Someone else who does not open their book for scheduling as early as other carriers is Southwest, and this drives me crazy...I would love to fly from Providence via TFG airport and use this airlines, BUT since I like to know way in advance that I have my ticket,I can't wait till they open their books a few months prior....Anyone else annoyed buy this as well?........Trip/ Monday Chat Host
I read recently that Soutwest is now carrying more passengers (domesticly, since it is not yet an international carrier) than any other U.S. airline. Obviously not everyone is annoyed. I do agree it is frustrating for those of us wanting to plan in advance.
Southwest, along with others like jetBlue and AirTran, are low-cost carriers. This means that in most cases you will pay less for a comparable ticket with them than with the "majors" (although it seems hard these days not to consider Southwest a major).
Yes, the major airlines will occasionally have the same fare, or a lower one, than Southwest. More often than not this is because they are forced to meet the low-cost carrier's fare for competitive reasons. But if it weren't for these carriers, you can bet that fares in general would be MUCH higher than they are.
The low-cost carriers are successful in part because they have figured out ways to cut costs without cutting safety or reliability of flights. A later booking window is one of them.
Be logical: as long as you know how far out the books DO open, you can be first on the phone or the web (maybe at midnight of the magic day) to be sure you're first in line for a ticket. You're bound to succeed, because very few people are this diligent (or worried) about getting a ticket.
With all due respect, everything boils down to dollars. I'm sure you want low fares, but you also want "nth" degree in service to satisfy your nervousness, anxiety or whatever about getting a ticket. You can't have it both ways. The reality is that it will be no problem for you to get a ticket if you act in a reasonable way, but you still let it bug you.
One of the amazing things about this board is the litany of things that people worry about when it comes to cruising. It is, after all, an activity that is supposed to be fun, worry-free, and the ultimate in relaxation. But reading the ongoing lists of concerns and fears, you'd sometimes be hard pressed to know that.
As I said, I mean no disrespect. It's just that I truly feel people would enjoy cruising a lot more if they didn't get bogged down in these kinds of trivial details, most of which just simply don't matter.
Southwest opens flights for booking about 6 months out. Part of the reason is because the flights are constantly "tweaked" with slightly different flight times or routings. Usually, once they are published, they are pretty solid, but booking over 6 months in advance means that your flight or routing to change, and there is a cost associated with notifying passengers about these changes.
I am a big Southwest fan and I book them whenever possible, for various reasons. Perhaps the most important reason is that they won't gouge me should my plans change (ie, the ship is late to port and you miss your flight). You might have to bump up your ticket to a full one way fare ( which is no more than $299), but you will have 100% of your ticket credited towards the new ticket...most other airlines charge you a "change fee" of $100 to change flights. Another nice thing is that if you buy your ticket 6 months out and it involves a connection, then they announce a nonstop flight 3 months from your departure, you can change flights - and if the ticket price is still the same, then the change is made with no additional charges.
I've flown Southwest twice, the flights were on time and the service was very good. There are no assigned seats, instead you board according to the letter on your boarding pass, A going first followed by B and C. In theory there is a line for each group, after awhile they seem to snake into each other. A bit of advice, have a meal before your flight, or bring it along on the plane. Otherwise you will have to make do with a bag of peanuts and a soft drink. Yummy!