Southwest Airlines

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9.5

Overall Score

Southwest Airlines

First two checked bags are free

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Southwest Airlines is a large US airline  headquartered in Dallas, Texas. In fact, they are the world’s largest low-cost carrier. They were established in 1967 and adopted the name "Southwest" in 1971. The airline offers over 3400 flights a day between 93 destinations in 41 states, Puerto Rico and some other countries. Southwest is one of the largest Boeing operators. In fact, they have used only 737s. Southwest has over 550 737s in service, with each of them getting around six to seven flights per day. Southwest is not without controversy. Recently, they got into trouble with the government for offering a quoted rate on their website that was not actually a real fare for any seat on a flight. Also, in July 2014, a customer and his family were asked to leave a flight because he was not allowed to board a flight early as an A-list member. He "tweeted" his dissatisfaction and was kicked off the flight and told to remove his tweet.

The Good

  • Low cost
  • First two checked bags are free
  • 3400 daily flights
  • Standard amenities and entertainment

Southwest is a low-cost airline, so their ticket prices are some of the lowest on the market. On top of their low prices, Southwest offers many discounts and promotions on their website. Their rewards program is also beneficial and easy to use. It is clear to see how to earn a free flight through Southwest. These different promotions and specials available can help ensure that Southwest is the lowest price available for many domestic flights. Southwest is very generous with their checked baggage allowances. They allow passengers to check two bags for free. Many other airlines charge for more than one checked bag and some airlines don't allow any free checked baggage at all. This makes Southwest one of the top airlines for checked baggage. Any checked bags (after the two free) cost $75 per bag. There are size restrictions for baggage on Southwest Airlines. Bags need to be less than 50lbs and have dimensions (length + weight + height) of 62 inches. Overweight items (51lbs to 100lbs) and oversized items (63 inches to 80 inches) will also be accepted at a fee of $75 per item. Southwest Airlines has a very high on-time percentage for most of their flights. They are on-time roughly 85% of the time, late 6%, very late 2%, and excessively late 4% (information according to Flightstats.com). This is higher than a number of other top airlines. However, many of their most active routes received low ratings. Their top flights include: • Burbank to Oakland (3.2 stars, 87% on time) • Phoenix to San Diego (3.2 stars, 85% on time) • Los Angeles to San Jose (3.2 stars 83% on time) This shows that even their top flights are barely receiving three stars. Their lowest flight is Dallas to Austin, receiving only 1.5 stars and being on-time roughly 70% of the time. Many other top airlines have a large number their most active flights in the four-star range. Compared to this, Southwest does not compare as well as some other top airlines. Southwest offers many of the standard amenities when it comes to their in-flight services. Because they are a low-cost airline, they are consequently lacking in some of the in-flight services that other top airlines provide. Some of the services they do provide includes: • Entertainment: Southwest allows passengers to use their personal devices for their entertainment and provide free live and on-demand television. This includes 19 live channels and up to 75 TV episodes from popular series. There are also more than 25 current movie choices available for purchase on flights. Southwest does not have other means for entertainment besides passengers personal devices. Most other airlines have some sort of screen provided and many more options for media. • Food and dining: While a number of the major airlines offer dining options on their flights, Southwest's low-cost airline does not. They do however offer complimentary drinks and snacks including pretzels and peanuts. Many other low-cost airlines do not offer any complimentary items like this. • Wi-Fi: A benefit of flying Southwest is their ability to provide Wi-Fi on their flights. For $8 a day, passengers can enjoy their Wi-Fi services and use their devices to browse, check emails, and explore social media sites. This is also how the in-flight entertainment is streamed. This is a very affordable option that not every airline provides. However, not every flight with Southwest has Wi-Fi. Passengers can put in their flight information on the Southwest website to check if the plane will have Wi-Fi or not. Flights without Wi-Fi service do not have other options for entertainment.

