Futurepilot From United Arab Emirates, joined Oct 2009, 0 posts, RR: 0 Posted (14 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 1512 times:
Well, over Thanksgiving, I will be flying on Southwest from Phoenix to San Francisco to visit some friends. It is my first time on Southwest and I was just wondering what can I expect? In terms of service, on-time performance and so on. To my understanding, the flights I am on are both on 737-300. Thanks in advance.
N202PA From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1568 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (14 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 1474 times:
Advice: get there at least 1:30 to 2 hours early; though check-in at the gate does not begin until one hour before flight time, the line begins to stack up well in advance of this time, so if you get there at the recommended one-hour before departure check-in time, you'll probably only get a middle boarding card (ie, 30-60).
Southwest boards in four distinct groups, and eschews the traditional seat assignment/boarding pass system. When you check in, you receive a colored boarding card with a number on it. The color corresponds to your flight, and the number is in one of four ranges: 1-30,21-60, 61-90, and 91 and above. Each of these comprises one boarding group. The first boarding group (1-30) goes on first, then the second, then the third, and so on. There are three seperate lines for people in the first three boarding groups to queue up at many SWA gates, and you can wait in line with the other 29 people in your group. Occassionally, some dolt who doesn't understand the boarding procedure gets in the wrong line and gums up the works, but the procedure works just fine, otherwise.
SWA's service is excellent, and their employees are extremely friendly, if not a bit hokey...but it's the hokey humor that they use which makes the trip fun. Corny jokes and sly comments are what keeps both employee and customer morale up. Look for the crazy plane-shaped visors that many SWA employees wear nowdays as an example of this.
Service inflight is honey-roasted peanuts or pretzels and soda. Often, they'll even give you the whole can. Flight attendants make corny jokes before,during,and after the flight, and the pilots sometimes join in, too. Sometimes, the pilot will talk to you, and others, he'll stay silent for most of the trip. It all depends, just as on most carriers.
I've never once had a problem with Southwest in several trips with them, and have always found them to be an excellent value for the money! Hope you have a nice trip!
INO#124 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (14 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 1467 times:
You do not have to get to the airport 1 and a half hours early. Get there one hour early and you will be fine. Yes the line will be there but maye only 10 to 15 people long. Get there 45 minutes early and then you are in trouble. Southwest has the best service in the sky. Then crew has fun, unlike the other "snotty" airline crews.
Chiawei From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 960 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (14 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 1459 times:
I used to fly a lot on southwest. In flight service is identical to those you find on other airline. Nothing special. Some attendant will have different ways of making the safety announcement.
On time performance is okay, as I have been delayed before. But if weather is bad and your flight is cancelled you will be stuck in the airport. There is no backup plan for southwest.
The plane are usually dirty. Some of the newer 737-700 are clean. On the -300 and -500 that I have flown were extremely dirty.
Flying in and out of SFO will create delays. You would be better off by going to either SJC or OAK.
Overall, I do not like to fly southwest. I only choose southwest because it was due to last minute business trip in which my company is too cheap to buy tickets on the other airline. I no longer fly Southwest after me and my co-worker were stuck in Austin, and the company has since then been avoiding southwest.
AA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6173 posts, RR: 10
Reply 5, posted (14 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 1447 times:
In contrast to Chia pet, I mean Chiawei, I hav been on WN a few times and thought it was great. One flight was cancelled, but they had already rebooked me and my granddad. Service is not so hot, I must admit. I mean, peanuts and coke is pretty basic. But they are reliable, and- dare I say- safe. I hesitate to say that because 1- they crashed in BUR recently, but still have never had a single fatality, and 2 Singapore, one of the worlds best, just lost a practically brand new craft and 77 lives. But the service IS friendly.
We are about to have a huge thunderstorm, or I would praise Southwest more.
Have a great flight,
Johnboy From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 2647 posts, RR: 7
Reply 6, posted (14 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 1438 times:
Gee, i'm going in the opposite direction: OAK-PHX for the Thanksgiving holidays. I flew Southwest yesterday from SDF-OAK via LAS, and I'd have to say it was one of the worst travel days of my life. However this had nothing to do with Southwest, and everything to do with Air Force One leaving SDF and FAA flight control at IND breaking down.
We were stuck in the plane for over an hour until they pulled up to the gate, and let us off to stretch our legs and give us food. Take that Northwest! Got back on after about 30 minutes, and proceeded to pull away from the gate only to be told we were on hold again. So, after 3 hours, we were finally allowed to take off. I thought the plane was immaculate. The FA said it was brand new. However the plane from LAS to OAK was the dirtiest Southwest plane I had ever seen. The seat belts looked as if they might break any second.
Sorry, didn't mean for this to be a trip report, but overall, I'd say that Southwest is a great airline for getting you from Point A to Point B, safely, and efficiently, with little fanfare. It's great for its niche in the big airline picture.
Krakow5 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (14 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 1420 times:
I used to fly Southwest every once in a while on business but hated the lack of assigned seats. Other than that, I'd say they are one of the better carriers out there and you should enjoy your trip.
A few tips:
If you want to increase your chance of having an empty seat next to you, sit in the back. Everyone will crowd the front.
Avoid the first and last rows. The seats used to (and may still) face each other and there was no place to put carry on bags. Also, people feel compelled to talk to you when facing you. That is fine if its someone you want to talk to. If not, it makes for a long flight.
OPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (14 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 1417 times:
I'll second the previous advice to avoid SFO if possible, and fly into SJC or OAK.
The problem at SFO continues to be the very closely spaced runways that make the airport extremely sensitive to reductions in the number of aircraft it can handle. That "trigger" is their loss of the ability to conduct "visual" approaches, usually anything less than a 2,500' cloud ceiling and/or anything less than 5 miles visibility. When they lose visuals, SFO's arrival rate goes from 60 an hour to as low as 30 an hour. Imagine the sudden backlog of cars on a six-lane freeway if three lanes of capacity disappear suddenly. The obvious critical difference here is backed up airplanes can't go bumper-to-bumper (in the air), so the delays ensue. Airborne flights turn circles, awaiting their shot at the airport, and anything headed to SFO that's still at its takeoff airport usually gets held there, awaiting their turn--not unlike a metered freeway ramp. It's not unusual to take a 1-2 hour delay awaiting to depart for SFO.
The same 2,500'/5 mile weather conditions at OAK, SJC, or SMF have virtually no adverse effect on creating delays (and their predictable side effects) given the lower traffic counts compared to SFO, and the fact that they have greater distances between any parallel runways in use there.
If you can't change your reservations to an OAK or SJC flight this close to the holiday, I'd make sure and tell your friends to be prepared for the possiblility of a delayed flight, or to call before they leave to pick-up up. SWA can land in Cat-3a conditions (RVR 700), which SFO (and OAK) can handle, but at SFO, it's just a big ATC mess that affects everyone.