Southwest adds free same-day standby for A-List members but there is a catch

Southwest has had a history of doing things differently than the rest of the airlines and that is what makes them awesome.  However, one thing I never liked was the fact that flying Standby required a full-fare (Anytime) ticket.  That meant if you took a low-cost fare on vacation and decide you need to come back earlier that day, you had to pay the difference in cost between that low-fare and the full-fare.  For shorter flights, this was less of an issue.  However, for longer flights where there are bigger fare differences, this was a real problem.  For example, if I booked a flight from Seattle to Dallas on a Wanna Get Away fare, it might be $149.  However, the Anytime fare would be well over $500.  So if I decided I needed to take a different flight that day, I would have to pony up the difference in fares.  That was really cost prohibitive.

Starting September 13th though, A-List and A-List Preferred members will now enjoy free same-day standby regardless of fare booked.  You can do this as long as it is on the same day and you are going to the same destination.  Here is the catch though, your standby flight has to be within two hours of the original flight.  This to me is a bit disappointing.  While this will be nice if I am trying to catch an earlier flight back from Houston (when there is a flight every half hour).  It doesn’t do me any good when I am flying across the country and flights are less frequent.  I think if Southwest opened this window to four hours it would be a lot more useful.  I am not complaining too much though as this is a step in the right direction none-the-less.

If you do want to try flying standby, just talk to an available gate agent to get your name added to the list.  A-List and A-List Preferred members still get priority standby as well so that means you might be able to get home earlier for less.

Does Southwest have business class or first class?

For people that are new to Southwest Airlines they often ask if Southwest has an equivalent of business class or first class.  For a seasoned Southwest traveler that may seem like a dumb question, but I get traffic on my web site every day with people asking that exact question.

Does Southwest have business class or first class?  No. 

Remember, once onboard a Southwest plane every one on the plane is equal.  There aren’t a handful of seats at the front of the plane filled with the elites.  All the seats are roughly the same with some small differences around exit rows, bulk heads, and the back of the plane.  It’s true the people with status are probably sitting up front, but not always.

What is Business Select though?

Business Select is Southwest’s top fare aimed at business travelers.  While it is the most expensive fare, it is only usually $22 more than the refundable fare.  Whereas a first class or business class ticket on another airline can cost hundreds if not thousands more.

What does Business Select get you?  You’ll be one of the first on the plane with a position of A1 – A15, you’ll get the most rapid rewards points possible for the flight, and you’ll get a free drink coupon for that flight.  You’re one of the first people on the plane and that is nice.  Keep in mind though that you still board after the pre-boarders.  Some flights will also have passengers from a previous stop as well.  Still you get to board before everyone else after that so if you are picky about where you sit, Business Select is for you.

Is Business Select worth it?  Depends on the flight.  If you can get someone else to pay for it, absolutely.   Business Select is usually reasonable for those flying on short regional flights at the last minute.

On longer flights such as Dallas to La Guardia, the Wanna Get Away fares don’t get booked up as fast on last minute flights.  That means the price difference between Wanna Get Away and Anytime / Business Select might be a few hundred dollars each way.  That’s usually hard to justify.

When it comes to points, you get double the amount per dollar (12 points versus 6 points).  Couple that with the higher fare and you will get a huge number of points for each Business Select flight you take.  No other airline can compare to this.

Note, if you don’t use your drink coupon on that flight, you can usually get away with using it on another flight.  This is a good use for those drink coupons you get from those 6 am flights on the way to see a client.  It means you can double-up on the way home.

Hopefully that explains how Business Select works on Southwest.  If you still have questions about flying on Southwest, be sure and read my Beginner’s Guide to flying Southwest.

Southwest offering $15 off your ride to Dallas Love Field with Lyft

LyftThe parking shortage continues at Dallas Love Field as we enter the summer season and a new garage is years away.  To encourage users to ride to the airport instead of parking, Southwest has partnered with Lyft to bring you a discount to and from the airport.  If you are not familiar with Lyft, it is another online ride service similar to Uber.

You’ll get a promo code automatically via e-mail when you checkin for your next flight.   The promotion code is good for up to $15 to and from the airport.  Each voucher is good for two rides (i.e.: there and back).  Promo codes expire August, 15th, 2015.

I have a few promo codes that I won’t be using (since I live really far away), so help yourself.

  • LOV38581
  • LOV90945
  • LOV87877

I am guessing you could just put any five digit number after LOV and it will probably work.  If you use one of the promo codes, leave a comment and let us know how your ride was.

Download the Lfyt App now to get started.

