Aurantiaco
Topic Author
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu May 30, 2019 6:21 pm

American or Southwest: Which would be better to fly?

Fri May 31, 2019 6:22 pm

This holiday season, I will be flying to Baltimore to see my family. I live in North Texas, so the biggest options for me is American or Southwest. My father prefers nonstops, which is why I chose these carriers as options. Which would be better to fly? Asking for opinions and personal experiences.
 
ConnectAir
Posts: 86
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2014 2:20 pm

Re: American or Southwest: Which would be better to fly?

Fri May 31, 2019 9:51 pm

I'd recommend WN. While I haven't flown on AA since before the merger, I have generally only had good experiences with WN. My trip reports have more information about my experiences with them.
The Milwaukee Way WN BOS-MKE-BOS
Southwest to Milwaukee and Back (with a surprise)
WN, LX, AZ, BA, LH, KL, DL, OK, S5, US, UA, VY, IB, AF, LY, F9, CO, YX x2, PD, AC

A319, A320, A321, A332, A333, A343, B712, B733, B737, B738, B753, B744, B764, B772, B789, DH8D, E145, E190
 
TTailedTiger
Posts: 1271
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2018 5:19 am

Re: American or Southwest: Which would be better to fly?

Fri May 31, 2019 10:07 pm

If flying in coach then by all means take WN. Even if the price is higher. You will get free checked bags, snacks, drinks, seats with decent legroom, a restroom you don't have to squueze into, and employees who don't hate the passengers.
 
UALFAson
Posts: 1005
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2004 2:41 pm

Re: American or Southwest: Which would be better to fly?

Sat Jun 01, 2019 12:24 am

Southwest is NOT that much appreciably different to where I would pay significantly more (or, frankly, anything more) to fly them.

Instead of inflight service, which will arguably be fairly similar (AA will also serve pretzels and a soda), I would consider things like:
--is DAL or DFW more convenient for you?
--flight times/frequency (I would imagine WN offers more frequency on the route)
--are you even checking a bag to where fees might matter or carrying everything on?

I live in BNA and often find WN to be one of the more expensive options for advance-purchase tickets; they usually are only cheapest for last-minute itineraries, though YMMV.

I have been Platinum on AA for several years and don't understand the hate for them on this site, though maybe I have just been lucky and not had to fly many of their OASIS-modified aircraft.
"We hope you've enjoyed flying with us as much as we've enjoyed taking you for a ride."
 
PI4EVR
Posts: 26
Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2019 4:29 pm

Re: American or Southwest: Which would be better to fly?

Sun Jun 02, 2019 7:42 pm

The points mentioned by UALFAson are smart to consider for either carrier. I fly both WN and AA.
As well, I don't understand the hate AA generates on this site. I just completed 6 segments on AA in the last 2 months. I found:
1. The flights were on-time, departing the gate as much as 10 mins early and arriving as much as 25 minutes early in PHL of all places.
2. Speaking of PHL, I had no serious issues with this airport and its operation or staff on 3 of those flights.
3. Staff in TPA, DCA and MIA were professional and effecient with special recognition that staff in TPA are awesome. Some of the best airline people I've ever experienced are at this station.
4. Airplanes clean and comfortable, even the slightly tight A319 to DCA. At 5'11" it was not a "torture chamber" or "sardine can."
5. F/A crews were friendly, smiles and personable. On one segment completed service to the entire cabin on a rather bumpy ride I likely would have sat down for.
6. Cockpit crews on the PA thanking customers for "selecting American today" and "hope we continue to be your first choice for air service." on all 6 flights.
7. Upgraded to F class and enjoyed a nice meal (lunch) that the only complaint would have been too much jalapenos in the corn salad and I don't like Snickerdoodle cookies even fresh from the oven.
Could I fault either carrier on a recent flight? The "fun" atmosphere of WN sometimes can be tiresome like the F/A who sang the boarding announcement and on AA the attendant stating the flying time to Orlando when we were actually flying to Tampa. That grounds to file a complaint or "never fly again" stance? No. They're human. And good to show they are sometimes.
Expectations. Both airlines deliver a nice service. As suggested, consider price, schedule convenience and personal interests on the airport or airplane experience.
Enjoy your trip and Best WIshes for a great ride on either airline.
 
