Airfare sale crashes Southwest Airlines' website

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Getting a good deal on airline tickets right now is turning out to be a lot harder than it seems.

Many of you probably rushed to Southwest Airlines' website after the airline slashed ticket prices to under $50 -- and therein lies the problem!

Many travelers are having no luck because the Southwest website crashed; now the sale is extended and other airlines are price matching.

With 2 kids in tow, it costs nearly a thousand dollars for Mandy McCabe to travel from Midland to Houston.

"It's very expensive to fly, especially because I have to pay for her seat now," said Mandy McCabe.

So when Southwest Airlines fare sale popped up, McCabe clicked on the link hoping to save money.

"I actually clicked on it a couple of times and I don't know if a lot of people were doing it, but, nothing, the page would not load," said McCabe.

Southwest's website was so overwhelmed by traffic getting a good deal was not easy, even for the pros.

"It was very slow, uh, did not get it, it was pending it said it did not know the URL," said Mike Weingart.

Weingart is the President of the Southwest Chapter of the American Society of Travel Agents.

He found the deals elusive even when he finally did make it into the website.

"I found some dates, but they were not subject to the sale, and when it was all said and done, I was ticketless," said Weingart.

But, Weingart says his friends who have a more flexible travel schedule did save.

"They got $100 round trip to Kansas City," said Weingart.

This is not the first time Southwest has held fare sales and not the first time the company's website has struggled to meet demand.

In response, Southwest is extending the fare sale through Friday at midnight.

And now other airlines are matching Southwest's deals. American and United will price match the same routes offered by Southwest.

Weingart's not surprised by that at all.

"The airlines have an excellent reputation of laying follow the leader," said Weingart.

No matter when you shop for airline tickets online, disable the cookies web sites leave on your computer that track how much you've paid for tickets in the past.

It's called private browsing and it may result in lower ticket prices.

Here's how it works on Internet explorer. Click on the cog icon on the top right hand corner, click on the safety tab, then click on the "in private browsing" tab.

That way airline web sites will not know how much you typically spend on seats and in turn may offer you a lower price.

Southwest Airlines officials say they are learning form this incident and added the company has seen vast improvements in response times and all essential functions are up and working.
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