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WHY CAN'T I MAKE RESERVATIONS FURTHER IN ADVANCE?

Bill
Employee
Employee
Schedule Planning Department members are used to being asked questions.  Usually, it's "What's the next new city?"  or "When are we going to add nonstop service from X to Y?"  Of course, we can't give direct answers, as we have to protect the confidentiality of our growth plans.  In fact, we've learned to tap dance our way around those types of questions better than the cast of 42nd Street.   However, one question we do get asked repeatedly is why Southwest doesn't allow Customers to make reservations further in advance.  I can easily (and happily) de-mystify that one!  It really boils down to one, very simple reason:  we don't like to confirm a reservation to a Customer, and then have to change their schedule.    As all of us know, the farther you look out into the future, the harder it is to make accurate predictions.  TV Weathermen have trouble telling us what it's going to be like outside tomorrow much less ten or eleven months from now.  Because the airline industry is as chaotic as the weather and in a constant state of flux, we can only predict with a high degree of certainty what our Corporate, and our Customers', schedule needs will be up to roughly six months in advance.  Therefore, we publish our schedule and allow bookings only up to about 180 days in advance--six months of inventory, if you will.  After we publish, we let the clock tick down, day by day, until we have about 120 days worth of inventory left to sell, at which point we publish another "block" of schedules and push the inventory back up to about 180 days.  On rare occasion (and we're in one now) the inventory can drop as low as 90 days, and on even rarer occasions we'll have more than 180 days available--but the general goal is to keep between 120 to 180 days of inventory for sale.  Outside of that six-month timeframe, we're free to make whatever schedule changes we need to in order to remain competitive, maintain operational excellence, and give our Customers the Freedom to Fly all over America.   If we were to allow bookings as much as a year in advance--in effect, before our plans were solid--we would have to make changes to many, if not most, of those longrange reservations.  Nobody likes that outcome.  For one thing, it's expensive to spend the time and resources to notify Customers whose itineraries have changed.  Second, and worse yet, depending on what we changed in the schedule, we couldn't always rebook changed reservations onto replacement itineraries at similar times.   Not that we haven't thought about this issue, many times, at great length.  We've repeatedly examined the benefit of extending the booking "window," and each time we've found that in general, very, very few Customers would take advantage of booking flights ten or eleven months from today.  So by allowing bookings further in advance than we now do, we'd be setting up a potentially very disruptive chain of events that really would not provide a significant benefit for either our Customers or our Company.   We think our existing policy strikes a great balance between offering Customers the ability to confirm their travels far enough ahead of time to suit most of their needs, and allowing Southwest to keep our costs low and our flexibility high to respond to changes in the marketplace.  So remember the "120/180 rule" for future bookings on Southwest.  We will usually make up to 180 days of inventory available for sale, then allow that booking window to tick down to 120 days-then "recharge" the booking window by putting another 60 days or so of salable inventory out there, taking the total days available back up to around 180.  But if you keep this general rule in mind, it'll provide a good yardstick to see where Southwest stands in with respect to the booking window.   Hopefully this will help "de-mystify" planning future travel on Southwest.  Keep the questions, and the comments, coming!  And feel free to ask me or anyone in the Schedule Planning Department what the next new markets are going to be.  We can't tell you....but we do a mean soft-shoe.  
262 Comments
Chris111
Not applicable
Bill, you guys have done the schedule the same way for the last 30 years or so. I still firmly believe there is a hidden agenda. Granted, more cities and more planes may ad complexity to the process. What I believe? The fares are so low now that you do not want to release the schedule as it may impact the summer season at lower than normal fares. Bottom line is that I have quite a few RR awards I need to use. I need to be flexible since the change in structure (i.e. blackout dates, limited seats). So I need lead time to get time off with these for family events. If you didn't limit the use (like the old days) it wouldn't be a big deal at all. When you are talking May 15 or so, its not really that far off. Bill, frankly, I have found that the restrictions on RR awards make it difficult to use (perhaps by design?) The 12 month limit is the problem. I can't use them as quick as I earn them, that's the problem. So one way I take care of that is either: (1) take the family on a trip, and/or (2) get rid of the credit card to minimize earning even more awards.
