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I BLOGGED. YOU FLAMED. WE CHANGED.

Bill
Employee
Employee
Admittedly, while that's not quite as catchy as Caesar's famous Latin phrase "veni, vidi, vici" ("I came, I saw, I conquered"), it pretty well sums up the aftermath of my "Why Can't I Make Reservations Further In Advance?" blog piece. In it, I explained the rationale behind Southwest's policy of not allowing reservations more than 180 days in advance, and why we on occasion will drop to 90 days of bookable "inventory" before we extend the booking window back out to 180 days. Talk about sticking your head into a hornet's nest! We got 274 replies, and from the tone of some of them we quickly realized that, at least for some of you, a few of our policies were out of step with your travel needs. So...we're changing! We heard, from both Customers and Employees alike, that you didn't like our policy of not publishing the dates on which we plan to extend the schedule. No problem! We now make the tentative, planned date of the next schedule extension available to our Reservations Agents, and in short order this information will be prominently displayed at southwest.com. Bear in mind that the planned schedule extension date will always be subject to change, as we have to "tweak" the date every now and then, due to forces beyond our control–so while you can use the date as a planning tool, please check back occasionally to make sure the date doesn't change. As they say in the commercials."but wait! There's more!" Effective immediately, we will consider 120 days of bookable inventory as our minimum when getting our schedule ready for peak travel periods, such as summer or the Holiday Season. I can't promise that we will never go under this minimum for those heavy demand periods again, but I can promise that we will do everything in our power to make sure you always have more than 120 days of available flights to choose from.  I can promise that it will take something almost cataclysmic to prevent that from happening. For other, less heavy travel periods, we will try to keep a minimum of 100 days of inventory available for your booking pleasure. On the other "end" of the booking window, we're going to push the maximum available inventory from 180 days to between 190 and 200 days of inventory–and once again, we'll pay particular attention to making peak travel periods available for booking as far in advance as possible. So there you have it. We heard you, loud and clearly, and we reacted. I realize some of you wish we would extend the booking window even further out, and while we won't do that this "go-round" we will continue to study the issue and may, at a later time, choose to do so. In any event, I hope these changes make planning your travel on Southwest easier. Like all airlines, Southwest appreciates your business–but unlike other airlines, we LUV you, and we appreciate your honesty! Thanks for all of the responses and thank you for reading "Nuts About Southwest!"
134 Comments
drew
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All very good changes, Bill. I especially appreciate the tentative advance notice of schedule extensions. Thanks very much to you and your team for accomplishing these needed improvements!
chuchoteur
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Bill... Thank YOU for listening to the feedback, accepting it, and acting on it! Again, you show to all that Southwest spirit.. many businesses would have ignored such comments, and stayed short of accepting any kind of responsibility... Hopefully you didn't have too much of a hard time, as there were a LOT of comments made... ... and we do look forward to your next post 🐵
Jim13
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Good to see you back Bill. I think the appropriate Latin phrase would be Ã
Will10
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I just called Reservations and the person I spoke with didn't know when the schedule was going to get extended. I think usually a six month window is enough but when it is a big travel holiday and kids going back to schools over labor day planning occurs considerably further in advance.
drew
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Another thought: Many people have long been frustrated by the scheduling practices, but it took the responses to Bill's January 24 post to show the depth of that frustration. These changes show how seriously Southwest takes this blog and its Customer participants, and further proves that this blog is not simply an avenue for corporate self-promotion.
Heidi
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I travel from Philadelphia to Hartford a few times a year and when I recently went on-line to makes reservations for my flight noticed there are no flights to Hartford. After calling a representative for Southwest she stated the schedules where closed to certain cities in slow periods. I'd like to know if you are going to open up the schedule again and offer flight between the two cities anytime soon? Thank You
Chris_G_
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I am glad to see there are changes to this policy. I am trying to book flights for my honeymoon in September (Manchester to Tampa so I can get on a cruise ship) and I desperately want to fly Southwest due to the prices and great service, but can't yet. Hopefully this means in the next week or so, I can book these flights!
Matthew_Skok
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Horray for Southwest! The schedule is open right now up to right about where I need it, but for the October and November holidays it'd be nice to be able to book in advance while still in classes this year! Ding! Ding! Ding! Southwest's a winner!
Kim13
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Thanks for listening! Part of the reason I fly ONLY Southwest!!
Francisco_Delga1
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Bill, Hello my friend. You rock!!! I felt bad for you last time, you got hammered. It reminded me of the open seating post by Gary Kelly!!!! Gasp!!! That generated a lot of responses. Southwest has done it again... who needs a bill of rights????? Southwest has always put their customers first not second.. uss blog boy
Greg4
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question when does the south west booking books open up for christmas? Thinking of trying out the new SWA city Dulles.!?
