Welcome to the second rendition of Tim’s Travel Tips!
Like many of you fellow con goers, I fly a lot. So if you are flying to a con as an attendee, artist or vendor it helps to know what airlines are good to travel on (especially if you carry your entire setup for your booth). If you are traveling on Southwest Airlines, here are some tips and tricks you may or may not know about…
• Southwest has “pick your own seat” seating on their flights. Which means you do not reserve your seat before like most other airlines. Instead, they assign you in 3 different groups. Group A, Group B and Group C. Each group has numbers 1-60.
• You must check-in on the app or the website exactly 24 hours before your flight. Set a reminder on your phone. The earlier you check-in to your flight, the better number in the group you will get which means the earlier you get on the plane to pick your seat.
• You can pay $15 each way to have Southwest automatically check you in. So if you are forgetful (like me) it may be worth it. The C group is the last group and odds are you will get a middle seat and not be able to sit with anyone in your party.
• If you happen to end up in the C group and do not want to sit in a middle seat. There is something you can do to move yourself into the beginning of the A group 1-15. Simply go to the gate agent and politely ask to upgrade to Business Select A group 1-15. 99% of the time it is available for you to purchase the upgrade. It will set you back anywhere from $20-$40. So if $20-$40 is worth it to not sit in a middle seat, then you have an option most people flying on Southwest do not utilize.
• On Southwest, you get two free checked bags up to 50 pounds each. If you are overweight, if it’s cheaper to check a 3rd bag instead of being overweight on one bag. A 3rd bag costs $75 to check while being overweight is $100. If you know you are going to need 3 bags or that you will be overweight by a good amount. It is way cheaper to fly on Southwest than it is to have to check an overweight bag or a 3rd bag on any other airline.
For example, flying on United Airlines vs. Southwest Airlines.
If you were to check 3 bags you would pay the following…
1st and 2nd bag – $0 1st and 2nd bag – $60
3rd bag – $75 3rd bag – $150-200
Total – $75 Total – $210-260
• Southwest has wifi on all of their aircrafts. It’s $8 and is strictly used for web browsing and accessing emails or texting. It does not allow for streaming of apps like Netflix or Hulu. Included in the wifi is access to free live television on your device. Simply go to www.southwestwifi.com and go to the “Live TV” link. It is limited to only a few channels but is a good time killer and it’s free.
• None of Southwest planes have any seat back entertainment. So bring your tablet or phone and make sure they are fully charged for your trip because there are also no usb or outlet chargers on any of the flights.
Fun Fact about Southwest Airlines…
Southwest will start flying to Hawaii this year!
Overall pros and cons to using Southwest to travel as an attendee, artist or vendor.
2 free check bags
Large amount of flight destination options
$8 wifi (most airlines charge $16+)
Great customer service
Only $75 to check a 3rd bag
$5 beer, wine and spirits
No seat back entertainment
No far international flight options
Zero meal options (only free snacks)
Lack of usb charging or outlets options