Q. My daughter is pregnant and is due about the end of August. My wife and I live in Jacksonville and my daughter lives in San Diego. We want to fly out when the baby is due and help out for a couple of weeks. I'm wondering how to best handle the flight arrangements, and is there one airline that would be better than another if we need to change travel dates after purchasing a fare. I know non-refundable tickets are usually cheaper but we may need to change our plans based on the baby's arrival.
A. I would buy your fare from an airline with a low or non-existent change fee, which, considering your routing, means that Southwest is probably your best bet. If you have to cancel your reservation and rebook, Southwest will not charge a change penalty as such. However, if the fare has gone up between the time you purchased and the time you rebook, then you will have to pay the fare difference (if it's gone down, on the other hand, you get a credit for future use, with no "service fee" deducted). Southwest is unique in this regard.