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Flying Southwest Airlines has many benefits for travelers visiting locations on Southwest’s flight routes (especially short local flights which are often more affordable than on the larger airlines). Southwest airlines, one of the United States’ budget-friendly airlines, has many benefits well worth consideration. While the boarding experience on Southwest may seem a bit confusing for first-time Southwest Airline travelers, it all becomes evident after learning just a few quick tips.
Will I receive an assigned seat?
Southwest Airlines does not provide assigned seats and instead provides passengers an opportunity to select their seat according to the order in which travelers check-in for their flight. Twenty-four hours prior to a flight, passengers have an opportunity to check-in for their flight through the phone app or computerized system. Then an automated system assigns passengers a boarding number listed in categories A, B, or C. Each category has 60 passengers in it so passengers listed in category A one through 60 will board before those with boarding passes in category B or C. Each passenger lines up in rows from one through 30 and 31 through 60 to board (see image). Upon entering the plane, passengers select their seat at that time. Those in category A have the greatest number of seats available since they are the first to board.
All the seats on the flight are exactly the same and there are no first-class seats on the flight. I am only 5’3’’ and I find the seats quite comfortable.
How is the Service on Southwest Airlines?
Flying Southwest Airlines can be quite fun. Often times, the flight crew’s personalities shine through as they use humor to convey messages to passengers about safety, landing, or other procedures. For example, it is quite commonplace for Southwest staff to welcome everyone to Las Vegas by saying quick jokes such as “The local time here in ‘Lost Wages’ is 4:50pm.” Some of the crew have sung quick songs, used riddles, or other forms of humor to entertain passengers and enhance the flight experience.
While in flight, the crew will provide each passenger with complimentary soft drinks, tea, or coffee and alcoholic beverages can be purchased utilizing credit cards or vouchers. Additionally, pretzels or peanuts will be distributed at no cost.
The Real Prize of Flying Southwest Airlines
The greatest advantage in flying Southwest Airlines lies in the no-fee flight change and their free checked baggage. Each passenger may check in two pieces of luggage at no cost and with minimal hassle. More importantly, there is a NO PENALTY FEE for changing a flight to a different time, date, or place. The difference in the cost between the original flight and the subsequent flight will be charged, but if the price of the new flight costs less than the original flight, a credit for that difference will be saved in the passenger’s account. More importantly, a pricey $150-$200 change fee is avoided and that can be quite beneficial when traveling with multiple companions.
Overall, the price-point, comfort, convenience, and crew make flights on Southwest Airlines worth consideration. It’s always a good idea to sign up on the Southwest Airlines website for the regular promotions which often include very affordable flights from major airports.
Have you flown Southwest Airlines? How was your first Southwest Airline experience?