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Old 11-09-2014, 11:26 AM
 
1,804 posts, read 6,280,243 times
Reputation: 1185

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Hi everyone. My husband booked a southwest flight several weeks ago, a two day weekend away leaving Friday, arriving back for Mon. I held off on going because I didn't want to pay what I thought was a too high price. Since southwest took over AirTran, their rates are definitely higher.

At the last minute, one day before he was to leave, I decided that I wanted to go. I checked the third party bookers and southwest for hours looking for a round trip for about 200 or so dollars. Didn't happen. Southwest was 600 plus for what my husband paid 246 for. The best I saw was 274 on one of the no info until you pay booking sites. I deduced the flight was likely on spirit air winch wasn't an option for me.

Husband said his flight was not even half full. So with all of those empty seats, southwest would rather sell none than discount last minute tickets????

Thanks for the input!!
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Old 11-09-2014, 11:33 AM
 
Location: City of Angels
2,935 posts, read 4,763,635 times
Reputation: 2236
SW is always expensive for last minute IMO. Usually the legacy airlines are cheapest, although it obviously varies a lot depending on route. But ya, 90% of my flights are booked within 24 hours of flying, and I have never seen southwest be competitive with other airlines on same day bookings, so never fly with them.
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Old 11-09-2014, 11:43 AM
 
Location: Seattle
1,531 posts, read 1,310,974 times
Reputation: 3600
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldhousegirl View Post
Husband said his flight was not even half full. So with all of those empty seats, southwest would rather sell none than discount last minute tickets????

Thanks for the input!!
How many times have you arrived for a movie at the last minute and had them sell you a reduced-price ticket? Or had a bartender sell you a drink for half off five minutes before closing time?

Simple answer - if the airline (Southwest or anybody else) became known as one who discounted tickets at the last minute, why would anyone buy tickets ahead of time?

Airlines (also trains, hotels, cruise lines) have spent millions and millions honing and perfecting their "revenue management" or "yield management" systems - horrendously complex computer algorithms - to create maximum profit on every seat available on every flight. NOT selling empty seats for a discount is perfectly logical when you run the computations that would show that having fewer people paying higher prices shortly before a flight nets the airline more revenue.

Often, the best time to redeem frequent flyer miles/points is the day before a flight. In that case, the airline isn't losing anything; on the contrary it's removing a contingent liability off its balance sheet (unredeemed miles) with virtually no "cash" impact on its operations. Those same RM/YM programs also tell the airline when to release seats into award inventory.
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Old 11-09-2014, 12:14 PM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,565,311 times
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The acquisition of AirTran had nothing to do with Wn's pricing model. It entirely had to do with their fuel hedges ending. That is what kept their fares artificially low for five years.
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Old 11-09-2014, 12:23 PM
 
Location: All Over
4,004 posts, read 4,571,776 times
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Basically your just whining because they wouldn't sell you a seat at a price you wanted. I'm not sure how airlines work with taxes and such but with commercial real esatet for example there's a ton of empty stuff they could probably rent for a low rate but if they leave it vacant its a tax writeoff so if I can writeoof $2,000 a month in taxes which I would usually rent the place for or teh alternative is to rent it for $600 a month I'll leave it vacant nad write off $2,000 instead of accepting $600 and dealing with a tenant. Probably similar deal for airlines. ALso if they start giving away seats people will knwo they can wait til last mnute
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Old 11-09-2014, 01:46 PM
 
405 posts, read 419,468 times
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I agree that Southwest is especially high for last minute bookings and by last minute, I mean within 2 weeks of the travel date. In February, I booked a ticket to Vegas exactly 2 weeks before my flight. I booked on February 5 for a February 19 flight. Southwest isn't my preferred airline so I tend to make it the last airline I check. I looked at Delta and it was $248 r/t. United was around $390. American was about $420. The cheapest I saw on Southwest at the time was $700. I had a similar situation last February, but I was booking just a week before my flight. Delta was once again around $250 while Southwest was around $625. I got lucky when I booked my flight that time because I told a buddy about the fare I found on Delta so he wanted to go too so he went to go look, just about 2 hours later, and the price had gone up to $560 or so.

Oh and I should point out that at least out of IND, Southwest is RARELY the lowest fare to places, even when you factor in the baggage fees of the other airlines. The only real benefit of flying Southwest out of IND is that they offer non-stop flights while the airline offers require at least 1 stop unless a hub actually is your final destination.
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Old 11-09-2014, 02:57 PM
 
1,804 posts, read 6,280,243 times
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Appreciate the responses . Yeah, I kind of thought it all had to do with their reluctance to "reward bad behavior" by providing a discount at the last minute. And Doodle, I wasn't whining !
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Old 11-09-2014, 03:06 PM
 
Location: Out in the Badlands
10,425 posts, read 8,776,219 times
Reputation: 7734
Unfortunately SWA is under "new management" Herb K. is gone from the power structure and the new dude is turning the carrier into a "legacy" airline. Only strikes by the various labor unions to break it's back are yet to come...and then the transformation to bankrupt legacy carrier will be complete.
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Old 11-09-2014, 03:42 PM
 
10,847 posts, read 11,250,780 times
Reputation: 7578
Quote:
Originally Posted by doodlemagic View Post
Basically your just whining because they wouldn't sell you a seat at a price you wanted.
that pretty much is what it is about.

An airline would be dumb to to known for offering last minute discount air ticket. Any airline would prefer customers to buy tickets well in advance so that they can secure the revenue beforehand. Encouraging late/last minute booking doesn't help with that, and flying the plane half empty while not offering cheap price makes all the sense.

Think of it this way, OP, if southwest did offer you a $200 ticket, what would you do next time flying with them? You would wait till the last moment again for "deals" instead of booking in advance.

I have a trip happening in mid February and the tickets are already booked two weeks ago and now it is already 20% more expensive.
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Old 11-09-2014, 04:18 PM
 
Location: Looking over your shoulder
30,320 posts, read 27,776,619 times
Reputation: 81204
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldhousegirl View Post
Hi everyone. My husband booked a southwest flight several weeks ago, a two day weekend away leaving Friday, arriving back for Mon. I held off on going because I didn't want to pay what I thought was a too high price. Since southwest took over AirTran, their rates are definitely higher.

At the last minute, one day before he was to leave, I decided that I wanted to go. I checked the third party bookers and southwest for hours looking for a round trip for about 200 or so dollars. Didn't happen. Southwest was 600 plus for what my husband paid 246 for. The best I saw was 274 on one of the no info until you pay booking sites. I deduced the flight was likely on spirit air winch wasn't an option for me.

Husband said his flight was not even half full. So with all of those empty seats, southwest would rather sell none than discount last minute tickets????

Thanks for the input!!
I wonder if they (Southwest) or anyone still sells "standby" tickets that are reduced prices? If so, that would have been an option in your case to ask for a standby ticket.... if the plane doesn't fill up at the last minute you get to fly at a lower price or put on the next flight out.

[update]
I just got to thinking about this again. They sell military standby all the time and only regular standby if they are already overbooked for a flight.

Last edited by AksarbeN; 11-09-2014 at 05:03 PM..
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