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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
Cathy2
Not applicable
Are we still on for a release date of June 28th for the end of year/beginning new year schedules???
pcerda
Not applicable
Cathy, Yes, as far as I know. Jedi Blog Master
Bill
Employee
Employee
Cathy, and all, June 27th is the date.....10:00 a.m., Herb time. See link below for confirmation. Happy booking! http://www.southwest.com/travel_center/
pcerda
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Bill, RES is NOT updated with this info in SWALife! We still have the 28th. Paco
Phillip_Wiginto
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I am currently experiencing the WORST airport design I have ever seen. Kansas City International !!! Here if you want to make your connection, have to go through security again, if you want anything to eat, you have to go through security again, basically if you want to change your mind, you have to go through security again. And if you a an infant they will take her juice and water and you just have to sit and listen to her scream!! AVOID KCI AT ALL COSTS IF YOU CARE ABOUT YOUR CUSTOMERS!!
Michelle_Kocar
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What is "herb time"? I need to score dEc. 21 CLE to MCO for family of 6 for WDW xmas trip. I want to be sure I"m on the right "time" to snatch them up! Thanks, Bill- we LOVE SWA! My kids, husband and I are "regulars"!
pcerda
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Herb Time = Central Time Jedi Blog Master
Michelle_Kocar
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THANK YOU!
FriendofBlogBoy
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Bill, As always, my hat continues to be off to you and your outstanding co-workers who manage to juggle all of the various factors involved in keeping the best airline in the world moving every day. Today's Dallas Morning News had a good story that many of the blog audience might find very interesting and informative. It discusses the challenges of working out a daily schedule for 472 airplanes crammed full of passengers, bags of peanuts and sacks of candy corn. It is very cool how your computer program helped you "find" four or five planes that you can use. Even if you have this super-brain doing some of the crunching of data, I know that you and your team are the REAL brains behind the scheduling! Congratulations on a job well done! http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/062607dnbussouthwest.3721f29.html Kim External Blog Boy 🙂
Kent
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Maybe at the holiday times more than ONE NS from Vegas to Orlando could be considered. Last year when I called and was unable to get info regarding the schedule update date, I monitored the SWA site daily for months and was successful getting the lowest fare. This year I did the same but I was unaware of this blog and the release of the tentative and actual date and time. This morning I was a few hours to early to see the change and by this afternoon I was to late. Obviously "everyone" but me knew. Now I have to cut something in the household budget to to cover the extra $1,000 needed for air travel in the vacation budget. I love SWA but needless to say I am very unhappy and disappointed. I guess I have learned my lesson Cie-la-vie
Sue4
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Hi this may have beeen covered but I'm new to SWA...I'm waiting for seats to be released for the week of Feb16 '08. (Presidents week) Any idea what date they will be adding those seats? Is there a specific time(12:00a?) they come out or a strategy to get the best price? thanks in advance for your help Sue
wlhsl
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Are you kidding, where are those dates you promised back in April. There are no planning dates or any notice as to when they will be extended on the web site. As for you customer service reps. They have no clue what I am talking about. When can we book Feb. flights?
Kent
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Hi Bill Now that we are thinking about spring break for our new college freshman we are eargerly watching for the schedule to open up past March 7, 2008. Will there any advance information of the next release date and time like the one I missed last time? Is this the right location to look for this information? Please let us know.
Scott_Laurin
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Just wondering how decisions are made regarding new airports/destinations when Southwest is expanding? I would like to vote for Green Bay, Wisconsin, it's an NFL city not served by you! The people of Wisconsin want to see the country and being held hostage by NWO and UAL. Unreasonable prices and unreliable service have driven many of my friends to travel to Chicago for flights on Southwest. I think you are overlooking an incredible opportunity, the business and working class need you.
Lori14
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PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, bring back the Phila to Hartford route !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
RT
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Does anyone know why SWA has not offered DING fares for almost 5 days ?
elecia
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Where are the promised dates???? I need to book a flight for April vacation and I need to know when the next group of dates will be released. If I can't even know WHEN they will be released my Mom will just book all 9 of us through another airline...
blusk
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Elecia One of the places they are located is on the "Travel Tools" page of southwest.com. This is what it says: We are currently accepting air reservations through March 7, 2008. On November 8, we plan to open the schedule for purchase through May 9, 2008. This date is subject to change! Please check back frequently. Brian
Tom15
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Sure would like to know where the next release date is being posted. I can't find it anywhere. Right on the scheduling page would be a customer friendly place.
blusk
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Ummm, Tom Did you read my comment that is just above yours before you posted? Your answer is there Brian
Tom15
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OK, you posted it in a comment just before I asked. It would be a lot more customer friendly to post it on the reservations page.
blusk
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Tom, It is on the Book Travel page. Go to the section that asks when you want to travel, and it will tell you how far out we are booking. It's also on the front page of the site under Book a Flight. The dates are under the "From" and "To" boxes. Brian
Chris61
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YOu say that November 8th is the next release date. Is that effective 12:00 a.m.? What time zone?
blusk
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Chris, the time varies depending on the way the computer loads are going. In the past it usually is between 8 am and noon Central Time. However, we really don't know the exact time until the schedules are being loaded into the computers, and we can monitor the process. Brian
Tom15
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I know the current through date is posted. What would be helpful is posting the next release date. Right now we need to keep guessing. I need tickets for May 17, 2008. The Nov 8 release is only going to May 7. Is it safe to assume the next release after that will be about January 8? Having that on the site would help me not waste a lot of time.
