Southwest Stimulates Bookings With 8 Cent Per Mile Fares

Southwest Airlines has launched a fare sale with tickets starting as low at $39 one way. The sale will hopefully prompt passengers who may be on the fence about traveling towards making a booking with the airline.

Southwest Airlines, Fare Sale, Travel Demand
Southwest has launched a sale with fares as low as $39 one way. Photo: Southwest Airlines

Across the industry, airlines are looking to recover their passenger numbers. However, with the uncertainty of travel given the current climate, demand remains fairly low, albeit significantly higher than in mid-April. Indeed, daily passenger numbers in the US are still largely below 800,000 travelers. In Europe, we’ve seen a number of airlines offer more flexibility and extra insurance to prompt bookings.

Three-day sale

Southwest’s latest fare sale sees it offering flights for as little at $39 one way. The three-day sale will end at 11:59 Central Daylight Time on August 27th. Southwest Airlines pointed out that fares between San Antonio and New Orleans are available for as little as $39. At 494 miles as the crow flies, this comes in at under 8 cents per mile.

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The airline pointed out that all of its promotional fares include a free checked bag, in addition to no change fees. This will allow passengers whose travel plans change the option to rebook, although a fare difference may need to be paid to the airline.

Southwest Airlines, Fare Sale, Travel Demand
Southwest Airlines is still blocking out the middle seat. Photo: Southwest Airlines

Commenting on the sale, Bill Tierney Southwest’s VP of Marketing said,

“As Customers begin to feel inspired to travel again, we want them to know that Southwest Airlines has their well-being and comfort in mind supported by the Southwest Promise, legendary Hospitality, and our exceptional People. With fares as low as $39 one-way, bags that fly free, and no changes fees, Customers can easily get away to their next adventure.”

How is Southwest adapting to the current situation?

Southwest Airlines has made several changes to its operations to adapt to the current situation. For example, the airline has effectively blocked out middle seats for the time being. While the airline doesn’t have assigned seating, it is only selling 66% of seats on flights. That way individuals can have an empty seat next to them. Meanwhile, passengers traveling together can still sit together.

In addition, the low-cost carrier has also employed multiple measures that are being introduced across the industry. These include mandatory face coverings for staff and employees, as well as enhanced cleaning while aircraft are on the ground.

Southwest Airlines, Fare Sale, Travel Demand
The airline is hoping to see demand recover following six months of limited passengers. Photo: Southwest Airlines

When in the hangar, Southwest’s planes are sprayed with an electrostatic disinfectant. This kills viruses on contact, in addition to protecting surfaces for a further 30 days. Yesterday Simple Flying reported that American Airlines was introducing a virus repellant surface coating for use onboard aircraft following EPA approval. Finally, HEPA filters are being used to capture 99.97% of particulates in the air.

Would Southwest’s low fares sale prompt you to make a new booking? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!