Southwest Airlines are the world's largest low cost airline, and carries the highest number of domestic passengers in the United States, to popular cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. The company began a rebrand towards the end of 2014, launching international flights for the first time. Despite a major redesign, Southwest have been quick to reassure passengers that it’s a case of “new look, same heart.” At the moment Southwest isn’t a member of any global alliance, but as their quest for world domination continues, it’s likely that they could be joining a partnership in the future.
Southwest’s business model is based on great customer service, excellent and cost-efficient time management of its staff and fleet, and a marketing plan that communicates honesty and its aversion to the often ridiculous fees that other airlines charge. The company even came up with a term for its approach to sales, called “transparency”--which perfectly describes its slogan, “No fees, nothing to hide.”
On July 10th, 2016 Southwest Airlines was granted authorization by the United States Government to fly to Cuba; one of six airlines chosen by the United States Department of Transportation.
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Popular Domestic Destinations
Popular International Destinations
Southwest Airlines Hubs
Southwest Airline Fleet
Southwest HubSouthwest does not have hubs. They use the point-to-point system with large operations in some airports. Southwest often uses secondary airports to control costs. Here are some examples:
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Southwest Airlines: Loyalty Programs (Rapid Rewards), Discounts and Miles Promotions
Southwest passengers can earn loyalty points and rewards through the Rapid Rewards program. With no blackout dates and no expiration on points (as long as you have at least one qualifying earning activity every 24 months), it’s easy to earn points at a fast rate. Earn points with flights and everyday purchases with partners. You can also earn points with the Rapid Rewards Credit Card, which can be redeemed for international flights on more than 50 global carriers, car rentals, gift cards, cruises and hotel stays.
Ways to earn Rapid Rewards:
It is important to note that points gifted between members will only keep the recipient’s point balance active. If there is activity on your account during a 24-month period, your points will expire. Your account will become inactive at this time. You can still login on southwest.com and participate in an earned activity, at which time the account will become active.
Southwest Airlines: How to Check In, Seating Assignment, Leg Room and Other Fees
Online check-in at southwest.com is available for Southwest passengers. You can also check-in at the self-service kiosk. Check-in can be done beginning 24 hours before departure. A government ID is needed for checking luggage. This can be shown at the Ticket Counter or Skycap Podium. Both the boarding pass and government-issued ID should be presented at the security line. Go directly to the security line if you do not have luggage to check-in.
You will be assigned a boarding position of A, B, or C and a number between 1 and 60 when you check in. This letter-number combination can be found on your boarding pass. Business select partners are in group A. Rapid Rewards tier members and families with children aged 6 and under are also in group A. Group B will go next, and C will go last. Passengers should plan on being at the gate 30 minutes before the departure time. Boarding passes will be checked at the gate 10 minutes prior to departure.
Southwest Airline seats are 17 inches wide. It is Southwest’s policy that larger customers (customers who take up space beyond one seat or encroach past an armrest) should plan on purchasing the neighboring seat. If it is not possible for a customer to purchase more than one seat, he or she can purchase one seat and discuss additional seating needs at the departure gate. If a second or third seat is needed to accommodate that customer at that time, a complimentary additional seat with be provided. If larger customers purchase seats in advance for their flight, they can see a Customer Service Agent to get documents to ensure they are eligible for a refund after the flight.
Seniors, 65 and older, qualify for senior fares and can make reservations for domestic and international flights online or by contacting a Southwest Airlines Customer Service Representative or travel agent. If you do not meet the above age requirement, there are other discounted fares which may be available to you. A Southwest Airlines representative can provide you with more information about these offers.
Southwest Airlines: Baggage Allowance and Fees
There is a maximum weight allowance for checked baggage of 50 pounds. The length, width and height of one piece of checked luggage cannot exceed 62 inches. Overweight items are 51 to 100 pounds and between 62 and 80 inches. There is an overweight luggage fee of $75 per item.
Due to the DOT/FA travel ban of the Samsung Galaxy Note7 (new, used or replaced), these phones are not permitted on the flight. This item cannot be brought on as a carry-on or in checked baggage.
Passengers can bring one bag and one small or personal item (like a purse) as a carry-on item. Carry-on bag dimensions cannot exceed 10 x 16 x 24 inches. Items are subject to a physical search.
Southwest Airlines: Service On Board, In-flight Entertainment and Meals
Satellite-based WiFi is available for WiFi-enabled devices and costs $8 a day per device. Devices should be fully charged before boarding the plane, because outlets are not available on the flight. WiFi network content is filtered. Southwest’s Inflight Entertainment Portal offers flyers a flight tracker, arrival and connecting gate information, games and access to the Southwest website. There is no charge for TV and there is live TV channels and on-demand episodes. Movies cost $5 per move per device and can continue to be viewed if you have a connecting flight. Movies cannot be downloaded to devices. A combination of classic movies, new releases and children’s movies are available. You can also download messaging apps, such as WhatsApp and Viber for $2 a day so you can stay in contact with friends and family who are using the same apps. Messaging is included in the purchase of full access WiFi.
Southwest Airlines: Child Fairs/Fees, Minor Service Guidelines
To make a reservation for an unaccompanied minor, you will need the full name of the child, his or her address, telephone number(s), the child’s date of birth, information about the adult dropping off and picking up the child and contact information for an alternate person for pickup at the destination. Unaccompanied minor service to (and from) international destinations. Only a legal guardian or parent can purchase a ticket for a minor and must provide proof of this. It is recommended that you arrive at the airport early, because you will need to find a parking spot, obtain an escort pass, as well as the child’s unaccompanied minor lanyard (at the ticket counter) and will also need to go through security. An unaccompanied minor cannot travel with a pet. The child will be checked periodically by flight attendants; however, children will not be monitored on a continual basis during the flight.
Southwest Airlines suggests parents/guardians send food or snacks with an unaccompanied child if the flight is during meal times. Pretzels and peanuts are the only complimentary items available during the flight. Parents can also download the Southwest app to monitor their child’s flight status.
Infants over the age of 14 days, but under the age of 2 who will not be occupying a seat can be carried onto the plane free of charge when traveling with an adult (or a person 12 or older). Guardians will need a Boarding Verification Document for the infant. If you prefer to reserve a seat for your infant so you can use his or her FAA-approved car seat, affordable fares are available. If the infant is age-verified and traveling on an infant fare, online check-in is available. The child’s birth certificate is required to validate his or her age. For infants under the age of 14-days-old, a medical release for travel is required.
Accompanied children 2 through 11 are eligible for Child Fare for flights. Proof of age is required at the time of travel and online check-in is available if the child has been age-verified.
Southwest Airlines: Pet Policy
Southwest passengers can bring small vaccinated domestic cats and dogs with them on the flight. These animals must be in an airline-approved carrier stowed under the seat in front of the passenger (in-cabin). Pet remains are prohibited from being checked as baggage or carryon; however, there are certain conditions in which a passenger may take cremated remains onboard domestic U.S. or international flights under certain conditions. Check with Southwest for more information.
Pets are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Each flight has a 6-pet capacity and a limit of one pet carrier per paying customer traveling on the same flight. There are some incidents where more or less than 6 pets might be allowed on scheduled flights. There are no pets allowed in-cabin on international flights or any itinerary that includes international flight.
Check pets in at the airport ticket counter, but passengers can secure the pet’s boarding pass online, at curbside check-in, the airport kiosk, or at the ticket counter. Cats or dogs exhibiting aggressive behavior or other characteristics that are not compatible with air travel will be refused.
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