Southwest: How to cancel a flight and re-book


1] I found a great DING for the exact flights that I wanted.

2] I picked my flights and went thru the process of ‘booking’ them right up until the point where it asked for form of payment.

3] In a separate window I opened up my email confirmation from the original [higher priced] flight that I had booked with SW a month or so earlier.

4] I found my confirmation number [which is actually a combination of numbers and letters] on my email and wrote it down.

5] When I clicked on the link in #5 it brought up a page with this information -

If your outbound flight has not departed, you may submit a refund request:
online at To begin this process, you will first need to Cancel your flight Reservation. Southwest Airlines - Cancel Air Reservation

6] They will ask for your original Confirmation Number and the credit card holders name - as it appears on the card. This would be the card that you used for the original reservation.

To save alot of time. Have your confirmation number and credit card holder information in a handy spot at all times. This way you can grab it quickly if you get DINGed.

7] enter the information - and click ‘Retrieve Flight Information’. At this point [in the next screen] you will be clicking to cancel your reservation. BUT - before I clicked to cancel - I went back to the DING window and checked to be sure my DING flights were still available.

8] after I was sure they were still available I clicked to cancel my original flight.

9] In the screen to book the DING flight I stated that I wanted to use funds that I had in reserve. [I’m not sure of the exact wording it used]. Here is where I entered the confirmation number from the original flight. It showed my new flight as paid in full and also showed my credit remaining on the original flight.

It sounds complicating but it really only took less than 5 minutes from start to finish.

Warning ~ ~ ~ ~ I guess there is always that small chance that in the seconds it takes to cancel the original flight and book the new one that the DING fares could become booked up and no longer available. If you know without a doubt that you will be flying often within the next year [and you have the extra funds available], a sure fire way would be to book the new flight and pay for it. Then cancel the old flight and have the entire original amount as a credit to be used on an upcoming flight.


Thanks Laura!! I printed similar directions (from anohter site) a couple of years ago in case I ever had to rebook a SWA flight. I’m not sure I would rebook to save $10/flight but over that I may try it.


Thanks for the directions. Im sure I may need them one day :smile:


Thanks for the step-by-step on that. You never know when this will come up and you will need to know how to do it. Thanks!


You’re welcome. A friend typed this up and I use it to make my changes. I still refer to it, even double-checked it today before I changed my ressie.


Just a quick question - I’m pretty sure you dn’t get a refund, right? Just a credit? How long is the credit good for?


You get credit and it’s good for a year.


I just want to thank SuiteDisney for this thread. I would not have known the process if I had not seen this a while back. And, either I found and easier way, or Southwest has made some changes to make it easier.

DD and I have to be in Orlando for a Cheer Competition the last week-end in March. Her coaches required us to book and show confirmation before December first, so as soon as SW released its dates in early November I cashed in reward points to buy us each a $340 RT ticket. I actually only paid a processing fee, but I had to use enough points to cover the $340 and that was with a layover on the trip back - would have cost me $440 each for a non-stop.

Anywhoo, SW just lowered its fares, and my same flights would be about $240 each. My only problem was that I didn’t purchase the ticket and I had no way of knowing what name of the Reward Center used to pull up my confirmation. I called SW and they gave me the name used, and with that and my confirmation# I was able to just select “Change Reservation”. It guides you through selecting what ticket you want changes and then will let you re-book the same flights at the lower amount in the next step.

I decided to change my return flight to a non-stop and now I have a $119 credit too!!! I thought I’d be able to use that for her cheer competition next year, but once everything was confirmed my one-year expiration actually runs from the date I bought the tix in early November. So, I’m glad I decided to go with a $40 less refund per ticket (I could have had a $199 credit if I kept the same return flight) because there is a chance we may not be able to use the credit. But, it’s there if we need it.


My dh was unable to fly back with us this past December, so he never used his return flight. Anybody know if we will get a “credit” for the unused portion?


Remember, it’s one year from the time of original booking to use your credit against a new flight. I thought it was from day of flight and lost 40 dollars.


Did you cancel it before the flight time?


Plus the credit can be used by anybody making a SW reservation if they have the reservation number and the name. It’s as simple as clicking the apply credits button before you pay the balance with credit card.


Yeah. That’s the key.