There are very few brands I truly show loyalty toward. Southwest Airlines is one of those few exceptions. If I have a choice, I will always choose to fly Southwest. After flying 21,271 miles with Southwest in 2016 alone, I think it’s safe to say I’ve had my fair share of time spent with them recently! There are many reasons why I love Southwest Airlines, but I’m sharing my top eight to show why they are always my top pick airline.
Snacks… for FREE!
Southwest takes advantage of the obvious – free food is an automatic win for nearly anyone. Not only are the snacks free, but they also offer non-alcoholic beverages free of charge and generously send out free alcoholic drink coupons. With so many other airlines charging an arm and a leg for every little thing, it’s refreshing to fly with Southwest and receive complementary little extras that make the flight a more enjoyable experience.
Two Free Checked Bags
Even though I almost never check a bag, it’s nice to know that if I did it wouldn’t cost me anything extra. According to Southwest I saved $1,380 on bag fees in 2016, so for those who regularly check bags when they fly that’s a pretty hefty savings amount!
They’ve Got Jokes
Known for its on-board comedy, Southwest flight attendants know just how to lighten the mood even when the passengers aren’t the happiest of folks. The video below is one of my favorite safety announcements, and the Southwest Loony Tunes guy is also amazing if you haven’t seen him yet.
Transfarency is Real
With the exception of extreme budget airlines like Frontier and Spirit, Southwest tends to be one of the cheaper options when flying domestic throughout the United States. The average one-way fare on Southwest Airlines in 2015 was $156.55, but I’ve booked flights as low as $49 one way flying between Denver and Chicago. The best part is that the price you pay is the final rate. There’s no need to worry about paying for your checked bag or even worse – your carry-on.
A Boarding Process Meant for Non-Procrastinators
I’m convinced that the people who don’t like Southwest’s alpha-numerical boarding process are mainly procrastinators, or it’s just not a big deal to them to pay extra to select their prime seat, or splurge on a first-class ticket. For a punctual budget traveler like myself, I LOVE this boarding process. I always sit in the front half of the plane and am usually in the first 5-10 rows. And I didn’t have to pay any extra! Just because I check in on time. If you tend to have a problem with seat companions, this also means that if you don’t want to sit next to the crying baby or the passenger who won’t stop sneezing, you don’t have to — as long as you check in on time so you’re not stuck with the remainder of the seats no one wanted. Even if you are one of those people who always forgets to check in on time, it only takes a mere $15 each way for EarlyBird check-in that will automatically check you in so you have an earlier boarding position.
Exceptional Customer Service
As with any airline there will always be people who have their complaints, but I truly think Southwest handles the majority of issues that arise better than other airlines. According to their Corporate Fact Sheet, Southwest has “consistently received the lowest ratio of complaints per passengers boarded of all major U.S. carriers that have been reporting statistics to the Department of Transportation (DOT) since September 1987, which is when the DOT began tracking Customer Satisfaction statistics and publishing its Air Travel Consumer Report.” It’s clear that Southwest goes above and beyond to satisfy their customers, from little things like offering complimentary premium beverages and a refund when the WiFi doesn’t work properly to a Southwest pilot holding the plane for a man going to see his dying grandson.
Southwest Airlines is actively involved in charitable giving, environmental initiatives, and community outreach and volunteerism. Southwest employees volunteered more than 130,000 hours of their time to national and local nonprofit organizations in 2015. For the past four years they have been rated among the top four most fuel-efficient airlines domestically in the United States.
They also go out of their way to make use of old or unneeded materials, like reusing their leather seat coverings and old marketing billboards. When Southwest redesigned its cabins in 2014, they launched LUV Seat: Repurpose with Purpose to turn used leather seat coverings into new products that would support local communities by providing access to skills training and employment throughout Kenya, Malawi, and the United States. In 2015, Southwest recycled 24 billboards into items like wallets, baggage tags, and totes.
These are only a few of the many examples of ways that Southwest gives back, gets involved, and embodies the meaning of the Southwest heart.
Rapid Rewards/Companion Pass
Brandon and I flew to Cancun, Mexico with Southwest and only paid taxes and international fees since I bought my flight with points and he flew free with me. That is virtually unheard of with most other airlines, and over time it has saved us thousands of dollars in flight costs. How to get the Southwest Companion Pass takes some work, but it definitely pays off if you can manage to earn one. Get started with 40,000 bonus points when you meet the minimum spend requirements after signing up for the Southwest credit card!
I occasionally have to fly other airlines for work or international trips, and getting back on a Southwest Airlines flight afterwards is like that old familiar feeling of returning home. I’d say Southwest has certainly earned their heart.
Hate or love Southwest Airlines, share your stories in the comments below!