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Old 04-22-2018, 08:39 AM   #1
xrosario
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What do I need to know when booking Southwest?

I usually fly Jetblue out of EWR but I'm toying with the idea of booking with another company if it will save me some money. I noticed when I search on sites like Expedia, Southwest isn't an option, do Southwest flights have to be booked from their own site?

They website shows 3 categories of options when booking, do most people just book the "wanna get away" fare? Also, I've heard a lot of passporters talk about booking priority boarding for seat selection, is this a must?

Do you feel it's been worth it to fly with Southwest?
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Old 04-22-2018, 08:48 AM   #2
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Yes, SW does not participate with the booking agents, so you do have to use their site. As time progresses, the 'wanna get away' fares will be bought up, so unlike other airlines where the prices fluctuate, with SW I think it only goes up. Besides that, each fare has different rules and restrictions, if I remember correctly, so be sure to note that.
Priority Boarding is a perk - I've never used it, and I've usually sat within the first 10 rows simply by being in boarding group A (assigned based on your online check-in time).
I've flown SW quite a bit and always been happy with them.
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Old 04-22-2018, 09:05 AM   #3
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I've only ever purchased the Wanna Get Away fare, as it's always the cheapest.

We always book Early Bird Check In with Southwest, as it saves us the hassle of trying to deal with the boarding process 24 hours before our flight - on occasions, that's fallen when we're on cruises, so it's much easier to pay the money and know we'll be amongst the first on board.
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Old 04-22-2018, 10:53 AM   #4
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I almost always use Southwest to travel to Disney- I usually buy the airline ticket as soon as the dates get released and it is always "wanna get away". I do not buy the Early Check-in going to Disney because I can usually be able to print the boarding pass on the 24 hour mark.

I only buy the Early Check-in coming home- because I don't want to waste my precious Disney time getting to the 24 hour mark to print the boarding pass. It's a pretty good deal.

Plus the fact you get to bring 2 pieces of luggage for free! Bonus!

Good Luck on getting a lower price on your airline tickets!
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Old 04-22-2018, 12:00 PM   #5
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Aha, good to know about the early bird check-in. Glad to hear your experiences, I will definitely keep a lookout on Southwest's site for release dates. Thanks!
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Old 04-22-2018, 12:06 PM   #6
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Keep in mind with SWA that the two "lower" options for booking - Wanna Get Away and whatever the other option is - are non-refundable fares. You can cancel/change flights and you will get a credit on your SWA account to be used within a year of the original purchase. If you don't use it for something else, you lose the credit. The first most expensive option (usually $400+ in my experience) is the only fully refundable fare. If there is any chance of you changing or cancelling your trip, SWA may not be the best route to go because of that. So just look into the terms very carefully before deciding.
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Old 04-22-2018, 02:36 PM   #7
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I fly SWA multiple times a year to Florida. I always book immediately when dates are released, always get Wanna Get Away and always Early Bird. The last few flights to So Fla I've been in the "B" boarding group even with EBCI. Obviously the popularity for it has grown tremendously, at least for flights from my tiny airport . Seating for the 3 of us has never been an issue.
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Old 04-23-2018, 06:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CinderAbby View Post
Keep in mind with SWA that the two "lower" options for booking - Wanna Get Away and whatever the other option is - are non-refundable fares. You can cancel/change flights and you will get a credit on your SWA account to be used within a year of the original purchase. If you don't use it for something else, you lose the credit. The first most expensive option (usually $400+ in my experience) is the only fully refundable fare. If there is any chance of you changing or cancelling your trip, SWA may not be the best route to go because of that. So just look into the terms very carefully before deciding.
Thats good to know, I've never had to cancel but it's not so bad knowing I can possibly still get a credit.
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Old 04-23-2018, 06:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notjustamom View Post
I fly SWA multiple times a year to Florida. I always book immediately when dates are released, always get Wanna Get Away and always Early Bird. The last few flights to So Fla I've been in the "B" boarding group even with EBCI. Obviously the popularity for it has grown tremendously, at least for flights from my tiny airport . Seating for the 3 of us has never been an issue.
That's what I'm afraid of, not sitting together but it seems like a lot of families generally get seated together.
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Old 04-23-2018, 07:36 PM   #10
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We always fly SW when possible and I never pay for the early boarding, but we are 2 adults who don't have to sit together. As a matter of fact, we both like the aisle so often sit across the aisle from each other. I don't know the size of your family or if you have young children. SW does allow all families traveling with small children to board between the A & B boarding groups. If you fall into that category, you should not have much trouble getting seats together, as only around 60 people will have boarded before you. Most airlines only have really expensive non-refundable fees, and I don't know if any others have the really liberal no fees for changes and fully refundable flights, albeit for a credit rather than cash. the credits are very easy to use and have no restrictions (other than the expiration which is a year from the date of the original purchase).
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Old 04-25-2018, 10:45 AM   #11
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Southwest fares can change even after you book, so it's not a bad idea to check them now and then. Southwest offers new discounts almost every week that vary for each market and set of dates. I've seen my booked flights go up and then back down in price. Also, Southwest tends to offer some of the better prices on the earliest and latest flights. And last minute price decreases aren't unheard of either. I never assume anything with their pricing! And because they do not charge a change fee, you can rebook your flight for the lower fare and get a credit to use within a year from when you originally booked. Of course, when you have credits to use, it makes you want to travel again so they don't go to waste! I mostly use frequest flyer points and it's even easier because they just credit the points back to my account.
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Old 04-30-2018, 01:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xrosario View Post
That's what I'm afraid of, not sitting together but it seems like a lot of families generally get seated together.
If sitting together is a priority, then you should plan on purchasing the early bird check in for sure (unless you have small children, under six I believe). Also, keep in mind that when flying to Orlando you are more than likely to have a lot of families with young children flying, and here's how Southwest boards...
passengers needing extra time/assistance, A boarding group, passengers with small children, B boarding group, C boarding group.

The last flight to Orlando where I didn't get EBCI and got in the B group there had to be at least 10-12 families with young children flying that were boarded between A and B. It took a loooong time and a good number of seats (no offense to families with young children...I've been there!). I decided right then and there to purchase EBCI for the return flight home while sitting at the gate watching all of those families board the flight, and I'm so glad I did. I didn't want to worry about getting a decent boarding number/group on my last day of vacation, and I didn't want to be separated from my son for the flight home (and I would never expect anyone to move so that we could sit together if I didn't purchase EBCI). Worth the $30.

Last edited by baloocrew; 04-30-2018 at 01:28 PM..
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Old 05-01-2018, 01:37 PM   #13
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Depending on the size of your group, you could just purchase EBCI for 1 member of your party. That person can save the seats for the rest of you if it's just 1 or 2 seats.
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Old 05-02-2018, 06:28 AM   #14
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Ugh....
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Old 07-14-2018, 07:27 PM   #15
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Southwest is fantastic, and I use them whenever possible. I got their credit card which gave me 50000 miles which was enough for my family of three to fly Orlando twice, so it paid for itself easily. No baggage fees or fees for changing itinerary make it a winner in my book. Oddly, the only time I ever paid for the early booking had me boarding well after I usually do, I might have been in the middle of the Bs that flight when I’m always in the As.
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