Why We Fly Southwest

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It’s 2:00 PM EDT. Right now Helaine and I should be taxiing to the gate at LAX on-board Southwest Flight 215, a one stop from Bradley to the coast.

Have they noticed we’re not on the plane?

A missing piece of paper would have kept us from completing all the tasks on our trip, so we canceled. We did it just before midnight for a 6:30 AM flight. The penalty for cancellation, zero!

This afternoon Helaine rebooked the trip, combining it with a trip to Arizona (Happy 100th Aunt Sue) already planned with tickets purchased. That meant changing more flights. The penalty for rebooking, zero!

Southwest didn’t refund our money. There is a limit to their largess. Instead it’s on account and available to use–100% of it.

While other airlines seem too upset to even deal with you as a passenger, Southwest seems genuinely glad to have our business.

I’m not quite sure I understand why Southwest’s fares aren’t part of the booking consortiums like Expedia and Travelocity? Because of that, most people don’t see Southwest’s fares (often higher until you factor in the baggage charges you aren’t paying) or even know where they fly.

Southwest has been a consumer friendly experience for as long as we’ve been flying them. Being loyal, flying Southwest almost exclusively and even using a Southwest credit card is our way of saying thanks.

Today Southwest said you’re welcome.

12 thoughts on “Why We Fly Southwest”

  1. My mom has not paid for a flight in two years because Southwest gives endless amounts of free tickets for just using their card and paying your bills on time.

    One time I was on Southwest in January, and I asked for pretzels twice to the flight attendant. I asked very nicely each time. So, the third time I ask for pretzels, I say, my mom would like another bag of pretzels, please. She smiled and said, “Is it for you or your mom.” Do you want 2 pretzel bags or 3. When she comes back, she hands me a giant bag of 20 pretzel bags and says it is a gift.

  2. So often, what a company can do, or really what an employee can do, to make you feel special costs very little and provides great returns to the company. I have mixed feelings about Southwest existing ex-consolidators, as I have to remember to think whether SW is a player, but I’ll bet it gives them and us a better bargain in the end.

  3. All seven of the flights in my lifetime have been with Southwest Airlines. I once had to cancel a planned trip to Nashville in 2010 (me and my brother). I was able to use the flight credit from both tickets for a successful trip to Chicago that summer. Southwest never questioned why I cancelled the first booking (weather was part of it and my brother wasn’t feeling to well that morning). If money ever allows in the future, I’d definitely fly with them again! 🙂

    P.S. Nashville did eventually happen…in August of 2010 at least.

  4. I fly Southwest exclusively since they fly to all the places I want to go. They go out of their way to make flights as pleasant as possible, the prices are good considering they don’t pile on the extra fees and their cancellation policy is great. Why fly any other?

  5. I absolutely adore Southwest – especially now that they fly to the podunk little airport by my parents in South Carolina (GSP). US Airways is the other big game at that airport and they’re still not as cheap as Southwest – add in the fact that you aren’t being nickel and dimed to death and it’s even better.

    Plus I hate puddle jumper planes, and those are totally not part of the equation with Southwest, whereas US Airways would be BDL-CLT on a jet and CLT-GSP on a stupid propeller plane. BDL-BWI-GSP = vastly better 🙂

  6. Guess I’m odd-man-out, but I have to disagree. Most of my flying is BDL to FLL or PBI. I’ve found Jet Blue to be far superior. I’ve used both and the larger equipment, A320 vs 737, leather seats, a screen with movies at each seat, and tons of legroom, not to mention seat selection, all add up to a better experience in my opinion.
    In addition first checked bag is free just like SW.

  7. I never think of Southwest! I will from now on. We usually fly Delta but then get stuck for the baggage fees.

  8. Geoff here — The comment originally here has been deleted because the same person was posting under multiple names.

  9. Southwest doesn’t participate in Expedia, Kayak etc. because one way they can get by with not charging bag fees or cancellation fees is by not paying the booking kickbacks to the travel aggregator sites. Works for me.

    Southwest is a godsend for traveling musicians, because not only do they not charge for the first 2 pieces of luggage, but their overweight/oversize fees are quite reasonable ($75 each). The ticket agent in Charleston last month actually apologized for having to charge that for our big heavy keyboard! Also, they’re generally cool about allowing guitars to be put into the overhead bin.

    There are tradeoffs, of course … hardly any non-stop routes and planes stuffed full of families with little kids and people who don’t travel often and thus have absolutely no clue what they’re doing. And the fares are often not competitive even when you factor in the baggage savings … but when it makes sense, I always try to book on Southwest for our tours.

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