Southwest did a great job hedging on fuel prices when they were low several years ago, so they were able to price well below the competition. Looks like they got burned this time. I remember watching a show on CNBC about AA, they were interviewing the CEO and the interviewer asked if he would be happy when the SW fuel contracts were up. He really didn't respond but you could tell what he was thinking.From what I have read Southwest locked in their fuel prices for a couple of years out, which gave them a big advantage several months ago when fuel was so high. Now fuel has dropped and Southwest is locked in to a higher rate than other airlines are paying making it harder for them to be as competitive as they used to be.
Had the same problem. Been waiting for the schedule to open so we could use our FF awards to get from Raleigh to Palm Springs the end of March. Was going to fly into ONT. Nothing available at 11:15am this morning. Checked SNA and nothing avail going there either. Finally ended up getting tickets to LAX. Rental car is about $50 cheaper out of LAX but I guess I'll use that up driving to Palm Springs and back. At least we got a 1:00pm departure out of LAX back home so we don't have to get up at the crack of dawn and drive three hours. Oh well.Holy smokes!
I was holding off booking March flights from Portland to Phoenix until today, and was online literally seconds after SWA opened the schedule up to include my planned travel dates.
I've got a bunch of SWA award flights I was planning to use, but despite SWA having 10 flights (some with connections of course) between PDX and PHX for the dates I want to travel (which aren't "black-out" dates for SWA award travel), not a single "standard award" was available on my planned days of travel (on either end) or the days before or after my planned days of travel.
Even though the Airtran tickets were half the cost of the Southwest tickets, I was opting to not do this trip and cancel the exchange since it required a two hour drive each way to fly in and out of, plus the fact that it was a late flight departing to Florida and an early flight departing to come back home, which basically cuts a whole day out of the vacation. I checked Airtran again tonight and those ticket prices were no longer available. I checked Southwest again. Still no low priced tickets. I decided to check Kayak and up popped the tickets through Airtran that I had been looking at earlier in the day. Lo and behold, with all taxes and fees included each ticket was $168 roundtrip through Cheaptickets, as opposed to the $224 roundtrip that I had seen earlier in the day. The difference in price $224. So that was like purchasing 3 and getting one free. I immediately booked and am very happy! Since the flight leaving is later in the day, we can make the drive nice and leisurely without having to leave at the crack of dawn. And since the flight home arrives early in the day, we won't be dog tired having to drive home at night. Plus, it's non-stop (just under 2 hours), so I'm thrilled.I checked a couple weeks later on the schedule and the lower fares are available. I do have the option of driving 2 hours to another airport and get airfares more in line with what I was hoping to get on Southwest. The lower fares on this Airtran flight is also a non-stop flight (as was the SW flight). I just have to decide now if my destination to Cocoa Beach for Spring Break is going to be worth the hassle of a 2-hr drive to and from the airport or just forget about the trip. I would have to pay double with Southwest to avoid this drive, which I'm not willing to do.