Find out why we always prefer flying Southwest Airlines for our family travel!
Family travel can be difficult at times, but it is so worth it! Once we had three kids under three, we didn't go anywhere.
Now that the kids are older (10, 10 and 13), we are doing more traveling. It's so much easier now that they can pack themselves, and we plan together as a family to budget and choose where to go.
Another way we've made it easier is by only flying one airline, Southwest. See why we think flying Southwest Airlines is so worthwhile.
Reasons we love flying Southwest Airlines
No baggage fees
Southwest lets you check two bags for free–a savings of $50-$70 compared to other airlines–and that's per person. When you're traveling as a family, trying to keep track of kids walking through a busy airport, that means less to carry and deal with for no extra cost (therefore priceless).
Good for kids (family boarding)
Speaking of wrangling kids, they offer a Family Boarding session in between seating the A and B groups when you're at the gate.
So even when I haven't been quick enough at check-in to grab those A boarding passes, we get to board together and find seats together.
No peanuts (if you ask)
I don't know why airlines (including Southwest) still serve peanuts in this day and age, but they do. We like to play it safe and mention that my son has a severe peanut allergy.
Then they make an announcement after boarding that there will not be peanuts for snacks, and then they serve pretzels or something else. It's a little thing, but I appreciate it.
In-flight TV and WiFI
I still go old-school and bring a book to read or take a nap when I fly, but the kids are happy to have in-flight streaming TV when we are flying on Southwest Airlines.
When you're on the way home from a family vacation, and everyone is tired and cranky, it's nice for them to put earbuds in and zone out to a favorite show (and let Mom take that nap she needs so much).
Flying as a family of five is expensive, which is why we road trip more often. But flying Southwest means we can snag $59 and $98 airfares out of our two Washington DC airports to make trips to Orlando or the Midwest quicker. That way, we don't lose 2 days driving back and forth.
When you include the free baggage checking, their airfares are so much more reasonable than other airlines.
Rapid Rewards program
Southwest's Rapid Rewards program wins awards for being the best because it has no blackout dates, the points never expire, and they offer a Companion Pass (once you accumulate 110,000 points in a year, a companion flies FREE with you for the next two years).
I signed each of the five of us up for accounts and am learning more about how and where to earn points (there are some great credit card offers out there for bonus points). I also use a Rapid Rewards credit card so that every dollar I spend on groceries, gas, clothing, etc. earns us points towards free flights.
Funny flight attendants
I'm sure you've seen the viral video of the Southwest Airlines flight attendant doing the announcements as Looney Tunes characters. It doesn't happen all the time, but more often than not, we get flight attendants with a great sense of humor.
My kids were groaning at the bad jokes and puns on one of our flights this summer:
“Ladies & Gentleman, we have a very special birthday on board today. Someone is celebrating his 100th birthday…(pause for the crowd reaction). Be sure and say Happy Birthday to our pilot on your way out today!”
I love the example Southwest shows of employees having fun on the job.
Great customer service
Yes, I know things always don't go well with airlines and flights. Stuff happens. But the few times it has happened to us, Southwest has handled it with care and a smile.
On our return from our 17-day road trip in August, the first leg of our flight back to Washington DC was delayed so much that it overlapped with the second leg.
Not only did Southwest hold the second plane for us, they saved us five seats so we could sit together, AND they managed to somehow get our luggage there as well. We were really impressed!
No charge or cancellation fees
Unfortunately, we've had to use this too many times in the past few years, times when my mom got sick traveling out East and couldn't take the flights home.
Southwest lets you change the flight as many times as you want with NO fee. You just pay any fare difference.
And a couple of times, we've had it happen where the fare is less, so they actually give you a credit to use on a future flight. Amazing!
We've been very satisfied with our experience flying Southwest Airlines. What about you? What is your experience flying Southwest Airlines?