Ed_M
Not applicable
Bill, Thanks for all of the info. As you can tell, some of us can never get enough of the "inside" info. I've got one suggestion and one story. My suggestion: Why not publish an anticipated date for each new schedule release? OK, I know that you'd feel very bad if you missed the date. So maybe this experience sets a pattern. Two weeks before the date you raise the "get ready" flag. It would relieve a lot of angst. My story: Several months I ago bought tickets for a July trip on another airline (to a place that you don't fly to...yet). Today I found out that they dropped service to that location and can't (won't) get my family on another carrier. Sure, I'll get my money back but the vacation is now off. All the work setting this up, moving reward points around (for the hotels) and getting time off is now wasted. So what's worse: Waiting for the schedule to open up or cleaning up after massive schedule changes? Right now I wish that those other guys would use your system. (BTW, please expand the code share with ATA!)
Anonymous375
Not applicable
Drew, I might book with another carrier just to get away from you!
Bill
Employee
Employee
Good evening, all! Mary, We haven't thought of a "waiting list" for future reservations. I'm not sure how it would work, but it's an interesting idea--we'll see if we can work our way through it! Yes, other carriers do have entire departments in their Reservations function whose sole job it is to "call schedule changes." Typically, they notify by snail-mail only if they can't reach anyone by phone. But the point is that by limiting changes to "open" schedules, it's work that doesn't need to be done, by whatever communication method. I (and a number of us!) am surprised at the "volume" of the frustration that's been posted on this blog over our going down to 90 days of inventory--we've done it before, and frankily we've gotten a few inquiries but no major hew and cry. So I'm not sure there are "thousands of Customers" out there that are as upset about the booking inventory levels as you and some of the other posters here seem to be. All I can do at this point is apologize, as the schedule will not be open for a week and a half or so. However, consider this: when the schedule is extended, everyone will have the same opportunity to book seats as everyone else. Trust me, our Reservations system can handle the load! I doubt that I'm going to bring you over to "our" side on this issue, so let's just agree to disagree. And again, I apologize that we've not been able to allow you to book as far in advance as you want to for your Summer 2007 travels. Kathy, Our booking inventory process actually doesn't have anything to do with Sept. 11, and has been the same for at least the past 17 years. As I've said earlier in this thread, we try to keep between 120 and 180 days of inventory available--with occasional "dips" down to 90 days. However, we're never averse to change, and we will look at this policy again, just as we've done periodically for the entire time I've been involved. You bring up an interesting point with cruise lines and Disney packages, as I know (from personal experience) they do book up in advance. Short of going to a rolling 330-day booking inventory the way many other carriers do, I"m not sure how we can address the issue, but I am SURE that this blog thread will certainly spark discussions with the appropriate Departments about it. Chris, Finally--something we agree on! Yes, we have treated this issue more or less the same for a long, long time. (Not sure it's been 30 years, but at least for 17) But that fact proves my thesis that we're not doing anything outrageously out-of-character in dropping to 90 days of inventory, as we've done this many times in the past. No, it's not a FREQUENT occurrence, but it's by no means unprecedented. And seriously....let the conspiracy thing go. 🙂 The 90-day inventory issue has nothing to do with ANYTHING other than the fact that we moved the effective date of the Summer schedule up to May from June. I've been over that before. I think I've probably beaten this subject to death many times over, but if there are more comments or questions, I'll be logging on periodically over the weekend to answer them. Thanks, everyone, for a LIVELY discussion! Bill
nsx1
New Arrival
If you're one of those people worrying about low-fare seats disappearing immediately after the schedule opens, relax. I've been right on top of every schedule extension for YEARS, and I'm here to tell you that I have not seen that happen since before 2004. These days Southwest errs on the side of stinginess when the schedule first opens. Availability may improve later, starting about 12 weeks out. I have not seen availability of discount fares tighten AT ALL in the first few days after the schedule opens. Where does this perception come from? Simple. When you or I first check the new dates, some of the flights have no discounts available. Someone must have grabbed them already, right? Wrong. No discount seats were allocated for those flights. (Hint to Southwest: This deserves its own blog post if anyone in the revenue department is feeling brave enough to