Skip to main content
By The Way
Detours with locals. Travel tips you can trust.
The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Southwest introduces a higher fare category with more perks

Wanna Get Away Plus is the low-cost carrier’s version of economy plus

(iStock/Washington Post illustration)
3 min

This story has been updated.

Southwest Airlines debuted a new fare category Tuesday, offering customers a step up from its lowest-cost ticket.

Wanna Get Away Plus comes with perks such as more Rapid Rewards points — eight points per dollar, higher than its basic fare category — and the ability to transfer eligible unused flight credits to another customer.

Customers can also get a confirmed seat on a different flight on the day of travel at no charge if a seat is available between the same cities, or on same-day standby if flights are full (with Wanna Get Away, the airline’s basic ticket, customers are on the hook for any fare difference).

How to pick the best airport line-cutting service for you

A full list of features can be found here. The category, which the airline has been teasing for months, marks the airline’s first fare launch since 2007.

A check of round-trip fares on several different routes in June shows the new fare category is consistently priced $30 higher than the cheapest ticket.

The addition of the category brings changes to the airline’s higher-cost fares as well. Both the Business Select and Anytime categories — which are refundable, along with other benefits — will get the same transferrable-flight-credit feature. Customers who already bought tickets for flights Tuesday and afterward get to access the new benefits.

The airline has also added perks to Anytime, such as Priority Lane access and EarlyBird Check-In, which gives customers a better position when boarding and is particularly useful since Southwest does not assign seats.

EarlyBird is sold separately and can run from $15 to $25 each way. Business Select customers already get access to priority boarding positions. The Wanna Get Away fare category’s features will not change.

Airports are slammed. Here are 6 ways to manage the chaos.

Andrew Watterson, Southwest’s executive vice president and chief commercial officer, said during a briefing in March that “success in this effort will be twofold. One, customer satisfaction with the expanded product selection, and then financial benefit to the company from a modest percentage of customers buying up to the new and improved products.”

In recent years, airlines have increasingly divided seats up into categories with different perks and a complex variety of names. Most U.S. airlines now have some version of basic economy and economy, and perks vary by carrier for each fare category.

Watterson stressed in March that for Southwest, the changes to come will mark added offerings. “We’re not taking anything away,” he said.

Earlier this spring, when Southwest first shared details about the new category, Jonathan Clarkson, vice president of marketing, loyalty and products, said the increase to Wanna Get Away Plus would be “modest.”

Watterson noted in March that the Wanna Get Away fare “remains our cornerstone, and we expect it to continue to be the majority of our purchases.”

Hannah Sampson contributed to this report