With all the bad press Southwest Airlines has been getting over the last couple of weeks, I thought it might be nice to share why I still believe in “The Love Airline.” IT system issues left thousands of Southwest flyers stranded last week and I know it would be very easy for a lot of those customers to write off SWA and find another carrier, but here are 3 reasons you may want to reconsider and give Love a second chance.
Point to Point Routing
My parents met when they were flight attendants for Braniff Airlines back in the 70’s, right as Southwest was coming on the scene. Good ‘ol Mom and Pop lived in San Antonio and had to commute to LAX for work every other week because that’s where the Braniff hub was located. They hated it for the same reason I hate having to connect in Dallas, Chicago or Atlanta every time I want to go somewhere that doesn’t have a major hub for an airport.
Southwest offers so many non-stops that appeal to the everyday flyer. Two routes that I frequent are Denver – New Orleans and Denver – San Antonio, both of which are non-stop twice daily on SWA. If I flew American or Delta, I’d have to connect. I should point out that while I’m based in Denver, which is a United hub, I hate that airline with a passion. “See part of the reason for that here.”
Just have a look at these route maps and you tell me which airline you think serves the vast majority best.
Lots of Southwest Freebies
While Southwest may be a no frills airline without lounges or premium cabins, they know what their target customers like and don’t like. People hate baggage fees, paying for water and bad service. One of SWA’s core competencies is cost suppression and the other is friendly service. While the poor service of United will forever be branded in my mind, I can’t recall a bad Southwest experience. They’re consistent and I appreciate that. The flight attendants are actually kind of funny, one actually said at the conclusion of a flight “be careful when opening overhead bins, shift happens!” Being able to check bags, get a drink and some peanuts free and get to where I’m going quickly makes Southwest my go to for a lot of routes.
Pick your seat
While I realize this may be a tick in the cons column for some, I like the flexibility unassigned seating gives me. The day before a Southwest flight, I set my alarm to check in exactly 24 hours in advance and when that duck starts to quack on my iPhone its like Who Wants to be a Millionaire’s fastest finger question to get that A boarding group. Being able to pick my seatmate is a make or break in economy. With other airlines you could pay an extra $40 for a better seat and still have to sit next to the woman who brings her Great Dane on the plane as an “Emotional Support Animal.” On Southwest, you can pass up Kugou and find a normal looking human who isn’t scarfing down Panda Express to share that row with for the next 3 hours.
As a side note, if you’re going to bring food onto the plane with you, do your fellow travelers a courtesy and opt for a sandwich.
Sure, Southwest doesn’t have the the best loyalty program or the latest lie-flat seats, but what they lack in panache they more than make up for in value and service. Transferring Chase points to SWA is one of my favorite redemptions and I’m going to continue to fly with them despite their recent transgressions.
How about you? Were you grounded due to the Southwest Y2k? Sound off below.