When does Southwest release new booking times?

Parks, resorts, dining, attractions, vacations

Seems to me a few months ago that a Southwest employee said that new
booking times were released on Tuesdays.  I'm waiting for the bookings
in December to start for our trip to WDW.  Does anyone know when they
will release these reservations?  Thanks!
They were on the site for about 10 minutes this morning from what I heard. 
When I went to check it out they had taken it off. It should be very soon 
since the October ones have been out for quite some time.

Thought I would add some info to this thread...

The release for travel from Oct. 29 - Dec. 12 was supposed to have been 
released today (they're always released on Thursdays), but there were some 
"technical issues" that they found. So, new tentative release date is 
Saturday (July 16).

Travel between Dec. 13 and Jan. 9 tentatively to be released on August 4.

Of course, *tentative dates are subject to change without notice.

(I work for the vacations desk, so thought I would pass this along!)


p.s. Sorry to top-post, but thought this would be easier for this info.
Mike, do you know why the fares haven't come out today for the rest of
December?  I've been checking hourly with now luck.  Thanks. 

Southwest has reservations through Dec 12 up now.

YIPEE!!  We'll be booking our December trip to Disneyland TONIGHT since
I'm already starting to see "unavailable" appearing on some discount
flight times.

Haunted Mansion Holiday, here I come again.
Yup! Sorry 'bout the faulty dates. It was supposed to be tomorrow (July 16) 
but they worked through the night and were able to get everything up and 
running. What a surprise when I went into work today! SOOOOO many calls! 

Oh, and here's the dates -

Travel between Dec. 13 and Jan. 9 tentatively to be released on August 4.
Travel between Jan. 10 and Mar (?... sorry, can't remember the exact date, 
but it's sometime in EARLY March) tentatively out on September 22.

Just a word here on Southwest. I booked flights for October the evening
they first appeared. Most of the lowest fares were listed as
'Unavailable'. A month or so later, I received one of their emails
announcing reduced fares. I went to their web site and, sure enough,
the previously 'Unavailable' fares were now available. I changed the
reservation and now have a credit to use on our next flights.
I' trying to figure out what all the fuss is about.  I wouldn't fly SWA if 
it were free.  If I couldn't afford to fly a *real* airline, then I'd go 
Greyhound since their service and class of passengers is about equal, 
without the hassles of airport security. :-)
Actually, SW is the only airline we will fly now a days...  It it much
cheaper and one of the only airlines that has nonstop flights to
Orlando.  They hardly ever run behind schedule (well, this last trip
our flight back home was delayed because they had to load a ton of
people in wheelchairs in NY making it late) and they seem to get us to
and from faster than stated (3 hours usually means around 2 1/2 hours)
and for someone who hates to fly, this is the best way to go :)    Of
course, on our way down there, it took 45 minutes longer due to
circling the beach due to a nasty thunderstorm at Orlando :)  And the
pilots are usually talkative -- meaning, when we had to stack up, the
pilot came on saying we had to circle due to the storm...and she said
she had no idea where she was ;) but she came back on and gave us the
name of the beach below.  And she kept coming on the speaker making
jokes and apologizing for the delay and knew we wanted out.  The planes
are newer than most airlines; we have always had friendly people there
(with the exception of last year when my parents missed their flight
because of the hassle they gave them; and SW immediately fired that
person).  We have never had any problems getting the seats we want; we
arrive early and get to board with the A sections (this last time my
son had an A, and my sister and I had B's, but they said to go ahead
and board with the A's).

Also, it's nice not to have to wait in line to get our boarding passes.
 I didn't realize we could go to the machine with luggage to check.  It
was a nice option going there and bypassing the 20+ people in line.

Of course, I have only flown Continental and US Airways besides SW, but
we had problems with those (mostly mechanical to scare the heck out of
me that for the next 2 visits, we drove the 24+ hours instead of
flying).  And my ex-husband took Greyhound years ago...and I heard the
nightmare he had!!  and would rather walk than take Greyhound ;)  And
class of people...well, I'm offended!! (just kidding, Rodney!).
Perhaps it's where the flight takes off and comes back to, because the
people coming and going to NH are not bad at all!  And on our way home,
I got to talking to a woman who was going back "home" to NH to visit
her parents...and it turns our she used to be a CM at the Great Movie

Years ago my parents used to take PanAm out of Newington, NH...5-10
minute drive from our house...and landed non-stop in Sanford, FL.
They loved it..had more room than any plane every (they had removed all
the seats and put less in making more room for people).  I never dared
going on those planes..the were over 25 years old!

Sue in NH (who will write up a "sort-of" trip report soon -- did I even
go???  I seems like I never left!!!)
I assume everyone on this NG who uses SWA, realizes that you can print
off your boarding pass anytime after 12am on the morning of your
flight. As long as you're in the "A" group, and can be one of the first
in line, I don't see how you can beat Southwest. Then again, if you
live in a depressed city with only 2 direct flights to Orlando, we tend
to not complain much! I'd like to find a thread here for people who
have taken Greyhound from the Great Lakes area to Orlando, and get some
feedback on the experience..

