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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
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Does anyone know when Southwest will expand their schedule through October 30th?
Carol_S_
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It's June 3rd and I still can't book a flight in November??? When will the schedule open up to book flights for the month of November????
blusk
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Gee Carol, did you read Bill's post above? He commits to having at least 120 days or four months of inventory to book. Right now (July 3) , we are offering almost five months of inventory. Please be patient a little while longer. Brian
KC
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I will be booking a trip on Thursday 6/26/08 when the schedule opens up until January. Is 11 AM still the time to check? Does this vary often? Thank you
Anonymous1368
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Southwest.com states: "We are currently accepting air reservations through January 9, 2009. On August 21, we plan to open the schedule for purchase through March 6, 2009. This date is subject to change. Please check back frequently." It's Aug 25th and still no booking beyond Jan 9th??????????
Anonymous1368
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Again?? Southwest.com states: "We are currently accepting air reservations through January 9, 2009. On August 21, we plan to open the schedule for purchase through March 6, 2009. This date is subject to change. Please check back frequently." It's Aug 25th and still no booking beyond Jan 9th??????????
blusk
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Ummm, Dear Anonymous, You must be living in a unique time zone. The current month is July not August. Those schedules will open in a little less than a month. Brian
Anonymous1368
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Wow...clearly I need a vacation...My Bad
blusk
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That's okay, and we can help you with that vacation. Brian
Chris_S_1
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We are planning a trip for our entire family to Disney World in April 2009 during the school break. Several of us flying from cities that don't offer Southwest flights have already booked our flights, but my daughter, who lives in Albany is waiting for Southwest. I realize you'll be releasing the dates through March 6 in another week or so. Due to the business of the spring school vacations, do you think April will be close behind in release or will it be another few months? Don't mean to be a pest, just anxious to get the flights taken care of, so we can start working on the rest of the trip. Thanks very much.
Martin2
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We're going on a Disney cruise in March. While we've got a deposit on airfare through Disney, we're hoping to get better fares and more control over flight times with SWA. I'm anxious to find out when the flights through March 21st will be posted. SWA is one of the few airlines that fly nonstop from Houston, and they also have the best fares. It would be great to know when the rest of March will be posted on the website (right now just throught March 6th). Thanks! Martin
blusk
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Martin, Stay tuned, Bill is doing another post about upcoming schedules. Brian
Keith9
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When new dates are released are there always seats at the lowest price range of the wanna get away prices available? For instance I want to go from CityA to CityB on date X. The wanna get away price range for flights from these two cities is $69-$125. When the schedule for date X is released are there always some $69 seats available until they are sold? Or are there higher minimum prices for some dates?
Keith9
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When new dates are released are there always seats at the lowest price range of the wanna get away prices available? For instance I want to go from CityA to CityB on date X. The wanna get away price range for flights from these two cities is $69-$125. When the schedule for date X is released are there always some $69 seats available until they are sold? Or are there higher minimum prices for some dates?
Angela_D
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I am planning a trip to Disney for April 2009. When will April flghts be available for purchase?
Lisa27
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I just called Southwest tonight and was told it was projected to be November 20th; in other words, starting on 11/20/08 you will be able to book flights through May 2009. That 11/20 date is tentative and subject to change, though.
Bob5
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November 20th for April 2009 tickets. I really want to fly Southwest but I am afraid that if I wait until the end of November to book tickets that the fares will really be out of reach by then. I have a group of 8 and I currently have tickets from Buffalo to FLL for $375 spring break week. I am going to have to go with tickets on another carrier because I just can't chance waiting for Southwest to open up (even though I would book 8 tickets today at a simlar price!).
Anonymous557
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I have to go with Bob on purchasing from another carrier. I was waiting for SW but need 5 tickets in April BUF to TPA and can not wait until November. The carrier I am purchasing from ...prices just went from $426 to $449 in less than 24 hours. I hate to wait and see where things are at in Nov.
Kim211
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I just saw this on Southwest's website "We are currently accepting air reservations through March 6, 2009. On November 6, we plan to open the schedule for purchase through May 8, 2009. This date is subject to change. Please check back frequently."
Anonymous3097
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Do you know what time on November 6th SW will open the new booking window? Is it midnight or later in the day? Thank you
Anonymous3816
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Hi- Does anyone know when reservations will open for the end of July/first of Aug 2009? Hopefully by the first part of february? I am planning a trip to Disney and Sounthwest is the only airline who flys direct from my city to Orlando.
