Transfers are one-time only and both people must be Rapid Rewards members.
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Southwest interior
Credit: Courtesy of Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines is introducing a new fare class that will offer travelers more flexibility when booking — and even allows them to gift unused flight credits.

The new Wanna Get Away Plus fare, which will be available late in the second quarter of 2022, will allow travelers to take advantage of same-day changes and standby flights as well as earn 8 times the Rapid Rewards points, according to Southwest.

Travelers who book one of these tickets will also be able to transfer eligible unused flight credits to someone for future use. Transfers are one-time only and both people must be Rapid Rewards members.

"The airline industry, in our perspective, is a repeat purchase business. And a positive experience with a quality product brings customers back for the next flight," Andrew Watterson, Southwest's executive vice president and chief commercial officer, said in an address. "Because of that, we're committed to a bundled product… The desired outcome here is to have four quality fare products with reasonable sell-ups in between and let the customer choose what fits their needs. But all the fare products are sufficient for travel."

The new benefits are in addition to Southwest's current perks like two free checked bags, no change fees, and free TV, movies, and messaging on board.

Beyond the new fare class, Southwest will also extend the flight credit transfer feature to those who book refundable Anytime or Business Select fares. And later this year, the airline will allow customers who book Anytime fares to gain EarlyBird Check-In, use the priority lane, and use the express lane benefits, while Tier Members will receive same-day confirmed change and same-day standby.

The new fare class announcement comes more than a month after Southwest resumed selling alcohol on board its flights, which it initially paused in March 2020 before delaying plans to bring back booze due to a spike in incidents involving unruly passengers.

It also comes after CEO Robert Jordan took over in February, vowing to focus on things like providing more reliable Wi-Fi and hiring more workers. Jordan also didn't rule out implementing assigned seats in the future (the airline doesn't currently assign seats, instead it gives passengers a boarding group and reserved boarding number when they check-in).

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.