I purchased a ticket for a passenger other than myself last week, using my credit card billing info. Approximately 2 days later, I requested a cancellation and for Southwest to apply them to an internal "travel funds" account that I could access to book future travel. This is all accessible via their website and previously had been very easy and hassle free.
After cancelling the flight and attempting to rebook, I was prompted (online) that I cannot change the passengers name on the flight...even though it was all along my credit card info and Southwest is out absolutely zero dollars! Further there is no difference whether I fly, she were to fly, or if I bought the fare for someone else as it's a designated "seat" that I'm buying, not the person.
I am not requesting that I be refunded the amount of the purchase in cash/check, but simply to apply it to future travels on Southwest. I understand their business must operate on guaranteed revenue and thus my reasoning for not asking for a direct refund, but simply a credit towards flights that I can use. Under the current policy, I have no plans whatsoever of booking a flight again for this particular person nor do I have any recourse of recovering the funds from her for the ticket - thus Southwest is, in my opinion, unfairly "holding" nearly $500 that will never be used in the future.
I explained the situation to the customer service line on 9/20/11, who elevated me to customer relations in Dallas. After holding and recalling for approximately 1.5 hrs, I was basically told "too bad" and they couldn't care less that I paid for the ticket and desired a refund. I also wrote their corporate office but received an auto-reply message basically stating they may or may not get back to me.
Please feel free to contact me in regard to specific questions or if I did not provide adaquate clarity.