Southwest has extended its booking schedule from January 2023 through to March 8, 2023, providing additional opportunities for you to book flights early on in the new year.
Let’s review Southwest’s unique process to book flights in advance, as well as 2 new seasonal routes that have been announced.
Southwest’s Odd Booking Window Policy
Most airlines allow you to book flights 11 months in advance, allowing you to get a head start on all of your airline ticket reservations. For example, if you wanted to fly on June 1, 2023, you can start booking your flight on July 1, 2022, 11 months out from the date of travel.
Southwest, on the other hand, has a really odd system where you can only book flights about 6 to 8 months in advance. While the schedule was only open to booking flights through early January 2023, Southwest has extended the booking window to allow you to book through March 8, 2023. In a few months, we’ll likely see them extend the booking window into May 2023, even though that month is already bookable by most other airlines.
Hot Tip: Consider making your booking with one of the best Chase Southwest Airlines credit cards to earn up to 3x Rapid Rewards points on your purchase!
Advantages To Booking So Far Out
While there are a lot of theories as to when you can get the cheapest ticket, many people want to lock in their travel plans as soon as possible, before flights open up. So, if you’re traveling in the mid-January 2023 to March 8, 2023 range, you may want to consider booking your reservations now.
Southwest also has one of the most flexible cancellation policies of any airline, which means you should book now, and monitor your reservations over time to see if the price drops.
- Wanna Get Away and Wanna Get Away Plus fares are eligible for you to receive a travel credit if you cancel your flight, so if the price you book now drops, simply cancel your ticket, receive the travel funds, and then immediately rebook under the lower rate, saving the remaining travel funds for a future trip. While you’ll have to deal with a voucher of funds for the difference, you won’t actually “lose” anything, which makes this option very appealing to many consumers.
- If you purchase a Business Select fare, these fares are fully refundable, so you can cancel and get your money back and then rebook if the price drops. Business Select fares are the costliest ones on Southwest and may not drop significantly in price.
- With Rapid Rewards bookings, you can cancel, get your points back, and then rebook using points under the lower rate. Southwest Rapid Rewards points are transferrable from Chase Ultimate Rewards, so you may want to consider transferring in Chase points now to speculatively book flights.
New Seasonal Routes Also Announced
Southwest has also announced 2 new seasonal routes starting in January 2023:
- Austin (AUS) to Montrose (MTJ) in Colorado weekly on Saturdays starting January 7, 2023
- Long Beach (LGB) to New Orleans (MSY) weekly on Sundays starting January 8, 2023
If you’re a Southwest Airlines flyer, consider booking flights past January now that the schedule window has opened further. You can book your flights and then re-book them should the rate drop, making this an appealing option for those trying to save money while flying.