Southwest waiving fare increase difference on flight changes

Southwest has long been the king of zero fees when it comes to changes, cancellations, and checked bags.  Whereas the other airlines are now all offering waived change fees due to the coronavirus pandemic, Southwest hasn't had to really make any policy changes because they still offer the best change/cancellation policies on the planet.  However, Southwest has now taken an extra step in no longer charging fare increase differences if you change your existing flight.

Before, while changing your flight was free, a fare difference would apply.  Meaning that if you booked for say $99 and you changed to a later flight that cost $129, you would have to front the $30 fare difference.  But for existing Southwest reservations, you can now change the flight and no fare difference fee will apply as long as the routing stays the same and you change to a flight no more than 2 months out.  This is extremely generous in the sense that you can change your flight you booked in April to one that departs tomorrow provided that a seat is available, and there would be no fee whatsoever.


Changing your flight

To change your flight, log in to your Southwest account and go to "My Trips", where you will see a link for changing your flight.


After clicking on "Change flight", you will then be brought to the page notifying you that there will not be a fare increase provided that you stay within the given restrictions.  If your origin or destination have multiple airports served by Southwest, such as the Bay Area or Greater Los Angeles area, you will also have the option of changing to nearby airports such as SFO, SJC, or OAK in the Bay Area and LAX, ONT, BUR, and SNA in the Los Angeles area.


After clicking on "Accept & continue", you will then be brought to Southwest's search engine to look for a new flight to change to.

As you can see, I would be able to change my flight originally departing on April 28th to literally tomorrow (March 18th) without any fees whatsoever.  Normally, Southwest would display the fare difference.  But in this case, it's just labeled as "Available" and I can make the change instantaneously.


Lower fare reminder

One of the great things about Southwest is that if your existing flight dropped in price or you changed to a cheaper flight, you would be refunded the difference in the form of travel funds.  This still holds true, so always keep an eye for fare drops and sales, especially during this time when airlines are desperate to get people to fly and throwing some of the lowest fares we've seen in a decade.


Nothing over $199

Southwest also announced yesterday that one-way Wanna Get Away fares booked by March 20 will be capped at $199 through June 17, 2020.  This is also another great addition as you could take a transcontinental or flight to Hawaii tomorrow for no more than $199 each way.  It also comes as no surprise as, like all the other carriers worldwide, Southwest is struggling to fill their seats as has suffered tremendously from the pandemic.



Bottom line

It's great to see Southwest go beyond the call when it comes to changing your flight during this unprecedented trying time we are currently experiencing in light of the coronavirus pandemic.  Whereas the other carriers have attempted to match yet fall short of Southwest's generous change/cancellation policy, Southwest has added an extra benefit to allow changes to more expensive flights without any additional costs whatsoever.

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