Southwest Airlines Group Travel Information - Corporate Travel Meetings and Groups
Group travels have changed with time. They are no longer the unorganized travels undertaken with family members and a few good friends. Group travels are, nowadays, specialized travel programs customized according to purpose. Be it a vacation, destination wedding, or a corporate business meeting, or be it a school excursion, college basketball game, or rock concert, group travels today serve the diverse needs of various groups of people. And with the service industry climbing up to its peak, the idea of hassle-free group travel without any woe and worry is fast catching up with travelers across the world. From air travel to hotel booking and from boardroom arrangement to meeting setup, group travelers want everything to be sorted out by agencies.
And that is where large aviation companies like Southwest Airlines chip in. From vacation planning to room booking and event management to fuss-free traveling, they provide all kinds of services to ensure an unmatched group traveling experience. They recognize the immense potential of the group travel business and don’t want to leave anything to chance. Like all other airlines Southwest Airlines too offers discounted group rates, lax baggage rules, onboard entertainment and various other facilities to group travelers to attract them. The Southwest Airlines Group Booking policy is a well-prepared strategy that documents all such offers, rules and benefits. It also includes the group booking process and the group cancellation guidelines. The entire policy is discussed in detail below.
Southwest Airlines Group Travel Reservations policy
The Southwest Airlines Group Reservations policy is a combination of rules, guidelines, processes and benefits. From vacation plans to corporate meets and regular group travel to charter programs, the airline has various group travel programs to suit a variety of group travel needs. And all the benefits and terms and conditions associated with these programs form the core of this policy. Let us begin the discussion with Southwest Airlines Group Reservations Terms and Conditions.
The Southwest Airlines Group Reservations Terms & Conditions
- i. As per the Southwest Airlines Group Reservations policy, groups with a minimum of 10 members are eligible to get group travel benefits from the airline. Groups with lesser members can buy multiple tickets, but they don’t qualify for the group travel benefits under the policy.
- ii. For Southwest Business, which is a meetings and events program by the airline, the minimum qualifying number to be eligible for group booking benefits is 25.
- iii. The Southwest Business program, which ideally suits the corporates, is designed to transport group members from different parts of the world to the same destinations for events, meetings, exhibitions, or seminars.
- iv. As with any other airline, passengers who are willing to travel with Southwest Airlines in groups are required to, first, fill up the group quote request forms and submit them. Southwest Airlines usually responds quickly with a group price quote. Once the price quotes are received, passengers can immediately proceed to book the tickets or wait till the final payment due date to clear all dues and complete the booking.
- v. As per the Southwest Airlines group booking policy, passengers are not required to make any upfront payment at the time of making group reservations.
- vi. Groupsmay be required to make a depositof $50 per passenger to hold the reservations after the initial group booking. Such deposits must be made only through credit cards. These deposits aren’t adjusted on ticket prices. Deposits are refunded to passengers’ credit cards within the next 5 business days from the day passengers make their final payments and ticketing are done.
- vii. As per the Southwest Airlines group booking norms, passengers must submit or upload the complete passenger name list on or before the final payment due date and clear all dues.
- viii. The final payment can be made either by calling the Group Reservations Helpdesk phone numbers (1-800-433-5368 for domestic & 1-800-308-5037 for international) or by sending emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- ix. As per the Southwest Airlines group booking terms, the helpdesk should be contacted for final payments only if passengers choose to pay with their credit or debit cards, PayPal accounts or UATP, and the email option must be chosen if passengers choose wire transfer over other modes of payments.
- x. The Southwest Airlines Group booking policy makes it absolutely clear that it won’t allow any upgrade, downgrade, exchange, change (excluding name change) and standby on group tickets. Group tickets are date, time and flight-specific. Therefore, they can’t be used on other flights.
- xi. Southwest Airlines strictly follows a no-paper policy. All group tickets are sent to the group leaders’ email ids after ticketing. The airline doesn’t issue any paper tickets at all.
- xii. Southwest Airlines is most probably the only airline in the world that permits unlimited name changes on group tickets up to 72 hours before the commencement of travel or scheduled departure. The airline provides an Excel Name Template sheet to the group leaders who must make such name changes and upload the rectified sheet to www.swagrouptravel.com.
