Southwest Airlines questions

Old Aug 7th, 2003, 10:54 AM
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cdt
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Southwest Airlines questions

Southwest recently came into our area and we're contemplating using them (for the first time) for an upcoming trip.

Two questions:

1. Whenever I've checked their website during the past several months, the lower fares are always "unavailable." Are they available when dates are first posted, or are they listed just for show?

2. I'm told the the answer to the "cattle call" seating is to get to the airport early. But we're looking at connecting flights. Does that mean we'll probably be at the end of the line boarding the second plane?
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Old Aug 7th, 2003, 11:05 AM
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Southwest is a LowFare carrier.Thats the draw--low fares.If you want low fares,you gotta give something up.Like prereserved seats.As far as the lowest fare being available on the website...I would not say they are there for "show".I dont know the mechanics of loading the fares.But I think you will find Southwest fares lower than the others.Since the connecting times for their flights at intermediate airports are relatively short--30 minutes usually--you will fell like you are "running " to get to the flight.On the other hand,unless its a major hub,they may only have 1 or 2 gates total and they are nearly always right next to one another.Unless the connecting flight is relatively empty you will more than likely be the last ones to board.Overall, I think you will enjoy Southwest.My travel agent jokes that one of these days there will be only one airline left,and it will be Southwest! Enjoy your trip...HTH.....S
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Old Aug 7th, 2003, 11:30 AM
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Keep in mind..

1. The best way to get a low fare is to get in early on the specials. Sign up for their announcements and book in advance.

2. Unlike other airlines, you can cancel a flight. You won't get a refund, but you will be able to use the total value of the cancelled ticket towards other travel.

3. It takes only 4 round trips (when you book online) to get a free ticket which is good almost anytime and is not capacity controlled. If there is a seat available, at any price, you can have it.

4. Yes, getting to your initial flight early and then being in the back of the line for a connection sucks.
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Old Aug 7th, 2003, 11:35 AM
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P.S........If you DO cancel a ticket,it remains a credit for a year.....AND.....anybody you choose to designate, can use it...I really like that part.......If you book online, you get double credits towards your freebie....
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Old Aug 7th, 2003, 12:05 PM
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The low fares are not there just for show. In my experience, your best chance of getting the lowest fare is to book early or right when a sale begins. As more seats are sold, the lower fares start to disappear. Southwest's pricing structure is fairly simple and doesn't operate like the majors (where the fare fluctuates often and seemingly has nothing to do with how many seats they have left to sell).

As others have mentioned even if you decide later you won't be taking that flight, 100% of your ticket funds are good for one year from the date of purchase and can be used toward one ticket or multiple tickets, for yourself or for someone else. That's the best part.
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Old Aug 8th, 2003, 05:46 AM
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I could be wrong, but I think if you buy the sale fares, there may be a rebooking penalty-- so we used to buy the full fare tickets because they were still cheaper than other carriers, and gave us more flexibility. Also, I think SW will let you hold a reservation for a full fare ticket up until 30 minutes before checkin, so if you really are on the fence about a trip you can make the reservation and decide later. Last-- their FF program works off the number of flights you take, not miles, so it's possible to fly across the country with a relatively few number of miles (of course, you have be careful they don't have you stopping 3 times on your way across the country). Sometimes we joke that SW is the Greyhound of the sky
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Old Aug 8th, 2003, 05:58 AM
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Southwest does not charge a penalty for rebooking...On the other hand, you cannot fly standby on anything but a full fare ticket......So if I have a discount ticket and I go to the counter and tell the agent I want on an earlier flight,I have to pay the difference between the discount I paid and the lowest fare available.But personally I ilke that because I know for sure I am on the flight.
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Old Aug 8th, 2003, 09:24 AM
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I don't know if they still allow you to do this, but once I flew only the outbound leg and ended up driving home and they let me apply the leftover funds from the return leg for future travel. I always thought this was sort of a 'loophole' in their pricing as sometimes the only one way fare available was the fully refundable fare but you could get a discounted roundtrip and not even have to consider the return a throw away. Anyone know if this still works?
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Old Aug 8th, 2003, 09:31 AM
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Yes, it does.Any wonder why Southwest is continuously profitable???????
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Old Aug 8th, 2003, 10:43 AM
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If you pay the full unrestricted fare you can get a cash or credit card refund.

For disounted tickets, you get "ticketless funds" to use for future travel.
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Old Aug 9th, 2003, 05:46 PM
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Living in the East Bay area (San Francisco Bay Area), I've flown SWA many times. They consistently have the lowest fares, they generally are on time, and, best of all, they don't try to feed you the typical garbage airline food. Make no mistake, they are a discount airline, so it's no frills all the way.

I'm sure you will come to appreciate their business model.
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Old Aug 15th, 2003, 11:06 AM
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Since the other airlines have largely done away with their "frills", I have found that flying Southwest isn't much different than any other airline.
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Old Aug 16th, 2003, 06:19 AM
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I too love Southwest but I am of the opposite opinion of you guys about the "cattle call" Yes evryone lines up like mad toget onthe plane and get a "good" seat. Youe either have to get there extremely early as others have suggested or be like me and ge tthere at the last possible minute (by that time evryone is on the plane and you don't have to wait in line! Who cares if you have to sit inthe back instead of the front? My opinion is that because they "pre-board" not just small children and their parents but I believe any child 10 and under and their parents is allow to pre-board. Becaus e of this these people all get on first and take the front seats. Forcing them to all be together and if you don't like to sit next to children (read screaming babies) you are pretty much guaranteed not to if you get on lst as you will be in the back. It s not liek an assigned seat airline where these people pre-board but their assigne dseats vcould bbe anywhere on the plane. FIrst on (pre-boarders w/children) get first up fron t seats with children. Last on may have to sit on the back but at least you don't have to wait in line to get on the plane and your usually away form the kids!
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Old Aug 19th, 2003, 03:57 PM
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In my experience with SWA the lowest fares are the worst times to travel, example, the Las Vegas, getting there at 10 or 11 pm or leaving at 5am or at 10 or 11 pm. If you have something to do after checking out of your hotel its fine. If you are staying with friends no problem.
The seats still go very fast,as the $99 anywhere was sold out very fast. Did manage to get coast to coast for $240 no stop though. buck
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Old Aug 21st, 2003, 03:19 PM
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sunlover - I generally sit in the back of SWA planes for that very reason - because the people with little kids usually sit up front. There is also generally more room in the back of the plane anyway. My husband and I were flying back from San Diego several months ago and we each had a row to ourselves.
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