Why I Now Love Southwest Airlines

As you may know, I travel quite a bit. Mostly it’s for business.

Because I’m a frequent traveler, I have apps on my smart phone for the airlines I frequent: United, American, Jet Blue, and Delta. I can check in and access my boarding passes via the app, and as the year progresses, I continue to check my mileage so I can qualify for “frequent flyer status.” Sadly, due to all the recent mergers, I cannot remember the last time I got upgraded. So, the only benefit of status is that I get to check one bag for free.

Then last month, I missed the last connection home out of Denver late at night and was stressing out. That’s when my colleague Kevin said to me, “Let’s catch a Southwest flight back. I can book it right now.”

It had been a long time since I had flown Southwest Airlines. It was never my favorite because there are no pre-assigned seats.

But during our flight back, Kevin informed me that with Southwest, you can change or cancel your flights at any time, without any change fees or penalties (other airlines charge $150 to change a ticket). And there is no charge for the first two bags (other airlines charge $25 to $35 to check bags).

That piqued my interest. Oftentimes, my trips get changed, and I hate paying such a hefty change fee.

I downloaded the app on my phone and last week I booked a last minute flight to New Orleans for this past Tuesday.

So, what do I like about Southwest? They make it easy. They have literally thought of everything a flyer would want and make that available.

For $15 per ticket, you can get EarlyBird Check-in®, which basically puts you in front of the line to your seats over other passengers. No charge for bags. They always hand out snacks on the flights. And what I especially love—no heavy, unwieldy carts going down the aisles. The flight attendants take your beverage order and then bring it back to you on a tray.

The flight attendants are always friendly; it’s obvious that the company culture promotes a stress-free attitude of customer satisfaction. And they only fly one kind of airplane. So I always know the configuration of the seats.

And as I was scrolling through the app Wednesday night on my flight home, I noticed that if you fly on New Year’s Day or Valentine’s Day, alcoholic drinks are complimentary!

So, do you have any paradigms about businesses that you didn’t like based on previous experiences? Maybe it’s time to take another look. Whether it’s a grocery store, the gym, a new restaurant, or service provider, it’s possible that they have gone to the Southwest Airlines school of thought to “Make it easy.”

I predict more and more businesses will reinvent themselves or be disruptors in their business sector by making it easy on their customers. And if they don’t, someone else will be the disruptor.