Southwest Airlines is offering an incredible deal right now, and consumers want in on it. The airline giant is offering one-way trips from Baltimore to Boston and 17 other cities for just $49. This once-in-a-lifetime deal caused the Southwest Airlines website to crash due to overwhelming demand.
Because of the website crash, Southwest Airlines has extended the sale until Friday, June 5 at 11:59 p.m. This is good news for travelers who don't have time to waste on the website. However, this will bring bad news to those who will have to wait hours until the Southwest Airlines website works to find the next available flight.
The website crash first happened on Wednesday, June 3, a day after Southwest Airlines announced its fall travel fare sale. The website then crashed again on Thursday morning as customers were trying to book their flights before the sale ended.
Consumers received a message that the Southwest Airlines website was "undergoing maintenance and is currently unavailable." The message also told people to call Southwest's toll-free phone number, although most received a busy signal.
Southwest Airlines spokesperson Brandy King assured consumers that the 800 number was working, although the call volume is higher than usual.
"We recently launched a fare sale that created an extraordinarily high volume of customer demand and impacted Southwest.com functionality. We apologize to customers for any inconvenience and impact to travel plans. Southwest Teams have worked nonstop to correct website functionality and we continue to focus on fully restoring the site. We have extended the fare sale from end of day Thursday to end of day Friday, allowing customers extra time to book."
Southwest also updated its company blog to thank travelers for their patience as the airline works hard to fix those glitches. Kevin Krone, chief marketing officer, said that Southwest is "working nonstop to correct website functionality, and continue to monitor and restore site stability.''
"Our primary mission is to give customers great customer service and great low fares. Our employees are doing everything they can to deliver on that promise."
Why are so many people flocking to the Southwest Airlines website? The three-day fall travel sale states that consumers can fly one way for $49 to up to 18 destinations, including Albany, Buffalo, Charlotte, Cleveland, Detroit, Louisville, Pittsburgh, and others. Southwest Airlines also offers one-way fares for $99 to Atlanta, Milwaukee, and Orlando.
These special fares are only available on all nonstop flights, except for Fridays and Saturdays, from August 24 to December 16. Blackout dates for this special Southwest Airlines deal are from September 3-5, September 7, and November 20 through December 1, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Buyer beware, though. Southwest Airlines will allow you change or cancel a fare within the 24-hour window without penalty fees. The company will also allow you to change or cancel a reservation at anytime. However, you may have to pay a fare increase. You also shouldn't expect a refund since Southwest won't refund most cancelled reservation for any reason. Most Southwest Airline flights are non-refundable. The airline's $12.50 fee for its EarlyBird Check-In is also non-refundable. Make sure you read the fine print when you reserve a flight.
Even with the overwhelming response to this airfare deal, the airline is still struggling. Southwest Airlines already dipped in performance for the summer season. Southwest dipped to 78.3, which is down from 81.3 in April. Southwest's recent dip comes on the news of the $49 airfare deal and the news about the company expanding more flights during the busy summer travel season.
What are your thoughts on the Southwest Airlines $49 airfare sale? Were you able to book a flight? Did you have any problems with the Southwest website? Share your experience or thoughts below in the comments section.
[Image: David McNew/Getty Images]