With Southwest Airlines, Changing Flights Is Easy and Free

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With the exception of business travel, everytime I’ve stepped on an airplane the last five years it’s been onto one operated by Southwest Airlines (I’d say it’s at least 20 flights). I fly Southwest because they have the cheapest airline tickets, the easiest frequent flyer program, a major hub twenty minutes from my current house and another one twenty minutes from my childhood house, and is brave enough to put themselves on television. (That last one isn’t a reason to fly but that transparency is unparalleled) Yesterday, I had another reason I could throw on that list – switching your flight on Southwest Airlines is both easy and free. There is no flight change fee and you can do it entirely online. At other airlines, there is typically a $50 change fee on top of the difference in fare, which will usually be a full rate fare because “that’s how it is.” Often, an online e-ticket can’t even be changed at all. The flight change process with Southwest Airlines is entirely online too!

  • First, you must have your confirmation number and the name on the credit card used to initially purchase the flight.
  • Then, click on TRAVEL CENTER in the top navigation menu.
  • Under the Travel Tools column, click on Change Air Reservation.
  • Enter in your confirmation number and name on the card.
  • You’ll be presented with the legs of your flight, check the boxes for the ones you want to replace.
  • When you enter that in, the next page will look similar to the regular Reservations window. Just progress as usual. You won’t have to put in any personal information at this point because they already know it.
  • When you reach the summary page, you’ll notice that it’s similar to the regular Summary page except that the new price will be offset by the price of your existing tickets. For me, the price was the same so the final cost was $0.00.
  • Once you submit, you’ll be sent a new email with the details of your trip.

Notice there was no change flight fee, no heartburn, and it was all online. Every other airline should be as easy to deal with as Southwest Airlines.

{ 51 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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51 Responses to “With Southwest Airlines, Changing Flights Is Easy and Free”

  1. bill says:

    I like SW Airlines but they have their stupid policies and extra fees too. I bought a ticket, paid for early bird (extra $10.00) then had to change my flight, bought a more expensive ticket and they will not refund my $10.00 despite haivng ample notice. Seems short sighted and greedy, doesn’t it?????

    Here is my repsonse to SWAir:
    I’ve attached your response to my previous email below. I don’t like your answer and believe you are being greedy and dumb…….so here is what I’m going to do. I have to fly me and my family to Tulsa this summer, August 4-7. So I’m going to book my travel on Delta. Take your $10.00 bucks and have fun with it. By the way, this $10.00 will cost you approximately $1,350 in airfares I would have paid.

    Dear William,
    Thank you for contacting us regarding our new Customer offering, EarlyBird Check-In. We appreciate the opportunity to respond to your concerns.

    All EarlyBird Check-In purchases are nonrefundable. Customers who cancel their flight will forfeit the previously purchased Early Bird Check-In option for that particular flight. This information is provided at the time of purchase, and it is also available on Nevertheless, we apologize that you are disappointed with this aspect of our new offering. As your feedback is important to us, we have tracked the main points of correspondence in our monthly summary, which is distributed to our Senior Leadership.

    Again, we appreciate your taking time out of your day to offer your thoughts as we know it can only make us a better airline. We hope to have the privilege of welcoming you onboard very soon as your patronage is important to us.
    Cynthia, Southwest Airlines
    The file reference number for your e-mail is 21251311885.

  2. Phoenix says:

    May I ask if I book an earlier flight with Southwest on a one way trip at the lowest sale price (e.g. $49) for 2 passengers on one single reservation, which is the only lowest fare of that day, and 10 days later, a mid-day flight on the same day departure and destination, direct flight, is on sale at $49, do I simply modify the one single reservation (for the 2 passengers) at the same time, and change to that mid-day flight, without paying any extra money? I am talking about a December, 2011 departure, and I want to buy the tickets today to take advantage of that only $49 sale price but hopefully other time slots will also be on sale down to $49 later.

    Thanks for your advice in advance!

  3. PatC says:

    I booked my family of 3 on a nonstop flight to and from Las Vegas. My husband now has a work conflict and wants to join us three days later, and we will all fly home together as planned. YOU CANNOT MAKE THIS TYPE OF CHANGE ONLINE. If I change my husband’s flight, guess what? It changes all 3 of us!!!! grrrrr

  4. Ann says:

    I just saw that the flight I booked yesterday was $30 cheaper today. I went to travel tools (small button on the right) down to Change flight and easy peasy, I’ve got a $30 credit. Thank you SWA!

  5. cici says:

    I know I can prob call the airline and ask but I want to ask can you change locations as well for free? Like if I wna fly to NY instead of El Paso

  6. Husker Avid says:

    Well, folks, universal love for Southwest! A fact that you didn’t mention is that Southwest has a device which allows you to leave your name and phone number. They will tell you when they will call you back and then they do so. Saves a hard working travel agent many hours of hold time.

    I love that a polite, educated Southwest employee will answer any of your questions.

    Also, Southwest futured purchased fuel for their planes. They announced recently that they had run out of pre-purchased fuel however they have been doing at business advantageously for years.

    Oh, Mr. never buy United again–have you thought of anger management classes?

  7. Liz Lucik says:

    I just saw above that if a ticket gets cheaper 2 days after you book it you will get a credit. I just told my daughter since this happened to her. She called SWA and the girl who answered said that’s just a chance you take when you book early! SO who is right? Can you get credit (and is this employee uninformed on her company’s policy) or are you just out of luck!

  8. Carla says:

    How long before my flight can I make a change? Is there a deadline?

  9. Autar says:

    Southwest is great. Needed to bring a relative down to help me. Bought the ticket for $200. Needed to bring her earlier. Did the change of flight, and got charged the difference. It was easy. I love southwest

  10. lightning says:

    For everyone wanting to change their DESTINATION, I just had the same problem and fixed it by calling southwest and the agent said she would cancel the flight and then the funds would be credited to my account. I then just need to pick a new flight to where ever from where ever within the next year (the only hitch is that the new ticket has to be for me, the original ticket holder, I can not give my credit to someone else). I am sure there is a way to do this cancel/credited online, but that is not how I did it. As for calling, I was not put on hold so it was quick.

  11. mlm says:

    I knew there was a way to do this, but needed the pointers. ‘Saved’ $50 today. Worked great!

    Just so everyone knows, the www site has changed a little. There’s no longer the “travel Center” tab. Just hover your mouse over “Air” and a menu will pop up. Go down to “Change reservation” and follow the instructions!

  12. Lynda powers says:

    My grandson would like to stay longer in Florida. Is this possible. Without paying any more money for his return to California?

  13. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my
    comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
    Anyway, just wanted to say fantastic blog!

  14. Cindy says:

    I changed my husband’s ticket online with a message that changes were made but no email verification was sent and the original confirmation code does not work to verify change. Now I need to call. So much for the convenience of online changes……

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