The Bad

  • Boarding process
  • Limited destinations
  • Government action
  • Time in business

The boarding process on Southwest is slightly different than most other airlines. Instead of having passengers choose a seat with some type of interactive map during check-in, Southwest does not assign any seats. They give a group (A, B, or C) and a number (1-60) to assign the order of boarding. Then, they have an open seating policy so passengers can sit anywhere that is open once they have boarded the plane. This would make the boarding process less smooth than airlines that assign or let passengers choose seats beforehand. With an open seating policy, passengers may be confused as to where to go and may run into more problems or potentially take longer to be settled on the plane. Passengers are suggested to be ready to board the plane 30 minutes before departure time and must have their boarding pass and be at the gate at least 10 minutes before departure time. If they have not arrived at least 10 minutes before, Southwest will cancel the reserved space and the passenger will not be eligible for the denied boarding compensation. Southwest flies to 93 different destinations (mainly domestic), although they do fly a few international to various different locations including Mexico and the Caribbean. This is a small number of destinations when compared to some other airlines. Airlines such as United fly to over 300 different destinations and many more internationally. However, the 93 destinations they do serve cover most of the United States. For passengers that need to travel domestically, Southwest would most likely be able to serve in their desired destinations. For passengers who want an airline that is able to take them to both international and domestic destinations, Southwest would most likely not be able to serve them the best. Looking at just the number of destinations(93) Southwest would be considered a small airline. These are all great reasons that show promise for how Southwest treats their customers. However, there is also an alert for this company because of a government action which was recently placed against them in 2014. At this time, Southwest advertised $59 flights to certain destinations. However, after an investigation, it was shown that there were no seats available to any destination at that price. The airline was fined for their deceptive advertising. This false advertising is a red flag for how Southwest has in the past conducted business. This should give peace of mind for passengers that may incur problems. Southwest Airlines was established in 1967 in Dallas Texas and adopted the name Southwest in 1971. For the past 48 years, Southwest has grown into the largest low-cost airline. They have been in business for less time than a number of the top airlines in the industry. Many of them have been in business for over 80 years, more than double the amount of time Southwest has been in operation. Although 48 years of service obviously does not make them a brand new company, they have been around long enough to have grown and developed with the needs of the industry. We also felt like the Boeing-driven fleet reduced some of the comfort creature features for customers. Generally, Airbus planes include bigger and better seats, with more seat pitch and width.

The Bottom Line

We recommend Southwest wholeheartedly. It is difficult to beat their prices. The Rewards points system is also great. Points don't ever expire, but you have to accrue points or keep your card active for 24 months. There are no blackout dates for your frequent flier points.

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User Reviews

4.5

837 Reviews

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Sara Jane
July 17th, 2018 Crestwood, KY DETAILS
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Always a great experience when we fly. Excellent points program and good customer service.

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Rob Whipple
July 16th, 2018 Mesa, AZ

Still a great value for the cost. Always my first go-to for tickets. Usually the most available flights at lower costs than other airlines.

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Karen Nelson
July 16th, 2018 Alpine, UT

Southwest is cheap, especially because you can check bags for free. If you can't make one of your flight they will save the money for you so you can use it towards another flight. NO other companies do that for you. They make planning trips so easy. It is hard for me to want to fly with anyone else.

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Alicia Holman
July 11th, 2018 Gilbert, AZ DETAILS
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Although I don't like not having a confirmed seat, the fares are always competitive. The employees are very helpful and friendly as well. The service while flying is usually quick and professional.

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Kaleb Herbert
July 9th, 2018 Gilbert, AZ DETAILS
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With southwest I my flights pricing is always reasonable and their are no hidden costs. The flight attendants are mostly friendly and helpful. My luggage has only been lost once and they delivered it to my home the next day. My suitcase has never been damaged. If I have a choice I always fly Southwest.

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Amy Stewart
July 5th, 2018 Gilbert, AZ DETAILS
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I have used Southwest for years. They have the best prices around. There website is easy to use and understanable. Love flying Southwest!

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Monai West
July 5th, 2018 Queen Creek, AZ DETAILS
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Love choosing my own seat, love the prices and places they fly.