withstand some abuse.) When Southwest allocates discount seats to a flight, it allocates plenty of them. The only way they will all disappear is when a group books a large fraction of the entire flight. Other airlines don't operate this way. They allocate a token number of low-fare seats even to peak flights. With those airlines, it is indeed a race to book those deals before they're gone. With Southwest, you've lost that race before it starts. Your best hope is that bookings will lag and the revenue people will relent and allocate discount seats for your flight. As I said, that won't occur much earlier than 12 weeks out. The above observations are from my personal experience, having purchased over 1000 flights online at southwest.com over the past decade or so. As to Rapid Rewards bookings, that's a horse of a different color. For awards, you can forget everything I said about discount fares. Nobody has enough experience yet with how RR seats are allocated to draw firm conclusions, but all indications are that token award seat allocations are indeed present at the schedule release. Last year I saw two RR seats out of Orlando on December 21 (a blackout date for the old awards) when the schedule first opened. An hour later when southwest.com recovered from a partial crash, those seats were gone, and they never returned. Someone got them by phoning in a reservation. Award holders have completely valid concerns about the schedule extension. This unfortunately goes hand in hand with capacity controls. For example, I set myalarm for the middle of the night four nights to nail down United Mileage Plus seats to Hawaii 331 days ahead of my trip. Frequent flier programs are a lot less fun when you have to jump through these hoops, but it seems to be the way of the world now. We may need to get into the habit of using Rapid Rewards tickets only for short-notice travel, ironically costing Southwest even more in lost revenue than when we used them for our family vacations planned far in advance.
James2
Not applicable
you people should be ashamed. it's not in your hands. nothing's going to change. they're doing the best they can. there's things about it that can get complicated and you all just don't understand and you're all putting yourself first. go to other airlines. spend the extra money. you all are saying you''ll have to spend extra money elsewhere on a different airline and then you want southwest to refund the difference? are you all out of your mind? that's acknowleging that southwest is going to still have the lower prices but you're going to go ahead and go with a deal somewhere else anyways just because you're all stubbern to wait a little longer. i agree southwest should have their summer schedule out already but what bill is talking about is correct. i'm sure some of you know it is. southwest is going to continue to serve the places they have served, if not more. they will have the flights that you need. so why is it so hard to wait for them? bill doesnt deserve all this. and everyone who's complaining here might just be keeping him from doing his job and frusterating everyone. they don't want to dissapoint their customers, especially those who are most loyal, however they don't have a choice in this instance and you all need to just understand. ps- forgive me not capitalizing... :D Thanks Bill. I hope you never have to go through this again. Likewise to all of us Southwest customers!!
joe-mdw-plane-d
Not applicable
Thanks, Bill! I'll just wait until Thursday the first or the eigth or.... J/K. We'll see if any of my theories are correct. 🙂 I have been wrong before... Once. ;-) Keep up the good work! Joe Friedmann
Lori4
Not applicable
I surprised how mad some people are getting over this. The schedule would normally have come out around January 25th and now were looking at possibly February 8th. It's only a two week difference. I have a LUV voucher that is expiring on May 31 and I'm looking for Memorial Day weekend flights, so it's not like I don't need flights in May. Thanks for the updates. Lori
Jim13
Not applicable
Bill - I'm loving this thread. I can easily answer your question as to why you've never seen this kind of push-back over this "drop to 90 days" compared to other times you've dropped the inventory to 90 days - you didn't have a blog then, people could not vent their frustration quickly and easily. And keep it in perspective - there are 13Â
doncie
Not applicable
Bill. As a res agent, I appreciate your explanation to the public about this question that we get hit with every day. It is FULLY understandable to those of us who WANT/ARE WILLING TO understaand. It is very simple. We appreciate your willingness to take this on to further questioning. Thank You, Bill. Ã
Doug13
Not applicable
Thanks for the explanation(s) Bill. While I can't say I'm happy about the current time line, especially, since I'm not trying to fly in the Summer, but on May 11th for Mothers Day weekend, being told why helps make checking the website daily more palatable. Your reservations agents may be great, but they don't do a great job answering the "why" the current date is low. Thanks again, and keep sharing the news from HQ.
