Did Southwest just increase summer fares?

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Old May 7, 19, 7:31 pm
  #1  
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Did Southwest just increase summer fares?

Long-time readers may recall 2016 when Southwest held summer fares insanely high until June. This year summer prices were, it seemed to me, unusually low. I hadn't checked for a few days, but today the former $65 fares intra-California are $70. Fortunately for me I have already bought all the summer flights I need. $70 is a reasonable intra-CA summer price, but it's higher than in recent years.

I suspect this increase is related to the losses and capacity reduction created by the MAX grounding. We'll be paying for that grounding in higher fares for a year or more.

Are you seeing higher fares this week for your city pairs?
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Old May 7, 19, 7:58 pm
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I have tried to use WN for a few trips I had this summer but have not been able to find fares even comparable with Delta out of Atlanta. I suspected it had to do with the MAX groundings and what you are saying has confirmed it. Hopefully they'll be able to "recover" from this loss in capacity.
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Old May 7, 19, 10:15 pm
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TPG is reporting (via JP Morgan) an industry wide fare increase of about $5 that WN confirmed by roughly meeting across many routes.

https://thepointsguy.com/news/airlin...-analysts-say/

I noticed this on DL from fares this past weekend vs. today but hadnít realized it wasnít just local to DL.
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Old May 8, 19, 6:17 am
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Originally Posted by nsx View Post
I suspect this increase is related to the losses and capacity reduction created by the MAX grounding. We'll be paying for that grounding in higher fares for a year or more.
I doesn't really work like that. Supply and demand determines ticket prices. WN (and other airlines) are able to raise ticket prices because the economy is good and planes are full. Now, if you want to argue the the MAX grounding has taken some of the supply out of the system enabling fares to be raised, I may buy that somewhat.
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Old May 8, 19, 6:17 am
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Originally Posted by davedeboston View Post
TPG is reporting (via JP Morgan) an industry wide fare increase of about $5 that WN confirmed by roughly meeting across many routes.

https://thepointsguy.com/news/airlin...-analysts-say/
Thanks for that information. I suspect that the MAX grounding was the main reason Southwest went along with this increase after refusing to match earlier attempts. I feel hyper-fortunate that Southwest's recent glitch allowed me to book virtually all my 2019 summer trips at the lowest prices I can remember.

I wonder what this increase means for the anniversary sale coming up in June for Fall travel.
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Old May 8, 19, 7:06 am
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Fares for my regular DTW-BWI and ATL-DCA/BWI trips on WGA are much higher this summer than last year. Last year I was regularly seeing (and booking) $69 DTW-BWI and $85 ATL-DCA. This summer the cheapest WGA I've been finding are $79 and $105 respectively. Also been finding DL is more competitive this year than last - with more convenient flight times and booking more trips (that I know won't change/be cancelled) on them.
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Old Jun 4, 19, 12:34 pm
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Southwest fares much higher between EWR & PHX

Yes, we are frequent fliers on Southwest between New York & Phoenix, Phoenix & Denver and Phoenix & Portland, OR. We have noticed that, since the MAX-8 drama began and sidelined 5% of Southwest's fleet, Southwest's fares on all three of those city pairs are now completely non-competitive. For example: Currently (04 Jun/19) a ONE-WAY ticket has a base price of $389 (before $25 more for EarlyBird) between NY and Phoenix - no matter how far ahead we try to book it, and regardless of whether a fare sale is in effect. Just 3 months ago, we regularly paid $235 for that same route. In comparison, also as of today, the same flight costs $188-300 on every other major airline. In addition, every Southwest flight is now completely jammed full and therefore - despite Southwest's 2 free checked bags policy - there is now a lot more stressful competition for overhead bin space and just that more general feeling of a cattle call. We have always loved Southwest, but we're not going to continue to pay a premium fare for a no-frills experience. Until this fare situation returns to normal, we will be focusing our air travel on Delta and American.
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Old Jun 4, 19, 1:05 pm
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A family member just bought a transcon ticket on another airline after seeing that Southwest's price was almost as high as discounted F on the other airline, booking 10 days out.

