Overbooking a flight means that airlines will accept a few additional reservations for seats on a flight beyond the aircraft's seating capacity.
An oversale takes place when more confirmed Customers check in ontime and show up for the flight than our aircraft will accommodate, leaving one or more confirmed Customers without a seat.
Southwest does not overbook as part of the selling process (Effective May 8, 2017). While we no longer “overbook” flights, there will be operational instances where we will be over available seating capacity resulting in an oversale. Operational instances that may create an oversale include weight restrictions and aircraft type changes.
Discontinuing the act of overbooking is completely consistent with our philosophy of Customer-friendly policies. Our Transfarency® promise gives us our Customers Bags fly free*, no change fees**, points that never expire, and reward seats on every flight every day.
*First and second checked bags. Weight and size limits apply.
**Fare difference may apply.
Yes. We will continue to offer compensation to Customers when a flight is in an oversale situation, meaning we have more passengers than available seats in the case of operational instances.
We will continue to offer flexible travel policies for Customers who have a last-minute change in plans.