My First Trip on Southwest Airlines

The view out my window

One of the nice things about living in the Orlando area is that it isn’t difficult to get a flight to wherever you want to go. I fly maybe four or five times a year, and quite honestly my main criteria when looking for a flight is price. My airline of choice is jetBlue. That’s not a paid endorsement, I’ve just had good experiences with them. I recently flew from Orlando to Hartford, Connecticut to visit my parents, and for the flight there jetBlue wouldn’t work as an option. I had heard a lot of good things about Southwest and they had seats on a flight that would work for me, so I went ahead and booked it.

I was a little bit nervous about flying Southwest for the first time, especially since you don’t have a seat assignment. The location of the seat didn’t really matter to me all that much, I just like to have an idea before I go. I decided not to sign up for EarlyBird Check-In, which allows you to check in early and give you a better position in line. If I were traveling with a group that I wanted to keep together that would be one thing, but since I was by myself I’d rather save the money.

I checked in exactly 24 hours in advance, in fact I kept refreshing the page so that I would not waste a second. The actual check in process was easy, it was similar to any other airline. I was assigned a letter and a number, but wasn’t really sure what they meant.

I was running late on the day of my flight. I was nervous about the seats once again because as I approached the gate I saw that people were already lined up. I asked a Southwest employee at the desk how the process worked. He was honestly the only hiccup of the day. His reply was something along the lines of “There’s a letter and a number on your boarding pass. You wait by it then you get on the plane.” That is close to an exact quote. When I tried to ask another question he turned his back to me, even though he wasn’t doing anything else at the time. I ended up getting in the line and found out from other passengers that I was in the right place.

Here is how it works. Each passenger is assigned a letter, A, B, or C, and a number. The letter is your group, and the number is your place within that group. I was B19, so we waited while all the A passengers boarded, then we were allowed to enter the plane by number. It was a lot more simple than I pictured in my head, and the boarding process went smoothly.

The flight itself was fine. There was in flight entertainment, but you had to use your own device. There were also basic snacks provided, and the coffee was good. The seats were close together, but they were better than some airlines. We landed on time, and things seemed a bit less organized getting off of the plane than when we got on. It still wasn’t a problem.

One thing that people love about Southwest is the fact that two checked bags per person are included with your flight. This is unheard of in this day and age, and if I were planning a trip to Walt Disney World I would consider Southwest for this reason alone. I was only gone a couple of nights, so my carry on was fine for my situation.

Overall, I was pleased with my flight and the whole experience. One rude employee didn’t ruin everything for me. The next time I’m booking a flight I will check to see the Southwest fares and how they compare to jetBlue. It’s good to have options.