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Before You Call...

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Working in Reservations, we get a lot of your typical calls: making a reservation, changing a reservation, seeing what's available, so on and so forth.   Here's some tips that may help you when booking or changing your next Southwest reservation: The Internet and the Modern Person   1.  Our confirmation numbers never contain the number 0 or number 1.  It's always the letters "O" and "I".   2.  When booking online, should you get a phone call or leave the computer for an extended amount of time while booking a reservation, the security software will "time out" to make the seats available for another Customer.  We do this because, otherwise, individuals would be able to hold seats indefinitely without ever making a purchase.  If you try to continue after a time out, you will receive an error that states "the reservations system is unable to process your reservation."  Unfortunately, you will need to start over again from the beginning and go all the way through without stopping.   3.  Internet fares are only available on southwest.com.  As such, our Reservations Sales Agents are unable to offer Internet fares over the phone.  We also can't check you in for your boarding pass over the phone.  Click here for information on online checkin.   4.  Rapid Rewards Awards reservations cannot be made through the "Book A Flight" option on the right hand side of the page.  The information is accessed by going to the top of the web site and clicking on "Book Travel."  From there, click on Rapid Rewards Awards Reservations and select your desired flights.  The system will ask you to login to your Rapid Rewards account.  If there are no Awards in your account, the system will not allow you to move to the next step.  5. Sometimes your reservations won't show up in your MySouthwest snapshot.  This is because you need to be logged in to your MySouthwest account at the time of the initial booking for the reservations to display on this page.   The Art of Communication (and other miscellaneous items)  1. Sometimes, we just can't hear you.  The modern marvels that are cell phone coverage and speaker phones can distort the human voice.  N sounds like M, X sounds like S or F, and B sounds like D.  If you're on a cell phone or a speaker phone, please spell out your name and especially your confirmation number phonetically so we can be sure to get it right!   2.  We don't fly to Mexico (who knows what will happen in the future).  For some reason I get asked that a lot.   3. For most of your questions regarding what you can take on a plane, the Transportation Secuirty Administration's web site pretty much has it covered with several comprehensive lists.   Hopefully, these tips will help you when booking your next Southwest trip.  Please, feel free to comment or ask questions!  We LUV hearing your comments!  
53 Comments
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My favorite questions for Reservations are, "Do you have Prince Albert in a can?" and, "Is your refrigerator running?" Seriously, though... Southwest's Reservations system and staff are top notch. No phone trees, Employees who aren't holed up in Bangalore, and Customers are not charged a fee to purchase a reservation over the phone.
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On the rare occasion when I need to call Southwest reservations, there are three things that make me proud to be an SWA Customer. In order of importance: 1 - The person on the other end of the phone has a smile in their voice. 2 - A real live human answers the phone - none of that "Press 1 for ___, press 2 for ___, press 86 if pressing so many buttons makes you want to shove the phone down the throat of whoever eventually deems you worthy of speaking to." 3 - I never need to look up the number - 1-800-I FLY SWA. And I don't know if they still have the oh-so-funny on hold messages, those were great. But I'm never on hold!
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Paco, Thank you for this post. I have a request that I am hoping you can route to the correct people/team. Regarding point number 4 from the first part of your post "internet and the modern person", you state that once you log into your rapid rewards account you will then be able to choose your cities to see if flights are available using an award, if you have one in your account., Is there any possible way that SW can "Un-gate" this feature so that the traveling public can see if award seats are available on flights even if they don't have an award in their account. For Instance, let's say I have 14 credits in my account and next week I am flying from FLL-MCO r/t and know that immediately following that trip I will get to 16 credits. I would like to do pre-planning and search award seats now, to get an idea of avilability, even though I don't have the ability to book the award yet. This way I will have a good idea of what days/times I can fly (even though I know it could change) once I get to 16 credits. Most other airline websites allow you to search for award tickets freely. I would like to see SW do that as well, even if you don't have an award in your account. Thanks! Tom
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It would be nice if you could tell someone in your IT department that the TMobile Dash cannot view mobile.southwest.com, they get redirected to the main website even though they are using a phone browser! That way we can avoid calling you! There is no feedback form on southwest.com, and I'm too lazy to send a letter via snail mail. James
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Great post Jedi! But Jim, you had me ROFLMAO!!!!.......item 2 is too true, thanks for a great laugh! I swear I'm going to invent some device to send an electronic signal through the phone to blow up the tree on the other end......Jedi, you think you can help with that one, Oh Great Master of the Electronic Gizmos??? "that was not the number you wanted to push....."