Jonathan_Thomas
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Thanks for the change in the booking process. I only have one question about that: WHERE ARE THE DATES? I CALLED THE RESERVATION LINE AND THEY ACTED LIKE I WAS CALLING FROM A NUT HOUSE! YOU POSTED THAT YOU WOULD MAKE THE TENTATIVE DATE AVAILABLE. WHY DONT YOU TELL THE EMPLOYEES FIRST BEFORE THE PUBLIC SO THEY KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT AND BE ABLE TO USE THAT GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE WE ALL HEAR ABOUT!
joe-mdw-plane-d
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Since the schedule was opened to August 24, there has been 3 changes with added services. Can you imagine all of the rewrites if the schedule was open for a year? How many long nights and trucks full of candycorn has Bill and company been through lately? You can't even count on how many aircraft you will have because they keep getting more and those planes need to fly somewhere. Modern life made easy Ding! boy Joe
Miranda
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I called the reservation line to find out the new schedule release date and the customer service agent said "they promised to give it to us, but they haven't yet."
Robert_Carner
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What most people don't realize is that although many airlines will book up to 11 months in advance, when doing so I can guarantee you will receive a half a dozen phone calls from them advising of a "Schedule Change". By the time your travel date comes around, you are leaving hours later/earlier, changing planes in two cities rather than one or, on another airline period! Southwest will put out it's flights a few months at a time, and in almost all circumstances you will be flying on the date, flight and time you booked in the beginning! Way to go SWA, this is why you are #1 in Customer Satisfaction year after year and in my heart and eyes as well!
pcerda
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"Thanks for the change in the booking process. I only have one question about that: WHERE ARE THE DATES? I CALLED THE RESERVATION LINE AND THEY ACTED LIKE I WAS CALLING FROM A NUT HOUSE! YOU POSTED THAT YOU WOULD MAKE THE TENTATIVE DATE AVAILABLE. WHY DONT YOU TELL THE EMPLOYEES FIRST BEFORE THE PUBLIC SO THEY KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT AND BE ABLE TO USE THAT GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE WE ALL HEAR ABOUT!" Whoa, hold on now. This was just announced to US (reservations agents) that they were going to announce the date of the schedule opening on the 17th. That was Tuesday. They said it would be released to us either Wednesday or Thursday. At what time of day it was released, I don't know. I wasn't here yesterday. All I know is the tentative day for release is April 26th open for sale until November the 2nd. Of course, the date is subject to change.
Bill
Employee
Employee
Greetings, all! Sorry I haven't responded until now--I've been out of town with limited access to email. First, to Will, Johnathan Thomas and Miranda....the information went out, as scheduled, on Wednesday, but many Agents didn't see it until today. So--sorry 'bout that! But they have it now....and if you've read the above, you now know that as of April 26h we'll extend our booking window out to November 2. Paco, I hope the info is in a place that is easy for the Agents to find. If not--let us know! Now go give Linda Schwarz and Tammie Flynn some LUV from me! USS Blog Boy....thanks, and BTW I'm sorry I missed your celebration when you arrived home in ABQ. I arrived at the gate at Love Field just as the plane was pulling away--*OOOPS!* However, I'm glad you were surprised--hope you had a great visit home--and appreciate your support! And to everyone else....guys, honestly, I didn't take all of the hubris and furor from the last post personally. (Well, okay, I took one of them personally, but I got over it really fast) I'm glad you all were honest enough to let us know we weren't meeting your needs--and, as you can see, we took that feedback to heart and changed things to make it easier and more convenient for you to fly us. And that's really what it's all about--getting your business, keeping you happy, and achieving total and complete global domination. bwaHaHAHAHAHAH!!!!! (kidding! just kidding about that last part!) Thanks, everyone......keep booking! :) Bill
chuchoteur
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whoaaaah hold your horses there :o) Give the guys/gals a chance... this has juuuust been announced, and will require a little while to get going... and as Bill said, the dates should be available very soon on Southwest.com :o)
Anonymous4064
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I'm glad to see SWA is listening to what thier customers want. I fly a lot from Baltimore (Usually SWA when I can.) But there are airports that SWA doesn't fly to. It would be nice to see the company move into other airports. They have only moved into Dulles recently (and San Francisco coming soon.) I fly a lot to Minneapolis but usually have to pay a high price because one airline has monopoly on the gates. It would be nice to see SWA move into one or two gates there and fly to key cities like Chicago, Las Vegas, and a Florida city where they can switch planes. MSP is in desperate need of a discount airline and people there wouldn't mind switching planes for a good price and service.