Claretta-HRC
Not applicable
I'm a res agent and luv helping our customers get to and from the places they want/need to go. As you can imagine, we've been hearing the scheduling opening question very frequently as of late. It is very frustrating for us to have to say, "no we don't know when the schedule will open, "they" don't give us that information in advance". As a person who likes to travel, I can understand why our customers, especially our loyal customers, get exasperated, but the truth is, WE REALLY DON'T KNOW WHEN THE SCHEDULE WILL OPEN UP - UNTIL IT HAPPENS. Until Bill's blog, I didn't know about the scheduling department's 180/120 day deal. That's really good information, but it doesn't alleviate the customer's frustration in wanting to complete their booking right then and there. The thing is, we at Southwest bend over backwards to give the absolute best customer service we possibly can for every individual customer, internal and external. We value and appreciate every single one of our passengers and would never want them to feel like they had to fly "someone else". The flying pubic doesn't know the ins and outs of operating a successful, profitable airline. We are not now nor have we ever been the same as "the others". Our customers enjoy our low-fares and can ALWAYS talk to a live person to answer questions or accomodate them as best as we can within our limits. AND the current system has been working succesfully for us and the flying public for over 17 years and I don't think we should look at re-inventing the wheel. Once we've confirmed a persons flight plans, they can depend on it (barring unforseen events). There are too many iff's out there to open up the schedule too far in advance and even tho it's oftentimes painful to have to keep repeating the same thing over and over, I understand the why behind it and can explain it a little better now. Thanks Bill!
Dacia_ARC_RSA_-
Not applicable
Hi Bill, Wow, thanks (all) for the props! Reservations is certainly not for everyone, but I'm surrounded by a great group of indiviuals that really have our customers best interest at heart. I've been a res agent for 13 years and have heard "the voice of frustration" every year before the holiday schedule is released and again before the summer schedule is released. Every year we do our best to pacify those that call every morning and night to see if the new schedule is there. Then we handle those that are gravely disappointed when the schedule is finally released and no $39 fares from coast to coast are available over Memorial Day weekend, fourth of July weekend and Labor day . (Thanksgiving and Christmas on the other end) I've said it once and I'll say it again, we're in business to make MONEY, (which gratefully we are!) hence the word BUSINESS. I see the point of the consumer, I see the point of the person(s) writing the schedules. Sometimes there is a balance, other times there is not. Hang in there SWA public, the schedule is coming! Thanks for listening. LUV Dacia
Jeff_Atchison
Not applicable
Bill, I completely understand your point of not putting too much inventory in the pipeline as every time a change is made, its like throwing cash out of the window, from 37,000 feet. I think the 120/180 rule makes total sense. But what stumps me is why you would ever let it slip below 120 days. As of today, you're at 103 days and if it gets to 90 days, I'm off to another airline. Customers need to plan more than 3 months in advance. If you have any say-so in the matter, you should be pounding your fist on the right person's desk to NEVER drop below 120 days. Thanks for commenting on the blog, information and communication is never a bad thing.
Mary9
Not applicable
Doug, The res agents who read this blog will do a better job. Before all we had was the ability to see when the schedule opened in previous years. Now that Bill has educated us. I am sure our answer on the matter will change to reflect the 180/120 info.
