Why People Keep Coming Back to Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines’ stock price has more than doubled since hitting its lows in March of 2020, and in the last month of 2020 is down approximately 13% for the year. This comes despite air travel in the US declining by 65% year over year according to TSA. Consumers feel different about Southwest, whether is their customer service or the experience on and off the plane. They offer a great boarding process and they are ranked number one in customer service for domestic travel in 2020. The company allows you to bring two bags on your flight as part of the ticket price and they avoid extra seat charges on check-in. It is no wonder that the company chose the stock market ticker symbol LUV.
The Best Customer Service
Airtravel is a service experience. Getting from one location to the next safely is the most important component, but, the experience of getting there is what you are paying for. Customer service is very important especially when things do not work smoothly. The standard items such as weather delays or mechanical difficulties are experiences we have all gone through, but when you are with your family on a vacation is when you will need customer service the most.
Flying can be stressful as issues will occur that are out of your control. Flights can be canceled and bags can get lost which means that it’s important to have chosen an airline that has a strong customer service department. In 2020, travel and leisure magazine chose Southwest Airlines as the Worlds Best for customer service for a US domestic airline.
Southwest Airlines has a very flexible cancelation policy. Presently they allow customers to cancel a reservation up to 30-minutes before the flight’s departure. The funds from that cancelation are immediately available for credit for a future trip. While many airlines have provided cancelation policies during the pandemic, Southwest has been ahead of the curve which makes their customer base very satisfied.
Seats are Open
One of the more unique processes about the Southwest experience is the boarding process. Since there is no first-class cabin or preferred seats, everyone has an equal shot at getting their preferred seat. Except for the bulkhead rows and the emergency exits, you cannot purchase specific seats in advance. While other airlines try to generate revenues from specific seats, which creates a class structure, Southwest Airlines caters to a different consumer, that is interested in feeling good about the boarding process and the seats that are available upon boarding. One key feature that is offered is the “EarlyBird Check-In” which guarantees you an earlier boarding position for a small fee. Your boarding place is based on the time you checked in to the flight starting 24-hours before takeoff.
Bags Fly Free and they are Rarely Lost
While many other airlines try to “nickel and dime” their customers, Southwest allows bags to fly free. Your first two bags fly at no cost. You don’t need to have a specific credit card or a certain number of reward points, your bags will fly free based on the price of your ticket. Additionally, Southwest has one of the best track records when it comes to lost bags.
The Companion Pass
The Southwest Airlines companion pass is one of the best perks in the industry. The Companion Pass allows you to bring a designated friend or family member on any Southwest flight you take. You’ll just need to pay the taxes and fees, just like you would on an award ticket. This perk applies to both paid and reward tickets. This benefit does not come inexpensively. You’ll need to earn 125,000 qualifying points or take 100 qualifying one-way flights in a calendar year to earn a Companion Pass. You can also earn points through Rapid Rewards credit cards, including sign-up bonuses, shopping and dining partners, including Rapid Rewards dining, as well as Home and lifestyle partners.
The Bottom Line
The upshot is that Southwest continues to prove itself as the number one airline for customer service. Since the airline industry is a service business, you can see why consumers continue to come back to Southwest to travel. They avoid nitpicking charges such as preferred seats. The company allows you to bring two bags on your trip without any additional costs which is a pleasure for many. The process for boarding is a well-oiled machine and helps get you off the ground quicker. Additionally, the companion pass is one of the best deals in the airline business. Southwest travels to most destinations across the United States and is the first choice for many. The stock trading price continues to outperform many of the other airlines, despite experiencing a 50% cut in its share price during March of 2020.