Reservations: 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792)
In the era of charge-for-everything airlines, Southwest allows passengers to cancel or change a flight at any point up to the scheduled departure time at no cost (besides the difference in fare, of course).
No change fees
Passengers flying Southwest can check two pieces of luggage for free. Not only that: checking skis and golf bags is complimentary, too.
Bags fly free
Flight attendant-turned-YouTube sensation David Holmes started the trend back in 2009 when he rapped the introductory safety announcement on a flight to Oklahoma City. Full disclaimer: serenading is not required of SWA attendants.
Rapping flight attendants
The low-cost airline dishes out weekly offers via e-mail, featuring one-way flights as low as $39. Limited-time only deals on flights, hotels and vacation packages mean big savings to in-the-know customers.
Click ‘N Save
An introductory rate of $5 gets fliers connected to the World Wide Web over 10,000 feet.
Passengers can check in online, at check-in desks, at the departure gate or at self-service kiosks. Check-in times vary by airport, but Southwest suggests arriving between 60 and 90 minutes before your flight is due to depart.
Online check-in opens 24 hours before departure and closes one hour beforehand.
Carry-on: One item plus one personal item which includes a purse, briefcase, laptop, or diaper bag. Items must fit in the overhead compartment or under your seat.
Checked: The first two bags are free. They should be no bigger than 62in and weigh no more than 50lbs each. The third through ninth bags will incur a fee of $50 each and the 10th bag will cost $110.
Excess: Bags weighing between 51-70lbs will be charged $50 extra, and for bags between 71-100lbs, $100 extra.
Seat pitch: 32–33 inches.
Southwest Airlines operates an open seating policy. Though passengers are boarded in three tiers (those with boarding cards "A" first, followed by "B", followed by "C"), it pays to check in early.
Only reservations booked online can be changed. Make changes online or call the reservation center.
Infants under two years of age can travel for free, if traveling on an adult's lap. There is a child fare for children between the ages of two and 11. Infant and child fares are not available online and must be booked at the reservation center.
Available for passengers aged 65 and older. Prices vary from city to city. Senior airfares are fully refundable and exchangeable. Fares can be booked online or at the reservation center.
Southwest only accepts small cats and dogs in carriers that can fit under the seat in front of passengers. The cost is $75 each way. Pets cannot be carried in the cargo hold. Be sure to make a reservation for your pet ahead of time.
Musical instruments can be carried on if they meet the size requirements for carry-on items. You can also purchase a seat for a large or fragile instrument at a child's fare rate, but an instrument cannot be carried in place of a free companion under any fare promotion.
Complimentary tea, coffee and non-alcoholic drinks and snacks are available. Beer, wine or cocktails are available for purchase. Wi-Fi is offered on-board some aircraft.
Rapid Rewards allows you to earn miles when you fly Southwest.
Check out the airline’s menu before you fly so you can decide if you need to bring any extra snacks. See photographs taken by fellow fliers of meals they’ve been served and read reviews at AirlineMeals.net.
Spirit, Southwest's in-flight magazine, is available on every flight. Read a preview online.
Southwest began as a small, Texas-based airline in 1971. The short-haul, discount airline now offers flights to 69 cities across America. Based out of Dallas, Southwest has hubs in Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, Orlando and Phoenix.