Bill
Employee
Employee
Good Saturday afternoon, everyone. Some additional replies: nsx---a Revenue Management post might be interesting. I haven't worked in that departrment since 1994, so I don't feel qualified anymore to speak for them, nor do I know enough about the new Rapid Rewards booking procedures to comment. I'll make that suggestion, though! James, thanks. But honestly, I'm enjoying the exchange, the banter, and seeing what everyone is thinks about this (and other!) issues. I understand the frustration about this issue is running "in the red" so I am not taking it personally. One thing I can ALWAYS talk about, explain, and defend, is my job. I guess that's the result of the fact that I LUV what I do! Joe--I guess we'll see. :) Lori, hopefully you're going somewhere GREAT for Memorial Day! Please bear with us just a little longer. Jim, I think you're exactly right--this blog is a very easy way to vent frustrations. It's a new communication venue (well, relatively, anyway), and we're all still looking to see what kind of response to issue such as this that we get. However, we're not running away from it, in fact far from it. This has been fascinating, and I've enjoyed it. I'd have to--I've spent most of the past 2 evenings AND my Saturday reading and responding! 🙂 And for those who think this thread hasn't made any difference, at the very least, I bet we'll need a MUCH tougher reason in the future to go below 120 days of inventory! Donna, thankks for the kind words. Hopefully, the blog post as well as this whole thread will be of interest to your Agents, as well as informative! Doug--see above...hopefully this post will enable out Agents to answer the "when can I book" question better. However, I have to admit that when we set the schedule transition for the weekend of May 11th I don't think any of us realized it was Mother's Day weekend. That's not one of the holidays we really track, so in that aspect we might have chosen better. Still, hopefully we'll be able to accomodate you when the schedule opens for sale! Bear with us, and thanks for replying! Have a GREAT evening, everyone!
Steve4
Not applicable
In response to Bill's comment about there are probably not 1000's our there waiting. I was waiting to book for end of May but now have had to go to Delta to firm up my plans. I used Delta happily for many years and switched to Southwest, now I guess I have officially switched back to Delta. I can at least book my flight without having to wait for who knows how long. A previously satisfied Southwest customer leaving for Delta.
Bill
Employee
Employee
Evening, everone....thought I would post replies one last time tonight. Claretta, Dacia, and Mary J--as I said, you guys ROCK, and I appreciate the support on this blog. I know the current 90-day inventory thing has things a little off-kilter, but I hope in the future you and your fellow Agents can use the 120/180 guideline to help answer our Customer's questions! Steve, Point taken, and apologized for. I can only hope that, between our market-leading fares, our convenient schedules, and our incredible Employees...that you give us a try again in the future. If so--I hope we win you back for good! Hope everyone has a safe Saturday night, stays nice and toasty warm...and thanks for all the comments! Bill
Michael_Leggett
Not applicable
This is ridiculous. There is NO excuse for the current delay. I have a wedding in mid-May in California. Half of the 200 guests are coming from Texas. My family has been a big fan of Southwest for a long time. So, with our save the date cards a few months ago, we told people to wait for Southwest. That they would open up fares soon enough and people could have a cheaper and more enjoyable flight out. As other airlines' fares continue to rise, Southwest remains closed. This weekend, we bit the bullet and wrote our guests to apologize and encourage them to book their flights where ever they can and as soon as possible. This has been a horrible experience. It will potentially cost our guests thousands of dollars extra and reflects poorly on us as we told people to wait. It is the last time I wait for Southwest to open up. ***I'd rather have a slight schedule change than be glued to my computer constantly checking for Southwest to open up.*** - A previously satisfied Southwest customer leaving for Continental (where I can book through MID DECEMBER).
Karen_B
Not applicable
I am another customer who has been checking the website daily to book flights for the end of May. I've been doing this for about a month now. I understand the reason after reading this blog however it still is frustrating.
