For all the new students who will fly to Jackson this fall, let me share with you a technique for finding the cheapest airfare. This only works because Southwest never charges a cancellation fee when you change or cancel a flight. That fee is $100 to $150 with most other airlines.
- Figure out which day you need to travel, and go to the Southwest web site to book your trip. Try to book it as early as possible, since their lowest fare sell out several weeks ahead.
- Sign up and Download to your computer Southwest’s DING. When you install it on your computer, once or twice a day, it will automatically be updated with special low fares – but they are only available for a few hours so you have to move fast when one is offered. (You can set your preferences in the program for your home city and Jackson, so you only get notified if fare sales come up for those locations.)
- If you do find a DING fare for the day you’ve already booked and it is significantly less expensive then the ticket you already have, then get that ticket up on your computer screen — but don’t buy it yet!
- Open up your current ticket in a new browser window, and cancel your current flight, and when it asks, save the value for another purchase.
- Immediately go to your new DING ticket, and buy it, using the value from your original ticket toward that purchase.
- Since you bought the DING fare at a lower rate than your original ticket, you will have a surplus credit – which you’ll save online and use it toward your next flight. (Be sure to keep the confirmation number which is how you look up your saved value the next time around.)
If a DING fare doesn’t come up for your days of travel (this usually works only about 30% of the time), you still have in hand the lowest priced ticket you bought earlier. And if you do get the savings, that’s a nice bonus.
* Remember to get your online boarding pass almost exactly 24 hours before the flight, you’ll be in the “A” group and have your pick of seats. Also, become a Rapid Rewards member, and you’ll earn a free trip by your sophomore year.