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Flying Southwest

Detroit, Michigan
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1,306 posts
71 reviews
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Flying Southwest

We typically fly from Detroit to Las Vegas on Delta. We are planning to try Southwest for the first time this summer (they recently added one non-stop flight between cities per day).

We have zero experience with Southwest and the fact that there's no assigned seating is making me a little nervous. Tell me your opinions - do you like Southwest? I know no airline is perfect, but is Southwest reliable? What has been your experience with seating? Thanks!

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birm
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3,087 posts
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1. Re: Flying Southwest

My #1 priority is non-stop. If that meant SWA I would fly them. Everyone on the plane takes off and lands at the same time.

I dislike they have no first-class or assigned seating, neither is a deal-breaker, especially for such a short flight as yours. Non-stop is a deal breaker.

pittsburgh
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2,551 posts
16 reviews
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2. Re: Flying Southwest

I LUV flying Southwest. 1st 2 bags are free (we always take 2 - why not). Just make sure you check-in 24 hours (not 24 hours and 1 minute) ahead of time - that gets you your check-in number - A1 to C60 - that gets your spot in line. Everyone lines up - get on the plane - and off you go. I think Southwest is one of the most dependable airlines (check their record). We have almost always - taken off on time - and arrived a few minutes early. And their flight crew members are generally very fun.

Liverpool, UK
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20,790 posts
36 reviews
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3. Re: Flying Southwest

I'd also add you get 2 free checked bags subject to weight/size limits - you'll pay for checked bags on most other carriers. Unassigned seating is a minor drawback over the benefits that SWA offers.

Detroit, Michigan
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1,306 posts
71 reviews
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4. Re: Flying Southwest

Thanks for the response.

My dilemma is not the non-stop issue. Delta has several non-stop flights between Detroit and Las Vegas daily, however, they're hundreds of dollars more than the non-stop Southwest flight. My only real concern is the seating. It's a four hour flight and I'd rather sit next to my husband than two strangers (no offense to anyone here!). I typically sleep on the way home anyway and I think he would be more tolerant of me leaning on him than someone I don't know.

Thanks again for the response.

Detroit, Michigan
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1,306 posts
71 reviews
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5. Re: Flying Southwest

Kathy and Tom - thanks for your advice. That is another plus for Southwest. When we fly Delta, we pay $25 per checked bag, per way.

Thanks to everyone for the advice. I think we may just take a chance and book Southwest.

Do we have to print the boarding pass at the time of check in 24 hours prior, or can we print the pass at the airport kiosk (even though we will have already checked in)?

Olathe KS
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897 posts
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6. Re: Flying Southwest

We use Southwest most of the time from KC. They are not perfect, but better than the rest IMO. If you are concerned about seating, get the "Early Bird" option. It allows you to board before most of the others that don't take this option. It will almost guarantee that you will board in the "A" group. Choosing your seat is never an issue for the "A" group.

It costs a little more, $25 per person per round-trip flight, but it's worth it for us.

7. Re: Flying Southwest

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Norfolk England
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5,825 posts
85 reviews
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8. Re: Flying Southwest

Hi

We used them to fly from San Antonio to Las Vegas and thought they were great for a "low cost" carrier. We bought earlybird passes and there was practically the whole plane to choose from.

Better than ANY low cost european carrier by far. I avoid them if I can. I have 2 flight's booked with them (SWA) for my holidays this year, so hope they don't let me down!

San Antonio, Tx
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1,459 posts
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9. Re: Flying Southwest

We've been using Southwest almost exclusively for the last 10 years. If you're at all concerned about the seating, buy the Early Bird ($12.50 each way - total of $50 round trip for two). This will allow you to board while there should still be plenty of empty window and aisle seats in the first 5 to 10 rows of seats. Their flights are normally full, so one of you will probably have to sit in a middle seat if we you want to sit next to each other. Southwest is near the top in terms of reliability ratings. There is no charge for the first two bags.

Given that most airlines now charge for bags and want you to pay extra for better seats, I think the Early Bird fee is reasonable. You have the added advantage of being able to change flights or even cancel without losing all of your money. You can even rebook for a cheaper flight if you want. If you rebook for a lower fare or cancel, the money goes into an account with Southwest that you have a year to use.

We have probably flown Southwest from San Antonio to Las Vegas at least 35 - 40 times in the last ten years. I can remember only one time that a flight was late, and that was a 8:00 PM flight from Las Vegas back to SA that was delayed by weather before it reached Las Vegas.

Unless you're planning to travel very soon, you might choose your dates and then wait for a couple of weeks while you watch for sales. They normally announce some deals every Tuesday, but they will come out at other times as well. Get on their email list so that you hear about these. I recently booked flights at $96 each way that had not been offered at less than $189 for a couple of weeks. I discovered these fares being posted on Sunday nights for late evening and early morning flights. Since we like to leave early in the morning and return late afternoon or early evening, this works well for us. I started checking late every Sunday evening and have seen huge price drops on flights for several consecutive weeks.

Detroit, Michigan
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1,306 posts
71 reviews
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10. Re: Flying Southwest

Thanks Losvu. My question is not whether YOU feel I should sit next to my husband or not. My question was more, "How does assigned seating on Southwest work? Do you find it easy to be able to sit with your travel companions?". Hopefully you can answer the question at hand and not read so much into it that you feel I won't survive four hours away from my husband. I will survive the four hours, but if it is an option to sit next to him, I would prefer it that way. Thanks.