Rich_Beck
Not applicable
Please add my name to the list of frustrated SWA customers who have been trying to book flights (in May) for over a month now. While I understand the rationale behind SWA's reluctance to announce schedules too far in advance, you are well inside of your own 120/180 parameters now. Constantly having to check your website to see if you've kicked the "May 10th" date does not happy customers make. Three months ago, I booked round trip UA flights from DC/Dulles to Europe in May. I had thought the easiest part of my logistical planning would be the SWA round trip from.Sacramento to DC as I had two RR awards to use. Boy was I wrong.
Mike_Attanasio
Not applicable
I have been looking to book a trip to Vegas for May 21st since Mid December. I keep thinking since I'm looking for a week later, it should be out soon. Well almost 2 months later, it's not out. Hotel rooms in Vegas that day are skyrocketing and the hotels can't tell me why. I will not book a room without a flight so in the next couple days, I'll book what should be a very simlarly priced flight with another Airline. I was hoping to get a charter flight form SWA. With all the people I see writing here that they can't wait anymore, I'd say you lost a lot more money than you will save by this delay
Francisco_Delga1
Not applicable
Will you guys get the message finally?? A lot of angry customers who want to fly you guys but they can't all because you want to save a few dollars. I will continue to use Southwest. Your response still does not make any sense..
Drew1
Not applicable
Mike, I'm not sure why you didn't book your hotel room months ago. While most hotels in Vegas require a one-night deposit, they are almost always fully refundable provided you cancel your reservation within 72 hours of arrival.
Amber11
Not applicable
Add my name to the list also. We personally think this wait is uncalled for. Like so many others everyday, I see the fares of Airtran, and each day I am finding myself closer to booking with them. I want to know that I have a flight for May at a decent price.
chuchoteur
Not applicable
Bill, I'm guessing that the number of aggrieved comments you are getting may be down to a timing issue... as the block of schedules that you are working on to release is the summer block. had you gone down to 90 days over the summer, I presume it would have caused less pain, as most people don't book flights for september until quite close to the date... unfortunate! It may be interesting to see at what times of year you went down to 90 days inventory previously...
Janet_Cole
Not applicable
Add me to the list of loyal Southwest customers anxiously waiting to book flights for two planned trips (May & July). I've been checking every day and based on past experiences, expected (at least) the May dates to open on January 25th. But alas, I'm still waiting. I'm OK with minor schedule changes; I just want to know that I have the flights I need BEFORE I lose out on the opportunity to make other arrangements, if needed.
Greg5
Not applicable
I don't know if this is the right place to post this question but anyways under this topic subject , I was wondering what are the southwest plans for Dulles airport are they going to expand add more city's to/ from dulles. I just don't get the SWA idea of dulles airport?. I know they just started in october but when will we have a clear picture on the what the heck they are doing with dulles the newest city. ???
Barbi
Not applicable
I have been obsessiveily checking for the dates to open up. I have shopped the other airlines and if their ticket prices dip down to comparable with SWA, then I guess I'll book with one of them.
Robert_Perino
Not applicable
Bill, I think you are missing the point entirely here. You said that everyone will be happy when the new schedule comes out because you will be opening up May, June, July and August and possibly September and the fares will be great. Well guess what? I only care about May! That is when I am flying. So the fact that you will open up for the next 4 or 5 months means absolute 0 to me. You should re-do your schedule on an even pace so there are no lags like this one. Maybe when you get August posted you can slip September in a month later, then October a month later and November a month later. Do you get the picture? Make up your schedule 4 or 5 months in advance and then post a new month each month. WOW, what a concept. Keep it moving and you will never hear from us again.
Juana
Not applicable
I too am waiting to book...departing May 11th. It is very frustrating to see other airlines flights filling up while waiting for these dates to open up with Southwest. Your delay may turn out to be very costly to many of your customers.
Jeramy_Brian2
Not applicable
I don't mind waiting for the schedule to open because I know that southwest will have better service, more availability at a lower price and more frequent service than all of the other carriers. Southwest is the mvp of all domestic airlines. (Just like kobe is the mvp of the nba) Go southwest and go lakers!!!!
