Saturday, June 22, 2024

Southwest Airlines Fares Searchable On Google Flights

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Google Flights is a pretty handy tool when it comes to fare comparisons, and I always use it as a starter when searching for new flights.

For those shopping around for flights within the United States and surrounding areas, one major airline has always been missing from the list: Southwest Airlines.

Now to be fair, Southwest flights did show in search results previously, with pertinent info such as flight times, flight numbers and so on, but the fare was never listed. This meant having to go directly to Southwest’s website to look it up in a separate tab, making comparison shopping a bit challenging.

Thankfully that’s no longer the case as they’ve now extended access to Google’s travel search engine, displaying fares alongside all other major airlines.

Once you choose a fare, you get Southwest’s class options with each benefit listed per fare type. There isn’t much differentiation listed here because the first two fares vary at the rewards level, but you still get an idea what each fare class is about.

Beyond the usual fare comparison grid, travelers can now take advantage of pricing tracking, which allows you to subscribe to a flight or city pair (among other combinations) via email to find out when prices are at their lowest. On top of that, you can use this to apply for a credit or cash refund for the difference if fares drop below your booked price (once done within the qualifying period).

This change comes as the airline continually works on ways to improve its finances. After suffering a $231 million loss in Q1 of 2024, the airline was forced to re-evaluate is expansion plans.

Partly due to the drama involving 737 MAX deliveries, the company was forced to significantly slow its growth plans, implement measures such as downsizing its staff complement, trimming less profitable routes, and even looking at how it might sell seats in the future (no solid info on that yet though).

Even though this is a small move, it’s still the right step in the direction opening up additional avenues for potential customers to access their fares. Sadly that’s as far as it goes as other travel search engines like Expedia and Booking.com still do not have access to Southwest’s fares.

While not exactly the same, Chase card customers are the only other 3rd party clients who can search external portals to look up Southwest fares. In this case, they pay with Chase miles rather than regular currency.

Featured image: Bradley Wint/Gate Checked

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