Your Experiences On Southwest.

Thu Jun 14, 2001 5:21 am

I am taking a trip on Southwest Airlines the first of July, and I was wondering what to expect. I know that they fly B-737's exclusively, and that there are no seat assignments. I am just wanting to know what to expect as far as delays (reasonably, I know the system is packed), cancellations, baggage handling, service, etc. Any information you guys may have would be very helpful. I am obviously new to Southwest, with my experiences being primarily with Delta, but also US Airways. You can email me at

Posts: 80
Joined: Sun Dec 17, 2000 4:01 pm

RE: Your Experiences On Southwest.

Thu Jun 14, 2001 5:38 am

They are a very good airline, but not quite as good as they used to be. Baggage handling has ranked at or near bottom for the year 2001 so far. On time is still good. I've had a 3hr delay and a 25min but other than that close to ontime. Service people are friendly. make sure to get to the gate at least 1.5hrs ahead of time or else you'll be in the middle. Cancelled flights aren't that big a deal because they have so much frequency. Good luck.
Posts: 2887
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2001 1:04 am

RE: Your Experiences On Southwest.

Thu Jun 21, 2001 2:34 pm

Southwest, in my opinion, is simply the best. Their consistent rankings at the top in most categories of airline quality surveys speak for themselves - to fly with Southwest is to understand how they got there and stay there. Their People have the best attitudes in the industry and have a way of keeping Customers from taking themselves too seriously.

Since the topic is experiences on Southwest, and making air travel fun with the use of humor is one of the features they are known for, here are two examples from my experiences that stand out:

While taxying to the terminal after landing, a flight attendant made the standard arrival announcements and went on to say "for those of you who will be leaving us here in Phoenix, I need to give you a traffic alert, especially if you will be driving eastbound on I-10..." as the din in the cabin became totally silent, she went on " need to be on the lookout for a black Chevy Cavalier travelling at a very high rate of speed..." by this time everyone seemed to be on the edge of their seat as she finished "...that will be me -- I'm going home!" It was a good thing we were buckled in, because the laughter probably would have caused some to fall out of their seats.

On another occasion, the lead flight attendant began the pre-departure safety announcements by asking that we "please pay attention while my ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend show you the safety features of this aircraft." She had to pause while we finished laughing before continuing.

As for open seating, my experience has been that arriving at the gate at least one hour before departure, even on nearly full flights, will put you in the first or second group (30 pax per group) to board, which means you're guaranteed a window or aisle seat, and most likely your preference between the two.

If your experience with Southwest is anything like mine have been, you may, like me, find yourself thinking "why fly with anyone else if Southwest is one of the choices?" or "that crazy old Herb (Kelleher) is right!" (when it comes to his non-conformist - and eminently successful - ideas of how to run an airline). My only regret with Southwest is that the destination to which I travel most frequently by air is 275 miles from the nearest airport they serve.

Have a great flight. It would be interesting to hear what you think about Southwest after you have completed your trip.
Posts: 37735
Joined: Thu May 11, 2000 8:01 am

RE: Your Experiences On Southwest.

Thu Jun 21, 2001 2:59 pm

Southwest Airlines is great!  Big thumbs up
I flew them last week OAK-BUK on there 'Shamu' plane.
The flight crew sung all the announcements. The are a fun airline to fly and I recommend them for short domestic flights.

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Wilsam Cheung

Bring back the Concorde

RE: Your Experiences On Southwest.

Fri Jun 22, 2001 7:40 am

I do the LAX-LAS run with them yearly and have never had a bad experience. Of course, there's not much you can do to damage a 40 min flight. But I can't deny the fact that the crew is friendly and fun, check-in is smooth, they have never lost my luggage, they usually leave on time, (and the few times we did leave late, they made up for the time. In fact, WN is the only flight I've ever taken where we left late and arrived early! ), and the cute little 737's are well kept.

Another thing about WN that I've never experienced on other airlines, is backing up and then taking right off--not too much taxiing was involved here. We just backed up, roared forward, turned on to the runway, and took off. WN is a trip!
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun Oct 22, 2000 6:01 pm

RE: Your Experiences On Southwest.

Sat Jun 23, 2001 8:08 am

I`ve only made one flt with WN, between LAX and LAS, and coming from the UK I was expecting a bit of a culture shock....

Must say that I really enjoyed the experience... the WN terminal at LAX did look in need of some re-decoration but apart from seats and a boarding jetway, what more do you need?

The boarding process was, quite simply, very sensible - check in early, get the best choice of seat. The `fun` aspect of WN began here with the gate agent announcing that she was on the look-out for boarding pass scalpers who might be trying to sell low numbers to the late comers....  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

The inside of the 737 was not as cramped as I had expected and the welcome from the cabin crew was genuine - or if it wasn`t they certainly did a good job at faking it..