Rich_Beck
Not applicable
PS to my yesterday's comment: What good is it to blog you when you obviously don't listen or respond to your.many loyal customers? Giving us a place to vent our frustrations with your scheduling policy is not enough. Aren't you supposed to listen and react?
Barbi
Not applicable
Rich Beck- While I am very frustrated with this delay and probably going to end up purchasing my tickets on another airline, I think it is entirely unfair to say that SWA doesn't reply. Bill is replying to us almost daily and his replies show that he actually read and comprehended (therefore "listened") to what we have said. Just because he can't personally change what is going on doesn't mean he isn't "listening".
Not_a_customer_
Not applicable
Can't book past May 10th and it's January 30th now? Is Southwest going out of business? Good-bye to this riduculous bs.
Dan_Starzec_Jr_
Not applicable
Bill- I've never flown SW and I'm looking to travel to my best friends wedding from Chicago to California in late May. My parents, my wife and I are very patient people and believe me as long as the fares are more competative then I've seen, you may have a lifetime customer in the very near future. I look forward to experiencing the airline and hope the experiences of other friends/family members have reported to me. With that said, hoping to see that schedule soon! Thanks for listening
Francisco_Delga1
Not applicable
I call on all Southwest airlines customers to calm down. We will be able to book past May one day. I also think that there are other matters in this world far more important.
Robert_Perino
Not applicable
I just saw some sale fares at AA.com, unfortunately they were not for my destination. The strange thing about those fares though-you had to complete travel by-----May 10!! What does AA know that we dont?
Suzanne4
Not applicable
I too, am frustrated with the schedule problems. I have been checking the site daily since Dec. I have 4 - one way tickets for May the 5th to go to Orlando and I have no return flight yet! My room in Disney is booked and we are vacationing with another family who has a flight on Air Tran. They are not under stress like I am! We need to come home on May the 12th! I never thought when I booked the first half of the tickets that I would be stuck with no return flight this close to my vacation date. When I called in Dec. and Jan. to inquire about the situation I was told on 2 separate occasions that the flight will open up any day. (Well Ã
Bill
Employee
Employee
Greetings, everyone! Sorry I haven't responded since Saturday...my Dell motherboard has bit the dust (AGAIN). Ah, well, hopefully the third time WILL be the charm. Instead of going person by person on this one, I'm going to respond this time en masse. Make no mistake: I have heard you, ALL of you, loud and clear, that waiting to open the Summer schedule was not a good idea. Once again, I apologize, but just so you'll know that we do listen and adapt, going foward Schedule Planning is going to do everything within our power to not allow the booking inventory to drop below 120 days again. Note that I'm not absolutely promising that we won't, as occasionally things of the extreme nature happen which are beyond our control. However, this time we made the collective decision to allow inventory to drop down to 90 days. It wasn't a Katrina, it wasn't a 9/11, and while our reasons were quite valid for doing so, I can honestly say that in our wildest dreams (or nightmares!) we didn't anticipate the type of backlash it has created. So once again--I apologize. We certainly didn't mean to ruffle as many feathers as we obviously have. However, at this point it's over and done with, and the schedule will open when the schedule opens. Speaking of which...we're currently on track to ship the schedle to distribution venues this week, which means that the Summer 2007 schedule should open for sale next Thursday. If anything changes--and, at this point, only a severe technical issue could further delay the opening--I will let everyone know via this blog. So polish up those travel plans...make sure the credit card is valid...and when the schedule opens next week--let the bookings begin! Bill
Not_a_customer_
Not applicable
Francisco - time to sell your shares brother
Suzanne4
Not applicable
What! Next Thursday! That is ridiculous! This puts me within 87 days of the start of my vacation! I need to reserve my transportation home from Disney sooner! I also need to give my flight information to our car service or I will not have a ride from Disney to the airport for my family! They are almost all booked up and it is not their fault I foolishly picked Southwest! I feel like I am being held hostage by my half of a ticket (actually 4 tickets) for the week of May 5th through the 12th. What if I can't get a flight home for my family for May the 12th? We only have a place in Disney until the 12th - we booked our room 9 months ago! Oh that's right - it's not your problem!!!
