If you have a Southwest flight in the next week, I recommend you at least think about other options in case your flight gets canceled. I hate that so many trips have been ruined by this debacle. Hopefully, using miles for a backup flight will minimize our disruption.
How does my family travel so much? We use miles and points from credit card bonuses. See my Travel Hacking 101 post as well as current credit card offers here.