If I’m traveling domestic, chances are I’m most likely traveling on Southwest Airlines. They are my favorite domestic carrier for a few reasons. Here’s why:
Southwest is affordable. At least as affordable as air travel can get, anyway.
I follow their Facebook page and wait until they announce sales, which is when I usually book long weekends away, trips to visit family and friends, and adventures within the continental U.S. The sales are usually pretty good and I’ve found some great deals to travel around the country.
Southwest now flies internationally!
They don’t fly everywhere, mind you, but their recently expanded routes include several destinations in Mexico, Jamaica, Belize, Costa Rica, and the Caribbean. I’m looking forward to some awesome affordable flights to the Caribbean in my future! I’m hoping they will continue to add international destinations to their route map over time (I’m looking at you, Canada!).
Southwest doesn’t have to be uncomfortable.
If you’ve ever flown Southwest, you know how much anxiety there can be over getting stuck in the dreaded C group. If you’ve never flown with them, I should explain: Southwest has no assigned seating. Instead, you are assigned a group and boarding position. The groups are A, B, and C, and within those groups you are also assigned a boarding position. When you board the plane, you line up according to your group and boarding position and select any seat that’s available on the plane. This can be nice if you’re in the A group, and nightmare if you’re in the C group. They do this because it allows them to keep prices lower by having flights that are always full. However, you can avoid being in the dreaded C group by just selecting their priority check-in upon booking. It only costs $12 each way, and guarantees you a better boarding position. Usually in the A group.
Best customer service ever!
Southwest goes above and beyond in some small but significant ways. You can check two bags for free. Nobody else does that these days.
But the best thing, I think, is their policy on cancellations and re-booking. Did you know they will let you cancel your flight up to ten minutes before departure (yes, TEN minutes!) and retain full flight credit, good for up to a year, to use on another flight? Their “life happens” policy is amazing! Seriously. Because life DOES happen and sometimes you need to reschedule. No other airline has a policy like that and this alone is enough to make me a loyal Southwest customer for life.
A few tips for flying Southwest
If you’re going to fly Southwest, there are a few things you should know.
- Check in early. You’re allowed to check in 24 hours before your flight’s scheduled departure. Do it. The earlier you check in, the better boarding position you will get. They even have an app for your phone so you can check in wherever you are.
- The Southwest mobile app has mobile boarding passes. This is great because even if you’re at the beach, you can check in really quickly. No need to print your boarding pass: just show it to the gate agent and you’re in.
- Bring food and water on board. They only serve peanuts and pretzels (no meals), so I like to bring food on board with me. You can either buy food at the airport or pack a meal for the airport, but either way….bring food! Bring water, too. They do provide drinks, but it’s always nice to have extra water.
- Southwest offers free checked bags, unlike many other airlines, so there’s no need to worry about extra baggage fees.
- They have a great frequent flyer rewards program. Points add up pretty quickly, and if you fly all the time, you can even earn the companion pass which allows a companion of your choice to fly for free with you whenever you travel. That’s an awesome perk!
- Southwest is 100% economy class, so if you’re hoity toity and like flying first class of business class, this airline isn’t for you.
What has your experience been with Southwest Airlines? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.