Southwest works very differently than most other US carriers. Instead of having their flight schedule available 330 days out, they push out their booking window in batches a few months at a time. As of right now, you can only book Southwest flights through June 6, 2020. Starting tomorrow, however, they will extend their reservation schedule through August 10, 2020. Get ready to book most of your summer 2020 flights!
From past experience, booking the day the schedule is released could get you the best prices for peak travel dates. For this release, this could mean right when school gets out or July 4th weekend.
Since Southwest has no change or cancelation fees, you can book now and cancel later if you need to. This also means if a Southwest flight drops in price, you can get the difference back simply by going through the process of “changing” your flight. If you pay for your flight, you’ll end up with a voucher if you cancel or if the price goes down, but if you use points, the points will simply go back into the account they were booked from. Essentially if you…
- Paid for the flight (non-refundable fare)… You will receive a voucher for the difference in fare price (or full fare price if you are canceling) to be used one year from the date the flight was originally purchased (NOT the date the change/cancelation took place). This voucher is non-transferable. The voucher will be tied to the confirmation number of the original flight. There is NO fee for this.
- Paid for the flight (refundable fare)… You will receive the difference in fare price back to the credit card you used to pay for the flight.
- Booked your flight using points… The difference in points will go back into your account immediately. Again, there is NO fee for this. This is why I love booking Southwest flights using points!
Now, if you receive a Southwest Travel Fund from canceling a flight, Southwest will automatically track it for you with their new enhanced system.
As of now, the schedule extension should be tomorrow, Dec. 11, 2019, so if you are planning on booking a flight for the rest of June, all of July and into August, I suggest being on your computer early in the morning to book those peak flights. Southwest doesn’t have a set time on when the schedule is released and I’ve seen it as early as 6am EST and as late as 11am EST, so just being available and continuously refreshing your screen is your best chance of scoring a cheap fare.
I’ll be sure to let you all know tomorrow when the schedule is officially extended.
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