Southwest Military Discount
Hearing about companies that have a military discount allows you to save money and that is a good thing. With the cost of travel so high these days, finding a military discount on your airline tickets is a way to save money, especially if you want to fly home to visit family or send your child back home for school breaks during college.
The Southwest military discount offers a way for you to save on travel. But is it the best deal out there?
Southwest Military Discount – What’s the Deal?
Southwest does have a military discount, although it is considered a military fare. Understanding what that means is essential. It isn’t as simple as paying for your flight and getting 10-15% off as you might find with other military discounts.
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What is the Southwest Military Rate?
- Discounted fares for military – see note below
- No charge for bags, even if you have more than 2
- No cancellation fees for military
- Early boarding
Southwest Airlines Military Fare Is Not Always the Cheapest Rate
The biggest thing to know about the Southwest military rate is that it isn’t always the cheapest way to get a ticket with them. When you are trying to get the military discount you have to call them on the phone, you can not do this online.
Usually, when booking tickets with Southwest, you can do so using their website or app. When you go to search, you will see a few different rates for each choice. One of those rates is called, “Wanna Get Away.” These rates tend to be cheaper than the rates you get by calling and asking for a military one.
Because of this, you should always call Southwest and ask about the current military rate for that flight. Then compare that rate with their current “Wanna Get Away” rate to see which is a better price. In some cases, they might not even have military rate flights available for when you want to fly.
Overall the Southwest military discount is perfect for when you need to make last-minute travel plans. In those cases, the “Wanna Get Away” prices can be booked up, and you might be left with very high prices. Regular rates can sometimes be over half what the “Wanna Get Away” or the military rate might be.
Who’s Eligible for the Discount?
- Active Duty
- Reservists with active orders
- National Guard members with active orders
- Coast Guard members with active orders
- Cadets/midshipmen attending the U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Military Academy [West Point], and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy
- Authorized dependents
Bags: Does Southwest Charge the Military for Bags?
Southwest does not charge anyone for their first 2 bags as long as they are under 50 lbs each.
If you are on active duty, you will not be charged for more than 2 bags.
If you are on non-active duty on orders, you will also not be charged for more than 2 bags.
Southwest Offers No Cancellation Fees for Military
Even though you might not be able to get the military fare while booking your Southwest trip, it is good to know their cancellation policy.
As a service member, times and dates change, and you might need to change the date of your trip. Southwest will not charge you a fee for this change. However, you will need to use your ticket within a year, and it is not transferable to someone else.
This can give you some comfort when booking your tickets and think there is a chance something could change.
Military Can Board the Flight Early
As of September 2022, all active duty military members, even if not wearing the uniform, can board early. You would need to show your military ID.
Should You Use this Discount?
If you are planning a trip or must fly your college student home, look into the Southwest military rates. Taking the time to compare rates can save you some money.
If you cannot use the military discount but can use the “Wanna Get Away” rate, you will still be able to save money.
The military rate can also save you money if you need to book tickets on an emergency basis and all the “Wanna Get Away” tickets have been sold.
Southwest does not fly overseas, other than Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, so if you are stationed OCONUS, they will not be an option for you to fly home to visit.
NOTE: Due to the nature of military discounts, the terms listed above could change at any time. Always please check with the company directly for the most updated information.
For more info on the Southwest military discount, please go here. To ask about military fares, call 1-800-I-Fly-SWA.
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About the author
Julie Provost is a freelance writer, blogger, and owner of Soldier's Wife, Crazy Life, a support blog for military spouses. She lives in Tennessee with her National Guard husband and three boys.