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Why Can't I Capture a Lower Fare?

Active Member

I noticed as I was booking a new flight that, for an existing reservation, the price of one leg of a multi-city flight dropped by $20. I retrieved that reservation and went about changing that specific leg to capture the price drop. However, instead of showing $-20 in the difference column, it showed +5. 

 

I doubled checked the fare in a new window (there were 3 seats left at the price). I even started the process of cancelling the flight and booking the new one. The lower fare was reflected in the total for the new reservation, but I received a warning message that the funds from cancelling the existing reservation might not be available for a while, so I decided not to chance it. I tried rebooking again about an hour later -- still three seats left at the lower fare but still not reflected when I tried to change my reservation.

 

So I sent Southwest a message, offering to provide screenshots of each step of my effort to capture the lower fare. (You can't just email them with attachments, unless someone has a customer service email address that's not publicized.) Disappointingly, I received a total blow-off response that essentially said fares are "first-come first-served." Obviously, no effort to actually read my message (the fare was still there an hour after the first failure to capture the lower fare) and essentially a cut-and-paste stop bothering us response.

 

I've never had this issue before, so I'm wondering if it's something related to the multi-city booking. There was a $10 credit applied to this fare, but it still would be good since the date didn't change and, anyway, $10 is only half of the $20 fare difference.

 

Any thoughts or tricks on how to successfully capture fare decreases are appreciated. It's the primary reason I book Southwest at all. 

10 REPLIES 10
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Re: Why Can't I Capture a Lower Fare?

Rising Star

I would call and speak to a customer service representative on the phone. If there is a hold time then the system will prompt to call you back, but it will still probably get you to resolution faster than the messaging.

 

I wonder if the price for any of the other legs on the multi-leg trip increased. If I read your message correctly then the tickets were purchased together and have one PNR rather than an multiple one-way trips with multiple PNRs. Good luck!


Customer | Home airport DCA
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Re: Why Can't I Capture a Lower Fare?

Top Contributor

@SWDigits wrote:

I wonder if the price for any of the other legs on the multi-leg trip increased. If I read your message correctly then the tickets were purchased together and have one PNR rather than an multiple one-way trips with multiple PNRs. Good luck!


☝️This is most likely the cause of the overall price increase. When you go through the change process it should show price adjustments for each leg and while one went down another went up. Booking each leg individually as one-way flights is really the best way to go and makes re-pricing reservations much easier. As @SWDigits said, you can call in and the phone agent can re-price the one leg without affecting the others.

 

--TheMiddleSeat

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Re: Why Can't I Capture a Lower Fare?

Active Member

Appreciate the replies. This ticket has two flights in one PNR (three cities, though, thus the multi-city ticket). The first flight was, and is, priced the same as before. The second flight dropped in price. I picked "Change" flight, selected the 2nd flight as the one to change, but the lower fare was not reflected on that screen.

 

Also, when I attempted to book the same trip as a new reservation, the total amount of the fare for both flights combined dropped as expected.

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Re: Why Can't I Capture a Lower Fare?

Rising Star
Okay, I default back to the recommendation to give Southwest a call. Are you able to circle back to share what you learn? Thanks!

Customer | Home airport DCA
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Re: Why Can't I Capture a Lower Fare?

Top Contributor

@AndSoItGoes wrote:

Appreciate the replies. This ticket has two flights in one PNR (three cities, though, thus the multi-city ticket). The first flight was, and is, priced the same as before. The second flight dropped in price. I picked "Change" flight, selected the 2nd flight as the one to change, but the lower fare was not reflected on that screen.

 

Also, when I attempted to book the same trip as a new reservation, the total amount of the fare for both flights combined dropped as expected.


 

Sadly, Southwest's stock reply about fares changing quickly and not being valid until booked is essentially correct, however infuriating the system can be. There are often differences in what is shown when you search for a fare and what is actually available when it tries to confirm the purchase. Despite checking repeatedly, over time, and seeing the same fare displayed, you can discover that the fare shown is not actually available when you try to finalize the transaction. It's a horrible system and Southwest would do well to fix it (it's a very common source of customer frustration and complaint) but it's been this way for years, it wasn't addressed when they changed reservation systems semi-recently, and there's no indication any changes are forthcoming. 😞

 

Most likely, if you had tried to complete the transaction to actually book the flights as a new reservation, despite showing you the lower fare, you would have encountered the same issue (error message that the fare is no longer available) at the last step in the process (after entering your credit card info).

 

On the upside, Southwest fares do change -- up and down -- very frequently, so you may want to keep checking and try again. Good luck!

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Re: Why Can't I Capture a Lower Fare?

Active Member

I'm coming around to believing that the price shown may not actually be available for booking.

 

Had another error this morning. Same PNR, but the price of the first flight dropped $2. Decided to see if I could capture it. Nope. $-2 showed in the fare differential column, but tried twice to select it and got the same error message: "We are unable to price the flight that you selected. Please select a different flight." 

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Re: Why Can't I Capture a Lower Fare?

Active Member

So I contacted Southwest about the 2nd probably I had in capturing a lower fare. (This time, the rebooking screen shows the lower amount, but it returns an error page when I select it.) I got the same long-winded excuse about how they're sorry the fare I tried to book disappeared during the booking process. That lower fare is STILL AVAILABLE right now. Worthless customer service, at least very their messaging system.

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Re: Why Can't I Capture a Lower Fare?

Top Contributor

Yours is a common complaint and a long lasting pain point with the Southwest booking system. Unfortunately, the best you can do is call (or Tweet, as hold times are very long at the moment due to the operational emergency, weather issues and the recent grounding of MAX aircraft). If the phone rep can see the fare they can make the change for you.

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Re: Why Can't I Capture a Lower Fare?

Top Contributor

when you go to the payment page does it still say +5? Also is it a same day multi city reservation? If so sometimes it will show on the flight search +5 (or some other cost) but will correct itself when you get to the payment screen or the page where it recaps what you want to change (before you confirm the change). I see this a lot when I do same day multi city trips. 

 

If it doesn’t correct itself you could cancel and rebook or as suggested call Southwest and they can try and help. 

 

-Blake