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Southwest officially began its much anticipated service outside of U.S. borders yesterday to three destinations in the Caribbean, taking over AirTran's former routes to the Bahamas, Aruba, and Jamaica from Atlanta, Baltimore, and Orlando.
Later this year, flights to Mexico City will begin on August 10th and to Punta Cana on November 2nd. The new routes come as part of Southwest's acquisition of AirTran, and the plan is to eventually serve 96 destinations in six countries. We're sure other nonstop flights will also be announced to the Caribbean and Mexico as things progress.
Southwest Airlines / Southwest / Airline News / Airlines / Tech Travel / Travel Tech / Mobile Boarding Passes / → All Tags
We try our best not to pick on one airline, but let’s just say that there are airlines up with the latest in technology and then there are carriers like Southwest. Thankfully they’ve slowly but surely been catching up with what some of the other guys have to offer, as there’s now even WiFi aboard plenty of their flights. Now they’re finally pitching the paper and going electronic, as mobile boarding passes are finally an option across pretty much all of their flights.
Domestic flights to here and to there are now all offering up mobile boarding passes, so that’s good to know when you’re running late and still have to ditch the rental car back at the garage. It all arrives as part of an upgrade to their mobile app, as now goodies like itineraries, flight status updates, and your gate number can be accessed with just a tap or a swipe.
Airline Commentary / Airline Advertisements / Southwest Airlines / Department of Transportation / Airline Follies / → All Tags
We're not sure how cynical you are when it comes to airlines and their motivations/intentions, but we've got to believe that the Department of Transportation is getting pretty fed up.
Yesterday, it was announced that the DOT has fined Southwest Airlines for advertising false fares that didn't exist. The DOT caught Southwest in a lie when it found that none of the flights touting $59 fares actually offered seats at that price. In other words, it was your classic bait-and-switch sales pitch.
Better late than never for the budget carrier, as it becomes one of the last major airlines to offer what has quickly become a standard service. Southwest does so many other things well, though, from its on-board drink specials to its best-in-the-biz boarding policy, we suppose we'll give them the benefit of the doubt and simply call this being fashionably late.
The process finally looks like it's wrapping up, as the combined carrier just announced when AirTran will be disappearing once and for all. Luckily there's still a few more months to slip AirTran safety cards before the brand says sayonara.
Say what you want about the fact that Southwest doesn't assign seats (that's a separate discussion), but the way the airline handles its boarding process is something we've really grown to appreciate.
We've all been involved in the traditional method that involves boarding zones. In theory, it is supposed to serve as a way to organize passengers and let them know when they should board. Unfortunately, it rarely results in any sort of organization. Nine times out of ten, a bottleneck ensues, creating a gauntlet of people hovering around and blocking the boarding lanes.
By now, you’ve probably seen the footage of the Southwest flight attendant who made the mother of all mockeries of the safety briefing. Lots of flight attendants have put on such a routine in the past, yet few have been so transparent about their second-hand intentions. Most, we assume, are just trying to make a mundane, mandatory speech colorful and interesting. But according to this latest video’s description on YouTube, this flight attendant had a bigger vision: She wants to make an appearance on Ellen.
This writer is not even going to get into that last part, as it would only help her cause. I will tackle the bigger picture here, the well-known fact that even flight attendants aren’t afraid to advertise that the safety video is nothing more than a legal burden, that they think it’s an absolute joke, so much so that they’re consistently willing to go out on a limb to make fun of it, to joke around as if airplanes never have accidents, to refer to the lifejacket as a "teeny weeny yellow Southwest bikini."
Southwest Airlines / Airlines / Airline News / Southwest / Airport News / MDW / → All Tags
The average traveler is only going to glance at signage around a boarding gate a few times before heading out onto a flight. These signs flash information about connections, upgrades, reminders about rules and regulations, and where you might be on the standby list. Most airlines have had digital flatscreens for years and years, but that hasn’t been the case for Southwest Airlines.
Things are finally changing, and it's all positive for departing passengers. Up first for installations and improvements is Chicago-Midway, as the new gate displays have already started to arrive at the airport.
Airports / DAL / Wright Amendment / Dallas Travel / Southwest Airlines / Delta Airlines / Virgin America / United Airlines / → All Tags
For almost 40 years, flying in and out of Dallas meant you had a couple different options when it came to airports: DFW, the major international airport further from the city or DAL, the airport just about 10 minutes from the city center.
If you've never heard of Love Field, or perhaps know it as "the small one," that's thanks to the limitations put in place by The Wright Amendment. The bill, passed by congress in 1978, limited the size, destination, and type of aircraft that could fly in and out of Dallas-Love Field. Flights within Texas and into the four neighboring states (Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico) were all allowed. The Wright Amendment chased off most of Dallas' airline action to Dallas-Fort Worth International.
This October, however, the amendment will be lifted to end restrictions and Love Field will flourish with new airlines and routes. So who's due in?
When we flew Southwest the other day, we boarded the plane and sat in an aisle seat in row 10. When another passenger came and chose the window seat next to us, we started joking around. We talked about ways to keep that middle seat open. Should someone approach and attempt to sit down, we discussed several options that we thought might convince them otherwise, including the idea of starting to bicker back and forth and pretending to be a fighting couple as they sat down between us.
Putting on a skit like that was a longshot, but our row-mate did indeed employ a few tatics in an attempt to keep others at bay, from placing her bag on the middle seat, to talking on the phone, to standing up and rearranging herself in front of the middle seat as people walked by. Ultimately, the plane was not full and no one selected the seat, but, to her credit, lots of passengers bypassed our row when they could have easily sat down.
Drinking at Altitude / Booze Travel / Southwest Airlines / Cayman Airways / Grand Cayman Travel / Cayman Islands Travel / → All Tags
These days, the general consensus is that airlines nickel and dime you every chance they get along the way. This is true of most of the mainstream North American carriers, but as we discovered with Southwest's ever-running happy hours and free drink days, there are still airlines out there that give you bang for your buck. Or better yet, let you have some fun on their tab.
Cayman Airways' flights allow economy class passengers to check two bags for free, and they also feature a meal and complimentary Tortuga rum punch. Yes, free unlimited alcoholic drinks in a non-transatlantic international economy class. It's not heavily advertised, but if you look closely at the list of complimentary beverages, you'll surely find it.
Booze Travel / Southwest Airlines / Drink Specials / In-Flight Cocktails / Free Stuff / Drinking Travel / → All Tags
We thought this was pretty widely known, but recent conversations have revealed that it is apparently not common knowledge that Southwest Airlines offers a free first cocktail on a handful of days throughout the year.
Here is the complete list, starting with the next to occur, just FYI:
• St Patty’s Day (3/17)
• Mother’s Day (5/11)
• Memorial Day (5/26)
• Father’s Day (6/15)
• SWA Birthday (6/18)
• Independence Day (7/4)
• Chase Customer Appreciation Day (8/11)
• Halloween (10/31)
• Thanksgiving Day (11/27)