This is not good, I am a Southwest loyalist and this makes me upset. Alyssa and I have held Companion Pass for the last three-or-so years and it has saved us thousands of dollar… er.. points.
At some point last month, Southwest decided to retire their Getaway map search tool. Why? I have no clue, but it makes me teary-eyed.
Why, Southwest, Why!?!
I would visit the Southwest map at least once a week, if not more often. (I’ve been waiting for it to come back before posting about it)
I typically used it to find hidden city deals to save money/points. Since Southwest doesn’t post pricing on Google Flights, I can’t search using their map tool either.
What I used to do is input my starting point, say Las Vegas, and then find the cheapest destinations in the direction of my travel by using the sliding price/points filter.
Southwest uses a “point to point” travel system to get you to your destination, the other major airlines use a hub system. Because Southwest can technically have a layover in any city, hidden city flights work more easily than others.
The art of hidden city or “throw away ticketing” is this: You book a ticket from A to C with a layover or stop in B. Your desired destination is actually city B, but it is sometimes cheaper to book the flight from A to C with a layover in B than it is to book A to B direct.
I would use the Getaway finder to search all the “C’s”. I would check all the cheap “C’s” for layovers in my desired “B”.
In this case, you would just miss your second connection or flight from B to C, and just like that, you went from A to B for less money by booking a “fake” trip to an end destination you will never fly to.
Note: You can only book one-way travel using hidden city and you CANNOT check luggage, otherwise it will be sent to your ‘true’ final destination. I have booked both directions using hidden city with Southwest, it was glorious. (don’t book as a round-trip, book as two one-way trips)
Is the map coming back?
I am doubtful we will see it again. I am not sure the exact reason that they ditched it but I have some feelings. My first thought is that they don’t want to support it since it isn’t very popular and/or it is tasking on their servers since it is querying a lot of data. My other and more cynical feeling is that they are getting rid of it because they don’t want flyers to easily spot hidden city flights.
So now, poor old me, is going to have to search every city around my destination when searching for hidden city flights.
Whatever the reason, Southwest killed the Getaway page with no clear warning and now even killed the page when accessing via the direct link. This makes me a sad panda.