User avatar
ricport
Posts: 137
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:48 pm

Re: American or Southwest: Which would be better to fly?

Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:10 pm

Aurantiaco wrote:
This holiday season, I will be flying to Baltimore to see my family. I live in North Texas, so the biggest options for me is American or Southwest. My father prefers nonstops, which is why I chose these carriers as options. Which would be better to fly? Asking for opinions and personal experiences.


Obviously, if times/fares/departing airports are not deciding factors, I'd vote AA. I know WN has their legion of fans, but its allure totally escapes me. I find the experience to be chaotic and unprofessional. No advance seating, no upgrades, No BoB options, the staff using the PA for amateur hour... No thanks.
 
PSAatSAN4Ever
Posts: 768
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:38 pm

Re: American or Southwest: Which would be better to fly?

Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:49 pm

Here's always my deciding factor: You are traveling in "inclement weather" season in the U.S. If something goes wrong with the weather, and you need to change your flight plans, who is going to be better to you?

Honestly, if it were not for the $150 change fee charged by all the majors, I'd be fine with any airline - but I've had things go wrong in my life and my schedule, and changing a Southwest ticket is the easiest thing in the world. Changing anyone else's ticket? Good luck!
 
aklrno
Posts: 1498
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:18 pm

Re: American or Southwest: Which would be better to fly?

Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:36 pm

Most airlines really want those change fees. Even when things are starting to go sideways at the airport due to weather most airlines want their change fees to change your flight even if it is running hours late. Unless the flight is cancelled, you have to stick with it. Southwest will let you change any time for any reason with only the difference in fare. That can be significant since you may be trading a ticket bought weeks ago for one at the walk-up price. But if your flight is running an hour or 90 minutes late (forgot the threshold) the change is free. Even that time is not cast in concrete. I've had nice agents who allowed me a free change when the delay is only about 45 minutes.

One notable exception for me was on UA at SFO. Maybe because I have 1K status. My SFO-RNO flight was running late due to crew issues. There was another that looked like it would leave sooner than mine. I asked if I could change, and when the agent saw I was 1K she gave me boarding passes for both flights and told me to just board the one I preferred!
 
Wednesdayite
Posts: 177
Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2017 8:28 pm

Re: American or Southwest: Which would be better to fly?

Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:25 pm

Currently sitting at DEN after my AA flight to DFW (scheduled for 10:48) was cancelled due to a faulty engine.

AA staff were responsive and professional. I lucked out with a seat on the 16:39 departure. Not sure many of my fellow passengers were so lucky. It was a completely full A321 that had to be cancelled. Some of them won’t fly until tomorrow.
A318/19/20/21/30/40. B717/27/37/47/57/67/77/87. CRJ2/7. ERJ145/175/190. FKR50. IL62. MD11/82/83/88. TU154.
AA AC AF AI AR AS AT AV AZ BA BW BY CO DA DL F9 FR JJ KL LH MA NW NZ OS RG SU TK U2 UA US VS WN
 
IAHWorldflyer
Posts: 774
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:22 pm

Re: American or Southwest: Which would be better to fly?

Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:01 pm

One thing I'll add to this, is that flying around the holidays, WN will probably attract more families with small children. That can make boarding with no assigned seats a bit more chaotic, as these families will plow over others to secure 4 or 5 seats together. That's the time of year I appreciate a network carrier with assigned seats.
 
e38
Posts: 621
Joined: Sun May 04, 2008 10:09 pm

Re: American or Southwest: Which would be better to fly?

Wed Jun 05, 2019 2:26 am

Quoting Aurantiaco (thread starter), "Which would be better to fly?"

