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Southwest Plans New Fare Class, Focus on Business Travel in 2022

Chicago, Illinois, USA - May 21, 2013: Southwest Airlines aircraft on the move with the Chicago skyline in the background.

Southwest Airlines is hopeful to attract new business travelers with a new product offering more benefits than the lowest-tier fare, but cheaper than the “Anytime” fare.
As business travel is expected to start recovering in 2022, Southwest Airlines is planning a new product to win road warriors over from the legacy carriers.


The Dallas-based carrier’s recover plans were outlined in their 2021 investor day presentation on December 8, 2021.


New Product Compliments Business Plan, Network Restoration

Rumors of a new fare class to complement their three current products date back to 2019, when the airline was rumored to consider adding a “Basic Economy” tier. Although incoming chief executive Bob Jordan did not rule it out in a 2021 interview, he did note that none of their products would exclude their free checked baggage allowance.


The presentation offered confirmation that Southwest is adding a fourth fare option, but it won’t be a “basic economy” option below the “Wanna Get Away” fare. Instead, executives say the new product “enhances the overall product offering for customers while also increasing benefits” tied to the existing products.


Slide courtesy: Southwest Airlines


Looking towards the future, Southwest is focused on rebuilding their network in their top 50 cities. Their future point-to-point network is focused around 13 cities where the airline is number one by passenger volume, including Baltimore, Burbank, Dallas, Nashville, Oakland and Orlando.


Slide courtesy: Southwest Airlines


To restore the network, the carrier is focused on hiring more employees to meet increasing demand, as well as integrating new Boeing 737 deliveries into their fleet. This coincides with their plan to grow in new marketplaces, including the 18 new cities and Hawaii service introduced since the pandemic began.


Slide courtesy: Southwest Airlines


By 2023, the airline anticipates their full network will be restored, followed by the maturation of new marketplaces they will be launching into. In addition, the carrier hopes to have their new revenue management system fully modernized, as well as activating new co-brand credit card agreement with Chase, expiring in 2030. If they are successful in reaching their goals, the next step for the company is expanding into new revenue channels, including expanding the Southwest Vacations program.


Slide courtesy: Southwest Airlines

Southwest Plan Coincides With Domestic Recovery

The Southwest recovery plan is driven in part by strong consumer recovery, with more passengers returning to the skies in time for the holiday season. Over the Thanksgiving 2021 holiday period, data from the Transportation Security Administration shows an average of over 2.4 million flyers were screened daily across U.S. airports.


AsiaTravel2019 January 5, 2022

Without the normal things a business traveler expects like designated seating and free upgrades, I don't see Southwest competing in this space. 

rylan December 14, 2021

Wow I just tried posting a comment with no offensive words or anything of the sort and not even negative, yet the stupid filter keeps rejecting it.  So this is my post now instead

AADFW December 13, 2021

They need to switch to reserved seats and overhaul the boarding process.