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Old Oct 17, 11, 3:16 am   #1
 
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Possibility of switching to earlier flight if checking in early?

Hi, quick question in regards to SWA's flexibility on their same-day flight change policy. I've booked a 4:45pm connecting domestic flight on Southwest to coincide with a 1:30pm international arrival at LAX.

Suppose that the flight lands early AND passage thru LAX Customs is smooth (which never happens), I can probably be at the Southwest check-in counter in time for the 3:45pm flight.

My question is that given the above, would they be able to grant request to be on the earlier flight without charging a change penalty?

On some airlines, the check-in agents will automatically put you on the earliest flight without you even asking... such as PVG/HKG where there is a flight every 30-45 min. Operationally, this will free up room on later flights which, theoretically, can increase revenue by having more "walk in" tickets sold.


Thanks
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Old Oct 17, 11, 6:04 am   #2
 
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Southwest will never charge you a change penalty. They *will*, however, charge you the difference in flight fares. And by the time your day of travel has arrived, the only fare available on the flight you want to switch to is the more expensive "Anytime" fare. So if you've booked your original flight on a Wanna Get Away fare, you will have a very large fare difference to pay. If you booked your original on Anytime or Business Select, the flight difference will likely be small, and may even be negative.
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Old Oct 17, 11, 7:56 am   #3
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DKNYSprt95 View Post
Hi, quick question in regards to SWA's flexibility on their same-day flight change policy. I've booked a 4:45pm connecting domestic flight on Southwest to coincide with a 1:30pm international arrival at LAX.

Suppose that the flight lands early AND passage thru LAX Customs is smooth (which never happens), I can probably be at the Southwest check-in counter in time for the 3:45pm flight.

My question is that given the above, would they be able to grant request to be on the earlier flight without charging a change penalty?

On some airlines, the check-in agents will automatically put you on the earliest flight without you even asking... such as PVG/HKG where there is a flight every 30-45 min. Operationally, this will free up room on later flights which, theoretically, can increase revenue by having more "walk in" tickets sold.


Thanks
If you land on an international at 1:30 at LAX you may not be able to make in time for the 3:45 flight. You will have to deplane at LAX, and then clear customs and then wait on the shuttle to take you to the WN terminal and then clear security in that terminal. If you are checking bags, allow extra time for that as well and the security lines at LAX can be long sometimes if you can't use the priority lane.

Unless you are on a full fare ticket, you will have to pay the difference. While souithwest doesn't charge you the change fee, the legacy carriers charge, if you want to fly on an earlier flight the same day, unless you are on a full fare with WN, the legacy would be cheaper in those cases. A lecagy doesn't charge you if you are an elite flyer, and if you aren't it is usually just $25 to $50, on WN upgrading to a full fare is usually a lot more than $50. You also will probably end up in the back of the plane in a middle seat if the flight is pretty full and if you are carrying on you might be stuck having to gate check your bag.

Providing your 4:45 flight is on time, I would just stick with that flight. If you get to the gate and the 3:45 is on time and the 4:45 is realy delayed, you might be able to get put on the 3:45 for free.
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Old Oct 17, 11, 8:53 am   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesteroh View Post
If you get to the gate and the 3:45 is on time and the 4:45 is realy delayed, you might be able to get put on the 3:45 for free.


I have no status on Southwest and was able to take advantage of this situation last month (my later flight was delayed only slightly) without paying a fare difference. But, you may not be able to do this if you have checked luggage.
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Old Oct 17, 11, 9:31 am   #5
 
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Hmmm... Yeah, the difference in fare is still an out of pocket expense. I know that SWA's pricing model is mostly based on how soon you book the flight. I'll go ahead and book the 4:45pm flight; and if I happen to get to SWA's terminal early, I'll try my chances to get switched over without any charge

Quote:
Originally Posted by mritty View Post
Southwest will never charge you a change penalty. They *will*, however, charge you the difference in flight fares. And by the time your day of travel has arrived, the only fare available on the flight you want to switch to is the more expensive "Anytime" fare. So if you've booked your original flight on a Wanna Get Away fare, you will have a very large fare difference to pay. If you booked your original on Anytime or Business Select, the flight difference will likely be small, and may even be negative.
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Old Oct 17, 11, 10:04 am   #6
 
