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Southwest No Longer a "Low Fare" Carrier

Discussion in 'Getting There & Getting Around' started by marksind, Dec 3, 2015.

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  1. marksind

    marksind Low-Roller

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    Anyone seeing Southwest as the fare leader out of their market these days? Definitely not the case out of Seattle.

    They are a big carrier here, but not nearly as much so as Alaska. I know people who will only fly Alaska if they can out of long-held loyalties and accumulated benefits. So, when Alaska started its Cyber Week sale with some killer fares through the spring, I figured Southwest would respond with similar fares, like airlines used to do in "the olden days." Nope. They are having a three-day sale that, at least from Seattle, is no sale at all (like most of their weekly "sale" emails). Fares are literally double what Alaska is offering on many routes.

    I wonder if this reflects in part the consolidation that's gone on in the industry and the reduction in flights nationally that has resulted? Or maybe it's because they think their fares are harder to compare since they don't participate in Saber? We like the free baggage check with Southwest, but not enough to pay twice the fare! I get the daily "Airfare Watchdog" email, and Southwest is almost never listed as the best fare any more.
     
  2. motownbob

    motownbob Low-Roller

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    It depends on the situation . Out of the Detroit area , if you must check two bags , then , they are the cheapest . The wife and I always go for a full week or more , so two bags are a must . Spirit is cheaper with just a carry on per person
    I just booked Southwest out of Flint , non stop for $260.00 rt . The extra room with Southwest is a real plus ! The current cost for the same flight is $307.00 $260.00 is less than I paid back in early 2015 , so no real increases in this market . Bob
     
  3. leo21

    leo21 VIP Whale

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    No they haven't been the fare leader for a while. But:

    #1 I don't buy tickets based on just the fare but also look at convenience and service.

    and

    #2 A lot of the carriers who regularly beat Southwest don't look as such a great value when you add in the fees that you can't avoid.

    Even when Southwest was the undisputed fare leader, it wasn't always the first choice for me for flying back in the day. You used to get a better experience from the legacy carriers and we used to try and fly on American or United first. but times have changed I enjoy using Southwest over most of the rest. So if their price is right, I don't even look at the others anymore.
     
  4. Rodent Pack

    Rodent Pack S.S. Minnow

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    SMF to LAS has been sparse on low fares for quite awhile. There's really no competition that SWA has in this market. I thought there Cyber Monday sales were a scam. We had been checking on a May trip just a couple of days prior to Monday and the packages were less then.
     
    Christmas comes early
  5. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    No, they aren't the lowest, but they fly non-stop to the places we like to go. 3 non-stops a day to Vegas, but also Phoenix, Seattle, Dallas & Boston. I despise having a connecting flight.
     
    Christmas
  6. nostresshere

    nostresshere Mr. Anti Debit Card

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    In many (most?) cases, they are competitive, but not cheap. Pretty good on advance purchase, but shorter term - nope. They do offer a good service and even as a Silver on Delta, I often prefer SW. Especially is non stop. And more so this year and next since my wife flies free.
     
  7. Suekel

    Suekel VIP Whale

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    Although we no longer find crazy low fares to Vegas on a regular basis, they still have some great deals for us out of Austin. I was just looking and I can fly non stop to Boston for under $200 per person round trip, same for Ft Lauderdale. I have family in New England and FL so those routes are good for me. And as others have said, the free bags and great service keep me coming back to them time and again.

    ETA - I actually just looked and while the times aren't awesome, there are flights AUS-LAS for $225 RT right now on Southwest. That's a great price.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2015
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  8. Chuck2009x

    Chuck2009x VIP Whale

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    Low base fare, not anymore. But when you throw in 2 free bags and free changes and cancellations, that adds up fast.
     
  9. nhcris

    nhcris High-Roller

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    I used to fly them almost exclusively but now I shop around a lot more. They eliminated most of the non-stops to the places I usually go, and I prefer to avoid stops in the midwest in the winter especially. My usual operating method is to book my trips with southwest points to take the pressure off, and then shop the other airlines (while constantly checking for SWA price drops) to find the perfect flight. I book what I find and my points go back in my account. Repeat the process for the next trip. It works like a charm.

    I've also found a number of first class flights on Delta that are just a few bucks more than Southwest, so it pays to check everything.
     
