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 every now and then. As of right now, you can only book Southwest flights through March 6, 2020, but starting tomorrow, they will extend their reservation schedule through April 13, 2020.
From past experience, booking the day the schedule is released could get you the best prices for peak travel dates and for this case it would mean Spring Break week. Unfortunately, for us in New England, it does not go as far out to book our April Break (centered around Patriots Day), but most other places in the country should be good to go, regardless if your kids school break is in March or leading into Easter.
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!
As of now, the schedule extension should be tomorrow, September 26, 2019, so if you are planning on booking a flight for the rest of March and into February, I suggest being on your computer by 6:15am EST 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. Note: This past go-around the schedule was not updated until about 10:30am EST.
I’ll be sure to let you all know tomorrow when the schedule is officially extended.
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