Marsha3
Not applicable
I just need the window to open for two more days. Get me to May 12th quick please! Marsha
Elissa_Banas
Not applicable
Bill, I'm a H.S. Senior Class Advisor. We take between 45 and 55 seniors to Disney World every year. We just got back last week and used Jet Blue. The service was fantastic, but the wait time between flights (BUF to JFK to MCO and vice versa) was very long. We used Jet Blue because of price, service, and being able to book about six months in advance. We would really like to use Southwest for our trip next January (since there are several non stops between BUF and MCO). Do you have special considerations for group travel or would you possibly be able to ball park when those seats would open for booking? Any suggestions/advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you.
Anonymous375
Not applicable
Bill, Do you mean this Thursday, 2/1 or next Thursday, 2/8? We're waiting to book flights on 5/20 and 27. I've been checking on other airlines and I have to say, AA.com has some pretty comparable prices. I think you're missing out on bookings!
Don_Redden
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Okay, I'll try this again... It was while looking for "industry secrets" regarding when the schedule would be opened to summer travel that I came across this blog. For some reason, I was encouraged to see that I was not the only idiot checking southwest.com daily, numerous times, in hopes of booking a flight for five for my son's HS graduation trip in early June. Like others, I have found several other deals with other airlines but waited patiently in hopes of saving a buck or two by flying Southwest. In my efforts to penny-pinch, I have likely reduced my normal life expectancy (due to the self-inflicted stress) by appx. 10 years...all in the name of frugality (of is it stupidity?). Would someone please open the travel window before I jump out of one? Come on guys! Get creative! I'll try and help...it's March, then April, then May, then May 10th...uh-oh...the earth has apparently stopped moving and we're still stuck on May 10th. At least one positive has come from all of this...I now understand the true meaning behind the company motto "You are now free to move about the country." Yes, we are all anxiously awaiting our release on parole from Southwest Prison. Yes, moving on beyond the three square meals of peanuts and peanuts and peanuts. At least you guys don't charge for canned sodas! Unfortunately, the stipulations of our parole will likely prevent us from traveling anyway but at least we're trying. And furthermore, the striped uniforms are in again this year as black and white never goes out of style. Can't wait for the travel shackles to be cut from my ankles. I could walk to SF from Nashville in less time than it will ultimately take to book my flight on Southwest. But for some reason, I remain loyal...at least for now. Don
Mike_Attanasio
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I think Robert had it dead on. THe problem most people on here have is that we want to book a week after your last available date and we're waiting for you to schedule 5 months worth before that 1 week comes out. It should be done 1 month at a time, 5 months in advance. Not 3 months ahead and then 5 months come out. Now I have calmed down a bit. I am debating on waiting for the 8th or not. I can tell you 1 thing for sure. If I wait until the 8th, and the rates are not cheaper than I have found (which aren't bad at 325 round trip to Vegas), or aren't in the area of that with better flight times, I will never even look at Southwest again. I will then have lost all faith that Southwest has the best schedule and price around, and no longer feel the need to wait them out. The only way I will become angry again is if I wait and then find the other airlines booked up. This would also cause me to never use SW again. The only way I turn out happy is if I get a great deal in the end from SW. My hopes are not high.
Don_Redden
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Oh, I see...the flight attendants of SW can have a little fun but the bloggers can't?
Don_Redden
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Please disregard my last comment above...we can all have a little fun it appears.
Tim_C
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Bill, I am yet another person that has been checking Southwest everyday to try to find out when I can book a flight past May 10. I fly Southwest quite a bit, and have three awards I plan to use to fly my wife and myself to Hawaii. I'm scared to death that I'll be to late to book and the flights won't be available for awards. Should I be worried?