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Southwest Airlines Questions

Discussion in 'Getting There & Getting Around' started by Turtleman, Jul 25, 2016.

  1. Turtleman

    Turtleman VIP Whale

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    I've been a "loyal" Delta flyer approximately forever, but the old reasons (free Sky Club access, Medallion preferred boarding and seating, and occasional upgrades) no longer apply. And yes, I've been on VMB long enough to know how to conduct a search; but between a time crunch and laziness, I have a few questions that hopefully you Southwest flyers can answer.

    I've heard there's no charge on SW for changing dates and flights (other than any price increases) and that it's easy to rebook if the price drops. Having no experience with SW, I'd like to know if it's really just that easy. Can changing or rebooking for a better price be done online? Is there any limit how many times you can make changes? And if a trip is cancelled, can the full ticket price be applied on future tickets for a year? (You're screwed trying to make any changes on Delta!)

    I just started "toying" with a late August trip, and the process will be greatly simplified if changes are easy to make. Thanks a bunch!
     
  2. Ty

    Ty ?

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    I've changed a couple of flights. It seems to be important to "change" rather than "cancel" a flight. I don't think there's a limit to how many times you can change a flight.

    Yes full price is applied, and as you mentioned good for one year.

    If you "cancel" a flight for which you had purchased the Early BIrd, you don't get credit for the EB, you loose that money. **Someone please confirm.** That's why you should "change", even if the change is to an uncertain date, just to push things out. EB will follow a "changed" flight but not a "cancelled" flight.

    You have to remember to apply the Travel Funds, it does not happen on it's own.

    As you said, No charge to change, just the price difference if it went up. And a one-year credit if it went down.

    Late August? We will be at MSS.
     
    Christmas Trip. Sam's Town & MSS
  3. merlin

    merlin VIP Whale

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    Yes, it's easy to change for free, what I like about SW is that I can get good seats, with delta I'm always forced to the rear of the plane since I wont pay extra to become preferred, with Sw I'm almost always able to sit in the first few rows upfront.
     
  4. Turtleman

    Turtleman VIP Whale

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    Ty & Merlin: Your answers are much appreciated. I'm confused with SW's pricing, however. The "Wanna Get Away" fares always appear to be the cheapest, even over Senior. Is there a catch I haven't found yet? Why would you purchase anything else?
     
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  5. ajp

    ajp High-Roller

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    Wanna get away isnt usually available on last minute flights, plus the refund for a cancelled flight is flight credit, the others are refunded in cash. Business select gets 2 free drinks and boarding A1-15 so you can get the exit row if you like.
     
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  6. Ty

    Ty ?

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    I agree with ajp, Senior tickets are refundable vs a one year credit.

    Make note of the price for each leg when you book, Sometimes I forget and it can be difficult to figure out after you book.

    If the price drops you just go online and click on the 'change' button, then simply select the flight you already had but with a lower price.

    Also, when booking with points for yourself or others, if you change or cancel the flight your points go back into your account. (From what I've read.)
     
    Christmas Trip. Sam's Town & MSS
  7. ajp

    ajp High-Roller

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    Yes if you book with points and cancel the flight the points are returned to your account, the $11.20 security fee is not you have one year to use it.

    Also changing or canceling flights is super easy. If the price drops you just select change and select the same flight you are on that is now cheaper, you then get the difference as a credit to use later if you book wanna get away fares. If you cancel you have one year from the date of purchase to use the funds on a future flight. You need to keep your conformation number from the flight you cancel to be able to apply the fees onto a future flight.
     
  8. mescalita

    mescalita Low-Roller

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    Good info today. A few quick SWA notes:

    The Rapid Rewards premier credit card has a 50,000 free points signing bonus - that's worth a couple round trip flights if you seek out the best deals.

    Always check in for your flight exactly 24 hours before takeoff for best chance at good seats - there is not reserved seating. Or spring for the $15 earlybird check-in.

    Two free checked bags is worth a lot in the long run - hope they keep this policy forever. But I am a dreamer...

    Looks like SWA has some great prices in August from Atlanta to Las Vegas.

    Good luck and safe travels!
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
  9. marksind

    marksind Low-Roller

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    We've flown SW almost exclusively for our domestic flights for the past four years, usually using points. They make it so easy to handle your reservations and changes online that it can get confusing when you start juggling lots of booked flights and changing them. I've really found it helpful to set up a spreadsheet. I record date, to/from, flight number(s), whether there is a connection or stop, and if so is there a plane change and where (often the case with SW east/west flights in particular), the confirmation number and the cost or number of points used.

    When you cancel a SW flight booked with points, you can do it online and the points are immediately returned to your account regardless of the fare class you booked. You have to select the "refund" option for your security fee, as the default is "hold for future use." If you end up with the funds held, you'll need your confirmation number from the cancelled flight to apply the fee to a future flight.

    Some people don't like the boarding system, but I like the assigned boarding position. It avoids the "scrum" that always happens with the other airlines when they mass board each group. Also the fact that two bags can be checked for free is a real plus.
     
  10. Snidely

    Snidely VIP Whale

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    Regarding the one year credit, you have to travel within one year of the original purchase, not purchase the new ticket within one year. Example, if you buy a ticket today for travel in October and the price goes down or you cancel, you have to travel within 1 year from today; not one year from your flight in October.
     
