Is Standby Free on Southwest? Cost To Fly Same-Day

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Posted By: Charles Lawvens

Yes, same-day standby is free on Southwest Airlines for all passengers, regardless of fare class. They recently changed their policy to eliminate any airline charges for standby. However, you might still be responsible for government taxes and fees associated with the new itinerary, though they will be refunded if you don't get cleared for the standby flight.

How Much Does It Cost to Fly Standby on Southwest?

If you seek to know how much it costs to fly standby on Southwest, there is no charge from Southwest Airlines to fly standby for the same day on any fare type. You will only be responsible for government taxes and fees, which may be refunded if you don't get a seat on the desired flight. In the past, some fares required paying the difference between the original fare and the standby fare, but this is no longer true.

Does Southwest Offer Free Same-Day Standby?

Yes, recently, Southwest has offered free same-day standby for all passengers, regardless of their fare class. This means that even if you buy their most budget-friendly "Wanna Get Away" ticket, you can try to snag a seat on an earlier flight for free if there's space available.
Previously, only certain fares or members of their loyalty program qualified for free same-day standby, with others having to pay the difference in fare if they wanted to switch to an earlier flight. This change brings Southwest more in line with other major airlines in the US.

Southwest Standby Policy

You are looking to retain the current flight; for this reason, you are looking to adhere to the information on the Southwest Standby policy, which you can learn by getting through some points you may continue to read.

Southwest no longer charges airline fees for same-day standby, although government taxes and fees may apply (and will be refunded if not applicable).

Standby is for flights on the same calendar day as your original flight, not a 24-hour window.

You can add yourself to the list via the Southwest app (30 minutes before departure) or at the airport with a customer service agent (10 minutes before departure).

The boarding order is based on when you add your name to the list, not your original position.

If you choose to stand by after checking a bag, Southwest won't be responsible for delivery charges if your bag isn't on the same flight.

Southwest Standby Checked Bags

Separation from bags: When flying standby on Southwest, you might be separated from your checked luggage. This means your bag will likely travel on your original ticketed flight, even if you get cleared for an earlier flight.

Responsibility for bags: Since you voluntarily opted for standby, Southwest won't be responsible for any delivery charges if your bag arrives separately at your destination.
Gate-checking the bag: If you get cleared for standby, bring your checked bag to the gate and have it checked onto your new flight. This might depend on how close to departure you are.

Checking in advance for the desired flight (if applicable): In some cases, if you're eligible for same-day change, you might be able to confirm your spot on the desired flight while checking your luggage in advance.

How Do I Add Standby on Southwest Airlines?

There are two ways to request same-day standby:

Via the Southwest App or Mobile Website: This is the quickest and easiest method, but you'll need to do it at least 30 minutes before your original flight's scheduled departure. Here's the process:

  • Access your trip itinerary on the Southwest App.
  • Tap "View/Manage" and then "Same-Day Standby."
  • Choose the flight you'd like to stand for.
  • The app will inform you if you're cleared for the flight via your preferred contact method (email or text).
  • At the airport, you can also request standby with a Southwest Customer Service Agent at either the ticketing counter or your departure gate. Have your confirmation information handy for a smooth process.

Essential Credentials

Same-day standby is only available for flights on the same day and to the same destination as your original booking.

You must request standby at least 10 minutes before your original flight's departure (unless using the app, then it's 30 minutes).

If not, the no-show policy may apply. Standby passengers board after ticketed passengers, so be prepared to wait and board according to the boarding group order.

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