Business Select is Southwest’s top fare class and includes guaranteed A1-15 boarding, priority security, bonus Rapid Rewards points, and a complimentary cocktail. Southwest has seen a bit more of me this year, and recently I made my first Business Select purchase. I wasn’t seeking to buy a Business Select fare or even fly Southwest specifically. Simply put, I had a short-notice travel need and Southwest not only offered nonstops to where I needed to go, Business Select was by far the most affordable option. Throw in a $100 dollar credit I had with Southwest, and the decision was an easy one.

Southwest Offers Compelling Value for Many

Frankly, for the flak they get from some circles, Southwest offers a perfectly acceptable coach product that comes with the flexibility of no change fees. While not a big deal for me, the flexibility of checking up to two bags free of charge can be an important factor for travelers. Further, Southwest’s Companion Pass is likely the most valuable benefit in loyalty, assuming their network meets your travel needs. And while I’m sure they have some bad Apples somewhere, I’ve yet to meet a Southwest employee who wasn’t at least what one might call polite. In short, I don’t mind flying Southwest when the need arises.

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Heart logo imagine courtesy of Southwest Airlines

The Flight

When the time came, I checked in for my flight and received an A-4 boarding pass. Security was a breeze with PreCheck, and soon enough it was time to board. My awesome A-4 boarding position ensured I was able to claim an exit row seat. The flight was packed, but the middle seat somehow remained empty, which assured me of a comfortable flight. Empty middle or not, I find Southwest’s coach seats, at least on the 737-700s, to be more comfortable than most Y cabin seats, especially some of the thin line stuff that’s out there now. The extra legroom in the exit row was great, and the complimentary cocktail was icing on the cake. I had printed my boarding pass, which included a paper coupon for the drink provided to Business Select customers, but an electronic one generated when checking in with your smartphone is acceptable.

Internet access was available, but I did not partake. Instead, I chose to pass the time by taking advantage of the free live TV programming that was offered. I usually open two browser windows, one for TV and the other for flight tracking so I can occasionally tab over to check our flight’s progress. I really like the live TV product.

The Bottom Line on Business Select

While I would not purchase Business Select fares just for the sake of having early boarding and a complimentary drink, I did enjoy my flight. Southwest’s comfortable coach accommodations, friendly people, and reasonable last-minute fares sealed the deal.

-MJ, November 20, 2015