Southwest change fare thingie is back

Before I flew to Orlando in February, I got an email saying that some middle seats on my flight were booked. I had to option to change my flight to a different one, provided that the flight I wanted to switch to was not booked more than 60%.
I never tried to change my flight so I don’t know what would have happened had I tried to adjust the time to a flight that was more than 60% booked.
They may be flying full planes, but giving the people the option to switch to an emptier flight if that flight is less than 60% full.

Unrelated to the current venting - so sorry! They are DEFINITELY not booting people in order to maintain distance.

I saw this thread bump and went to check my Memorial Day flights and lo and behold I did get the “you may change under these circumstances for free” banner!! Only problem is that I booked the actual flights I wanted that were mucho points. So I cancel those and rebook into some cheap ones but didn’t get the banner! I think they must be somewhat onto the hack now? I will let these sit overnight and see if the banner will appear. So odd.

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So sorry this happened to you. Would be interesting to know how they go about booting people off a full flight. Random lottery, or folks that paid the least for the flight, booted first. Which would presumably add another risk to the change fare thingie assuming of course that doing this is going to get you a lower fare for an otherwise expensive flight.


Oh man

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There are Federal regulations on if they boot you off a flight just because it is overbooked. @OBNurseNH knows these better than I, but I know they cannot just say Oh, Sorry, overbooked, we moved you to another flight. There are rules on compensation/options. You do NOT have to put up with this.

Especially if the SW person lied to @poohfanclub (ok, misrepresented) that it was to “maintain social distancing”

Which they are not doing…


Customer Service Rep told me that the way they decided was based on the timing of the booking (i.e. last in, first out). I suspect the way they really prioritized was based on price paid! Remember, I debated for a long time about the “buy cheap and switch to more expensive flight” trick for a long time before I took the plunge. I was thrilled when it worked. I guess I am paying the price now. Probably the first to get booted off!

I am dreading a change to my June flights because the options we end up with out of my airport are always super crappy. I will probably just cancel my flights and book with another airline.

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I think these are just if you are “bumped” on the day-of. I remember seeing one of the stipulations that you checked in on time. Otherwise they can just cancel your ticket and I don’t really think they owe you anything. Not great service at all, but I don’t think they run afoul of any rules.

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I actually don’t know the rules all that well but I believe there is some kind of stipulation regarding the amount of hours by which your flight was changed requiring some level of compensation or accommodation.

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Ya I definitely think they would be entitled to a refund if they asked! Just not likely “compensation” is all I was saying like if you get bumped.


Ok, update that they are definitely on to us!

Fortunately I have lots of points (unfortunate for all my cancelled trips though). I want to fly Friday-Monday of Labor Day so obviously my good flights are 26,000 points each way. I booked what I wanted and then the next day got the “change for free” banner which stinks because then I can’t even try to get points back. So then I booked the dirt cheapest flights for like Tuesday-Tuesday for 6,000 points each and I’ve waited for two days to get the banner and nothing. So this morning I found middle of the road flights for 13,000 points and booked those. I immediately got the banner. So they must have some sort of flag on the really cheap fares. But I at least saved over 10k points each way!


I booked the cheapest fares available and got the banner, this was just a few days ago. I doubt they’d just now be catching on to people doing this for a year. But maybe they’ve just figured out a way to filter out the lowest fares.

Thanks for sharing this. I hope this doesn’t signal an eventual end to this fabulous hack.

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I doubt they’re just catching onto it but I think they’ve been consumed with all of the work created by the pandemic travel related issues and might just be getting around to addressing it now

Yes, I think this is exactly my point.

The free change thing ended on 3/31 for this last round, right before they released their new schedule into Nov. If you got it with flights you today that must mean it’s back??

I do not have the banner for my June trip

Neither do I (6/14-6/23). Maybe they are only allowing for certain routes? Max 8 flights?

I really think this is what happened to me. This is the first time I ever tried this trick. (Figures :roll_eyes:) I bought really cheap fares and immediately changed. I almost think maybe a fare less than $100 triggered it, because we only got booted from the return flight, which was the cheapest (under $100), even though we changed both flights. Now the only return flight on the schedule that is showing availability for 5/15 is the early morning flight (6:30 AM). I think their system caught me.