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I enjoy calling you guys. Last December when i was going home on leave for Christmas our ship arrived early. I wanted to fly home that day the only problem was there were no more flights available. The reservation agent did everything possible to assist me in getting home. I enjoy being on hold and hearing those funny voices.... GO RESERVATIONS!!!!!!!! USS BLOG BOY
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The reason why you get questions about Southwest going to Mexico was because earlier this quarter there was media speculation about that. I'm guessing that the service would have been through ATA (they go to Cancun but this is not currently SWA codeshare supported). Keep up the great work. Regarding checking in, are the only two methods still either showing in person or going online or is there another method that doesn't involve you guys (since you said earlier that you don't). See you in OAK on Halloween.
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I work for a company and handle a lot of their travel. When I check someone in online, there is a small code in the lower left of the boarding pass -- what does that code mean? If I check someone in online -- how can I tell (from the boarding pass that displays) if they've already checked themselves in?
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I, too, LUv how I get a human voice, rather thatn "Press 1,"etc. Great job! whwho knos, maybe I'll take your calls someday, & maybe I'll be your CSA & FA! 🙂 Do you get many calls on the TTY (teletypewriter)? I know Sign Language (I majored in Deaf Services), so I'm just curious.
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Okay, I noticed some typos (my monitor is really dark, for some reason. Anyway, I meant to say, "Who knows? Maybe someday I'll take your call, be your CSA & FA!"
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First let me say that me and my family LUV SWA. Normally I believe you maintain the best rates compared with other airlines. However, I am attempting to book some summer flights and find that the competitors (AA & Frontier) are half of your current fares between Kansas City and Phoenix. I don't understand the big difference. I was also wondering why the booking schedule is only available through November 2nd? It's been that way for quite awhile. My family and I are planning a Thanksgiving trip to Disney and want to get all our arrangements in order asap. Any idea when you will be opening up the rest of the month!! PS Also love it when the Flight Attendants add a little humor or play a game or do something out of the ordinary. It sure makes the trip go so much faster. It also helps to distract you from leaving your loved ones behind till the next trip. PS And another thing...I love the festive nature of your ticket counter around the major holidays. Things are always decorated and fun for all!! Thanks
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I have a question Paco. I was logging on to the Rapid Rewards & couldn't remember my login number; I must not have had it where it would remember the number. I got a new one & logged in, but my credits from last year didn't show up. Can you maybe tell me why? Thanks. :) SWA LUV! 🙂
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Hey Paco, This works most of the time, but the last time I called and asked for YOU directly, you were rude to me! I specifically wanted to book a seat in first class, near the movie screen, for my round trip to Acapulco, and to put in a special meal request for a New York Strip instead of the usual filet, but were you helpful? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! You just kept saying, "Fly to Mexico we do not" and "don't use the phone, use the Force" and calling me Luke. I'm sticking with the website, because if I open 137 web-browsing windows at once, I can effectively tie up every seat on one of your 737s!! LOL Great post, Jedi Buddy! Kim External Blog Boy 🙂
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Barbara, Comparing fares can sometimes be like comparing apples and oranges. We try to offer the lowest fares in any markets we serve, and folks naturally turn to us first for a low fare. That means that the lowest fares we offer tend to sellout before the other guys. As to our schedule openings, the answer is at the top of the "Travel Tools" page at southwest.com. We tentatively plan to open our schedules from November 2 through January 16 on June 28. Thanks, for you kind comments, especially about the holidays. Our goal is to "own the holidays," and we have some cool things planned for July 4. Brian
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Perki asks - "When I check someone in online, there is a small code in the lower left of the boarding pass Ã
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Kim, you can "book" 8 seats at a time. So you only need to open 17.12 browsers! I thought of that all by myself. Ding! boy Joe
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Paco, why can't I book the entire route of #387? :-p PHX sky harbor Due to noise abatement procedures caused by Paco and Kim arguing over movie screens and steaks,traffic is experiencing Gate Hold and Taxi delays between 30 minutes and 44 minutes in length and decreasing. Ding! boy Joe
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Hiya this is a response for Tommy Blog and any other interested parties... The "travelling public" CAN view Rapid Reward availability by simply Logging on to your Rapid Reward account. It is a new feature ( i believe) Once in your "Account Snapshot" Right below your Name there is a link for the Southwest Seat Finder. This is how you CAN check Rapid Reward Availability without actually having an award in your account. Hope this helps our wonderful RR members out there!! Happy flying and Happy day!!