Be sure and check out my post on the Dallas Love Field parking shortage for additional tips.

What is a “Wanna get away” fare on Southwest Airlines?

Southwest Airlines keeps their airfare classes extremely simple.  They don’t have Y, M, K, X, and other cryptic classes that only people with 10+ years in the travel industry understand.  They have three fares:

  • Business Select – Southwest’s top fare which includes priority boarding, more Rapid Rewards Points, priority screening, and a drink.  It’s also fully refundable and you can change your ticket at any time.  This is as close as it comes to first class on Southwest.
  • Anytime – This is Southwest’s fully refundable fare.  This fare allows you to change your ticket at any time without penalty.  It also allows you to fly standby at no extra charge.
  • Wanna Get Away – This is Southwest’s lowest fare aimed at the casual traveler.   You can get this fare by booking your flights in advance.  However, it comes with fewer Rapid Rewards points and flying standby will cost you extra.  If you want to fly standby, you will have to pay the fare difference between what you paid and the published Anytime fare.  On the plus side, there is no change fee charged on top of your fare.  You can change you flight at any time.  Just keep in mind fares go up as your travel date gets closer.

For the seasoned Southwest traveler, these fares may be common knowledge.  According to my analytics though, this is one of the top search queries directing users to my site.  For more information on Southwest fares, refer to this chart.

CLEAR opening in Baltimore and Miami – Get three months free!

A card reader at the CLEAR kiosk.

A card reader at the CLEAR kiosk.

If you live in Baltimore or Miami, now is a great time to sign up for CLEAR.  CLEAR is open in Baltimore now and opens on May 20th in Miami.  If you are not familiar with CLEAR, think of it as your personal escort through the security line.  Even if you have TSA PreCheck this can save you lots of time at busy airports in the mornings.  To sweeten the offer, CLEAR is offering three months for free, so give it a try and see how it works for you.  You don’t need to live in either of those cities to get the three free months either, so give it a try.

Be sure and check out my complete review on CLEAR for more details!

Double points are back on Southwest for flights to / from Dallas or Austin

Southwest AirlinesTo celebrate more non-stop flights out of Dallas Love Field, double points are back with Southwest!  Southwest regularly has double points promotions but you have to sign up first.  To sign up, log in to your Southwest Rapid Rewards Account, go to My Account -> My Rapid Rewards and click the promotion “Double Points are twice as nice”.   Click the Register button to sign up.  You can also try this link (it will make you log in when you click it).

After that, just book any flight with travel between April 28, 2015 and July 31, 2015.  The travel must be to or from the cities of Dallas or Austin.  That doesn’t mean flights between Dallas and Austin.  It just means that one of those cities has to be your departure location or destination.

This promotion may not be available to everyone so log in to your account and see.

The new year is the best time to get the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Visa Card

If you have been thinking about getting a Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Visa Card, now is the time to do it.  That’s because the clock has just reset on all of your qualifying points.  This card is the fastest way you can get earn a Companion Pass.  You’ll get 50,000 points after the first three months if you spend $2,000 dollars on the card.  That’s enough for two flights just about anywhere on Southwest.  With proper planning, you can get even more flifghts.l  Besides all of those flights you get, those points count towards your Companion Pass tier qualifier.  With 50k points, that puts you almost halfway towards the 110k that you need.

If you have been thinking about the Southwest Visa Card, take a look at it again.  The annual fee of $95 is waived for the first year too.  Plus there aren’t any fees when you make foreign transactions.

New gates open at Dallas Love Field

I walked into Dallas Love Field to take my first flight as a new resident of the Dallas / Fort Worth area this morning to notice that some of the new gates are now open.  After the renovation of Love Field, there was a wall just past gate 14 while they were finishing the rest of construction.  Looking at the gate map, the area was marked off as “coming soon”.  I didn’t think the new area would open until the Wright Amendment lifted but it turns out I was wrong.

When you hang a left, you will see the wall has been removed and some of the new gates are open.

The wall has been removed at Dallas Love Field opening the path to new gates.

The wall has been removed at Dallas Love Field opening the path to new gates.

Gates 11 and 13 still have the temporary dividers up.  However, gates 16 an 18 are operational now.  The rest of the gates still have a blank screen next to them, but I am sure they will be open before too long.

The end of the left wing of Dallas Love Field with gates 15 - 20.

The end of the left wing of Dallas Love Field with gates 15 – 20.

These are exciting times for Love Field as the Wright Amendment will soon be lifted.  I am looking forward to seeing what else is in store.