Patrick3
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I understand Air Tran has most of the market in the South East portion of the United States but with the Savannah airport expanding was wondering if Southwest would try to move into Air Trans market a little more. or any other South east airports??
Julie21
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I have DING installed on my Mac and am no longer able to browse United.com...how do I resolve this without removing DING?
ACK
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My last experience with your site ended up costing me more money than it should have! You site is not user friend at all! I was attempting to purchase tickets for a party of two and wanted to use two credit cards, one for each passenger. Your site would not allow me to do that and instead I had to do it in two separate transactions and thus I missed a lower fare because another transaction was completed before mine. If your site had allowed me to utilize two credit cards for one order I would have gotten the lower fare and not have to pay over $30 more for the same flight just so I could travel with my party. I tried to remedy this issue with a customer service representative over the phone but they told me I would have to pay even more than what I ended up paying. This experience has been incredibly dissatisfying and I do not like how this has effected me!
patricia_hennig
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Why can I not schedule a flight from Phoenix Az. to Orlando Fl.? All I get is we are only excepting until 3-08? How can the little person make reservations when the big guy's hold all the cards. I have been trying to make this trip--to see my grandkids with no help from you. Even though I fly with you at least three times a year.
Andy2
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What ever happened to the Bradley - Philadelphia flight? I use take this flight about 10 times a year.
Chris61
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Patricia, They will release the flights for after March 2008, on November 8th.
Kent
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Do we have an update on regarding the release time on 11/8?
Katie3
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When will the flights be released for the weekend of May 9th if on November 8th they are only released through that day?
Mario
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What TIME are tickets released? Any idea? Midnight?
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[...] CUSTOMER FEEDBACK ONÂ
Michael_Mendric
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I want to book Southwest flights from Albany NY to Orlando for Thanksgiving 2008 (specifically, Sat. 11/22 departure and Sat. 11/29 return). I know this is too far out to book yet but wondered when those dates might be released . Also, is there any kind of notification system available that I can sign up for? Thanks so much. . .
Scott5
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Since Southwest has announced the intention of open their schedule to Aug on Dec 20th, I would start looking for Thanksgiving 08 stuff begin in March 08. Southwest keeps its schedule intentions on the "Shortcuts" page on their main web site.
Virginia2
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how do i go into southwest airlines gift shop to order t shirts and caps?
Craig1
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I thought the policy had changed. I do not see the statement for hte next opening of dates on the site anymore. It only lists the dates to which you can currently book. Has the policy changed again and for the worse?
Laura4
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Craig - go to the Travel Tools page - it's posted at the top there.
AKA
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what's the latest on flights from hartford to philadelphia? does SW plan to re-start this schedule? I also noticed that this questioned as asked previously and I didn't see any response
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[...] CUSTOMER FEEDBACK ON CORPORATE BLOG TRIGGERS CHANGE - SOUTHWEST AIRLINES: After announcing on its corporate blog changes in the advance booking reservation program, the blog receives over 200 comments form [...]
scottnearsmf
New Arrival
The "we will expand the schedule on" messages have been returned. It is currently (3/28/08) planned that Southwest will roll out its schedule to October 30th on April 17th.
Peggy5
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Holiday 2008--When will Dec 08/Jan 09 be announced? June time frame? Thanks so much,
JBR
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I am trying to plan a mulit city trip, and the southwest site won't make reservations past Aug. 22. Today is May 11, 2008. When will the rest of the year open up. This is getting close. Thanks, JBR
Jeanne4
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At what time of day does the new schedule open. I know tomorrow April 17th opens travel throught Sept but what time of day Eastern time???Please someone advise. Thanks
Debbie3
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What time of day does Southwest extend the reservation window? That's is the mega question that has never been answered. Busy people who need to book travel to popular destinations during peak holiday times have three options: 1. Sit at your computer and refresh the reservation window until the date changes. (Hope you have a day or two off and can afford the down time) 2. Check back a few times during the days before, during, and after the advertised date. A song comes to mind, "You're always on my mind". Distracted from everything else in life trying to plan for the fun things. 3. Book another airline that offers reservations further in advance. Makes you crazy doesn't it!
scottnearsmf
New Arrival
In the past, it has been 10:30 AM Central Time on the day listed under Travel Tools.
Jeff_Noreman
Not applicable
You market your business and sell "bookable inventory". That's fine for you rinternal business planning. However, we as travelers do not buy "bookable inventory". We buy airplane tickets for travel for business and pleasure. Perhaps you should consider OUR mindset when planning how you offer us a way to travel.
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Love flying Southwest. But I do not agree with the policy change. Parents having small chrildren should be allowed on by pre boarding. Guess who ever changed this policy does not have small chrildren. I feel sorry for the parents and try to give them some help. It is hard enough trying to get to your seats . And then have a couple chrildren and everything else you have to carry. my view. Big mistake. A caring person