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Oh man....I go on vacation and come back to this! Let's see how many of these I can answer starting from the top!: Drew, Oh PLEASE get me the next time you call! I got a few responses for those! Tommy, You know, that's a great point. I'll submit that idea. Phil, I'm working on that. Reach out and touch someone......*bZzZzZt* Of course, I just use a disturbance in the force and give them a really bad headache. Leah, Hearing impaired calls - I actually get a decent amount of them. They usually come late in the evening. Also, as far as your RR question, when you book a reservation online and it cannot find a RR account, it assigns you a customer account. You would need to have the 2 merged through customer relations. Sometimes it won't be able to locate if you have a hyphenated last name or enter a middle initial that's not listed on the account (or vice versa). Customer relations - 214.792.4223 Scott, Thank you! I knew of us talking about international, but I had no idea where. That pretty much clears it up. Kim, You are an absolute TRIP! I owe a frosty beverage should you ever come to PHX! Jim, Thank you! Took the post right out of my fingers!
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Paco, that's neat you get a lot of calls from Deaf & Hard of Hearing! I can call that number about my RR. Thanks!
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I downloaded DING! hoping for some great deals, but cannot get it to connect. All the links connect, but update registration does not. Even double checked my firewall. Any ideas or suggestions???? Thanks - S
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I downloaded SWA DING" program last week. It worked for 4 days, then my computer went haywire. Couldn't sign into Windows Live Messenger and a whole bunch of error messages kept coming up on my computer. It seems DING! cannot be used along with Windows Vista OS yet. Why? WHY? WHY? Hey Southwest, let's get with the program an update your DING! software program so it is compatible with both the new Windows Vista OS AND the new Windows Live Messenger. As soon as I uninstalled DING! from my computer, it went back to normal. When will DING! be upgraded for systems running Windows Vista? Thanks!
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Charlotte, Charlotte, Charlotte! When are you going to add Charlotte? Other airlines are always full so there's plenty of market for this city. Please add this nice city to your list of destinations.
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Paco, It would be a delight and an honor to share a beverage with ya! I prefer my Coke on the rocks, with a slice of lime. Better yet, as soon as I get hired at Southwest, you can come back to HDQ and I'll buy YOU a drink! (you'll have to call and make your own reservations, I don't understand how to talk to those people myself) Kim 🙂
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Paco, just to give you a heads up. I just got an Google Alert under "Gary Kelly" that the Albany Times Union wrote an article entitled "Thoughts of Mexico Connection take flight".
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Leah, I work in reservations and I also work the TTY line (we call Services) which also includes Rental Car Services.........To answer your question about how many calls we receive........We receive about 20 to 30 calls each day but about 90% of them are customers that either have called the wrong number or they think they are calling a number that is voice......we get about 2 to 3 calls that have TTY use......
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You know Paco, as hard as I am searching for some smart-alec remark to make myself sound intelligent on record (because I have no life), I just can't seem to think of anything. So forgive me while I just reach over and slug you in the arm instead. :) Nah, seriously though, you hit everything on the head with a good balance of humor and tact. Keep up the good work!
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Oh, wow, Steve! Thanks for letting me know. Which Reservations center do you work in? 🙂
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Paco, is the PHX Reservations Center closed from 6-8 a.m.? I know it is in OKC, because when I interviewed there last year, they told everyone that. A future SWA RSA, CSA, & FA! 🙂
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Leah, Actually, PRC is open 5am (first shift) to 1am (4:30pm to 1am shift shuts the party down). Ivan, Bring it on!!! I KNOW where you sit!! Jedi Blog Master
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hi. i hope someone who works for southwest can answer this. i am heading out of detroit on wednesday and am bringing my police scanner in my carry-on baggage. is it against southwest rules to operate my scanner while in flight? scanners do not transmit, they only recieve. i hardly see how they would be harmful to an aircraft. the faa states that it is up to the airline, and so does the tsa. so, Southwest Airlines, would I be allowed to listen to my scanner while in the air or even during taxi?
