Why I Fly Southwest

Been traveling more than usual of late and have been flying Southwest for most of it.  I’ve been a Southwest fan for a long time and every trip reminds me why that is.

It’s mostly simple things:

  1. Their prices are usually good.
    These days they’re not always the cheapest, but their prices are always towards the bottom end of the range.
  2. They don’t charge if you check a bag
    Every other airline I’ve flown lately charges $20-$30 per checked bag.  If you travel with a lot of gear, or family, that adds up.
  3. They actually have some idea of customer service and generally operate from the view of keeping customers happy, rather than the “customers are a nuisance” approach of American, United and others.

The best example of #3 was my experience earlier today.  What was a 3 leg trip (from A to B to C to A) got revised to a standard round trip.  With other airlines, there would be cancellation fees (up to $150 last time I went through this) and a complicated process to get whatever credit remained. That credit can also only be used when buying a ticket by phone, not through the website, which means it can only be used to purchase more expensive tickets than are advertised on the airline’s site.  A nice end to end scam that ensures you get almost no refund from a canceled/changed trip.

With Southwest, I simply called, gave them my confirmation number and they canceled the legs I no longer needed.  The full price paid for each leg was instantly available as a credit against future travel (and good for 1 year).  What’s more, when I booked the new leg through the website, there was a link (as the agent told me) to “apply travel funds”.  I clicked it, typed in the confirmation number for the original (now canceled) leg and the credit was applied.  What’s more, I was able to apply credits from multiple canceled flights to a single new purchase.  And it all took less than 10 mins.

It’s always refreshing to see a company in a competitive business that builds customer service into its roots to such a degree that it permeates every aspect of their thinking…  And that’s why they’ll keep getting my business.