I wonder if some of the uncompetitive fares are due to Southwest's issuance of so many Companion Passes. When you are selling to CP holders with companions, you can charge more than competitors.
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Old Jun 6, 19, 12:39 am
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This is likely to be a year of little to no air travel for us, so I've hardly checked any fares all year. In late April, however, I looked at some summer fares for a friend and was surprised to see the calendar showed most days in July had at least one $117 option (first and/or last of two N/S options on the route). By comparison, dead season fares on the route are $99. Note that late April is after the MAX8 grounding, and that it is unlikely the number of CPs has dramatically spiked just since then.

Now the lowest fare on the route in July is $176. Sure would be nice to have the fare matrix available to see if that's due to filled buckets or to fare hikes.

Just one data point.
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Old Jun 6, 19, 4:50 am
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EF has an archive of historical fares for airlines (going back a year). I haven't played with it for WN flights before, but was just looking at them now. It appears they don't keep the sale fares (like the Fall sale going on now), but they do appear to archive the non-sale fares. Going back in time and checking various routes, you can see there was pretty much an across the board $5 increase on their fares on May 6th (for example, see before and after for DTW-DEN below for cheapest fare), There was another increase back in November. Although it looks like EF data may be incomplete for WN. For example, I'm seeing a non-sale $149 fare on this route right now (these prices are base + 7.5% US excise tax).


V FARE BASIS BK FARE TRAVEL-TICKET AP MINMAX RTG
1 ULAVPNRO U X 151.01 T06MY 21/1 -/ - 240
SYSTEM DATES - CREATED 19NOV18/1918 EXPIRES 06MAY19/1933

V FARE BASIS BK FARE TRAVEL-TICKET AP MINMAX RTG
2 ULAVPNRO U X 156.00 E06MY S06MY 21/1 -/ - 240
SYSTEM DATES - CREATED 06MAY19/1933 EXPIRES INFINITY

These WN fare increases seem to frequently make the news --

https://www.bizjournals.com/dallas/n...se-prices.html
https://www.smartertravel.com/southwest-raises-fares/

Last edited by xliioper; Jun 6, 19 at 5:11 am
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Old Jun 7, 19, 8:00 pm
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Another $2 increase appeared this morning with the end of the anniversary sale.
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Old Jun 8, 19, 6:14 am
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Originally Posted by akillourhy View Post
We have noticed that, since the MAX-8 drama began and sidelined 5% of Southwest's fleet, Southwest's fares on all three of those city pairs are now completely non-competitive.
I'm not seeing "completely non-competitive" fares, e.g. far higher than the competition. But everything I check is running way ahead of a year or so ago. My wife and I fly Chicago-DCA frequently for reasons to do with elder care. 18 months ago, we were going every weekend, but with a little careful shopping we could always find sub-$100 one-way fares. Right now the lowest WGA fare seems frozen at a flat $169, and those are for off-hour / crack-of-dawn flights. (Peak flights can easily exceed $250.) We just booked a bunch of autumn trips @ $99 each way during the three-day sale, but bear in mind that this year's flash-sale screaming deal was, just a while ago, the regular, everyday deal.

I do not know if this is the Max effect, higher demand, or the result of reduced competition / capacity discipline / de facto fare collusion (the majors' BE fares typically match WN to the penny). Maybe all three.
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Old Jun 10, 19, 9:36 pm
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Originally Posted by nsx View Post
Long-time readers may recall 2016 when Southwest held summer fares insanely high until June. This year summer prices were, it seemed to me, unusually low. I hadn't checked for a few days, but today the former $65 fares intra-California are $70. Fortunately for me I have already bought all the summer flights I need. $70 is a reasonable intra-CA summer price, but it's higher than in recent years.

I suspect this increase is related to the losses and capacity reduction created by the MAX grounding. We'll be paying for that grounding in higher fares for a year or more.

Are you seeing higher fares this week for your city pairs?
Booked SJC-LAX r/t July 9-13 for $106. 60 $1 less than DL and. It includes two free bags.
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Old Jun 10, 19, 11:06 pm
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Lately the lowest intra-CA prices are out of SJC. Last year it was SFO. I'm not sure which competitor at SJC is causing this.
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Old Jun 11, 19, 4:02 am
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Originally Posted by nsx View Post
Lately the lowest intra-CA prices are out of SJC. Last year it was SFO. I'm not sure which competitor at SJC is causing this.
I love SJC and they are adding gates 31-60!but without a moving walkway.
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