I loved the pre-departure announcements.. especially when the lead f/a announced that `regretfully due to the short flying time we will not be able to do our usual Dollar Raffle for the Flight Attendents phone numbers` Love

The short flight was smooth, just long enough for a can of Bud and a glance at the desert before we landed at LAS to another announcment... `OK folks, we got you to Las Vegas, we hope you win enough bucks to fly yourself home again, and if you hit the jackpot, feel free to buy Southwest a new `plane and we`ll name it after you`  Laugh out loud

I was really surprised how much better WN were than I was expecting, now I know why they have become such a threat to the majors - great staff, better attitude (and if that appears in their advertising I want royalties !!!)
 Wink/being sarcastic

Rich, Manchester UK
Posts: 8777
Joined: Thu May 30, 2002 6:54 am

RE: Your Experiences On Southwest.

Sat Jun 23, 2001 10:37 am

On February 19, I was on the late evening LAS-SLC flight with ACVitale. It was running about 45 mins late, but we were still unfortunate enough to snag boarding numbers 92 and 93, which entitled us to the middle and window seat in the second-to-last row.

Anyway, they had their typical cattle boarding completed within 15 minutes and we finally began to push back. Unfortunately, we seemed to be going REALLY fast. ACVitale goes "I hope we don't hit a catering truck". My response was "Nah, more likely a baggage tug".

Sure enough, about 10 seconds later the aircraft shudders with a loud *THUNK* sound. We burst out laughing. The Captain comes over the PA and announces that the guy doing the pushback forgot to disengage the towbar before pulling away. Mechanics were checking out the nose gear. We were thrilled. An unexpected night in Vegas, versus one in Salt Lake? I mean, cmon now... no contest!

Anyway, just as we were about to confirm our tickets for the late night showing of "Folies Bergere", the captain comes back over the air and announces (and I quote it verbatim), "Well folks, the mechanics say that there doesn't seem to be MUCH damage, so I GUESS we can carry on".

We spent the entire flight practicing the brace position and ACVitale had even the flight attendants in splits with his smart ass comments about gear up landings. Needless to say, we landed in one piece, but that was an *interesting* expereince to say the least!
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
Posts: 174
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 1999 10:44 am

RE: Your Experiences On Southwest.

Sun Jun 24, 2001 5:05 am

I have just finished posting a trip report on WN. This was my first experience with them. All the flights were on time or withing 10 minutes of departure and that was made up in flight. The final arrival back at RDU was about 10 minutes early. All of the flights were well run.

RE: Your Experiences On Southwest.

Mon Jun 25, 2001 2:52 pm

hey southwest is a great airline. By statistics you can expect a on time airline short check in thimes . Alot of airports southwest flys to you can just check in at the gate. They have earned the name fun jet because flying them is fun. So you can understand this best i will compare southwest to delta. South west is a low fare carrier which means they cut a few ends to make travel more affordable. You will not recieve a food service only beverage. Your leg room should be slightly more than a delta boeing 737. Your seats will depend if the aircraft has had its recent southwest new make over look. If you fly on a regular tan top jet the seats will be regular cloth with tan leather tops.If your aircraft is canyon blue(the new southwest colors) you will be in paradise including yellow seats with blue tops. If you want to see the interior go to the homepage select southwest for the airline then select cabin views. Most likely ( this is my favorite part of the airline) the flight attendents will be dressed in deniem or plaid with khanke skirt or pants its been a little while since i flew them. I have never been on a late southwest. They have in my opinion the most delighted and pleasing crew of any airline i dont know why they just do. Ok when you board southwest--- At the time of check in you will recieve a card it will have a number 1 to how ever many people are on the flight. Its best t check in early so you get a lower num such as 1-10 Then you get any seat on the jet .. Ive gotta go now but if you have any questions at all you can e-mail me at BRIAN
Posts: 569
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2001 12:09 pm

RE: Your Experiences On Southwest.