(who can go 2.5 hours without peanuts or, to be politically correct,
I've ended up sitting in a center seat even with an "A" ticket.  The plane 
was more than half full before local boarding began, and about half the 
waiting passengers decided they qualified for pre-boarding.  I'm sorry, but 
I just prefer to have an assigned seat and I've been burned too many times 
by SWA (center seats after arriving.  I also have better things to do with 
my time than to stand in a line for hours or stay up until midnight to make 
sure I get an "A" ticket so that I might possibly have a chance to not be in 
a center seat or even just to sit with my family or traveling companions.  I 
would gladly pay extra for an assigned seat.  I'd even drive an extra hour 
to another airport to avoid SWA.
I hear ya...
I don't get why they won't assign seats either.
How does it work with other airlines and stops/continuing flights?
I have heard that it would cost them zillions of dollars to implement a 
system of assigned seats.  My guess is that isn't in the cost of software or 
even the management of the process, but a cost in lost revenue as they would 
likely sell fewer tickets if passengers knew they were on standby.

Since they know who has booked each seat in advance, and when the flight is 
in the air, they know who is in what seat, they know where newly boarding 
passengers can be seated.  It's not rocket science.
Understand that I am not defending SWA or their policy on seating. I
wish they would offer pre-assigned seats. But don't other airlines,
those with pre-assigned seats, overbook their flights as well? I know,
on several occassions, our pre-assigned seats (that were
together)somehow got switched and were no longer in the same row.
Come clean, Steve.  We all know that you sold your DIS stock when Roy left 
and invested your millions in SWA! ;-)

Seriously, though, most all airlines will oversell flights.  They know that 
a certain percentage of travelers will miss flights, and empty seat don't 
make profits.  The difference is that with other airlines, you will know 
that you are on standby or that you do not have a confirmed seat assignment. 
As for having seats switched after booking, that generally happens due to a 
change in equipment.  Sometimes demand increases so they use a larger plane, 
and other times demand decreases so they use a smaller plane.  On our big 
family vacation to WDW back in 1999, we booked the flights nearly a year in 
advance.  Over that time, the equipment, our seats assignments, and even 
arrival and departure times changed at least four times (each time, Delta 
notified me).  Regardless, we were still able to show up for the flight 
about an hour ahead of departure and get our seats without any sort of 
"competition" with other passengers.
Not entirely true. Even with an assigned seat, if you show up within a 
specified time (15 min.?) of the flight, you can be bumped without 

Had this happen with USAirways. Same flight, same equipment. They could 
offer no explanation.
Well, of course!  But I'd rather worry about showing up 15 minutes ahead of 
time than two hours as I had to on SWA just to have a small hope of getting 
an "A" card, so that I could then go stand in the boarding line for another 
hour so that I might have a chance at avoiding the dreaded center seat 
between two sweaty fat guys.

Along those same lines, in the days before extra airport security and such, 
when I traveled extensively, I used to have races with co-workers.  These 
were not races to see who get to the airport the quickest, though.  No, 
these were races to see who could leave the office the latest and still make 
the flight.  I've been known to leave for the airport less than 40 minutes 
before my flight and still make it.  You have to understand that at the BHM 
airport, you can actually see the parking deck from some of the gates, so 
its very easy to navigate.  Of course nowadays, if you have less than 40 
minutes after checking your bags, you probably won't make the flight.

Hmm, I've never had that happen.  But I have other stories about 
UnSafeAirways. :-)
LOL. I traveled extensively for about 15 years and we would have the
same type of 'races'. I had a distinct advantage in that I found a very
good travel agent that had a counter at the airport. I'd swoop in about
10 minutes before flight time, scoop up my ticket and boarding passes,
and be at the gate in 90 seconds. Of course, all this was prior to the
heightened security and before the significant re-construction of the
Albany airport.

Don't we all ;-) I once had a manager that, in a memo, referred to
USAir as "Essentially, an unscheduled airline".

The bottom line is that, for me, SWA is the best alternative. Direct
flights that originate in Albany and Orlando, reasonable fares, and
very good service. I can live with the cattle-call boarding process. My
main peeves are those that feel the need to line up 90 minutes before
boarding and the fact that a full 1/3 of the plane is, apparently,
eligible for pre-boarding.
Don't forget that in Albany we've got the only two Southwest over-the-wing 
boarding ramps in the country (at least in April that was the case). Very 
cool to be able to walk in the back door of the plane and still beat 
slowpokes to the 10th row, because they're plugging the aisle trying to 
decide which overhead bin to put their carryon in. And if you can be up and 
online at midnight the day of your flight, you can print those 'A' boarding 
passes at home, or even just check in, and print them at the kiosk.

Now, how unbearably hot and humid is it at WDW in late August? SWA fares of 
$49 one way are really really tempting for a week before school starts up 
again.... but I didn't enjoy late May in 2000 - way too HH&H for me. We 
usually go in November, lately.