- xiii. As per the Southwest Airlines baggage norms, each group passenger is allowed to carry 2 checked bags with them free of cost during group travel. They are also allowed to carry one pair of skis, one golf bag and one surfboard (For Hawaii only) with them, but each one of these items would be considered equivalent to one checked bag.
- xiv. As per Southwest Airlines group booking norms, all oversized and extra checked bags are chargeable at the rate of $75 per item.
- xv. The Southwest Airlines group booking policy allows passengers to check in online 24 hours before departure, reserve their boarding positions and select their seats. However, group passengers are not entitled to the benefits under the EarlyBird Check-In® scheme.
- xvi. Group travel tickets once purchased from Southwest Airlines are completely non-refundable. Any cancellation of a group reservation would result in forfeiture of the entire booking amount.
Southwest Airlines Group Travel Benefits
Southwest Airlines offers a myriad of benefits to group travelers. Discussed below are the Southwest Airlines group travel benefits,
a. Discounted Fare: Southwest Airlines offers special discounted fares for group travelers. The discounted group rates are unique in many ways but may not be lower than the individual ticket prices in all cases. The quoted group rates come with several inclusions and the flexibility to make various amendments.
b. Southwest Business: Southwest Airlines offers a dedicated meetings program for corporate group travelers called Southwest Business. Under this program, more than 25 meeting or seminar attendees can fly in from different parts of the world on Southwest Airlines flights and can reach the same destination for the common event. This allows corporate companies to arrange affordable and flexible air travel for their executives.
c. Southwest Vacations: Southwest Airlines has a specialized vacations program called GroupEase® particularly designed for group travelers who are planning a reunion with friends or family, a destination wedding, a getaway bachelor party, or a much-awaited vacation to a foreign country. Benefits for groups under the program include,
- (i) 2 free checked bags including a pair of skis or a golf bag under the Bags fly free policy of Southwest Airlines.
- (ii) Accrual of rewards points under the Rapid Rewards® program which can be used for future travel.
- (iii) Although regular group travel with the airline doesn’t entitle passengers to the benefits under the EarlyBird Check-In® scheme, they become automatically eligible for the same benefits when they book group vacations under the GroupEase® program.
d. Chance to win Roundtrip Tickets: With Southwest Airlines group travel, group coordinators or conductors have a chance to win one roundtrip ticket against every 29 group tickets purchased. But taxes and fees would apply on such free tickets.
e. No Extra Fees: Southwest Airlines follows a no extra-fees policy. It doesn’t believe in charging group travelers any ticketing, booking, or change fees.
f. Online Check-in: Passengers traveling in groups with Southwest Airlines have the privilege of early online check-ins. They are allowed to make seat selections and reserve their boarding positions 24 hours before scheduled departure. Group leaders are permitted to check in the entire group at a time in case of domestic travel. They are also allowed to perform check-ins for specific passengers if they prefer. This saves group passengers the time to check in at the airports, as they can directly proceed to the ticket counters and collect their boarding passes.
g. The Flexibility of Name List Submission: With Southwest Airlines, groups enjoy the flexibility of preparing and submitting the final name list later until a date before ticketing. They areprovided an Excel Name Template sheet which must be filled up with vital passenger information including everyone’s passport details in case of international group travel, and uploaded to the website www.swagrouptravel.com. The sheet should also contain information such as the group leader’s name, his email address, and the departure date.
h. Unlimited Name Changes: Unlike any other aviation company, operating in the US, Southwest Airlines allows group passengers to make unlimited name changes up to 72 hours before scheduled departure. The airline provides an Excel Name Template to the groups, where group coordinators can make name changes or corrections, update and upload on the website, www.swaggrouptravel.com.
i. Payment Flexibility: As per the Southwest Airlines group booking policy, passengers are not required to make any upfront payment for group reservations. Under the policy, groups enjoy the flexibility to make initial deposits and pay the rest of the booking amount on or before the ticketing date.
