You didn't say exactly when in january, but looking at Southwest from Long Island/Islip....leave around the 7th, come back around the 21st, I can find a RT for $236.50 and that includes all the taxes, security fees, airport charges, what have you.
So you can find something a few bucks cheaper on somebody else? Okay fine. But stew on this.....
Your plans change. The folks you were going to see can't host you. You get the flu. Your ground transportation craps out.
If you are flying anyone else you have just eaten that ticket, or at the very least are paying $100 or more to change it to another day.
That money you have given Southwest is good for a full year on any flight, at any time, and for any passenger you wish to let have your credit. The worst thing that can happen is you can't find any cheap seats when you get ready to rebook and it costs you a few bucks. The credit from an unused ticket on Southwest is like a bank account where the money is good for a year. Right now I've got about $180 in their "bank".....but you know, among other reasons, that's why I book them. Sometimes a cartel carrier might undercut them, by only a few dollars, but the risk of me having to alter my arrangements (with work, a set of twins, normal suburban life) is so high that it really, really never makes sense to fly on anyone else.
Plus I still rank their coach cabin comfort and service light years ahead of anyone else's....American's MRTC is a slightly more comfortable coach cabin, but a single beverage service on a 3 hr ride is not what I call the ultimate in cabin service. I hate to beg for a second Dr Pepper.
And that flexibility might be the absolute best advantage to flying Southwest. By the way, if you are on Airliners.net you probably like aircraft and airlines and spotting...the WN routing lets you change at BNA in one direction and BWI in the other, if you so desire.
Take care and have a good trip. Stay out of trouble in Austin and whatever you do, don't go down to 6th Street.