Browsing Tag: Southwest Airlines

Southwest's A-List Same-Day Standby perk: Will I get a seat on an early flight home? - Photo: JL Johnson / AirlineReporter

Southwest’s A-List Same-day standby perk: Will I get a seat on an early flight home? – Photo: JL Johnson | AirlineReporter

In late 2016, Southwest Airlines announced an additional perk for their elite A-List and A-List Preferred flyers. While other airlines were busy devaluing their own programs, Southwest was, in what has become very “Southwest” bucking the trend and enriching their own. At the time the stipulations were that A-List members could fly standby on any same-day flight between the same city pair. The perk came with a major limitation, however. The earlier flight had to be within two hours of the confirmed flight. This proved to be a major limitation for me with my home airport being in Kansas City, Missouri. I wasn’t alone in being unable to make much use of the perk. Many elite flyers based in the mid-sized cities Southwest dominates expressed dissatisfaction.

E-mail to Southwest elite flyers announcing a favorable revision to the A-List Same-Day Standby perk.

E-mail to Southwest elite flyers announcing a favorable revision to the A-List Same-Day Standby perk

In a surprise revision, just six months later the airline announced the two-hour restriction would be lifted. In doing so, Southwest opened the opportunity for a more equitable exploration of the benefit while also signaling that they take customer feedback seriously. This update was big news for the business flyers (self-included!) the airline has increasingly built its business reliance on.

Now, to find an opportunity to use the new benefit…

My kiddos aboard an Airbus A320, thanks to a gracious Delta first officer

Knowing you’re in good hands is more than an insurance company slogan, it is a daily practice for the talented men and women who fly millions of people safely around the globe on a daily basis. So instead of complaining about the legroom or snack selections on board, please take a minute and and thank your pilots (hey, don’t forget the flight attendants too).

Less than 24 hours after the engine explosion that killed one person on Southwest Airlines flight 1380, I boarded an airplane with my two children for an international flight back home. The kiddos (11 and 8) heard a little news about the incident, but I intentionally did not give them all the details so they wouldn’t get worried as we had two flights with a combined eight hours in the air that day.

As soon as we boarded, the first officer immediately said hello to my kids and quickly offered them a look up front. The kids were game and their AvGeek dad was more than willing to check out the flight deck of the Delta Air Lines A320 that would be safely getting us back to the USA. That kind gesture took away any nervousness I had about flying that day.

Being the former TV news reporter, it’s habit to ask him lots of questions – which planes he’s flown, Airbus or Boeing, and what one is his favorite. The thing that stuck out about the chat was his mentioning flying a KC-10 refueling tanker for the Air Force.

Flying out of Tampa... nice view for November!

Flying out of Tampa… a nice view in November!

For Thanksgiving I flew from Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) to Tampa (TPA) to visit my dad. Since he was letting me use some of his Southwest Airlines miles (thanks dad!) I ended up flying them to visit. Although I am a big fan of the company and people of Southwest, when it comes to flying them — they aren’t my first choice. The big reason is that there aren’t many places they fly to non-stop from Seattle (also no seat assignments, no power plugs, and no buy-on-board food). With my trip to Tampa I was lucky to only have only one stop – at Chicago’s Midway (MDW) – both times. I say lucky since I have had to do that trip multiples times with two stops, which is not fun at all.

File photo of the new interior - Photo: Southwest

File photo of the new interior – Photo: Southwest

Since this was a personal trip, I had no plan to do a story, but the last leg did me in. My final flight from MDW to SEA was on a Boeing 737-800. I was excited because this would be my first Southwest 737-800 flight — it also had the new Meridian seats from B/E Aerospace. However, I wasn’t quite sure if that was a bonus or a downfall. I have read (even here on AR) about the seats and have heard mostly bad things. But after four hours flying back home, I have come to a few conclusions.

An American Boeing 787-8 (N812AN) at LAX.

An American Boeing 787-8 (N812AN) at LAX. Southwest does not have any 787s.

A few weeks ago, my esteemed colleague JL Johnson penned a piece extolling the virtues of his favorite carrier, Southwest Airlines. He laid out nine reasons why Southwest was tops in his mind, and quite honestly I didn’t disagree with any of the facts he laid out on why the airline is so immensely popular with so many people.

However, with all the positives Southwest has under its belt, I personally can’t remember the last time I stepped foot on a Southwest 737… at least seven-to-eight years, I think. So if Southwest isn’t so bad, and I think it’s a perfectly fine airline, why have I clocked about 800,000 miles without a single Southwest flight?

First, let’s get one thing clear: This piece isn’t meant to be a hostile response to JL or his story, or even as a “Southwest is bad” take-down rant. Like I said, he has valid points, and Southwest is a fine airline, one that I even recommend others to fly. The goal of this piece is to give those who are wondering some insight into why someone might choose not to fly Southwest.