  10. dmr

    dmr Registered Abuser

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    At least out of OMA they are not the bargain they used to be. However, if you are checking baggage, particularly bags plural, they are usually the cheapest still. Plus, they are currently the only ones doing direct non-stop flights from OMA to LAS.

    For a while, US Air was cheaper than Southwest, but since they were swallowed whole by American, that route is now priced up there with Delta and Untied.

    Frontier used to be competitive on that route too, but lately they have cut flights and are higher than Untied.
     
  11. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Frontier has been crushing them lately in STL in terms of fares, but I think SWA is winning the battle. SWA has a near non-stop monopoly here, and did have a monopoly until Frontier started in Jan. Flew Frontier twice this year. Price was definitely right. But most ppl in STL keep flying SWA at 360+/rt. Last trip in Aug. flew Frontier for $140/rt w/bag and I've seen lower fares this fall.
     
  12. makikiboy

    makikiboy VIP Whale

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    I still see SW as one of the "better" carriers in terms of overall price. Since I usually take at least 1 bag (but many times 2) on my trips I normally save up to $140 on a r/t price by flying SW over the other airlines. I also try to fly out of the popular hubs like SFO or OAK or southern cal so every so often I do see low fare specials (like $49 one way) that make it worthwhile to fly them over the other airlines.

    Nowadays I don't find as many lower fares with the big carriers (like UA) so when you add in bag fees they don't come close to SW's rates. But yes, overall it seems like prices are higher for most of the airlines.
     
  13. lemoncakegirl83

    lemoncakegirl83 Tourist

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    I take SW almost exclusively because they have non-stop flights from MDW to LAS. I was able to book my upcoming trip to vegas for $128 rt pp. I usually book the going a return flights separately because SW prices always change. I originally booked the flight to Vegas at $89 but then it went down to $64. I used my credit to book the return trip. It's the included baggage and generous carry-on size that will keep me flying with SW. Oh and I have drink coupons too :drunk:
     
  14. WhskeyTangoFoxtrot

    WhskeyTangoFoxtrot MIA

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    They're no bargain out of PIT. However, the non-stop to LAS is almost worth it. And the free bags.

    I just wish they'd have assigned seating. I hate how they board....
     
  15. marksind

    marksind Low-Roller

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    From the everyone's comments it sounds like SW is pretty much like any other airline - they get it where they can.

    Lemoncakegirl83 - $128 rt from Chicago to Vegas? Amazing! If we got that deal I'd still be calling them a bargain carrier. SW is rarely under $200 rt Seattle to Vegas, and it's a much shorter flight than yours. Often they're $250+.

    WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot - we prefer the SW boarding method. It's one of the reasons we fly them. No "scrum" at the boarding gate as Boarding Group E8 (or whatever) jockies for position awaiting its turn to rush en masse when called. Downside is that both my wife and I are pretty average size people, and we are usually in the first boarding group. She likes windows and I like aisles. So when group C is getting on and the incredibly large man or woman sees the empty middle seat between us we often get their company.
     
  16. Tellafriend

    Tellafriend High-Roller

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    SWA is terrible out of Jax.
     
  17. ajp

    ajp High-Roller

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    For my flight in 8 days I paid $173 round trip on southwest non-stop from MCI to LAS. I could have done Spirit for $85 round trip non-stop on the same days. Personally I love Southwest as they don't nickle and dime you, what you pay is what you pay.
     
  18. FullPay

    FullPay High-Roller

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    One daily nonstop to/from Louisville SDF. I hardly look at the connection carriers. First stop on other carriers is usually ATL or ORD. I hate flying in the wrong direction and I wouldn't connect through O'Hare for free! Plus SWA points are much easier to use, never see any situations where you have to spend double points to get the flight you want.
     
  19. cjlangston

    cjlangston Tourist

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    SMF-LAS is rarely going to be a deal as SMF is too small of a market to generate a discount in today's climate. In years gone by, when the airlines were struggling a bit more this wasn't the case...discounts were had by all

    If you're in NorCal, you'll almost always get a better fare out of OAK vs SMF on SWA. Good fares are really market-dependent
     
  20. Blonde_4_ever

    Blonde_4_ever "The Welfare Queen of Windsor"

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    Southwest ticks me off because there is only ONE nonstop a day to or from Detroit.
    There may be ten flights, but only one nonstop.(At an awful time)
    I don't wanna go to Chicago or Atlanta, thank you very much!!!
    I would use them a whole lot more if they had more direct flights.
     
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