Wanna Get Away Plus Brings Flight Perks
- Southwest Airlines has unveiled a new fare class called Wanna Get Away Plus, which will be more expensive than its current cheapest ticket.
- One of the main benefits of Wanna Get Away Plus is the ability to transfer flight credits, what Southwest calls Travel Funds.
- Another advantage of the new tariff? The possibility of changing flights on the day of travel free of charge if seats are available.
Southwest Airlines passengers with travel credits for a canceled trip frequently ask the airline if they can apply them to someone else’s ticket for someone else.
The airline’s answer is always the same: a resounding no, as is the case with most airlines.
“Looks like the money I’ve already paid should be usable however I see fit,” said a traveler hoping to transfer credits to his son in a Tweeter to the airline in early March. “Hoping you can correct this strange policy.”
Southwest is about to change policy — for a price.
The airline unveiled details of its long-awaited new fare category on Thursday, its first since 2007, and a key benefit is the ability to transfer flight credits, which Southwest calls travel funds.
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Southwest Wanna Get Away Plus Tickets vs. Wanna Get Away
The option will be included for travelers who purchase the new ticket type, called Wanna Get Away Plus, which will be more expensive than its current cheapest ticket, called Wanna Get Away. The airline offers this and other perks in an effort to entice travelers to pay more for their ticket.
“It’s an issue that many of our customers relay, especially for leisure travel,” said Jonathan Clarkson, vice president of marketing, loyalty and product at Southwest. “They have these funds that they don’t have the time to use or don’t have the capacity to use or would prefer someone else close to them to use them, but there’s no easy way to transfer them.”
Southwest didn’t disclose how much more travelers would typically pay for a Wanna Get Away Plus ticket than a Wanna Get Away ticket, except to call the increase “modest.” The upsell price will not be known until the airline rolls out the new range of fares, which is expected by the end of June.
“I think we’ll see a significant percentage of our customers buying Wanna Get Away Plus,” Clarkson said.
The transfer option is also added to the airline’s more expensive tickets, called Anytime and Business Select, but these tickets are already refundable, so the benefit is not as critical.
Can you upgrade to an earlier flight on Southwest?
The new Wanna Get Away Plus tickets will include another key perk the airline says will entice travelers to buy: the ability to change flights on the day of travel at no cost if seats are available (confirmed or on hold.)
The airline’s Wanna Get Away tickets offer same-day changes when available, but passengers must pay for any fare difference, which can be significant at the last minute.
“If there’s one thing we’ve all learned during the pandemic, it’s that plans change,” Clarkson said, “and those two things give customers the ability to adapt to that.”
Watterson called the same-day change option a “substantial benefit” for travellers, especially business travellers.
“You show up at 5 a.m. and want to catch an earlier flight. You can make a change if a seat is available,” he said.
What is early check in for south west?
The upcoming ticket changes announced Thursday weren’t limited to the unveiling of Wanna Get Away Plus, a name Southwest included in customer surveys when researching new fare categories a few years ago.
The airline’s Anytime tickets have new features, including the addition of Southwest’s EarlyBird check-in. EarlyBird Check-In, which offers travelers a better boarding position in Southwest’s unique open seating system, is currently only sold separately. The airline charges $15 to $25 per person per flight.
The EarlyBird option, which automatically assigns passenger boarding positions 12 hours before Southwest’s standard online check-in begins, will still be available for purchase with Wanna Get Away or Wanna Get Away tickets, said airline executives. (Business Select tickets already include the airline’s most coveted boarding positions.) The product is a big moneymaker for Southwest, bringing in more than $400 million a year before the pandemic.
With Anytime ticket buyers automatically added to the EarlyBird pool and checked in before those purchasing EarlyBird, won’t South West passengers paying for the product lose ground in their quest for the best possible seat?
Clarkson and Watterson insist that any changes will be slight.
“It probably only adds a few (of) boarding positions to the average boarding position that someone is already going to get,” Clarkson said.
Watterson said some Anytime ticket buyers are already paying for EarlyBird.
“You can easily see a case where it doesn’t change that number much because now they get it for free,” he said, adding that Southwest will continue to manage the number of EarlyBird slots sold.
Are Southwest flights refundable?
Despite the flexibility of the new Wanna Get Away Plus tickets, these tickets and Wanna Get Away tickets will not be refundable. Travelers will receive a credit that can be used within 12 months of the ticket purchase date.
The only South West fares that will be refundable, meaning travelers can get their money back, remain the more expensive Business Select and Anytime fares.
The story continues below.
Does the Southwest have a basic economy?
Watterson has said for months that revamping Southwest’s fare structure would take nothing away from travelers, i.e. making Wanna Get Away tickets more of basic economy tickets or no-frills airline tickets. at low price.
The airline kept that promise on Thursday, without changing its most popular ticket. Travelers will still receive frequent flyer miles, two free bags and no ticket change fees, among other current features.
“Nothing is taken away from Wanna Get Away. It’s still the same product customers know and love,” Clarkson said. “It goes against non-customer-centric industry trends of removing perks…and forcing customers to buy a less punitive product.”