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Frugal Flying on Southwest Airlines

Frugal Flying on Southwest Airlines
Kate Loweth

Nothing makes me more excited about a big vacation than getting a great deal on my airfare! As the price of gas has gone up in the last few years, airfare prices have skyrocketed which has made finding a good deal that much more difficult. Add in the recent trend of charging customers for baggage and you can easily spend your whole vacation budget just getting to your destination.

Southwest Airlines is well-known as the industry leader in low-cost airfare. While the majority of airlines now charge on average $50 per checked bag, Southwest still allows passengers to check up to two pieces of luggage (under 50 lbs. each) for free. That is a major savings! In addition, if you follow these three tips, you can save even more on your next Southwest vacation!

Tip 1: Plan Aheadsouthwest boarding

Southwest releases its tickets about 6 months in advance of the travel date. For example, tickets for November and December 2014 were released on 05/19/2014. If you are looking to fly during a busy time of the year (Thanksgiving, Christmas and Spring Break, for example), it pays to know when the tickets will be released so that you can book on the release day.

If you go to Travel Tools on the Southwest website, you can see what dates are currently available and when the next few months of tickets will be released.

Southwest typically offers the best fares when the tickets are first released. When those low-priced tickets are sold, the price will go up. I was looking at tickets to Florida from Chicago for Thanksgiving week on the day the tickets were released. The price started at $191 and within a few hours was up to $311. It definitely pays to buy early if you know your plans that far in advance!

Tip 2: Keep Checking The Price Even AFTER You Purchase      southwest click n save

Don’t you just hate when you purchase a ticket only to see the price drop before your trip? Southwest has solved this problem for all the savvy travelers out there! Let’s say that you bought your ticket for $200 and now the same flight is $150. You can log in to your southwest account, select your reservation and choose “change reservation.” Then select the flight that is now lower in price and select “purchase.”

You will receive a voucher for the price difference ($50 in this example) that can be used on another Southwest flight within one year of your originally booked ticket. Score!

Tip 3: Sign-up and Save

Southwest offers two great options to receive alerts for great deals on their fares. Click n’ Save is an email sign-up option that sends you deals on flights, hotel stays, vacation packages and more. These deals are usually time-sensitive but at a significant discount. Sometimes Southwest even rewards its Click n’ Save subscribers with exclusive percentage-off codes to save on travel within certain dates.

DING! is a second option to receive Southwest fare alerts. You can download the iPhone app or desktop application and set up an account to receive fare alerts for your home airport. This can be a great way to get a steal of a deal on a last-minute trip!

Following these three tips will get you well on your way to frugal flying with Southwest Airlines!


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