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Hi James, A scanner is just a radio, and unfortunately, it is on the specific list of items that may not be operated at any time on the aircraft. I am not an electronic engineer, but even though radios only receive and not transmit, they can cause interference with the aircraft instruments. Hope you understand, Brian
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When is SWA going to offer some speacial fares To-From Buffalo NY? We pay pretty high fares from here. Specials seem to go to the same old cities.
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Brian, thanks for that. Based on your title I assume you really know what you're talking about. But if the FAA scientists say that there's no proof it interference with the aircraft, then why should it be on the list? have you guys tested it yourself? just wondering. thanks a lot. but just to be clear, i may transport it in my carry-on and listen at the gates, correct?
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James Yes you can carry it on and play it at the gates--although I have heard some local jurisdictions may have limits on scanners. As to allowing scanners or radios to be used on the airplanes, it probably is more of a case of "better be safe than sorry." Also, unless the aircraft is close to or over a town or city, you probably wouldn't be able to pick up anything on the scanner anyway. Brian
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Help with Blackberrry pearl...also can't connect to mobile.southwest.com...Help don't really want to fly delta???
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and brian, what about using it during taxi? would that be allowed? could i ask the flight crew whether i could use it or not? i'm sure i'd get a big fat 'NO' too.
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James, As I mentioned above, scanners and radios are never allowed to be used on the aircraft, and this is outlined in our inflight magazine, Spirit. Brian
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I love your service and your prices but don't fly you anymore because I cna't get a reserved seat. I travel on business and often run cole on flights so I get stuck inthe #3 line. I pay more for certantity of a seat location. I hope you change your policy and I'll fly you again. Lyle Abbott #0000071960700
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ok i'll accept the answer. just don't understand it. why if it hasnt been proven (according to the faa) that it's enforced. drives me nuts. thanks anyways. that let me down.
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SWA is going international! http://wjz.com/local/local_story_170091944.html
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James, You've made a dangerous assumption when you said "Based on your title I assume you really know what youÃ
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Unless they are on the 800 megahertz frequency Kim! ;-) We reserve the right to insepct all of your baggage including your spouse. Ding! boy Joe
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That's the municapalities Kim.
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10-4 Sorry, there isn't a ten-code for a smiley face... 🙂
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Paco, Why is it cheaper to buy a n/s to mdw and then a n/s to phx then it is to do a n/s to phx? All from dtw. dtw to phx for 4 nov 4 to 11 is 1523.20 dtw to mdw 475.20 mdw to phx 683.20 total 1158.40 What happened here? Did you let Kim play with the fare computer again? Security Fee is the government-imposed September 11th Security Fee Ding! boy Joe
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I was really bummed to see SWA downsize its Rapid Rewards Program. It's become much more difficult to book a flight with my Rewards credit. That really disappoints me and makes me feel like I'm just doing business with another one of the dreadful big carriers. I hope SWA reconsiders.
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After enjoying flying Southwest almost exclusively (OK, so when we went to Vienna I had to use one of the other guys) for several years, AND having retired three years ago and now doing a LOT of traveling, I think I have come up with a brilliant idea. I would LUV for SW to offer a Lifetime Fly Pass. I'm sure with actuarial tables you could crunch the numbers effectively, but I would be the first to purchase one for say $3,000 and be able to fly SW for the rest of my life (I am 60). You already offer seniors a fixed rate so this is the next logical step. LFPers would also be able to pre-board, be able to book on line and would get some classy luggage tags that say SW LUVS Lifetime Flyers. This is just another great innovation no other airline will have the foresight or chuzpah to offer. You know you LUV it...come on! Lifetime Flyer Pass. I want #1. Teresa
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I am getting tired of weekly needing to uninstall Ding and reinstall it so that it works in Vista. It seems like an airline with a decent IT department should be able to easily upgrade Ding so that it works with Vista. Whenever my computer reboots with software updates Ding no longer functions.
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Lynn, Have you tried uninstalling Vista? *runs* Yet to have a problem with Ding! on XP, Paul