  11. nostresshere

    nostresshere Mr. Anti Debit Card

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    Yep, SW is pretty much above board and the policies are easy to understand.

    I was once a top level DL flyer with club access, etc. Still lifetime Silver and fly them some and take advantage of preferred seating. But, SW serves our purpose often. Got two credit cards last year and then Companion pass for year and a half.
     
  12. Turtleman

    Turtleman VIP Whale

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    Thanks everyone! You've answered my questions and I feel a lot more confident booking with SW. Actually, I flew SW r/t from Vegas to San Diego for just one night stays several years ago, but the ex-significant other took care of the flights (on miles), so I didn't learn a whole lot. I still have over a quarter million SkyMiles, so it's certainly not bye-bye to Delta ... if the mileage is reasonable.

    Now I just need to reserve rooms, pick flights, and decide if I really want to go. After all, I was there just three weeks ago and plan on going back around Halloween. Will post back if I ever figure it out!
     
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  13. Backagain1

    Backagain1 High-Roller

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    On a side note Southwest is having some glitches right now, I have been watching their FB page. They say that today they should be back on track.
     
  14. mkhira2

    mkhira2 Tourist

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    I fly SWA whenever possible. I've cancelled one flight and changed three (including changing a return flight home the morning of the scheduled flight) and haven't been charged a fee. Couldn't be easier to do on the mobile app, either. In fact, I was refunded points into my account on one flight change because the price decreased. Highly recommended.

    If you cancel, the full price remains in your account as credit. I can't speak toward how often you can change the same flight as I've never had to more than once.

    In my experience the airports that SWA fly out of also seem to be easier to navigate, and their terminals at international airports less congested.
     
  15. KKB

    KKB VIP Whale

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    We LOVE SWA; got the SWA credit cards to earn points. Booking with points is THE BEST--100% refundable at any time with no expiration.
    Their prices are comparable to other major airlines--plus 2 free checked bags.
    And yes, you can rebook at any time, no fee, and get a credit to fly within 1 year of original booking date. BE SURE to note the confirmation number/amount of any credits--they don't do well keeping track of it for you.
    Additionally if you have to cancel a flight & have a rather large credit & cannot use it within a year, call them & you may be able to get it extended for a fee. I think we had a $400 credit & were able to extend it 6 months for $75.
     
  16. Chuck2009x

    Chuck2009x VIP Whale

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    There are a couple of things I don't love about Southwest, but they're vastly outweighed by the 2 'free" bags ,no charges for rebooking/canceling, and the ease of rebooking and applying banked funds.

    Once thing to know about applying banked funds, in addition to what was stated above - if you end up getting active with Southwest, and end up banking funds from several reservations because you were able to rebook at a lower price, it IS important to keep careful track of the confirm number, amount, and expiration date associated with each.

    Let's say you have banked funds from three different bookings. When you go to purchase a new flight, you can combine all three as part of the payment. But the oldest expiration date of the three is what will get tagged to the new reservation. So if you cancel that NEW reservation, you might get stuck with banked funds that are going to expire soon. This is most likely to affect you if you don't travel often (or on SW often). And as someone mentioned, the expiration date applies to the flight date, not the booking date.
     
  17. gotChopin

    gotChopin Low-Roller

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    I love flying Southwest as well. Great airline.

    I travel solo usually when I do or with spouse and usually for shorter trips we dont mind sitting apart.
    Bc I always get the Wanna Get Away priced tickets, we are usually last to board, but
    there is usually always an empty middle seat at the front row. This is almost always the case!
    We always nab those seats.

    Also, not sure if they have this anymore, but when I applied for a Chase Southwest card few years ago they had a promotion
    where if you spend $1500 in first 3 months of opening the card, they would issue you 50,000 rewards points (I forgot the actual rewards points number, but it came out to around $840 in cash equivalent).
    That was fantastic deal.
    Just spend the credit card on normal usage such as groceries and gas and such and it is expenditures you would be paying for anyways month to month.

    I wish they had that w another airline so I can take advantage of that!
     
  18. LindaP

    LindaP Low-Roller

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    Just another note about the 50,000 miles with the credit card. You can do that every 2 years! I usually get the card and use it for a year and then cancel it (to avoid the $99 annual fee). Then I wait until the 2 years is up and apply for it again. I haven't paid for a Southwest flight (other than the initial $99 annual fee) in years. I don't put my husbands name on my credit card so he can apply for a card and get the 50,000 miles every 2 years too!

    - Linda in TX
     
  19. vwhiten

    vwhiten High-Roller

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    I do a lot of my shopping through Rapid Rewards through Southwest. A lot of the stores I shop at are members. Home Depot, Walmart, it is a huge list. I buy my contact lenses through one of the websites and usually get 3 points for ever $1 spent. Many stores are in the 3 point per dollar spent. It adds up quick.
     
    36th Wedding Anniversary
  20. nostresshere

    nostresshere Mr. Anti Debit Card

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    Sorry, but that is NOT the reason you board towards the end. Only a handful of folks get automatic early boarding. My last four flights were either getaway or points and we we in the A30-a50 range. We often pay the $15 early boarding fee. On one paid getaway fare we did not pay, and got b15 I think. We did online checkin at exactly 24 hours.

    The people that get usually do not do early board payment, or checkin at 24 hours.