Consumers Speak: The Excellent Side of Southwest’s Seating Policy

Totally awesome tip from our boy Nick Weaver. The gyst? Travel Southwest whenever you can:

Many people complain about Southwest’s open seating policy. However, it is partially this policy which enables Southwest to havean amazingly consumer friendly ticket policy. This even enables retroactive sale prices on previously booked tickets.

Almost all other airlines charge fees for changing reservations on restricted tickets I’ve had to pay, ranging from mild($25 for JetBlue) to outrageous ($100 on American, plus $8 to callcustomer service because you can’t do it online).

Southwest charges NOTHING. No change fee, just the differencebetween the old ticket and the new ticket. If the new ticket is moreexpensive, you pay the difference. If the new ticket is less, you gain a credit for future travel.

I’m signed up to get Southwest’s specials spammed into mymailbox once every couple of days. Today I got the spam which included $49 tickets to San Diego and LAX from Oakland. Two places I already had reservations for for travel over the next month.

I log onto southwest, go to the travel center, go to “Change Reservations”, and input the confirmation #s and my name. I quickly rebook my tickets, on the same flights, for less than I originally paid, leaving me (well, actually, my employer) a nice credit forfuture flights.

Less than 5 minutes, and $70 in credit!

So remember: Southwest will honor their sale price on existing tickets, if you rebook to take advantage of the sale. And if you can’t get the cheaper ticket, you don’t have to rebook (its an atomic operation with a good user interface.)!