Lois_Rosenfeld
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Hi, you said on April 26th the schedule will open until Nov 2nd. Do you have any idea when the rest of 2007 will open up? Last year I booked a Dec 17th flight in the middle of August. Do you think the rest of this year will open sooner this time around? Thanks for the help!
pcerda
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Lois, Unfortunately, no. We just have a release date for April 26 right now. I'll post it here as soon as the next set opens. Jedi Blog Master
joe-mdw-plane-d
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Steve, I agree. There would also need to be several n/s to dtw so they can "take" some customers away from that over priced hub carrier in both airports who just happens to hog both airports. A tradition in airplane dining experience for over 35 years! Ding! boy Joe
Brent6
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Well that's great that SW is listening to what some customers want. I'm a SW customer, and what I want, are rewards that I can use. Why have separate reservations available (or unavailable, as seems to be the case with any semi-popular flight) for use with the not-so-rapid-anymore rewards awards? Why not just make any flight you can book, payable with cash, credit, or award?? Maybe that would make too much sense and make the rewards worth too much. I guess the point of the SW's version of a frequent flyer program is to fill up flights in the middle of the week. Let's see if this flame produces a change. I won't hold my breath.
Tom12
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Hi. I have a couple of questions 1) Do you know what time on the 26th the new schedules will be released? Will it be at midnight? 2) Will DING notify users of the release of the new schedules?
Matthew_Skok
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Tom- Usually schedules are extended around 11AM- 12noon on the day of the extension, based on prior trends. There's usually a Ding! notifier about it.
Bill
Employee
Employee
Happy Tuesday, everyone! Steve (and Ding! boy), patience, please....after all, it took us 37 years to become the largest airline in America. Completely taking over this country's air travel market will take just a while longer. :) Lois, right now, the planned release date for the November - early January time frame is June 28--again, we get down to just about 120 days of inventory, but in our new, more "expansive" way of managing inventory, we'll go up to 202 days of bookable service. See? We've changed!! Brent---ummm....if I understand your point correctly, it's way, way out of my field of expertise. My group gets the schedule out there for sale. Fares and specific fare-class availability is the work of the Revenue Management and Pricing group, and is usually based on (and reflective of) demand. I'll foward your comment to them. Tom, we almost always open new schedules at 10:00 a.m. "Herb Time". As for a Ding! notification--I'm not sure, but it sure sounds like an excellent idea. I will ask around with my friends in the Interactive Marketing group. Have a DING! day, everyone! Bill
Donna_M_
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I can't get DIng to download. I have tried a few times. What exactly is the benefit? Example please. DM-Long ISland
nsx1
New Arrival
Examples of low Ding fares? See http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=624311 and http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=684468 The last two weekends have had some phenomenal $25 and $50 fares for May and June travel.
KAREN
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I ALSO WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE FARES POSTED TO SOUTHWEST IN ADVANCE THAT WAY IT WOULD BE EASIER TO PLAN,I HAVE TO LET MY BOSS KNOEW TO GET TIME IFF 3-6 MONTHS IN ADVANCE
Brent6
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Tom, I'm saying that the award reservations are never available at times that I need them. It seems that I have a better chance getting one of the "Internet One-way" flights than getting to book a flight with my "award". I might not be super flexible with my travel dates, but I'm definitely not limited to specific times either. I just think that an award is not very rewarding at all if I can't use it on a friday (any time) and only at pre-7am on a sunday, especially when I'm booking my flight 3 months in advance. It seems to me that there aren't even award reservations allocated to flights that are at popular times. And it seems silly to me to generate award reservation availability based on demand. I usd to think these things were as good as a free flight. When I read "Fly just 8 roundtrips or receive 16 credits in 24 months and weÃ
Cygnus
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Donna: What OS are you running? It downloaded fine for me on XP. With Ding!, you can plug in your airport and, when certain low-cost flights become available, you'll get a notification on your desktop. Some of these flights can be as low as $25 each way. There are restrictions, of course, but with a little flexibility in your flight plans, you could save a lot of money. We're hoping to take advantage of Ding! to get from Baltimore to Buffalo in early September.
Mike_S_2
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I have 2 Rewards tickets, one expires in December 2007. How can I set up to be auto notified ASAP when the Rewards (V) schedule opens up beyond the 24 August cutoff for specific departure and arrival cities? Our travel can be flexible to a certain degree but work schedules being what they are, we don't have full control over all the dates we'd like to take vacation. The earleir we submit, the better. Even your cutoff of August 24 is not far enough out on the horizon to ensure vacation approval where we work.
