SOUTHWEST

Good Southwest, bad Southwest!

I’m pleased to bring you a new feature called “The Final Word” in the 6 p.m. time slot. It does exactly what it says: It lets whoever is writing it have the final word of the day. I’ll go first.

No good deed goes unpunished in the advocacy world. So when Andrew Der’s story about Southwest Airlines going the extra mile to help a grieving mother went live this morning, it was interrupted by a chorus of critics, of course.
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Is this enough compensation? My Rapid Rewards expired and I can’t get them back

Rachel Cabarcas’s timing isn’t the best. No, not because she has an expired awards problem she’s sharing with us today, but because if she’d waited a little longer, then this probably wouldn’t have been a problem.

And what, exactly, is the problem? Her Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards are no longer valid, and she’d like them back.

As some of you probably know, Rapid Rewards no longer expire. But they used to.
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Frequent flier program changes you can root for

If you’ve ever asked what the fuss over frequent-flier programs is about, then you know that the answer can be complicated.

Airlines love them because they’re worth billions of dollars in business. They also mean the world to many passengers, because at a time when airline amenities are evaporating faster than jet fuel spilled on a hot tarmac, perks such as upgrades and preferential treatment are just about the only things that make air travel tolerable.

So when two major airlines recently decided to upgrade their loyalty programs, they caught this skeptic’s attention.

Delta Air Lines has eliminated the expirations on its frequent-flier miles. And Southwest Airlines has completely revamped its legendary Rapid Rewards, adopting many of the features of competing incentive programs.

The response from customers offers fresh insights into the volatile relationship between air travelers and airlines, but it also presents us with new opportunities to fly smarter.
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Weekend survey: Do maintenance problems make you reluctant to fly?

Do Southwest Airlines’ recent maintenance problems, which led to widespread aircraft inspections, make you think twice about flying?

If you’ve been paying attention to some of the media coverage (and how can you not?) you might be forgiven for thinking the sky is falling. Or, at least, that planes are falling out of the sky.

Truth is, no one has died — yet.
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