Aurantiaco, when comparing American and Southwest, I don't think there is a "better" airline between the two of them. Personally, I think they are equal in terms of safety, reliability, punctuality, and professionalism of the pilots. In terms of frequency, I think both American and Southwest generally operate four flights per day between DFW/DAL and BWI.

Now this is just personal opinion--to which I am entitled--so please do not label me as an "American hater" or a "Southwest lover" and flame me for an opinion but this is based on personal experience with approximately equal number of flights on Southwest and American and when I fly American, I always fly in coach/economy (so as to provide a comparable experience with Southwest). And also keep in mind, these are just "snapshots," someone else's experience on either carrier may be completely different than mine on any given flight.

The question I would ask in this case is "How do you prefer to be treated?"

Every company has a defined corporate culture that begins with top leadership and permeates throughout the entire work force and this is where I see the difference between American and Southwest. American seems to have a "global domination" mentality (which did not start with Doug Parker, by the way, it goes way back to the Crandall years or even earlier) while Southwest's corporate culture is more "local business" and "community partner."

When I travel American, I feel like the employees are generally rude, abrupt, disrespectful, and disinterested in the passenger. I always get the feeling as though the employees are trying to convey to me that if I don't like the way I'm treated, since they are the largest airline in the world, they do not care if they lose my business since there are many other people who will take my place and travel with them. On the other hand, when I travel on Southwest, I feel like the employees are genuinely friendly, kind, respectful, and enjoy their work. They seem to convey to me that they value the business of each and every customer and would like them to return.

As others above have stated, there are other difference for you to consider. Assigned seating vs. open seating; fees for checked luggage vs. bags fly free, etc.

On Southwest, I never pay the additional charge for early check-in (or getting an A group). I just check in 24 hours in advance of the flight and generally end up with a mid-B number and I have found I am still able to get my favorite seat (a window seat) somewhere near the back, which is fine with me. Also, with no checked luggage fees on Southwest, I find fewer people tend to carry enormous suitcases aboard the aircraft and boarding seems to go faster and smoother than on American. On American, with assigned seating, I also do not pay for ugraded seating and generally end up with a middle seat near the back.
One last thing, the method by which the flight attendants serve beverages is a little different. On American, using beverage carts--the flight attendants generally make one pass through the cabin. At Southwest (on comparable length flights) I have found that after the flight attendants take your order and deliver the beverages, they usually come back to see if you would like an additional beverage. Of course, this is a fairly minor difference.

That's my opinion. Just to be clear, I have many friends who work both for Southwest and American, and I actually interviewed to work at both Southwest and American (although I ended up deciding to work for another airline other than Southwest or American) and I think they are both terrific companies. Despite what you may think, I still fly American frequently when their departure/arrival times are more convenient than Southwest or when I travel to a destination not served by Southwest.

You will have a great trip regardless of which airline you choose, but in answer to your question, if I were traveling between the Dallas area (DFW or DAL) and Baltimore, I would choose Southwest. For me, Southwest would be a more enjoyable travel experience. Perhaps you should fly American between DFW and BWI one time; the next time you go visit family choose Southwest DAL - BWI.

e38
 
737max8
Posts: 519
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2015 4:13 am

Re: American or Southwest: Which would be better to fly?

Wed Jun 05, 2019 4:50 am

TTailedTiger wrote:
If flying in coach then by all means take WN. Even if the price is higher. You will get free checked bags, snacks, drinks, seats with decent legroom, a restroom you don't have to squueze into, and employees who don't hate the passengers.


You are mostly right about WN (as a WN fan boy) but to be fair, both carriers use the same lavs on the 737-800 and 737 MAX 8.
The thoughts and opinions expressed in my comments do not represent that of any airline or affiliate.
Flown on: 717 733 734 735 736 737 738 739 7M8 744 744ER 752 753 762 763 772 773ER 788 789 A319/20/21 A332 A333 A343 A359 A388

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: IPFreely, vhqpa and 17 guests

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

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