Glenn2
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I have 2 suggestions and am unable to find a way to email them to you, so I'm using this comment. First, as a long-time Customer and a SW evangelist, I suggest you upgrade our ability to check flight status when we're on the move. See my blog post here: http://www.allbusiness.com/transportation/air-transportation-airlines/11717244-1.html Second, when you send me a Zoomerang survey because I flew yesterday, the last question should be, "Do you have any other comments or suggestions for us?" I should be able to use a comment box to respond. Yes, you can allocate manpower to read the comments. That's what interns are for. What better way to teach them about business than analyzing comments. And that could be a solution to your inability to accept e-mails thru your Web site. See you Thursday when I fly back. Regards, Glenn
blusk
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Glenn you will be happy to know both of your requests are on the way for the first part of the year. Brian
Chris_C_
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Ok, I called and they told me new booking for June will be the 30th, I stay up till 1am, and no good, and while waiting I see the Feb 2nd Date, I take a deep breath and I set my alarm again. I am waiting patiently for Feb 2 to arrive in Dallas, and while I surf this blog I see that Feb 2nd is not going to happen till somewhere between 8am and noon( depending on which entry you happen to read ) . I would be less aggravated if this was just listed where the other info was. I will be spending almost two thousand dollars on the tickets, and as you can tell by me waiting up till 1am, in an attempt to save any money possible, do you think you could just put a specific time when the new schedule will be available for booking?? I love the airline and want to be a long term customer, I take my family of four , plus relatives,to florida at least once a year, sometimes twice. I know you have folks who fly more often, but please,realize that my annual trips represent a HUGE portion of my expendable income, and any TIME, I can save as well as money, is something that drives my purchasing decision. Please add a time, or a time range,next to you not so easy to find announcement for when you will open up the schedule for booking. Now I will be tied to the silly computer later today,checking to see if Feb 2nd has arrived yet on this website 😞 Thanks , a very tired and frustrated Dad. ( yes I could have booked on JB, please don't drive me to that, I have invested about 3 hours into just booking this flight, I love your airline, but hate wasting my time checking to see if the website has joined the rest of the world)
R_Estabrook_in_
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Thanks for following through Bill! Now can we know when the next window is ? I'm not flying anybody else... But I must admit to sitting in front of my computer somenights and "thinking " about booking somewhere else. I already paid for my beach house vacation on Anna Maria Island in FLA. I would really like a best possible guess to book 4 people from (MAN) Manchester NH to Tampa on the 19th Dec. -returning 2 Jan. 2010.. it makes me nuts having details- ( flight availabilty ) - not ironed out and tickets firmly in hand. Come on Bill..give us a hint..Pleeeeeeaaaasssseeee? ( I'll send you a bucket of candy corn...ok?) -Bob & family in NH.
crod8966
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Any idea if there are any plans to add Savannah, GA as a Southwest city? The closest city to fly SWA is Jacksonville which is 2 hours away!!
Dave55
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Anyone know when Southwest will post their November schedule? Dave
jtighe
New Arrival
Bill, do you have a pdf file of all the schedule changes for November 1, 2009?? I cant seem to find one.. thanks..
Andy14
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Where on Southwest.com is the cycle of posting travel dates that are reservable posted - as committed in the original post? This leaves travelers calling into your CSR's - expensive for SW, and frustrating for travelers.
blusk
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Andy, it is at the top of the Travel Tools page.
debbe-fry
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How do we get you guys, the best airline in the world, to fly to Savannah, GA? After you head south of Raleigh-Durham there are no flights until you get to Jacksonville. Savannah is a great destinatiom to should fly into. This would serve the Savannah/HIlton Head area. Please consider this as your next location!!!! Please let me know this idea is on your radar!!!
skidaway09
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I continue to wonder why SW is not in Savannah. I am a very frequent flyer who moved to Savannah about 1 year ago from Philadelphia. I fly from SAV 2 or 3 times each week to various points throughout the northeast and west coast. Many of my friends and colleagues fly as often as I (from SAV). There clearly is a big demand for SW airlines at SAV and certainly plenty of empty gates. Given Air Tran’s withdrawal from the market, U.S. Air's reduced schedule and the consolidation of Delta and Northwest the Savannah market is ripe for Southwest Airlines. I can't understand why the City, County, Chamber of Commerce or Airport Commission (I think one exits) has not tried to lobby S.W. into the market. I can't find any public information about this effort. I am willing to put some resources into an effort to bring S.W. to town and am looking for others that may have the same interest. The drive to JAX is OK but it is time for the Savannah community put pressure on the various government entities that are in a position to lobby S.W. into town. It is hard to believe they couldn't fill up every flight, so something else is blocking what seems to be a rationale business decision. Please contact me if you have interest.
Andrea_Wintroub
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At what time of day will tomorrow's fares (6/15/10) be released? Please advise as to time zone of release time - PST, CST, EST. Thank you.
Mark_Jacob
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Maybe I missed it here, but I'm frustrated that I can't ever seem to catch the "day" of the reservation window expands and I miss out on utilizing my rapid rewards for our annual spring break trip. Can the day the reservation window is expanded be sent as an update on your Ding at say 8am central time? I sometimes see a small mention of the "now accepting reservations through." Make it bigger and bolder so it's not missed. In fact I'd ask that it be a special message sent alone so it's not over looked. Just a thought from a stock holder and life long SWA passenger. BTW, will the AirTran purchase add Hawaii and if not when will you guys add that destination to the SWA map? m