Pam_Blank
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Thank you, Thank you, Thank You. Another reason to love Southwest. And I truly do.
Miranda
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Well, I am very disappointed in the new release. All non stop flights from Houston to New York were removed from the schedule. Now it takes at least 6 hours to get from Houston to New York. Such a shame!!!!!
Chris_G_
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Southwest.com just changed to accepting reservations until November 7th, but the calendar and drop-downs do not reflect this yet.
Bill
Employee
Employee
Miranda, Flights from Houston/Hobby to New York were operated by ATA Airlines, our codeshare partner. We have no "say-so" in what markets they serve (or not serve). Bill
Bill
Employee
Employee
UPDATE! Besides now being open for sale out through November 2, 2007, you can now access information about tentative upcoming schedule release dates at southwest.com! http://www.southwest.com/hotfares/ http://www.southwest.com/hotfares/hotfares2.html http://www.southwest.com/travel_center/ Happy booking, everyone! Bill
John4
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Regarding the new schedule, I noticed that the lowest fare on alot of days is $117 one way, compared with the $59 that everyone is used to. Is this typical of a new schedule release and can we expect $59 one ways on the new schedule soon?
FriendofBlogBoy
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Bill, This is just one MORE example of the reason that Southwest is so appreciated by its Customers! Lots of us deal with firms all the time that are deaf to our comments and complaints, resulting in a growing cynicism among consumers of goods and services. But NOT the Customers of Southwest Airlines! From minor things like honey roasted nuts and power stations to major things like reservations and online check-in, we see over and over a mindset that is based on serving Employees and Customers alike with the very best that is possible. Thank you for ALL that you do to make it easier for us! Kim :) External Blog Boy
Brent
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Bill What about New Orleans??? I see Southwest adding new flights and New Orleans is never on the list. I think the only addition has been a Dallas flight. I used to enjoy flying Southwest everytime, but now it is difficult to find a flight with seats. I've had to fly American because you guys didn't have a flight to Dallas, so that one addition is better. But I had to fly AirTran to goto Vegas, because I couldn't get a flight on Southwest. I had to fly Delta to go to Orlando because . . . no southwest flight available. Please Bill don't forget about us and give us some of our flights and do what Southwest promises . . . FREEDOM. Thanks.
Cygnus
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Just nabbed some nice low fares from BWI to BUF for my brother's wedding in September! Unlike a certain U.S. carrier (hint hint), we can fly there quick and nonstop! And we'll be able to visit Canada as well. Thanks, Southwest!
FriendofBlogBoy
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Bill, Your Latin reference [Ã
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[...] So who’s doing this well? Here are a couple good examples: Dove’s Evolution Avis’ wetryharder.co.uk Nuts about Southwest [...]
Mike_Murphy
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I cannot get Ding to work correctly - now I cannot get it off my computer - It is no longer listed under programs to be removed but I get an error message as follows - Ding.exe ding parser.dll not found. Error code 10. I cannot tell where to go with this problem. HELP
Dee_Kenney
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Hi Bill, It was great seeing you at Tyler's wedding. I know how proud you must have been! Please stay in touch. I love you and have missed you!
blusk
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Mike, I tried e-mailing you, but AOL bounced back the address you gave us. If you will call our Customer Relations folks, they should be able to get to the bottom of the problem. Brian
janice_g
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i have grown to love southwest! please add savannah georgia to your list of cities served! we hate having to fly delta!!!!
Anonymous3237
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I agree with Steve and Joe about going to Minneapolis. I fly from South Florida (Usually West Palm Beach but sometimes Fort Lauderdale depending on price and DING specials.) about twice a month and Minneapolis is one of the few cities I fly to that SWA doesn't go to. I swear MSP is the highest price per mile traveled going in and out of there. MSP needs SWA bad. It was nice when SWA partnered with ATA but ATA pulled out so now I have to use other airlines that aren't as friendly and I'm very limited on choices on good airlines that go there from here. Like Steve said, I would think SWA could start just by going to hub cities like they do at Dulles and only use one or two gates at the new Humprey terminal, people at MSP would use them even if it wasn't a non-stop flight. I have gone through Humprey terminal many times and my longest wait at security has been about 10 minutes. I wish all airports were that easy 🙂
Scott5
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When you get to the Southwest home page, click the "Travel Tools" tab and at the very top will be the information about the next rollout.
Scott5
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Which currently states "On June 28th, we plan to open the schedule to through Jan 16th