In these days of 'budget' and low cost airlines there tends to be a complete lack of flexibility in any circumstances. A local gentleman who is almost 80 got his revenge a few days ago. He was booked to travel to the UK but his wife who was to be travelling by sea with their car (he hates sea travel so was to fly) broke her wrist so the trip had to be cancelled. Despite producing medical certificates the airline wouldn't give him a refund as he hadn't taken out insurance and the fare was 'non-transferable' and non-refundable'. So what did he do to stop them re-selling his seat which they could if he was a 'no show'? He turned up at the airport, booked in, cleared security and reported to the gate when his flight was boarding, at that stage he told the staff member that he wasn't catching the flight! It was too late for them to put on a standby passenger so it will have taken off with his seat empty.
I have slightly mixed feelings here, I fully applaud him and approve of his actions - I am just glad that I wasn't a standby passenger desperate to get on that flight. I don't think airlines ought to be able to sell a seat twice, if the seat was then sold again once you cancel they ought to give you some of the money back.
Many a child has been spoiled because you can't spank a Grandma!