Southwest Airlines Group Ticket Rates
The group rates quoted by Southwest Airlines are always special, discounted and affordable.The Southwest Airlines Group Rates are decided after thorough consideration of several important factors such as the itinerary, time and season of travel and the fares offered by competitors for the same distance and specifications. The automated price-matching process and the dynamic pricing strategy make group ticket pricing a continuous yet flawless procedure. All quoted group travel rates from Southwest Airlines are unique in the sense that the number of group members and the other factors vary in each case, affecting the price estimates. Moreover, there are special Southwest Airlines Group Discounts on published airfares provided by the Group Reservations helpdesk. However, it can’t be denied that the quoted group rates are often higher than the individual Southwest Airlines ticket prices published on www.southwest.com. The reason behind this is that the group rates are offered in the form of a package that combines the benefits, privileges and entitlements all of which can’t be measured in exact monetary terms. All of these together create a wholesome group travel experience that can’t be compared with individual ticket prices.
How to book group travel tickets with Southwest Airlines?
When it comes to online group booking through the official website, Southwest Airlines doesn’t provide any one-stop solution. The official website of the airline www.southwest.com is not as user-friendly as you’d expectit to be and the useful links are not easy to find. It has separate links to address different group booking needs under different group travel programs. Mentioned below are the direct links and the processes for group booking with Southwest Airlines.
- i. For regular group booking with Southwest Airlines, you have to fill up the group quote request form first and submit it. The direct link to the group quote request form is mentioned hereunder.
Fill up the form, read the group terms and conditions mentioned below the forms and click on the green button to submit. A representative from the Group Reservations team would contact you via email within the next 24-48 hours.
- ii. The passengers, who want to book group travel for meetings or events with Southwest Airlines under the Southwest Business program, have to first log on to the official website of the airline, www.southwest.com. Once on the homepage of the website, they need to scroll down to the footer menu and look at the third column with the heading ‘Southwest products.’
- iii. There are many hyperlinks under each column. Click on the 9th link called ‘Southwest Business.’ You will be directed to a new page. There is a heading on top that reads, “Welcome to Southwest Business.”
- iv. Under the heading, there is a yellow button that reads, “Let’s Connect.” Click on that yellow button. This would open a group price quote request form with the heading, “Thank you for your interest in Southwest Business.” Fill up the form and submit it.
- v. Now, wait for the Group Reservations representative to contact you via email with a price quote.
- vi. For group booking with Southwest Airlines under the GroupEase® vacations program, copy the below-mentioned direct link and paste it into your browser.
You can also land on the same page by clicking on the ‘Southwest Vacations’ link on the homepage of the official website under the ‘Southwest Products’ column.
Please note that most website links and URLs are periodically updated. So, you might need to spend some time on link search if the links to the relevant pages are changed or removed.
2. Offline Group Booking by email or Phone
Making offline group reservations with Southwest Airlines is a fairly easy task. You simply need todial the dedicated Southwest Airlines Group Reservations helpdeskphone number, 1-800-433-5368(for domestic group travel) and 1-800-308-5037 (for international group travel) from Monday to Friday between 5a.m and 12a.m (central time). To book group travel offline under the Southwest GroupEase® vacations program, you have to dial the dedicated vacations phone number, 844-904-0186 and talk to the Group Sales Team. You can also contact the GroupEase® vacations team by email at the below-mentioned email address:
3. Group Booking through Travel Agents
Southwest Airlines has authorized agents and travel coordinators who are permitted to process group booking requests. You can contact your nearest travel agentand process your group booking through him. This saves both your time and energy and allows you to plan your vacation or event without any hassle.
SouthwestAirlines group travel cancellation policy
The Southwest Airlines group travel cancellation policy is plain and simple without any intricacy. The airline doesn’t provide any refund against any type of cancelation. The key points are discussed in detail below,
- i) Amount once paid to Southwest Airlines for group ticket purchaseis non-transferable and non-refundable under all circumstances once the ticketing is done. In other words, 100% of the amount paid towards group booking is forfeited if passengers cancel part or the entire group booking after ticketing.
- ii) Similarly, the Southwest Airlines group travel cancellation policy specifies that group tickets are automatically canceled in case of no-shows and the entire booking amount is forfeited. The rule applies to allWanna Get Away or Wanna Get Away Plus tickets.