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Hunter Kasprzyk
July 2nd, 2018 Gilbert, AZ DETAILS
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Southwest Airlines was the first airline I have ever used and it has been one of the best. I was scared to go on a plane for the first time but the workers made the environment as comfortable as possible which helped tremendously.

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Tysen Rohner
June 20th, 2018 Gilbert, AZ

The airplane was very luxurious and the food was great. Good service and clean bathrooms.

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Brayden D.
June 20th, 2018 Gilbert, AZ DETAILS
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Southwest Airlines is by far my favorite way to travel. Out of all my flights I enjoy Southwest the most and it has never given me any difficulties. And their airplane snacks are delicious.

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Nana Asiata
June 11th, 2018 Herriman, UT

Southwest Airline is a great airline. Good thing about southwest is that you can choose your own seat.

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H Moore
June 11th, 2018 Lehi, UT

I flew Southwest from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles a couple of years ago. They had the best price for when I had to travel, and their employees were very friendly.

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Tami Allen
June 11th, 2018 Gilbert, AZ

I love to fly with Southwest airlines because they have great discount fares without sacrificing convenience or service. They also have worked to avoid the extra fees charged by other airlines. Seating is still a small issue, because if you forget to check in on time, you're stuck boarding last because of the first come first serve seating--but all in all the price makes this hassle worth it. The flights are always on time, and the staff is very professional and polite. They go out of their way to make you feel comfortable. I even had a flight attendant help hold my baby during a four hour flight to Florida once. She saw her struggling to stay still and walked her up and down the aisle a few times to keep her occupied until she finally fell asleep. These are the kind of personal touches that keep me coming back again and again to Southwest.

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CAROLE SCOVILLE
June 11th, 2018 Pleasant Grove, UT DETAILS
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I really like Southwest – I don’t feel like they’re trying to cut every possible amenity to ask customers. And I like the free bag

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Sadie Scoville
June 11th, 2018 Pleasant Grove, UT

I always expect to pay a little bit more for Southwest, but I get a free bag and they give you snacks and stuff

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betsy fowler
June 8th, 2018 Lehi, UT

I love Southwest Airlines! I fly them any opportunity I can. They are the only airline company that will refund you 100% of your money if you cancel a flight. They also don’t charge for bags

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Adam Crawley
June 8th, 2018 Pleasant Grove, UT

I've always enjoyed flying with southwest. The flights are reasonably priced for the most part and the flight service is great. However, I debate to get a card that gets sky miles with Southwest because of the limited destinations they fly to.

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Kip Fowler
June 8th, 2018 Pleasant Grove, UT

I have flown with Southwest numerous times . They are usually cheaper fares, but not the greatest cutsomer experience i have had

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Madge Easton
June 7th, 2018 Orem, UT

At the time we flew with Southwest it was great. I liked that we had our choice to choose our seats and we didn't have to pay for carry on luggage. My understanding now is thatyou have to pay for everything. I will be taking a closer look in to this before I book with them in the future.

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Bella Houtz
June 5th, 2018 South Jordan, UT DETAILS
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Southwest is a great airline that is very comfortable and has great customer service.

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Martha Sensiba
June 4th, 2018 Pinetop-Lakeside, AZ DETAILS
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My husband and I use Southwest Airlines all the time. We love it because we get 2 free bags each and they fly to the places we like to go. They have great customer service and they have good sales several times a year.

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Avery Fowler
May 29th, 2018 Pleasant Grove, UT

I like the fact that you do not pay extra for luggage. A plus for me!

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Bella Houtz
May 29th, 2018 South Jordan, UT DETAILS
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I don't like the way they have you get on the plane like cattle. They are on time and friendly & have a lot of flights out of our airport.

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Joanna Hester
May 29th, 2018 Gilbert, AZ DETAILS
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Love flying with them. They are always joking around with the passengers and it makes our flight more enjoyable. I have flown several times in the last month and all my flights have left and landed on time.

