4 Incidents Shared Within 24 Hours Remind Just How Fun Air Travel Can Be

The most common complaints on airline twitter seem to be about delays – flight delays, long lines, long hold times to get through especially when there’s a flight change or cancellation. The most common things we see photos of are damaged bags, dirty planes, and other passengers not wearing masks.

Positives on twitter are fewer and farther between but usually focused on the trip itself, the happy people, with the airline being how they got there.

While there are certainly complaints in the Southwest Airlines feed there’s something unique there that I don’t see very often on other airline feeds: people having fun, both passengers and crew. While the tenor of most flights reported in social media resembles something out of a black-and-white rendition of George Orwell’s 1984, Southwest seems to offer a bit more technicolor.

For tweets within 24 hours of each other highlighted this difference for me.

None of this means, of course, that Southwest is ‘the better airline’. They do offer a little more legroom on their planes than other airlines offer in regular coach. They don’t charge for checked bags and don’t have basic economy fares (no change fees on any fares).

But they don’t have a global route network (or global points redemptions), or first class (no upgrades), and their inflight internet lags American’s and Delta’s.

The remarkable thing though is that Southwest employees do seem to have more fun on average, and so passengers sometimes have more fun too.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I’m a simple flyer. I don’t need a song or dance. I don’t even need onboard food, drinks, or IFE. I just want a smooth journey. Delays happen, fine, they’re out of our control. Bad customer service, now, that’s something we can work on. Again I’m not asking anybody to move mountains. I’m just asking for courtesy and decency from all parties every step of the way.

  2. Southwest is the opposite of American Airlines in every way. They try to treat passengers as people and not luggage. There are service components they do not offer but when I get off my flight it is usually not unpleasant and often fun.

  3. Was the singing FA in the first video not wearing a mask?

    Um, isn’t that a violation of SWA company policy and Federal Regulations?

    I’ve lost count of how many SWA Fa’s and Pilots I’ve encountered in gate area’s, jetways and onboard flights unmasked.

  4. I scratch my head in why they don’t fly to Laredo, TX! A city of 250,000 plus! Instead we get crappy small planes from United and American that frequently break down. With the nice planes and low prices Southwest Airlines has it’s a market ready to explode! But they won’t even try!

  5. Southwest does a great job of making and keeping its customers happy despite trailing the big 4 in many DOT metrics. Southwest has been at the bottom of the big 4 in terms of on-time and has a higher than average amount of cancellations – but their DOT consumer complaint ratio vies with Delta for fewest complaints.

    Southwest offers a basic product, delivers it well, and apologizes when they get it wrong.

    Most passengers find Southwest acceptable for the network that Southwest operates.

    It’s also likely that Southwest will not be dethroned as the largest airline at AUS.

  6. Those who complain about what Southwest delivers are obviously whiners who have more money than sense. Southwest offers (1) No bag fees for the first 2 bags you check(2) No change/cancellation fees, (3) unlimited re booking, (4) if you cancel your flight, the money you spent for the flight will be there to use for future flights for 1 year, (5) Reliable service and (6) Great employees. What other airline offers these everyday perks? Those who complain about Southwest would complain no matter what airline they fly. Personally, those who dislike Southwest, I say go ahead and pay for your baggage and your ticket changes and you cancellations. Also, fly one of the other airlines, your negative presence is not welcome by the smart, fun loving people who fly Southwest.

  7. Flying is a utilitarian service, not happy happy fun time for all ages. The airlines and their staff should shut the hell up and focus on the safety and comfort of their passengers, while not ripping off their customers and employees in the process (As currently happens all too often). We don’t want to die in an accident because some idiot clown of a flight crew member was too busy having happy fun time and forgot to do something crucial to the aircraft. We don’t want to deal with a bunch of Nazi employees on mask patrol mad with the ounce of power they have been given. We want to have a comfortable on time flight, the service we pay a very high price for, and get our bags at the end. Anything else is a waste at our expense and possibly compromises the safety of the flight.

  8. Wow…..you literally have the modern term for ignorance and the hashtag for the largest racist organization since the Nazis in you name…..you shouldn’t be talking how others are backwards there bud.

  9. un Wokeflyer – sure, the other airlines may have free cancellation and change NOW, but how long will it last – surely not the 30+ years that Southwest has been doing it. As far as ass backwards goes, what about the other points I alluded to? Are they also ass backwards? You whiners are never satisfied and will always cry while your head swivels around looking for some other ignorant twit to agree with your tear laden nonsense. But, as I said before, go ahead and overpay for your flights, it is only right for you being the crying pain in the ass that the other airlines have to put up with. Ciao, cupcake…

  10. @David R Miller: call me when you land in London on that Southwest flight. And when they make that route, it will be six stops from MCO. How are those free drinks in Business Class?

  11. Ray – It might be “new” NEWS to you – Southwest has ALWAYS been a regional carrier – not an international one. Southwest, as all intelligent flyers know, has never had “business class” seating. Prior to the pandemic, the drinks on Southwest were great. The so called business class drinks you refer to are not free – you paid for them upfront with your more expensive business class ticket. Anything else you wish to know?

  12. @CommonSense:
    “you literally have the modern term for ignorance and the hashtag for the largest racist organization since the Nazis in you name.”

    You still mad, bro? Sunday you couldn’t handle the fact that little miss cray-cray at LAX wasn’t one of the “usual suspects”. Sometimes crackers crack too…get over yourself.

    Speaking of “yeah, it’s the usual suspect(s)”: https://www.thedailybeast.com/ethan-crumbley-identified-as-oxford-high-school-michigan-mass-shooter

    Another school shooting & another usual suspect.

  13. @aaway What are you talking about? Listening to the voices in your head again maybe? I wasn’t even referring to you. You seriously need a few rolls of rubber wallpaper and a good round of electroshock therapy.

  14. People who complain about Southwest not having 1st class or lounges are the pseudo rich Entitled silly people

  15. @CommonSense – apologies….I confused you for another online a**hat whose sympathies are obvious.

  16. Wow! When I saw the first video I thought you were being ironic with your use of the word “fun.” What could be more “fun” than a boarding process that forces passengers to stand directly in front of a maskless person spewing aerosol as he sings?

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