Does Google Flights include Southwest? Yes!

I have been using Google Flights since 2014 and firmly believe it’s the only tool you need to find the best flight prices.

It’s what I teach in my Free Budget Travel 1o1 course.

But Google Flights was missing one major thing…

Southwest Airlines did not historically allow Google Flights to show flight and pricing information.

So whenever I searched for flights, I would also need to look on the Southwest website separately to compare. This was a little inconvenient, but not the worst thing in the world.

But in May 2024, that all changed!

Southwest Airlines information showed up on Google Flights! This amazing development has changed flight search on Google for the better.

Why? Because Southwest Airlines is a solid U.S. budget airline. Their soft and hard product is consistent, they are reliable (we won’t talk about the meltdown of 2022) and their policies are fair.

In this article, we’ll dig deeper into why Southwest Airlines on Google Flights is great for travelers. We’ll talk about what Google Flights is, why Southwest Airlines is so special, and the key benefits of this new development. So let’s get to it!

A Pinterest pin showing a Southwest Airlines plane flying in front of snowy mountains with the text

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What is Google Flights?

The concept of Google Flights is simple. It’s a free flight aggregator that helps you find and compare flight prices across different airlines all in one spot. It is NOT a 3rd party travel agency.

It’s like a flight shopping tool, allowing you to see the cheapest days to fly, different route options, and even set alerts for price drops.

Pros of Google Flights

Comprehensive Search Results: Google Flights quickly scans many airlines and booking sites and provides you with a wide range of options so you can easily find the best flight that works for you.

User-Friendly: It’s so easy to use Google Flights. They lay things out nicely making it simple to figure out how to find the best flight.

Flexible Date Search: I love the calendar view. It’s the first feature I use to figure out when I should travel. It makes it easy to spot the cheapest days to fly, especially if you’re flexible!

Price Tracking: This is by far the best part about Google Flights. You can set up an infinite amount of alerts to monitor price changes for specific routes. When pricing changes, you’ll get an email. I like to leave my alerts on even after I’ve booked my flight because if my flight price decreases I may have options to get money back or a flight credit.

Price Prediction: Google Flights will give you a summary of when it predicts the best time is to purchase a flight for your chosen route. This is invaluable information when it comes to deciding on when to purchase your flights.

No Booking Fees: Google Flights doesn’t add booking fees, it directs you straight to the airline or travel agency to purchase your flight.

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Cons to Google Flights

No Loyalty Program Integration: If you are part of a frequent flyer program, Google Flights doesn’t display loyalty program benefits or allow you to filter flights based on potential reward benefits. However, there is now a Chrome extension called Points Path that can help with finding flights that you can purchase with points and miles!

Limited Filtering Options: While you can filter by stops, airlines, times, bags, price, emissions, connecting airports, and duration, other sites offer more detailed filters like Wi-Fi availability or aircraft type. However, I do think that Google Flight filters have all you need.

Occasionally Inaccurate Pricing: Sometimes the prices shown on Google Flights can be outdated due to the delay in updating fares, leading to discrepancies when you go to book. This is quite rare but can happen.

No Package Deals: Unlike some travel booking sites, Google Flights doesn’t offer the option to book hotels or rental cars alongside flights. I personally, prefer to book direct and do not purchase travel packages anyway.

What’s so special about Southwest?

Many budget travelers (including myself) love Southwest Airlines and for good reason. The airline is consistent in offering a solid product that will get you from A to B without trying to nickel and dime you into paying unnecessary fees.

A Google Flights search results page showing flights from Fort Lauderdale to Denver. The search highlights that Southwest Airlines now appears in the Google Flights search results alongside United Airlines flights, with a Southwest flight departing at 10:25 AM
Southwest Airlines now shows up in Google Flights search results

Pros of Southwest Airlines

No Checked Bag Fees: Some passengers may make the mistake of overlooking Southwest’s checked bag policy. But one of the best perks to flying Southwest is the two free checked bags per passenger policy for any fare type. They are the only airline that offers this perk. We are firmly team carry on even for a one or 2 week trip, but this can lead to significant savings, especially for families and long-term travelers. If flying Southwest, we’ll usually check bags on our return flight.

No Change Fees: Southwest does not charge fees to change a ticket before the flight. You can update your flight up to 10 minutes before departure. This is a game changer because it offers more flexibility if plans change. It can even save you money on your fare because if the price drops it’s extremely easy to get a refund or credit back to your account.

Customer Service: Southwest is renowned for its customer service, they are known to go above and beyond to ensure passenger satisfaction. They have a friendly, casual approach that can make flying less stressful and more enjoyable.

Transfarency®: Southwest prides itself on transparency in advertising and communicating with customers. I love this about them! They aim to avoid hidden fees and simplify the travel process with straightforward pricing and policies.

Rapid Rewards Program: Of course, let’s not forget about their loyalty program which they call Rapid Rewards. I love using points and miles to pay for travel and their program offers easy-to-earn points that never expire. The program is straightforward, with unlimited reward seats and no blackout dates.

Cons to Southwest Airlines

Limited International Routes: Southwest primarily focuses on domestic flights within the United States. Although they do offer some international flights its nowhere near the level of other U.S.-based airlines. However, their domestic footprint is quite extensive.

No Assigned Seating: Now, this policy is a deal breaker for some. They do not offer assigned seating with any fare type. There are ways to give you a better chance of finding your ideal seat (getting on their A-List), but there are no guarantees. This can be stressful, but if you go into it knowing the drill you’ll be fine.

Basic In-flight Amenities: There are no frills when it comes to Southwest Airlines. You won’t find seatback entertainment (it’s BYOD – bring your own device) or power outlets on most flights. The snack options are also limited.

No Business Class or Premium Economy: Southwest only offers one class of service. So if you’re looking for premium amenities like larger seats or meal service, you won’t find it with Southwest.

Boarding Process: The boarding process can be chaotic if you’re not used to it. You’re assigned to a boarding group and a space in line. It can be stressful because other passengers may not be so considerate, but again if you know the drill you’ll be fine.

Limited Code-share Agreements: Southwest is not part of an alliance or larger network of airlines. So that does limit options.

What are the benefits of having Southwest on Google Flights?

Now that Southwest shows up in Google Flight search results, it makes searching for flights even easier than before giving you a broader range of flight options all in one place.

This makes it so much easier to make an informed decision and compare prices and schedules across multiple airlines giving you the best chance for finding affordable flight options to match your preferences.

Here are some reasons why this is such a big deal:

Transparency in Pricing: Now that it’s possible to see Southwest’s fares on Google Flights you can better understand the final cost of flights. Especially when you take into account the value of free checked bags and no change fees, compared to other airlines that might offer a lower headline price but charge additional fees.

Better Planning: For travelers like me, whose priority is finding the most convenient or fastest routes, having access to Southwest’s extensive network of domestic flights on Google Flights means more options.

Alerts and Tracking: This is huge! Southwest does not offer flight price tracking, but now that these flights are showing up in Google Flights you can set price tracking and alerts. This makes is even easier to update your flight if the price goes down, especially without any change fees!

The verdict?

Having Southwest Airlines show up in Google Flights search results is a major game changer for the budget traveler. Not only does it make searching for affordable flights more convenient, but with the price tracking and alerts there’s no longer any reason not to get the best price on flights.

Even if you don’t consider yourself an avid Southwest customer, maybe this new development will pique your interest since now you’ll be seeing their logo pop up more now in your searches!

Want to see this in action? I run searches on Google Flights for Southwest. You can watch below!

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