Southwest Airlines has carved a niche in the airline industry with its unique approach to flying, offering affordable fares, flexible policies, and a friendly vibe that sets it apart. Whether you’re a seasoned Southwest traveler or a newbie to their services, these nine tips and tricks will elevate your experience and make your journey smoother.
1. Embrace the Freedom of No Change Fees
One of the standout features of Southwest Airlines is its lack of change fees. Unlike many other carriers, Southwest doesn’t penalize passengers for changing their flights. If your plans shift or you find a better deal, feel free to modify your booking without the fear of extra charges. Keep an eye out for fare drops, as Southwest’s policy allows you to rebook at the lower rate and receive credit for future travel.
2. Seize the Advantage of Early Check-In
Want a prime seat without the added cost of priority boarding? Take advantage of Southwest’s EarlyBird Check-In. For a nominal fee, you’ll be automatically checked in 36 hours before your flight, giving you a better boarding position and increasing your chances of snagging your preferred seat.
3. Utilize the Two Free Checked Bags Per Passenger
Pack without restraint! Southwest is known for its generous baggage policy, allowing two checked bags per passenger at no additional cost. This perk can save you a significant amount on baggage fees, making it ideal for longer trips or those who prefer not to travel light.
4. Master the Art of Boarding
Southwest operates on an open-seating policy, meaning there are no assigned seats. To secure a favorable spot in the boarding line, check in early or consider the upgraded boarding options for a better pick of available seats. A coveted spot in the A or early B boarding groups ensures more seat options and ample overhead bin space.
5. Flexibility with the Wanna Get Away Fare
Opt for the Wanna Get Away fare for maximum savings. This fare type offers lower prices but also allows for changes and cancellations, providing flexibility at a reduced rate. Keep in mind that the earlier you book, the better the chance of securing this budget-friendly fare.
6. Leverage Southwest’s Companion Pass
Frequent Southwest flyers can strive for the highly sought-after Companion Pass, which allows a chosen companion to fly with them for just the cost of taxes and fees. Earning this pass requires accumulating a certain number of qualifying points or flights within a calendar year. It’s a game-changer for those who frequently travel with a partner or friend.
7. Be Aware of the “Transfarency” Policy
Southwest prides itself on transparency in pricing. The airline doesn’t charge fees for ticket changes, checked bags, or carry-ons, and there are no hidden costs to catch travelers off guard. This policy simplifies the booking process, making it easier to budget for your trip.
8. Stay Updated with Fare Sales and Promotions
Keep your finger on the pulse of Southwest’s fare sales and promotions. Sign up for their newsletter, follow their social media channels, or set fare alerts to stay informed about discounted rates, limited-time offers, and exclusive deals. Timing your bookings around these sales can lead to significant savings.
9. Maximize the Rapid Rewards Program
Enroll in Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program to accrue points for every flight. Accumulated points can be redeemed for future flights, upgrades, hotel stays, car rentals, and more. Additionally, consider Southwest’s co-branded credit cards, which often offer sign-up bonuses and accelerated points earning opportunities.
With these savvy tips and tricks, navigating Southwest Airlines becomes a breeze. Embrace the flexibility, perks, and affordability that the airline offers, and elevate your travel experience to new heights.