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Southwest has announced a second, cheaper fare

Looking for a cheap flight? Southwest has another affordable option

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A Southwest Airlines flight lands in Milwaukee

A Southwest Airlines flight lands at General Mitchell International Airport on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021, in Milwaukee, Wis.

Morry Gash, Associated Press

Southwest Airlines announced Thursday a new fare class called “Wanna Get Away Plus.”

Why this matters: The new fare from Southwest will offer its second-cheapest prices yet.

Details: “Wanna Get Away Plus” is the second-cheapest fare from Southwest, sitting just above the “Wanna Get Away” fare and below the “Anytime” fare.

  • Customers can make same-day changes to their tickets without paying a difference in price, per CNBC.
  • Customers can exchange their tickets for flight credit, which can then be transferred to someone else, per The Points Guy. This option is not available in the base-level “Wanna Get Away” fare.
  • It will allow Southwest travelers to receive higher frequent flyer miles, too.

The bigger picture: It comes as airfare prices might surge due to the oil and gas shortage and because of more travel demand as the COVID-19 pandemic hits a lull period.

  • Jim Scott, the managing partner with Royal Pacific Consulting Group, told Global News that it’s unclear whether rising gas prices will directly impact airlines since most airlines prepare their upcoming prices well in advance.
  • He said that “major airlines hedge against fuel price hikes by purchasing contracts up to a year ahead of time.”

Eduardo Mariz, a senior analyst for Ishka, a global aviation information business, told The Points Guy that travel demand will rise anyway, sending prices upward.

  • “Demand has recovered so they can raise fares without losing customers,” Mariz said. “U.S. carriers tend to be unhedged, but the recovery has been stronger than for others, so we will probably see them raising fares faster.”