Good point. I agree that entering through the rear door is a real
convenience and time saver. It's still hard to believe that Albany has
the 'only' implementation in the country.
but i mean, it's albany INTERNATIONAL airport, they're in the big 
leagues now! ;-)
Yeah. I forgot about that one flight a day to Montreal ;-)
My husband who flies for business on Southwest loves the non assigned seats, 
because he can book last minute and as long as he gets to the airport(or 
print off boarding passes early) he gets a window or aisle. Personally it 
drives me nuts having to jump through hoops to get our family of 5 in seats 
near each other. I hate losing time at the parks to go stand in line at SWA. 
The kid preboard  age is so low now(4 and under?), I really feel sorry for 
families with young kids(older than 4, but still too young to sit alone).

They do have a business center at CS,  we got up on our last day and printed 
the boarding passes on a printer hooked up to internet access. The CM's at 
CS were very nice and didn't charge us anything. At least we knew we were in 
A group, and stayed at Downtown Disney and extra hour.

IMHO, that is unacceptable.   I would not want my child under age 12 to sit 
with a stranger on a flight.  Maybe I'm a bit overprotective, but it's the 
way I feel.  Also, as an adult, I would not want someone's unsupervised 
child sitting next to me.  But then again, these are just more reasons why I 
don't fly SWA.
I guess that's the difference. The only times I've flown SWA is from
Albany-Orlando and back. The planes basically make the round trip so
there's no one already on the plane when we board. I've never had a
problem finding seats together... even when we've had B or C boarding

They've almost always been on time and typically land 15-20 minutes
earlier than scheduled. There's more leg room on their planes than
their chief competition here (USAirways) and I appreciate the
friendliness and humor of their flight attendants. All in all, I've
never had a bad experience with them.
I live in the northeast, too, and whether I fly out of Manchester or 
Providence, it's almost always a non-stop flight on SWA, and the flights 
originate up here.

I read somewhere (online or the in-flight magazine) a quote from the 
president of SWA. She said that they have considered assigned seating on 
their flights, but would only do it if they can guarantee fast turnaround on 
their flights, which is part of the major benefit to the open seating. You 
see a seat, you can sit down.

Also, SWA is the only airline I've ever been able to get $109 (with taxes!) 
round trip from the northeast to Orlando. I've actually gotten that twice. 
Once this past December, and again two years earlier.
I'm also at 15 credits on my RapidRewards account, so I just have to figure 
out how to cheaply get one more credit for a free round trip ticket. :-)

-Rob Steere
TDC Master Sergeant of Enforcing Movement All the Way to the End of the Row
GoH '86
Eventually there is a break between the sections though. On our last
flight, it happened to be between me and my wife.
And the whole system makes for a lot of what we considered unnecessary
I agree.  Just booked a 6 night disney vacation with airfare and hotel
through SWA for less than the cost of driving with same hotel room.
Can't beat the price AND we will be there in 2 1/2hrs!  I'll take the
$$ saved and apply towards activities once we are there!  I guess I
could pay more for Delta or AA, but I would spend all day flying all
over the country to get there. (no direct flight from here)
Well, there are those of us without that monthly, six-figure disposable
income that occasionally will try to save a nickel or two. Trust me,
I'd rather be side-by-side with you on a Delta 737, munching on Chex
Mix instead of those dreadful SWA peanuts - but that's my cross to

Seriously, I fly out of Albany, NY. That means it's a direct flight on
SWA or I'm laying over in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, etc. I'll
put up with SWA and the cattle call.
Actually, I only have a 5-figure per month disposable income. ;-)

Make it first-class with a Scotch and I'm there!

Out of Birmingham, pretty much any place that SWA flies, other "real" 
airlines will offer competitive fares.  In fact, Delta can often be less 
expensive than SWA between BHM and MCO.  Not only that, SWA's flight 
schedule out of BHM are pretty bad.  For some people, though, SWA is a 
better choice because they fly larger 737 jets, where Delta's direct flights 
between BHM and MCO use 50-passenger commuter jets.  Personally, I prefer 
the commuter jets as they take less time for loading and unloading, plus 
they allow a "gate check" of larger carry-on's that are handled with 
appropriate care.

While I like to jokingly slam SWA, I really have had some bad experiences 
with them all related to their practices of open boarding and overselling. 
If they would assign seats and stop overbooking flights by so much, I would 
definitely fly them.  Their employees do seem to be very friendly and I can 
live without first class for a short flight and I do like peanuts.
In addition to the peanuts, we get a box of goodies as well :)  with
cookies, crackers and something else I can't remember.  We did only get
peanuts and pretzels on our trip back this time tho...

Sue in NH
Any idea when the feb dates will be released? We're going Feb 18 - 25 and 
are still looking for air fare! Hoping to get a good group rate from sw!
There is a tentative date for February (until beginning of March sometime) 
but I'm unsure of that up-for-sale date at this point. I'll check today and 
report back. (I know it's sometime in September...)