Southwest Airlines’ Deal Is Too Good to Be True

Lindsay Mannering
6

southwest airlinesI'm always skeptical of airline deals; they're just never, ever as good as they sound. So naturally I'm a little curious about Southwest Airlines, which is offering $40 fares for their 40th birthday. While it's my opinion that 40 dollars can get you a checked bag and a sandwich at the airport, and that's about it, SWA wants us to believe that you can buy a ticket for under 50 bucks. Hmm.

The low-price offer has certainly got fliers' attention though, the Southwest website is running super slowly. I will kindly attribute the site's glacial pace to the influx of page visitors they're getting who are trying to snag the cheap seats, but who knows.

Ding! You are now free to move around the compromise.

The deal is that it's $40 for one-way flights that travel fewer than 450 miles, $80 for one-way flights that travel between 451 and 1,250 miles, and $120 for one-way flights that go 1,251 miles or more. So if you wanted to fly from L.A. to San Francisco, that'd be a short flight. Wanna go from L.A to Denver? That's a mid-range ticket. And L.A. to the East Coast is the longer, $120 fare.

The offer is good for flights booked before end of day Thursday that fly between August 23 and November 16.

The deals sound great, right? I'm trying right now to book a flight, but their website crashed on me, three times. And I've given up. I'm no masochist. And maybe my impatience is a good thing, since it's possible I could be wasting my time.

The low fares don't apply to flights on Fridays or Sundays, so no cheap weekend getaways for you. And the Thursday, Monday, and Tuesday surrounding Labor Day are black out dates, so forget about getting a cheap flight to visit Grandma over the end-of-summer holiday.

While the deals sound enticing, they're always too good to be true. Well, too restrictive to be good, rather. If I want to fly to Raleigh/Durham on a Monday and fly back Wednesday, this might help me out. But I don't want to do that. No one does except for business travelers, who have corporate cards, who generally don't book flights more than two weeks in advance. Thanks, SWA. Who are these fares really helping?

At the end of the day, if you take advantage of this deal, you're going to be left with a reasonably priced ticket on a crappy airline. Southwest really is the Greyhound Bus of the sky. I'd rather pay a little more to have a seat assignment, but that's just me.

Do you think the deal is something you could take advantage of?


Photo via nineball2727/Flickr

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