Skip to main content

Southwest Airlines Community

Why charge for an earlier flight an hour before with a plane that's not full?

theflightman
New Arrival

So, being the **bleep** guy I am, I got to the airport several hours early. I noticed that SW had a flight leaving a couple of hours ahead of the one on which I had a reservation. I asked at the check in desk if this flight was full and was told that there were seats available. I asked if I could get on this flight instead of the later one and was told that I could but that all the lower fare tickets were sold out and I would have to pay about twice what I had already paid.

 

Needless to say I just hung out at the bar a couple more hours and took my scheduled flight on a full jet.

 

Why charge for an earlier flight an hour before with a plane that's not full? 

 

Wouldn't SW be better off giving me the seat on the earlier flight and then possibly selling my now empty seat of the full later flight?

5 REPLIES 5

Re: Why charge for an earlier flight an hour before with a plane that's not full?

dfwskier
Top Contributor

The airline is simply enforcing it's stated policy: if a passenger wants to fly on a different flight, the passenger will pay any difference in fare. That policy does not apply to A-List passengers. 

 

edit add: absent a policy like that, there would be nothing to prevent people from buying the cheapest fare, and then flying the flight they really wanted to fly.

 

 

Re: Why charge for an earlier flight an hour before with a plane that's not full?

elijahbrantley
Rising Star

I would also add that despite the ton of flexiblity SW provides, this is one area where they have decided to charge a fee. For me personally, I am good with this fee given all the other flexible policies. 

-A List Preferred, Companion Pass holder, Community Champion.

Re: Why charge for an earlier flight an hour before with a plane that's not full?

SWDigits
Rising Star

@elijahbrantley wrote:

I would also add that despite the ton of flexiblity SW provides, this is one area where they have decided to charge a fee. For me personally, I am good with this fee given all the other flexible policies. 



Splitting hairs here but I wouldn't even call it a fee. The official wording is "Standby travel requires an upgrade to the Anytime fare."

Source: https://www.southwest.com/html/air/fare-information.html

Customer | Home airport DCA

Re: Why charge for an earlier flight an hour before with a plane that's not full?

elijahbrantley
Rising Star

@SWDigits Touché. Fees and SW don’t really mix. Smiley Happy

 

 

-A List Preferred, Companion Pass holder, Community Champion.

Re: Why charge for an earlier flight an hour before with a plane that's not full?

DancingDavidE
Top Contributor

@theflightman wrote:

 

Wouldn't SW be better off giving me the seat on the earlier flight and then possibly selling my now empty seat of the full later flight?


Because the fares vary in price on Southwest’s scale they would have an issue with people buying the lowest price which for them can be much lower, and substituting for a higher price flight.

 

They also want to save those spots for A-list or last minute business select purchases as a priority.

 

Specifically trading you from a full flight to one with open seats - hard to say. Both flights at the time were probably priced at business select or anytime fares only. It seems like the airline would benefit from shifting you but we don’t know what they were expecting for A-list or BS fare at the last minute. Unless you hang around that other flight you don’t know what they actually ended up departing with.

 

Next time wander down the concourse and try again, you might get a different answer from another person, or as things change until the last minute on the earlier flight. They may be more likely to put you on it towards departure time for even money if the seats are still empty then as opposed to 1-2 hours before. 

 

 

 

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.