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I'm not sure I would be comfortable with only 3 hours and 15 minutes anyway, especially if you are checking bags. If your flight is even an hour late, that would only leave you 2 hours and 15 minutes. You have to deplane, clear customs at LAX and then wait on and take the shuttle (IIRC they run every 10 or 15 minutes and WN is out of terminal 1 which is the opposite side of the itnernational terminal and depending on the direct the shuttle runs could be a decent ride so I would allow at least a hour between waiting and the ride time on the shuttle) to the the terminal 1, if you are checking a bag you will have to wait in that line and then reclear security for you Southwest flight. I would have no porblem at all with a three hour and fifteen minute, or even two hour and fifteen minute conneciton at LAX if I was on the same airline and knew I would be reaccomodated for free on the next flight if my international flight in was late. Seeing you are flying in on another airline, if your inbound is late and you miss your WN flight, I am not sure if they will put you on the next flight for free or try to force you to pay the price difference to a full fare seeing that your late inbound is no fault of theirs and they don't interline with other airlines.
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Old Oct 17, 11, 10:43 am   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesteroh View Post
You have to deplane, clear customs at LAX and then wait on and take the shuttle (IIRC they run every 10 or 15 minutes and WN is out of terminal 1 which is the opposite side of the itnernational terminal and depending on the direct the shuttle runs could be a decent ride
Don't use the shuttle. It's a 5-10 minute walk from TBIT to T1. I prefer walking upstairs, but downstairs can get you there as well. The shuttles have to go past T7 before looping back. That can take a long time.

OP: T1 security can be a total mess at times, so make sure you budget that time in. Do you have Global Entry?
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Old Oct 17, 11, 12:38 pm   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DKNYSprt95 View Post
Hmmm... Yeah, the difference in fare is still an out of pocket expense. I know that SWA's pricing model is mostly based on how soon you book the flight. I'll go ahead and book the 4:45pm flight; and if I happen to get to SWA's terminal early, I'll try my chances to get switched over without any charge
Your chances of getting a different flight without any charges are zero to none unless the new ticket is equal or less than the current ticket. The one exception might be is if your original flight is way overbooked,
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Oh, never mind.
MoreMilesPlease is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 17, 11, 12:46 pm   #9
 
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Originally Posted by tusphotog View Post
Don't use the shuttle. It's a 5-10 minute walk from TBIT to T1. I prefer walking upstairs, but downstairs can get you there as well. The shuttles have to go past T7 before looping back. That can take a long time.

OP: T1 security can be a total mess at times, so make sure you budget that time in. Do you have Global Entry?
Off topic, but if I am landing at LAX on WN and need to go to the T5 (delta terminal) in a couple weeks, is it quicker to walk or wait on the shuttle?
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Old Oct 17, 11, 2:59 pm   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoreMilesPlease View Post
Your chances of getting a different flight without any charges are zero to none unless the new ticket is equal or less than the current ticket. The one exception might be is if your original flight is way overbooked,
The second exception is if your original flight is delayed. Actually, your first exception will not apply.
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Old Oct 17, 11, 3:38 pm   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesteroh View Post
Off topic, but if I am landing at LAX on WN and need to go to the T5 (delta terminal) in a couple weeks, is it quicker to walk or wait on the shuttle?
I'd walk. I've done DL-->WN in 8 minutes (I was hoofing it, big time). You can control how fast you walk. You can't control traffic/how fast the shuttle goes, unfortunately...

You can always cut through the garage, too.
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Old Oct 17, 11, 5:28 pm   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tusphotog View Post
I'd walk. I've done DL-->WN in 8 minutes (I was hoofing it, big time). You can control how fast you walk. You can't control traffic/how fast the shuttle goes, unfortunately...

You can always cut through the garage, too.
Thanks. I am flying in on WN in a couple weeks and my friend arrives a couple hours after me and I wanted to go to the DL terminal and use the skyclub to shower and relax while I wait on him. The terminal map on the LAX site isn't really the clear on distance, etc between terminals.
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Old Oct 17, 11, 5:35 pm   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FindAWay View Post


I have no status on Southwest and was able to take advantage of this situation last month (my later flight was delayed only slightly) without paying a fare difference. But, you may not be able to do this if you have checked luggage.
If your flight is delayed for any amount of time (even 10 minutes) you can switch without penalty. This is the reason you were not charged the difference between the two flights.
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Old Oct 17, 11, 5:58 pm   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tusphotog View Post
Don't use the shuttle. It's a 5-10 minute walk from TBIT to T1. I prefer walking upstairs, but downstairs can get you there as well. The shuttles have to go past T7 before looping back. That can take a long time.

OP: T1 security can be a total mess at times, so make sure you budget that time in. Do you have Global Entry?
I'll definitely check this one out. The funny thing is I fly in/out of LAX at least 10 times a year and I never really looked to see how far apart the terminals are, LOL. Even funnier, I seen Global Entry signs but I never really know what it is for, looks to be an express lane?
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Old Oct 17, 11, 6:53 pm   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DKNYSprt95 View Post
I'll definitely check this one out. The funny thing is I fly in/out of LAX at least 10 times a year and I never really looked to see how far apart the terminals are, LOL. Even funnier, I seen Global Entry signs but I never really know what it is for, looks to be an express lane?


Yes, a $100 express lane.

http://www.globalentry.gov/howtoapply.html

I try to limit my international entries into LAX. It has taken me as long as 3 hours to get through and get my luggage. And, once I got my luggage, there was another huge line just to get out.
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