I love Southwest Airlines.
This is not a paid or otherwise incentivized post. It’s a paean, a big sloppy kiss on the nose of every 747 in the SA fleet. In a time when air travel experiences so often fall into categories ranging from disappointing to Rape of Nanking-y, Southwest is a blue-and-orange oasis of sanity that confers dignity upon the people they move around in airplanes. Those people are me.
Here’s what life is good at doing: changing. Here’s what Southwest is good at doing: understanding. When you buy a ticket from Chicago to New York City for a May 3rd flight, for example, and you realize you could return two days earlier and make an important meeting, you can move your flight on May 3rd to May 1st — at no charge. Anytime I do that (and I do that a fair amount right now, seeing as how I live nowhere) I feel like I’m getting away with something. I feel like there must be a catch, a shoe waiting to drop, a Customer Service Representative waiting in the wings to slap a not-insignificant fee on me for not being able to live life with zero fumbles and total clairvoyance. But no one slaps me. And I get back to work with a little extra “zing!” even when I’m just typing something into a Google spreadsheet. (I try to keep such tasks to a minimum.)
Most people’s beef with Southwest is that you don’t have an assigned seat. Why do you want that?
Another reason I love Southwest is because they don’t charge you extra for your luggage and they let you bring two pieces! At no charge! I Every other airline charges what I think of as a fine, not a fee. They’re fining you for needing to brush your teeth later, fining you for not having a magical dress that you can travel in, go to a meeting in, go out to dinner in, and also feel like wearing again the next day and the day after that. Southwest knows that when you leave your home for a week you need stuff, and that stuff won’t fit in your briefcase. Rather than add $50+ dollars to your transportation cost, however, they’ve figured out how to not do that while keeping airfare prices for the consumer still relatively low. Relatively really low. How could this be possible unless the people running Southwest Airlines were really good at running an airline? Methinks they are good. Also: peanuts.
Thank you, Southwest Airlines. Today, the gate agent who boarded the flight from Denver came onto the plane and announced a birthday before we pushed off. She also said:
“This is a shout-out to Mary Katherine Fons. I love your quilts! I’m a quilter! I love your magazine!”
United has never done that. And you know, I don’t plan on giving them the opportunity to try. I’m a Southwest girl and I wear my wings with pride. Low, low-cost pride.