Typically, when you buy plane tickets it’s like timing the stock market.
With stocks, you pick the best day to make your investment and hope that prices go up, not down afterward. Usually, when you buy plane tickets you buy the ticket and hope prices go up, not down. This method of buying plane tickets can be stressful. Even though there are ways to get refunds on plane tickets when prices drop, you typically can’t do it without some fees or expenses.
But on Southwest Airlines, you can guarantee that you will ALWAYS get the lowest price. It doesn’t happen by itself, but with a little due diligence every week or two, you can always get the lowest rate guaranteed with Southwest.
Right now I’m loving the policy because it just saved me (actually, the church I work for) $500.
When I first started watching the price of flights between Buffalo and Houston, tickets were around $139 each way. That was higher than I usually find, so I decided to wait on the sidelines. Then it was $159, then $179, then it was just over $200 per ticket. I was kicking myself for not getting in on the $139 rate. I should have known better. Below is the itinerary I ended up buying for my family of five.
We needed flights from Houston to Los Angeles, but I intentionally decided to hold off buying those tickets in case the price dropped from BUF to HOU.
Today I checked on the price of flights, and lo and behold, they had a published fare of $89 each way. Within a few moments, I had changed our flights. Here’s the new itinerary.
We did have to fly out a day earlier, but we also got a shorter travel time. Best of all, we got $501.50 towards a future flight. Since flights from HOU – LAX were a reasonable price ($119), I snagged five seats to LAX.
After changing the BUF – HOU flight and applying that credit to our flight to LAX, it only cost an extra $150ish dollars.
How to Change Flights on Southwest
- Sign into your online account.
- On the right sidebar, click on “Change flights”.
- Select the itinerary you wish to change.
- Search for new flights.
If the price is lower, you’ll get Southwest credit in the amount of the difference. You must spend the credit by 1 year of the original ticket issuance. In my case, I bought the first set of tickets by Feb 6th, 2011. Thus, by Feb 6th, 2010 the credits would need to be used.
Of course, SWA has a couple of other things that the frugal traveler will enjoy: (1) no charge for baggage, and (2) a credit card that allows you to get the equivalent points for a free flight. (Here’s my review of the Southwest credit card.)