Do Southwest Flights Get Cheaper Closer To The Date?

Booking flights can be stressful, especially when trying to get the best deal. If you’re wondering whether Southwest Airlines flight prices drop as the departure date gets closer, you’re not alone.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Southwest flight prices often get cheaper in the last 2-3 weeks before departure, but there are no guarantees. The best way to find cheap Southwest flights is to be flexible with your travel dates and destinations.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into details around Southwest’s pricing strategy, when and why their prices may drop, and tips on finding the cheapest Southwest flights.

How Southwest Airlines Prices Flights

When it comes to pricing flights, Southwest Airlines has a unique approach that sets it apart from other airlines. Here’s how Southwest Airlines prices its flights:

Southwest doesn’t have change or cancellation fees

One of the key factors that affect Southwest Airlines’ flight prices is the fact that they don’t charge change or cancellation fees. This means that customers can book a flight without worrying about incurring additional costs if their plans change.

This customer-friendly policy gives Southwest Airlines a competitive edge and attracts travelers who value flexibility.

Prices based on expected demand

Unlike many other airlines that use complex algorithms and dynamic pricing to determine flight fares, Southwest Airlines takes a different approach. Their pricing strategy is based on expected demand for a particular route.

This means that flight prices can fluctuate depending on factors such as the time of year, day of the week, and popular events happening at the destination.

For example, if there is high demand for flights to a popular vacation destination during the peak summer season, Southwest Airlines may increase the prices for those flights. On the other hand, if there is low demand for flights during a slower travel period, Southwest Airlines may offer discounted fares to attract more passengers.

Use a revenue management system

To effectively manage their flight pricing, Southwest Airlines relies on a sophisticated revenue management system. This system analyzes historical data, market trends, and customer behavior to optimize flight pricing.

By using this data-driven approach, Southwest Airlines can make informed decisions about when to increase or decrease flight prices to maximize revenue.

It’s important to note that while Southwest Airlines’ flight prices can vary, there is no guarantee that prices will get cheaper closer to the date of departure. Flight prices can fluctuate based on factors beyond just timing, such as demand and availability.

To stay updated on Southwest Airlines’ flight prices and to find the best deals, it’s recommended to regularly check their official website or use online travel agencies that aggregate flight fares from multiple airlines.

When Southwest Flight Prices Typically Drop

Southwest Airlines is known for offering affordable fares and flexible booking options. Many travelers wonder if waiting until the last minute to book a Southwest flight can result in even cheaper prices.

While it’s not a guaranteed strategy, there are certain factors that can influence a drop in Southwest flight prices closer to the date of departure.

Last minute unsold seats

One reason why Southwest flight prices may drop closer to the date is due to unsold seats. Airlines, including Southwest, want to fill as many seats as possible to maximize their revenue. If there are still unsold seats a few days or hours before the flight, the airline may lower the prices to attract last-minute bookings.

However, it’s important to note that this strategy may not always work, especially during peak travel seasons or on popular routes where demand is high.

Changes in demand

Another factor that can affect Southwest flight prices is changes in demand. If there is a sudden decrease in demand for a particular flight, Southwest may adjust the prices to entice more travelers to book.

For example, if a large group cancels their reservations or if there are unexpected events that lead to a decline in travel, Southwest may lower the prices to fill the empty seats. Keep in mind that predicting these changes in demand can be difficult, as they can be influenced by various factors such as holidays, events, or even weather conditions.

Competitor price drops

Southwest Airlines is constantly monitoring its competitors’ prices. If another airline lowers its fares on a specific route, Southwest may respond by lowering its prices as well to remain competitive. This can be particularly true for popular routes where multiple airlines operate.

Therefore, if you notice that other airlines are offering lower prices for the same destination and similar dates, it’s worth checking Southwest’s website to see if they have adjusted their fares accordingly.

While waiting until the last minute to book a Southwest flight can sometimes result in lower prices, it’s important to remember that airfare is unpredictable and can fluctuate based on various factors.

It’s always a good idea to compare prices, set fare alerts, and be flexible with your travel dates to increase your chances of finding the best deals. Additionally, consider signing up for Southwest’s email newsletters or following them on social media platforms to stay updated on any special promotions or flash sales they may offer.

Tips for Finding the Cheapest Southwest Flights

Be flexible

When it comes to finding the cheapest Southwest flights, flexibility is key. Being flexible with your travel dates can help you snag a great deal. Airlines often have different pricing tiers based on demand, so flying on less popular days can save you money.

Consider traveling on weekdays or during off-peak seasons to increase your chances of finding cheaper flights.

Check prices regularly

Don’t settle for the first price you see. Prices for Southwest flights can fluctuate, so it’s important to check prices regularly. Set up price alerts or use websites that track airline fares to stay updated on any changes.

Keep in mind that airlines often release discounted fares at specific times, such as midweek or late at night. By monitoring prices and being patient, you can increase your chances of finding a cheaper flight.

Consider nearby airports

If you’re flexible with your departure and arrival airports, consider looking at nearby airports. Sometimes, flying into or out of a smaller airport can be more affordable than a major hub. Be sure to factor in transportation costs to and from the airport when comparing prices.

This tactic can lead to significant savings, especially if you’re willing to drive a bit further to catch your flight.

Leverage sales and deals

Southwest Airlines often offers sales and deals throughout the year. Keep an eye out for these promotions as they can help you find cheaper flights. Sign up for Southwest’s email newsletter to receive notifications about upcoming sales.

Additionally, follow Southwest on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, where they may announce flash sales or limited-time offers. By staying informed about these opportunities, you can take advantage of discounted fares and save money on your Southwest flights.

Risks of Booking Too Early or Waiting Too Long

When it comes to booking flights, finding the perfect time to get the best deal can be a challenge. Many travelers wonder if Southwest flights get cheaper closer to the date or if booking early is the way to go.

While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, it’s important to consider the risks of booking too early or waiting too long.

Booking Too Early

Booking your Southwest flight well in advance may seem like a smart move to secure a lower fare. However, there are risks involved. One of the main risks is that prices could drop after you’ve already made your reservation.

Airlines often adjust their fares based on demand and other factors, so there’s a chance that you could miss out on a better deal if you book too early.

Another risk of booking too early is that your plans might change. Life is unpredictable, and unexpected events or circumstances may force you to make changes to your travel itinerary. If you’ve booked your flight too far in advance, you may face hefty cancellation or change fees, potentially costing you more money than if you had waited to book.

Waiting Too Long

On the other hand, waiting too long to book your Southwest flight also comes with its own set of risks. As the departure date approaches, the availability of seats decreases, and fares tend to rise. This is especially true during peak travel seasons or for popular destinations.

Waiting until the last minute may leave you with limited options and higher prices.

Furthermore, there’s no guarantee that prices will drop as the departure date gets closer. While some airlines may offer last-minute deals to fill up empty seats, this is not always the case. It’s a gamble to wait until the eleventh hour, hoping for a significant price drop.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to book early or wait closer to the date depends on several factors, including your budget, flexibility, and risk tolerance. It’s always a good idea to monitor Southwest’s website regularly, sign up for fare alerts, and compare prices with other airlines to make an informed decision.

For more information on finding the best deals on Southwest flights, you can visit the official Southwest Airlines website at


While Southwest flight prices often decrease in the final weeks before departure, there’s no guarantee. The best way to save is to remain flexible and keep an eye out for sales and competitive pricing.

Use the tips in this guide to find the cheapest Southwest fares for your next trip!

Similar Posts