Southwest Airlines is an American airline headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Unlike most airlines, they do not use a central hub system but instead, operate a wide point-to-point network of 15 focus airports across the United States and Central America. Since 1967, it has expanded from a small regional airline to the largest low-cost carrier in the world.
Southwest Airlines operates up to 4,000 flights a day during peak season and employs over 60,000 people in total. Southwest Airlines operates over 100 routes in 11 countries across North and Central America. There are significant Southwest Airlines bases in Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles, and Dallas. Southwest Airlines serves most major US cities, and they often use secondary airports in order to keep ticket prices and operating costs down, such as Chicago's Midway International Airport, Dallas Love Field instead of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, and New York's Newark Liberty Interntional, LaGuardia, and Long Island MacArthur Airports. Destinations outside the US include Nassau (Bahamas), Belize City, Havana, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Cancun and Cozumel in Mexico, and Honolulu, Lihue, Hilo, Kahului and Kailua-Kona in Hawaii.
Southwest Airlines has a fleet size of 752 aircraft currently in operation, all of which are Boeing 737 jetliners, making Southwest Airlines the world's largest operator of Boeing 737 models. Southwest Airlines boasts a good reputation and high customer review ratings. Customers frequently comment on the airline's excellent customer service, as well as the flights' dependability and punctuality. Southwest Airlines is best known for its unique policies - most famously that there are no designated seats, but rather passengers are just given a certain boarding group. Southwest Airlines' safety rating on Airline Ratings is hindered by not obtaining an optional audit from the International Air Transport Association (of which it is not a member), although it does satisfy US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety standards.
Southwest Airlines flies approximately 130 million passengers per year, and they continue to do so on a 'do-it-alone' basis and are not part of any alliance, nor do they partner with any other airline in codeshare agreements. Southwest Rapid Rewards is Southwest Airlines' frequent flyer program, which is free to join and offers rewards points accrued through ticket bookings dependent on the price.
There are no Southwest Airlines airport lounges, and there is only one cabin class and seat type, Economy, available on all Southwest Airlines flights. It is possible to purchase Business Select tickets, but these just guarantee that you'll be put in the A1-A15 boarding group (i.e. at the front of the plane), ensuring you'll be one of the first passengers on and off the aircraft. Most seats on Southwest Airlines flights have around a 32-inch pitch, and just under 18 inches in width (wider than most low-budget carriers).
There are no in-flight meals on Southwest Airlines flights. However, complimentary coffee, juice and non-alcoholic drinks are offered on all flights, and flights over 2 hours will include a snack. In addition, passengers are allowed to bring their own food on board, or purchase refreshments in-flight. Most Southwest Airlines flights have a paid onboard WiFi service, as well as free movies and entertainment options through your own device using the Southwest Portal app. All Southwest Airlines planes have toilets.
Online check-in for Southwest Airlines flights opens 24 hours before the scheduled flight, and closes 1 hour before departure time. Passengers may also check-in at an airport ticket counter or at a designated Southwest Airlines Skycap Podium or eTicket Kiosk (where available). Passengers should arrive at the airport at least 45 minutes before domestic flights, and 1.5-2 hours before international flights. Check-in counters close 30 and 60 minutes, respectively, before flight departure times.
Southwest Airlines allows all passengers to bring 1 item of carry-on baggage (within the dimensions of 10 x 16 x 24 inches) and one personal item (such as a purse or laptop) for free. Unlike most low-budget airlines, Southwest Airlines does not charge extra for checked baggage. In fact, they let all passengers check-in up to two items of luggage for free, provided each bag weighs under 50 lbs (23 kg).
The combined height + width + length dimensions for each item of checked baggage must not exceed a total sum of 62 inches (157 cm).
Checked bags weighing over 50 lbs (23 kg) but under 100 lbs (46 kg) will be subject to a US$75 fee per bag. Bags weighing over 100 lbs cannot be taken as checked baggage on Southwest Airlines flights.