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Southwest Airlines

Southwest May Be Getting Basic Economy?

Southwest May Be Getting Basic Economy?
Taylor Rains

Southwest Airlines is known for challenging the status quo, allowing two free checked bags, using an open seating policy, and offering only one cabin class – economy. Southwest CEO Gary Kelly has been adamant about never implementing a no-frills class on his airline. He said in a conference call in January, “You’re not going to see basic economy from Southwest. That’s not what we do.” However, there is speculation that this may be changing after a FlyerTalk member posted a forum on the website titled “What is WN doing to its fare structure?” and said a fourth fare class might be coming to the airline.

FlyerTalker Post

The anonymous FlyerTalker claimed to be a member of Southwest’s advisory council and stated that there was a survey sent out to customers with a list of different combinations of fare names. The options posted are:

  • Complete Freedom, Freedom, Wanna Get Away Plus, Wanna Get Away.
  • Freedom & More, Freedom, WGA Plus, WGA
  • Wanna Get the Most, Wanna Get More, WGA+, WGA
  • Freedom Flex+, Freedom Flex, WGA+, WGA
  • Wanna Get the Most, Wanna Get More, WGA Plus, WGA
  • WGM Plus, WGM, The Original Plus, The Original
  • Freedom Perks, Freedom, WGA+, WGA
  • Go Ultimate, Go Anytime, Wanna Flex, Wanna Get Away

The member also mentioned the company might add a tier that offers 8x points, FlyBy for second tier, and a “same-day standby” perk for third tier. Today, Southwest only offers three fare options: Business Select, Anytime, and Wanna Get Away.

FlyerTalker Response

Many FlyerTalkers weighed in on the post. Some offered their own suggestions for fare names, while others speculated that the fourth fare may be basic economy, allowing only one free checked bag, removing free bags altogether, or charging a change/cancellation fee. One member posted, “Sounds like they are thinking of splitting WGA into two fare types, and then keeping “anytime” and “business” with new names and slightly different features. Probably trying to get more people to book one of the higher class fares. Especially since “business” is really a joke since all you’re getting is a better boarding position and a drink. My guess is a devaluation is in the works for their cheapest fare – maybe getting rid of free bags or changes?”

Personally, I don’t think this change is likely with Gary Kelly at the helm, but anything could happen. What do you think about this new fare idea? Let us know in the forums!

View Comments (5)


  1. Mike Rivers

    December 11, 2019 at 4:31 am


    Many times when I’ve been uncertain if a trip will need to be re-scheduled or cancelled, even if it’s a bit out of the way, and rarely more than a couple of dollars more than a direct flight on another airline, I’ll book on Southwest for their wallet-friendly change/cancel policy. I wouldn’t mind only being able to check one bag free since I rarely check a bag at all, but there’s no other airline where I can get a cheap fare and keep the money in the “bank” if I need to re-schedule. That, plus the fact that I’ve never really had a bad flight on the airline, is what makes me a happy Southwest customer.

  2. Danwriter

    December 11, 2019 at 6:34 am

    The CEO already said it’s not going to happen, but an “anonymous FlyerTalker claimed to be a member of Southwest’s advisory council” pipes up and suddenly it’s a thing. The writer concludes with “Personally, I don’t think this change is likely with Gary Kelly at the helm,” underscoring why she should never have written this bit of clickbait in the first place.

  3. snidely

    December 11, 2019 at 9:13 am

    Used to be WN was known as a low cost carrier. Their fares now match or exceed those of the major carriers. Eg. There are several flites a day from OAK – SNA. Since they are the only regular carrier, charges more than the UAL flite I just took across country SFO-FLL. Alaska Air often charges half of WN, but they only fly SFO-SNA.
    Many of us flying from Bay Area to So. Cal often travel with ust a briefcase. If Not returning same day, do take carryon. Not even 1 checked bag.

  4. tromboneboss

    December 11, 2019 at 9:55 am

    These are just research surveys that businesses send out all the time. They are always testing new ideas. Most of these ideas never get to the testing phase. I’ve filled out surveys for Southwest like this too. These surveys have always been around. Nothing really to see here. However the FlyerTalk poster should be kicked off for being a leaker. These are usually paid surveys. When you take these surveys you have to agree not to talk about the content.

  5. makfan

    December 12, 2019 at 11:33 am

    I sometimes wonder if SW will have a fare that always gets a C boarding group to offset the fares that guarantee A boarding group and a lower number so you get a good choice of seat. But honestly all this segmentation adds complexity to an already complex business.

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