Flying standby on a Wanna Get Away fare?

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Old Jan 20, 17, 8:24 pm
#1
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Flying standby on a Wanna Get Away fare?

I have a flight next week with my husband (companion pass) to go see my friend who's got cancer. I was supposed to be there for her chemo treatment.

Her chemo appointment got moved up a day, now instead of arriving the night before her appointment, I'm arriving the night of her appointment. I won't be there to keep her company or be there to drive her home.

To change our flight to an earlier flight would be an additional 14,000+ points (more than double what we paid for the original round trip flight).

When I called southwest to inquire about flying standby on the first flight out, they said there should be a fee involved (in points or cash?) but it would be up to the gate agent to enforce it.

I guess I'm looking for my odds before making the decision to either pay for the change now or take my chances with standby.

1. Has anyone had experience with the agent waiving the change fee at the gate for a Wanna Get Away fare? Is this a common event or a one in a million shot? I will tell her my reason for changing, but they probably hear sob stories all the time.

2. What are the odds of TWO available seats open on the first flight of the day at 5:40am? We are not frequent fliers so I don't know if routes are packed or not (BUF to Dallas)


Thanks for any advice you can give.
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Old Jan 20, 17, 8:30 pm
#2
nsx
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Normally I'd rate your chance at 5%. I stopped even trying this years ago. But the medical situation might hep. Bring any documentation you have of the fact that the change was recent.

If the flight has at least 8 seats for sale you can expect an open seat. If the flight you are booked on is sold out, the gate agent might decide it's Southwest's interest to get you out early.

BTW, there's a new policy allowing A-listers to standby for an earlier flight, but only 2 hours or less earlier. Moving up an entire day is at the discretion of airport staff, but policy is to charge you full fare which as you say is absurd.
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Old Jan 20, 17, 8:41 pm
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Thank you, that's very helpful.

Who counts as a Southwest A lister? Is that people with companion passes or someone else? The flight I want to get on is almost 6 hours earlier than the one I booked, but getting there even two hours earlier is better than nothing.
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Old Jan 20, 17, 11:40 pm
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Like other airlines, WN charges different amounts for different flights between the same two cities on the same day. Their standby policy is intended to keep someone from buying a lower cost ticket and then changing the flight for free.

You might get the gate agent to have sympathy. You have a better chance if you show up at the airport. Chance of success may be low, but they're not zero.
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Old Jan 21, 17, 1:07 am
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A-Listers are Southwest's elites. Companion Pass holders as a different tier, which doesn't count as "A-List."

The "fee involved (in points or cash)" is the fare difference between what you paid and the same-day fare. If you paid in cash, the fare difference is collected in cash. If you paid in points, the fare difference is collected in points. You can't intermix the two. If they don't waive the fare difference for you, and you paid in points but don't have enough points to cover the difference, your option is the refund the points booking and rebook paying cash for the total fare.

I also think your chances are likely low, but you may find a sympathetic agent. Good luck!
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Old Jan 21, 17, 8:43 am
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If you are considering paying extra to go early, you should also price other airlines in case their last minute fare is cheaper than Southwest. If it is, you can refund the Southwest ticket.
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Old Jan 21, 17, 8:53 am
#7
glg

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Keep checking the price of the flight, I've seen flights suddenly open up WGA space a day or two beforehand. Also check the previous day's flights for space if you're able to travel the previous day. You might get lucky.
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Old Jan 21, 17, 9:04 am
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Originally Posted by Bannister View Post
When I called southwest to inquire about flying standby on the first flight out, they said there should be a fee involved (in points or cash?) but it would be up to the gate agent to enforce it.
If you are hoping for an exception prior to the date of travel, you should reach out to Customer Relations (855) 234-4654 or SouthwestAir on Social Media on Monday.

If you are willing to take your chances, keep in mind there are no nonstop flights from BUF to DAL, which will require you to standby for two separate flights. There are numerous variables involved which could affect your chances, so it is impossible for anyone to say for certain.

How did you earn your Companion Pass? If you earned it primarily through revenue flights, you could be A-List, which would at least provide you with Priority Standby.

I would also keep an eye out on Southwest.com for any Travel Advisories, especially in the Northeast. If one is issued for either BUF, DAL, or your current connecting airport(s) inclusive of your date of travel, you should be able to make a complimentary change to your flights.

Personally, I would aim for a confirmed option prior to the date of travel under the circumstances. Your friend is fortunate to have a friend like you, and I truly wish her the best in her recovery.

Last edited by jaloola; Jan 21, 17 at 9:25 am
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Old Jan 23, 17, 7:59 am
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Originally Posted by jaloola View Post
I would also keep an eye out on Southwest.com for any Travel Advisories, especially in the Northeast. If one is issued for either BUF, DAL, or your current connecting airport(s) inclusive of your date of travel, you should be able to make a complimentary change to your flights.
A Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Weather Travel Advisory has been issued for BUF from 01/22/17-01/24/17. If this is inclusive of your date of travel, you should be able to make a complimentary confirmed change to your flights on Southwest.com.
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Old Jan 23, 17, 3:02 pm
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Originally Posted by jaloola View Post
A Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Weather Travel Advisory has been issued for BUF from 01/22/17-01/24/17. If this is inclusive of your date of travel, you should be able to make a complimentary confirmed change to your flights on Southwest.com.
Be quick. If you're trying to change to an earlier flight, other passengers may be changing too. Also, if flights are being cancelled, the earlier one may be the one that gets the axe.

Last edited by Allan38103; Jan 23, 17 at 5:25 pm
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