So you may have seen me mention on Facebook or Twitter that my dad passed away in California, and his will named me the executor of his estate. He never told me he was doing this, as we haven't spoken in years (even though I still sent him cards for his birthday, Christmas and Father's Day). Anyway, because of this I planned a trip to go out there and straighten out his affairs (close bank accounts and so on). I had earned a free round-trip flight from Southwest Airlines' Rapid Rewards program. I was hoping to use it to go someplace I haven't yet visited, or at least someplace super fun like Vegas, but since I don't really have money to spend, I used my free flight for this. I made reservations to fly to San Francisco on August 23rd and return on the 31st.
Tonight I was looking at a website for California's court system and found a section regarding wills, estates, etc. It seems that, if the deceased's personal property (bank accounts, stocks, etc., not "real" property such as a house) is worth less than $100,000, you don't need to go to court and go through probate. There's a simplified procedure involving an affidavit to get the funds, etc. transferred. However, you have to wait at least 40 days after the person dies. That means I'd have to wait until at least the 10th of September.
I thought for sure that, because I used my free flight, either I wouldn't be able to change the flights at all or I'd have to pay some additional (and likely expensive) fees. But I went to the Southwest website and not only was I able to change, there were no additional fees at all. In fact, I'm getting a refund of $2.50 in security fees because on my original return flight I was going to have to change planes in Denver and now I don't.
I'm pretty sure that if I get to travel again someday, I'll be flying Southwest.