I took advantage of a Southwest Airlines A-List promo that I wrote about not too long ago. A-List has been helpful, but not life-changing. Previously, I’d always managed to set a calendar alert and get myself checked in for a decent boarding group. When I’ve suspected I might not be able to do so, I’ve never hesitated to spring for Early Bird Check-in. That said, it’s nice not having to think about getting checked in for a flight.

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Heart logo imagine courtesy of Southwest Airlines

Of course, there are other benefits to having A-List like 25 percent bonus points on flights and a dedicated A-List phone line, though I’ve yet to need to call for anything. If A-List guaranteed me an exit row, I might call it “elite,” but I digress. 🙂 Yesterday, my boarding group was A-35, and I just missed nabbing an exit row window. All in all, it’s been just fine and I’ve already benefited from Southwest’s flexible fare policies via one-ways and the lack of a change fee.

But Flying Southwest is Different

I don’t mind flying Southwest at all, and frankly, I find their boarding process to be the best of all airlines, assuming you’re not flying one of those airlines in First Class. Some of those differences with other airlines are true positives. Southwest isn’t difficult to do business with, whether your paying with dollars or points. It is what it is, and doesn’t promise to be something more. For that reason, I’ve yet to be disappointed with a Southwest flight, though I think I’ve flown more than my share of 737-300s lately. (That’s a separate blog post) Sometimes, like yesterday when I was one of the few to luck out and get an empty seat beside me, it’s downright pleasant, especially if you can nab an exit row seat.

The thing that strikes me most when flying Southwest? The clientele – and I don’t mean that as negatively as it sounds. It just feels like your average Southwest flight has more first-timers than when I board, let’s say a Delta flight, even in the primarily business-oriented markets I’ve flown the airline in like NYC, DC, and Boston. Yesterday, I boarded my flight to Raleigh, placed my bag under the seat in front of me, and made the mistake of going to the restroom. I returned to find someone sitting in my seat, who had retrieved my bag from underneath. He handed it to me with a “here you go buddy.” I said thanks and took my bag off to another seat, but not before I got “oh, I didn’t know you were sitting here.” The bag being there wasn’t clear enough. Again, I digress, it’s open seating after all. 🙂 And I got that empty seat beside me.

The Bottom Line

I really mean it – I’m learning to appreciate (and maybe even love) LUV. I doubt you see me posting that I’ve totally committed to flying Southwest on every flight I take, but the airline has its good points. Good points that I likely never would have explored if I were still chasing status.

-MJ, May 12, 2016