I love Southwest Airlines. I’m gonna get on my proverbial mountain top and say it again! I love Southwest Airlines!!!! I am not a professional flyer necessarily but I have flown round-trip an average of 2 and a half times a year for the last 8-10 years so by now I certainly know my way around an airplane and airport security. Since flying has changed so much from the days when your sweetheart could play tonsil hockey with you all the way to the gate there’s been a significant increase in the amount of stress that the average flyer must endure. As a result of added stress and bad flying luck, which I have in spades, I assure you, I have developed what I’m sure is a condition in a book somewhere. I hate to fly. I don’t hate the actual act of flying, I like heights and being in a moving plane is quite comforting, however the process of getting in the air can be so nerve-wracking that I sometimes question weather or not I should ever leave home.
Take my shoes off, take my laptop out, take my belt off, find earplugs for inevitable screaming baby, find food that looks like it won’t destroy my digestive system while in the air, wade around the people who don’t know how to fly and clog up security, don’t loose my ticket or ID in the process (don’t laugh I got the lanyard thing), walk to either the very first or very last terminal 8 miles from the airport entrance, find a place to sit next to someone that won’t try to expel their life story to me so I can put on my headphones and wait for the sweet relief of air-travel. Anyone else need a Quaalude!? I have found one very effective method of alleviating my airline stress. I fly Southwest.
Now some of you people with a lot of that green stuff might turn your nose up at my choice, but frankly…go right ahead. By all means, pay more to sit on another plane with less room to move (unless you’re in biz or 1st class) so I don’t have to breath your smug. Those of you who don’t fly very often may not be privy to the very simple changes that Southwest has made in order to become a more user friendly airline.
Gone are the days of lining up like suicidal cattle. Now we have a numbered place in line and our choice of seats once on the bird to paradise…or Cleveland. “But I need a window seat!”…well then, check in online 24 hours before your flight within 5 minutes of the departure time. “But I need a meal when I fly!” Good luck! Welcome to our nuvo-depression, no one serves those anymore. “Pillows?”…nope, not anymore.
If you’re like me then you check your bags, sit in the back (since you’ll have to wait for your bags anyway) and chose an isle seat, because you’ll have to pee every 30 minutes, but you’ll be right next to it and won’t have to crawl over your fellow travelers. Pop a Tylenol PM and have a nappy-poo and trust that your flight will most likely be on time, your connections will be made and your luggage will be there waiting for you. If not, rest assured that some natural disaster has occurred and no other airline could do better…and probably won’t.
Still don’t think SW is the best option for you? Ask me about all the times American Airlines lost my luggage ( 3, and I’ve only flown with them 5 times). Ask me about the time they reassigned my gate 3 times in an hour and a half, without making any announcements and then gave away mine and 5 other seats 20 minutes before take off. OH! Or how about the time I was stranded at JFK September 15th 2001 (you do the math) having been stuck in Paris while my country was under siege and told that I (and the several thousand other ticket holders who’s flights were canceled when international airspace was closed) couldn’t fly home to my mom because my flight number wasn’t valid anymore….???!!!!
Don’t like horror movies? How about a hero’s tale? Ask me about the Southwest Pilot that refused to take off until I could fly on his plane and get to bed after spending a night in the St. Louis airport due to tornados. He had a half full plane and just wanted to get me home, airline bureaucracy be damned. He and all the flight attendants stood their ground and I got home…to soaking wet luggage…damn it! Their flight attendants are always happy, because they know they have a great job. They work for a smart company that bought fuel at a surplus when they knew it would be advantageous and give us the cheapest flights possible, and will do so as long as they can…because this economy needs it. Other airlines are taking away amenities right and left to try and survive the crunch but Southwest still gives us blankets, pillows and snack-packs. Need more than that? Fine, go get it, and stop taking up space on my economically responsible airplane.