This is part of the reader question series that I started earlier this year – you can view more reader questions here. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a question you’d like answered in a full on post.
Reader Alan recently emailed me asking:
“I am looking to book a trip for Christmas time and would like to use my Southwest points. When do you think they will open their schedule?”
Southwest, unlike many of the other airlines, does not open up their flights 330 days in advance. Instead, every so often they extend their reservations system a few months out at a time. As of today, you can only book flights through October 31, 2014.
However, I looked back at old posts of mine and saw that last year they extended their reservation system to include the Winter holiday time on May 7 (that was in 2013). At that point you could book a reservation through January 5 (of 2014). So those that were looking to book for the holidays were able to do so about 8 months in advance which isn’t too bad.
Those peak holiday flights increase in price quickly, so if you are looking to book a flight then I suggest you take a look at the calendar now and figure out your ideal time in advance. Once the booking system has been extended I will be sure to blog about it. If this year is similar to last year, we should be able to book those flights within a few weeks (hopefully!).
UPDATE: Thanks to a blog reader for sending me the link that states that Southwest will be opening up their reservation system on May 19, 2014 for flights booked through January 5, 2015.