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Anonymous
May 25th, 2018 Pleasant Grove, UT DETAILS
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Southwest seems to be consistent with its prices and flight schedules. I don’t See as many sales go on Southwest as other airlines.

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Anonymous
May 25th, 2018 Pleasant Grove, UT DETAILS
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Great value for the price. I am always happy when I fly Southwest!

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Ashley Gneiting
May 24th, 2018 Pleasant Grove, UT DETAILS
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I have enjoyed flying Southwest Airlines because of their ability to arrive when they say they will! Nothing is more frustrating than waiting for a plane to take off and you are delayed forever. Thanks Southwest for your ability to get us where we need to go on time!

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Derek Scoville
May 24th, 2018 Pleasant Grove, UT DETAILS
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Great customer service helping our 7"4" basketball player find a seat that he could fit in comfortably!

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Ashlee Clayton
May 16th, 2018 Ogden, UT DETAILS
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I love using Southwest because I know if my plans change, I don’t have to pay huge fees to alter my travel plans. For example, we booked a flight to Charleston, SC, and the next day, the fares were cheaper. We could cancel and rebook at the lower fee, and the difference remains in my account for another flight.

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Kathleen
May 16th, 2018 Imperial, MO DETAILS
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We were flying with four kids, one with sensory processing disorder. The entire experience was much easier than expected. Everyone on the flight crew was understanding and wonderful.

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Jennifer Anderson
May 16th, 2018 Orlando, FL DETAILS
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I had no issues with this airline. I flew the cheapest flight round trip between Louisville and Orlando. It ran on time and the staff was helpful and friendly.

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Amanda Spencer
May 16th, 2018 Salt Lake City, UT DETAILS
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The airline is fun. Every flight, the flight attendants are really friendly and try to make your flight as enjoyable as possible. The customer service is excellent. Every time you call, they are friendly and try to help you with whatever you need. This is one of the few airlines that actually has customer friendly policies like no change fees and no baggage fees. And the inability to preselect a seat can also be an added bonus if the flight isn't full.

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Matthew Pettit
May 7th, 2018 Morgan, UT DETAILS
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SouthWest Airlines is a great option for air travel. It is different, and that's kind of the point. No, there are no assigned seats, but that's not particularly a bad thing. Boarding is not like other airlines, but it's not stressful. The flight crews are always gracious if not hilarious. The environment is more easy going, and I really appreciate that.

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LeeAnn Samsel
May 3rd, 2018 Mesa, AZ DETAILS
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Always helpful and courteous. Their policy for changing flights is so much better than any other airlines. Flight attendants are friendly and entertaining.

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Elyse Bradley
May 2nd, 2018 Provo, UT DETAILS
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I have traveled with Southwest a handful of times and not had a bad experience. The staff are always courteous and helpful, I've never had a cancelled or delayed flight, and the free checked bags are a dream. Their free miles rewards system is pretty nice too! Whenever possible, I book with Southwest!

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Stacy Anderson
May 2nd, 2018 La Cañada Flintridge, CA DETAILS
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There's not enough flights going to SLC from SNA

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Jeri Basko
May 1st, 2018 Lebanon, ME DETAILS
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They are the last airline that isn't gouging you at every turn. I only fly SW and I fly a fair amount per year. I can take two bags and lighten my load when traveling. They still give snacks. If my plans change I can cancel or rearrange my trip without fees heaped on me. If the price of the trip goes down I can get a credit. I highly recommend them.

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Marlene
May 1st, 2018 Taylorsville, UT DETAILS
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Love flying with them. Have always felt safe.

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Pierce Hensley
May 1st, 2018 Albuquerque, NM DETAILS
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I flew with southwest a couple months ago, and it was a great experience! The plane was clean and in good condition, the staff was kind and attentive, and it was all pretty inexpensive! Definitely reccomend!

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katiec
April 30th, 2018 Provo, UT DETAILS
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I love Southwest! They have great customer service with extremely helpful and happy employees. One of my favorite airlines to fly with! They never disappoint!

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