Triangle Trip

Tag: southwest

Flight cancellation with no fees – only on Southwest

by on May.11, 2009, under Airlines, Business Travel, Vacation

Like Captain G, I recently canceled a flight.  I had purchased a round trip ticket on Southwest and I already traveled on one segment (the outbound).  I wanted to cancel the return trip and thought this would be a painful process. The following points that made my Southwest experience a pleasant one.

1.  Southwest allows you to cancel any segment without a change fee. No $150 change fee like other airlines (See Captain G’s post on United).

2.  Southwest credits the entire segment you are canceling (this is when you buy non-refundable tickets).

3.  Southwest does not outsource customer service. I love how I can understand the customer service representative without an interpreter.

4.  Southwest customer service representative was very polite and considerate and even explained how to use the credit for my next ticket in the detail.

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Always use online check-in (I learned it the hard way)

by on Feb.16, 2009, under Airlines

If you’re flying in the US, always check-in online as soon as you can.

Here are the reasons why:

  1. For Southwest, you can get a better seat and avoid boarding towards the end of the plane.
  2. For most carriers, you can pick an Exit row seat which is reserved for same day check-in if you don’t have status.
  3. As I have recently experienced on (ghetto) Delta, they actually give up your seat if you do not check-in 31 minutes before the actual flight. Delta is actually treating their Medallion Gold members this way, image when you do not have status.

Most airlines also have mobile sites that allows you to check-in via your phone. However most do not work too well. I actually tried to check-in via ghetto Delta’s online site and it failed me. The recent experience will definitely prompt a letter to management,

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How to avoid the middle seat on Southwest

by on Jan.21, 2009, under Airlines, Business Travel

We all know that Southwest does not have assigned seats and everyone is aware of the standard practices to get in Zone A to avoid having to sit in the middle seat. The standard practices  to get away from sitting in the middle are:

  1. Print your boarding pass at right after midnight before your departure date so you board during Zones A or B. This may mean staying up all night just to avoid getting a bad seat – which is not so attractive.
  2. Paying for Southwest Business Select. This approach does not really make sense as you’re flying SWA because you’re trying to save money. Why should you pay to board first especially if you fly SWA all the time?

The standard practices also does not cover you for flight cancellations or changes. Here is the secret to avoid the middle seat or at least mitigate the risk of having to sit in the middle.

Kids generally prefer to sit by the windows because they want to look out the window during takeoff and landing. Since kids rarely travel by themselves which means a parent will be next to them. Like everyone else, parents also don’t like to be stuck in the middle seat. The usual scenario is a kid seated by the window and the parent sits at the aisle hoping no one will take the middle seat. This scenario occurs toward the back of the plane.

Regardless of when you board the plane, you need to look for a kid seated by the window and a parent occupying the aisle seat. What you must do is ask the adult to allow you to sit in the middle. The result is the parent will move to the middle because the kid will not want to give up the window seat nor does he or she want to sit next to a stranger. I have used this trick on every flight that is crowded and have an 80% success rate. Go try it!

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