You can’t find Southwest hidden city tickets using the technique you use for the other airlines, because Southwest does not participate with other airlines in the “Global Distribution Services” that are used by nearly every other airline in the world and are the source of flight and fare information for nearly every travel agent and internet travel distributor in around the globe. So we have to use Southwest’s own tools on their website.
I’m writing this on Saturday May 20. To walk you through the process, let’s presume that I’m in Denver and I’ve just found out I have to get to Detroit on Tuesday the 23rd. I check the fares and find that the normal fare is about $200…not too bad really, but I’m a cheapskate and like beating the system, so I use the typical technique with “matrix” and find a $147 hidden city fare to Chicago. But I’m going to see if I can get that even cheaper on Southwest, or at least find a flight time I like better.
- I go to http://getawayfinder.southwest.com
- I insert my departure city “DEN” and my departure date “5/23” and watch the map populate with little dots for every possible city I can fly to.
- I locate Detroit on the map, and start moving my cursor around, hovering over the various dots in the same region as Detroit, and also cities geographically ‘beyond’ Detroit. As I hover over each city, a pop-up shows me what the lowest fare to that city is on my chosen date. I’m looking for a fare that is lower than $147. The lowest fare I find is to Chicago for $105, so I click on the dot and receive a pop-up that says “Denver, CO to Chicago, IL, one way per person from $105”.
- I click the yellow box that says “Book It”. This takes me to a list of all the flights from Denver to Chicago on that date. I’m going to scroll down, looking at the right-hand column of fares (the”Wanna Get Away” fares), to find that $105 fare. I find it all the way at the bottom, but when I look at the details of that flight (under the column named “Routing”) it tells me that’s a non-stop to Chicago, so that’s not gonna work.
- I’ll now keep scrolling through the list, looking at the “Routing” column, to see if there are any changes of plane in Detroit. There are lots of flight with connections in St. Louis, and Kansas City and Indianapolis, but no VISIBLE connections in Detroit. I stress the word “visible”, because there might be DIRECT flights to Chicago which make a stop (but no change of planes) in Detroit.
- Now scrolling again through the list, but this time looking at the fares, I find a fare lower than the $147 hidden city ticket I discovered earlier: it’s just $138, and in the routing column is says “One stop –no plane change”.
- I Click on the words “one stop”, and a pop-up informs me that the flight does indeed stop in Detroit. BINGO! I’ve found an even better hidden city fare, and the departure time is even more to my liking than the more expensive option.
It’s not as easy as looking for hidden city ticketing opportunities on the other airlines, but on occasion it’s well worth the effort.