Tue Jun 26, 2001 12:27 am

Southwest is a great airline! As Jetlover said, Delta is the only airline that comes close to them. Southwest is fun to fly, and I don't see why everyone doesn't like the non-assigned seats. It speeds up boarding, and keeps the planes in the air, which keeps your ticket prices low. I have never had a bad experience with Southwest. The worst being last summer when I flew MCI-OKC to see my grandmother in Oklahoma City, our flight was 30 minutes late, and they lost my baggage, but got it back to me by the next morning, something other majors seem to have trouble doing, despite all their promises. The 737s are well kept, hence Southwests great safety record. Everything about SWA is satisfying! The lack of meal service seems to be everyone's biggest complaint, but most of their flights aren't long enough to warrant a full meal service. The longest flights I can call to mind being MCI-SEA, or MCI-LAX. The flight attendants are always curteous, and all though the women aren't always "hot", they get the job done, and that's what matters the most. Southwest F/As are constantly checking to make sure you have what you need, (I counted 6 times on my flight MCI-TPA), and are more than happy to come to you, should they be called. I would recommend Southwest over every airline, to anyone, unless you're looking to fly to someplace like Atlanta, or Denver, where Southwest doesn't serve. Delta is my second favorite airline, and once again, the only airline that comes close to being as satisfying to fly as Southwest. Have a great flight with Southwest, you'll LUV them!  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Jason Seiple
Posts: 686
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2000 7:42 am

RE: Your Experiences On Southwest.

Tue Jun 26, 2001 1:06 am

Southwest is great if you like peanuts, corny jokes, and complete and total chaos in the gate area.

Boarding with assigned seating (when done correctly) takes less time than Southwest. Take the US Airways Shuttle for example... they will sometimes line people up ready to get on the airplane by row number in descending order. That is what many foreign airlines do (namely in Asia). Then you file on from the back forward and everybody goes directly to their seat instead of wandering the airplane trying to find "the right seat" or to sit with their family members (when at other airlines you could simply get assigned seats before hand and it wouldn't be an issue once on board).

I would never step onto a Southwest flight of more than a short hop (and even then I won't go willingly). Taking Southwest from coast to coast just seems implausible when the competition are showing movies and serving hot meals, plus you don't have to rush to the gate to stand in line to get a stupid number card.

Give me somebody else over Southwest any day (even United Sh*ttle).

Jason Seiple

RE: Your Experiences On Southwest.

Tue Jun 26, 2001 1:14 pm

I've flown all of the major airlines and can honestly tell you that chaotic boarding is not limited to WN (in fact,the boarding process on all of my WN flights have been orderly). People jam up to board planes regardless of what airline you are flying. Having assigned seats does not make boarding process any smoother since you have people walking back and forth in the cabin trying to locate their assigned seats. With WN, that is never an issue, being that you just board and sit down anywhere you want.
Posts: 1785
Joined: Sat May 19, 2001 9:16 pm

RE: Your Experiences On Southwest.

Tue Jun 26, 2001 9:14 pm

Only one experience on Southwest at the end of April on a B737/700 with the new coulorsheme and leather interior on route BUF-BWI.
I don't care about inflight service, but if you check the price....... they are the best. I paid 61$ and I booked two day before...... that's all!!!!
Posts: 2887
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2001 1:04 am

RE: Your Experiences On Southwest.

Tue Jun 26, 2001 11:20 pm

My experiences with open seating on Southwest compared with pre-assigned seating on the other major U.S. carriers are the same as "Climbout" describes. If the WN boarding process is a cattle call, as some allege, the same (or worse) can be said for all U.S. majors.

Airlines offering pre-assigned seating board at least five rows at a time on their aircraft with seats arranged 3 and 3. That means 30 pax at a time - the same number in each group boarded by WN. Seems like pax on WN are somehow able to find and settle into "the right seat" of their own choosing more quickly and easily than many pax on other airlines can find 17C or whatever has been assigned. If anything, the backup of pax in the aisle and into the jetway is typically longer on flights with assigned seating than what I have experienced on WN flights booked to nearly full.

One of the surprises that awaited me when I first flew on WN was the ease and orderliness of the boarding process - to say nothing of the basic fairness of how it works.

Pre-assigned seating on the U.S. majors is yet another of the things-are-not-always-as-we-make-them-appear-to-be games they play with their customers. Unless you happen to be an elite frequent flyer member of the airline with whom you will be travelling or are paying some outrageous fare, the seats from which you can actually select (prior to check-in) are very limited. I have no problem with seating preference being given to those who fly the most or pay a disproportionate amount to fly coach; it's with the way others are given the smoke-and-mirrors treatment.

Whether the issue happens to be fares, award travel, seat selection or some other component of air travel, WN differentiates itself from the U.S. major airline herd by choosing not to play games with its Customers. Perhaps that is why Southwest consistently ranks numero uno among airlines in customer satisfaction - in spite of all the "amenities" they don't offer.


RE: Your Experiences On Southwest.

Wed Jun 27, 2001 5:09 am


Bravo! For a great post, filled with excellent points!  Big thumbs up

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Feedfetcher and 1 guest

Popular Searches On

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos