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Southwest Airlines Community

Holiday Travel Tips - The Video

blusk
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(If you need a captioned version of this video, please click here.)

In addition to Ming’s post below, we have this video starring some Southwest Airlines Employees (with fellow blogger Bob Hurst behind the camera) to help you with your packing. Clayton and Michelle are the Flight Attendants in the video, but my office neighbor, Katie Coldwell, plays the somewhat confused but soon to be enlightened packer. And, her friends, Ashley and Christi are just down the hall in our office. (My Christmas gift is to work with these three ladies!)
300 Comments
jmente98
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This new number system is not going to work if your employee's don't implement it properly.I took flt 710 from islip to balt Dec 27th .Some womam wouldn't get in line in back of me ,when my number was due to board she raced in front of me and the man at the gate accepted her boardind pass.when I mentioned to him That I had a lower number and that she jumped me inline he made a joke out of it and while I was entering plane he ridiculed me to the other passengers.Saying sarcasticly Happy New Year.If this is how the system is going to work I( will be considering other airlines when I fly.
scottnearsmf
New Arrival
Have you contacted Southwest customer service or written to this airline. Their address is Southwest Airlines PO Box 36647-1CR Dallas, TX 75235-1647 In your letter, I would cite your flight and go through Southwest's "Customer Service Commitment" which is available at southwest.com under their "Contact Us" tab. Dallas needs to know that their people at ISP didn't meet Southwest's Customer Service Commitment is writing. I hope the ISP station manager is monitering this blog and has something to say as well.
Rick_Murray
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Hi Ming, I love flying SWA, and took my entire family to El Paso for the holidays on Rapid Rewards certificates. The trip was as good as one can expect given that it's (a) winter and (b) the holidays UNTIL we arrived home at Midway last night on 894. The crew made up almost one hour of what was a two plus hour delay on the way in, and then... it took over one hour to get our bags back at 1am. I'm in PR (I run the digital group at Edelman), and what I experienced and witnessed during that increasingly painful delay undoubtedly bruised SWA's reputation in the minds of the many people and their local families on that flight. I'd love you to clarify something for me. Was this a SWA issue, or -- as I believe -- an issue that's owned soley by the management at Midway airport? If the former, you guys should know about it and deal with it; it's far from your standard of excellence. However, if it's' the latter, you should -- in my mind -- be exerting serious pressure on the local authorities to acknowledge their responsibility for the issue and improve, quickly, because their ineptitude and inefficiency (and this is a constant issue at Midway) is having a negative impact on how people perceive SWA. I'm tired of having a great pre-flight and flight experience ruined by the people at Midway, so I'm increasingly inclined to fly exclusively out of ORD. Let me know how I can help. Rick Murray
Roger11
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IT WOULD BE NICE INSTEAD OF JUST SAY A FLIGHT IS DELAYED-THAT YOU GIVE SOME SORT OF TIME FRAME AS TO THE LENGTH TIME OF THE DELAY EVEN A LITTLE HELP IS BETTER HAVING NO IDEA OF THE DELAY
SDP
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My wife just booked a flight from Love to BWI and then on to PVD. Will her bags be checked all the way through to PVD of will she need to claim them @ BWI and Re-Check them in BWI. Same Question on return?? You reply would be appreicated. Thank you. Saunders Parish, Husband
DEEC
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I LOVE SWA. I WILL FLY NO OTHER. THE STAFF IS FRIENDLY AND I GET TO TALK TO THE PILOT OFTEN. I DO MISS THE EXPRESS FLIGHT FROM KCI TO GREEN IN RI BUT I HAVE HANDI CAP SERVICE AT EVERY AIR PORT ALONG THE WAY. THERE IS NO FIRST CLASS OR COACH AND THIS ALLOWS ME TO SIT WHERE I WANT EVERY TIME.WE NO LONGER GETGOOD SNACKS BUT I CAN BRING MY OWN FAVORITE WITH ME. I HAVE BEEN FLYING FOR 14 YEARS NOW AFTER HAVING FEAR OF HEIGHTS SINCE MY YOUTH. TOPEKA, KS 6/1/08
dkj_from_Michig
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I will be flying SWA this Saturday for the first time. I don't fly often and not at all since 911 what kinds of snacks can one bring? Can I bring my IPod to listen to during the flight? What things should I expect? Any help would be appreciated. Thank you
blusk
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You may bring onboard any snack with the exception that you can't take liquids or gels through security, except in small quantities in original containers holding less than 3 ounces, and these must be carried in a quart clear ziplock bag. However, you can bring onboard any liquids purchased afrer security. As to the iPods, they are welcome, but you can't play them any time the aircraft is below 10,000 feet. Our Flight Attendants will make announcements about their use. Saturday is a busy travel day, so you might encounter a line at security, but most of the time, these move quickly.
Janice_McConkey
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Southwest is the best - in all aspects!. Please do not spoil your service by cowtowing to the "IMPORTANT PEOPLE" who want a special seat number like the other so-called airlines. I usually pre-print my boarding pass - not to board first, but to expedite checkin. If these people want to fly like the other airlines - then fly on them. Don't mess with my Southwest. Luv you Janice
Anonymous61
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just watched the video about "What Not to Pack". Could you answer me one "tongue in cheek question... Why did the woman need a passport to fly to Denver? :-)
Debra_Daly
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My family and I are getting ready to fly for the first time. Although, I have flown several times, it has been many years and I was single at the time. My daughters (ages 13, 10, 10, & 10) are excited and anxious at the same time. They are concerned that they will not get to sit with either myself or their dad and this scares them a bit. Can you tell me how this works now since we no longer have seat numbers and how I will be able to make it so that we can at least sit 3 together? Thanks! Deb
blusk
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Wow, Deb, three children all age 10! Online checkin begins 24 hours before departure time. The earlier you check in, the better chance you have for an A Boarding Pass, which will place you in the first group to board the aircraft. Brian
blusk
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Dear Anonymous, I asked "the woman" in the video (who is my work neighbor, Katie) your question, and here is the response: "I wanted to be prepared--you never know where you'll be flying off to next--right? The main reason was because I couldn't find my birth certificate the night before filming and we wanted a visible example to show that you should keep any and all important travel documents with you--don't check them. "
G__Nakamoto
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In reference to Joseph Messina, Jr.'s complaint to the employee at the gate check-in, I would think twice about patronizing a company who wouldn't take my complaints seriously. I think it is abominable that he made fun of Mr. Messina's concern no matter what his personal opinions of him were. What he did was the height of unprofessionalism. A joke at any person's expense shows a lack of respect and compassion for travelers in a time of high stress. Quality of customer service is more important to those who are unhappy than it is for those who are happy. It's easy to give QUALITY OF SERVICE to those who think the way we do. The challenge and the higher professionalism comes from giving excellence to those who DON'T appreciate it. The gentleman at the gate had an opportunity to be cream and rise to the top. Instead, he soured and may possibly turn away business from people like me who don't tolerate incompetence.
G__Nakamoto
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Re: Mr. Messina's complaint: P.S. I'd be interested to know how that complaint was handled and what the outcome of the incident was.
blusk
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Mr. Nakamoto, When someone contacts our Curstomer Relations Department with a complaint similar to Mr. Messina's, our folks research it thoroughly and provide a personal, detailed response. Keep in mind that you only read one side of an event that happend six months ago. I'm not sure if Mr. Messina contacted us or not, but if he had and Customer Relations had responded, under normal conditions, we wouldn't make that public as a matter of privacy. Brian
Dr__Lola
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I booked group flights for my church, but there were not enough seats on one plan to accommodate us all, so we are on two seperate flights. We received paper tickets, which I've since learned disqualifies us from online check-in (which I was never told). We are 21 people on two flights, leaving four hours apart. We are a mixture of senior citizens, adults, handicapped and children (pre and teen), many of whom have never flown before. When I called to explain and ask for an exception to pick up all of the boarding passes at once, I was rudely denied and told I could either pick them up four hours apart (that makes no sense since I'd have to sit in the airport all that time), or pick them up on two separate occasions (again; no sense). I think Southwest could make a concession for such a large group. They claim that we have been rewarded by our group fare, but the monetary difference between a regular fare and ours is less that $5!! This is bad customer service and we (nor our other groups of over 30,000 people) will ever fly Southwest again since I've shared our plight with them. I hope they will think twice about being so rigid over their rules!!
Cindy_C_1
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Dr. Lola, I'm very sorry that you were unaware that Customers traveling on group tickets are unable to check in online. We are working on a system that will provide Ticketless Travel for groups, which currently are issued paper tickets. I’d be happy to discuss other options that would help make your group’s checkin process much easier if you would contact me directly through our Customer Relations/Rapid Rewards number at 214-792-4223.
Brenda12
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Just a question. While leaving from home we will be able to go on line to do the checkin from our computer, but on the way home we will have no internet access or phone that is capable of doing the checkin. How do we take care of it then?
Anne1
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Can I really check two bags per person without a fee (providing, of course that each is under 50 pounds)? I'm flying out in a couple of days and I really don't want to have to go out and purchase a larger suitcase. If I can check two, that would be great!
pberg
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Anne - We allow two pieces of checked baggage per Customer - free of charge! Size and weight limitations so apply., however, so keep in mind that the maximum weight is 50 pounds and maximum size is 62 inches (length + width + height) per checked piece of luggage. For more inforamtion on our baggage policies, visit: http://www.southwest.com/travel_center/baggage.html Paula Berg Southwest Airlines
Worried_Travele
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I have recently discovered that the tickets for my flight from St. Louis to Tampa DONOT qualify for the early online boarding passes. I will be traveling with my husband and our 6 and 14 year old children. I am very concerned that we will not be able to sit together for the flight there and back. Being stressed over seating on the plane should not be the way to begin our vacation.
Joseph4
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I love Southwest. I'm going to be a pilot for Southwest when I grow up. I love seeing the planes take off and land. When I go on flights I always sit by the window. I always try to get to visit the cockpit. I play flight Simulator ,and wish they had southwest planes on it. I love to go on flights. I fly in my grandpa's SX 300 with my Uncle. I even got to fly it! We had to contact Salt Lake International because Bush was in town flying every were. It was the Best time of my life. I cant wait till I get my flying permit. I also like shamu. I cant wait when I fly for Southwest Airlines!
KAREN111
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Can I bring my small suitcase on as carry-on. I have done in the past. It is roughly 9x14x22.Thanks we fly out of msy.
blusk
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Karen, the allowable dimensions of carryon bags is up to 10X16X24, so if your measurements are right, you should have no trouble. Brian
Anonymous259
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Ive heard many different stories and read the policies but im still unclear as to if i can bring beer on the plane (in my checked bags) and if so how much. I know your allowed to bring it but i dont know how much. Im getting ready to fly and i put them in my check bags with each bottle in a freezer bag and wrapped them in my clothes. Does anyone know if thats acceptable?
blusk
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Liquids in carryon bags are still restricted by the TSA to containers with no more than three ounces carried in a one quart clear ziplock bag, so that would rule out any beer. I am sorry. Now, you are allowed to bring liquids onboard the aircraft that were purchased after you clear security. So if one of the concourse stores sold beer, you could bring that onboard, but you just couldn't drink it--and it would have to be stowed as carryon articles. Just remember that you can't bring it through security. As to your checked bags, here are the rules for alchohol in checked bags: http://www.southwest.com/travel_center/alcohol.html Brian
Rebecca17
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Gee, Mr. Messina, feeling a little oversensitive and taking everything a little too seriously? I'm curious to know how far back in line the woman should have been. I'm also curious to know exactly what your tone was in addressing the Gate Agent (maybe you were using that charming New York attitude the City is so famous for?). Maybe you should take a lesson from him, who chose to keep the situation light-hearted rather than let it turn nasty. There was certainly nothing he could do at that point to make the woman wait her turn (run down the jetway and drag her back up?), and I really, really doubt he was making fun of you personally (even if you deserved it for being so bent out of shape about something so petty). There are always people who are unclear on the concept of waiting their turn, and I'm guessing that maybe the Gate Agents are told or have learned that you can't teach some people to do it right during the time that they are in a Southwest line, so as long as they are in the right boarding group, it's better to let them go rather make a big deal out of it and hold everything up even more. My advice would be to lighten up. You can't control how other people act, but you can control how you re-act.
nisa
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I know this is a crazy question, can a personal item include a vibrator? Can it go in a carry on bag? And can it be checked? Just curious?
Lori13
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I will be traveling in a week with a toddler and a car seat. Does the carseat count as a carry on? What suggestions can you offer to help make the 3 hour trip more enjoyable for all aboard? Can we pack a juice box and snacks? Can we bring a small portable DVD player? Thank you in advance for your answers.
Heather_B_
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I was hoping to take my musical instrument with me on the flight as a carry-on, but after reading the carry-on bag policies I relized I would not be able to. So my question for you is: if I checked the instrument in and put some kind of sign or instructions telling the people to be careful with my instrument would it work?
bhurst
New Arrival
Hi Heather, I was a professional musician for a large part of my life, and I understand your concern about your instrument. What instrument do you play and what are the dimensions of it's case?
Lori13
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Some of my questions were answered via the website, very informative 🙂 (3-1-1) My 14 year old is very anxious about flying this week.Is it possible for her to meet the pilot? Thank you.
Jackie
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Hi, I was curious about taking hair products in a checked in bag. I use professional grade hair products and they do not come in 3oz sizes (aerosol hairspray specifically). What do you recommend I do?
blusk
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Jackie, those products are fine in a checked bag. The 3 ounce rule only applies to carryon luggage. Brian
Idgy_Vaughn
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Dear Bob, I have a question about instruments, too, and you sound like the guy I need to talk to. I am a professional musician traveling from Austin to shows in Washington State and Oregon. I have had varying success with carrying my guitar on flights on other airlines; last time I checked my guitar at the gate, I got it back with a huge gash in the case and a hairline crack at the base of the headstock. This happened on the first leg of a return journey with another airline; the break was discovered when I received my guitar at the gate. This didn't happen in Austin-- the baggage handlers here have been worth their weight in gold-- I'm convinced that a good number of them have to be musicians, too; I've had the same experience with the Nashville baggage handlers. It's just everywhere else that makes me nervous. I have a dreadnought size acoustic guitar in a standard hard shell case which will definitely fit in the overhead compartment of a 737, which is the kind of plane I'll be flying on tomorrow. This guitar was handmade by a luthier from Illinois. He replaced the neck a month ago and the glue has not had time to fully cure. I would have bought a flight case for it, but the repair itself was so costly that I'm broke now. Also, I am unsure that a flight case would prevent potential harm from heat, cold, and dramatic changes in pressurization. And a flight case would definitely not fit in the overhead compartment. My boarding number is B06. If there is still room in the overhead compartment when I board, is it possible to store it there? If not, may I stow it in a closet area? This guitar is very important to me because playing music is my only means to support myself and my daughter. Thanks for your help, Idgy
Anonymous868
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Can I bring and play my portable dvd player on the plane?
bobby_jr_
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it has very good tips and rules you need to have more information and have more videos for example "what a child needs to pack when flying solo." good job though!!!!!!!! = )
Rocki_C
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Thanks for the tips. I, too, am an overpacker - a "just-in-case" person. I try to fold things neatly to give me more space, but rolling clothes seems to work better. Thanks again.
Robert_L_Kriege
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I have to give a praise report to the flight attendants. Of the Early morning Flight from New Orleans to LAX @ 6:30 AM on Friday July 18th 2008. I would respectfully request that the gate agents not allow passengers exceeding the carry on limits or the blood alcohol limits on board the planes. They are a danger to them selves and to others safety. Once aboard, the elderly black man was loud and obnoxious. He kept touching passengers and female flight crew members and did not follow the flight crews instructions about stowing his stuff and putting the seat in its upright position for landing and keeping he feet out of the isles. In fact he kept talking to every one who would be unfortunate to look in his direction. Claiming he was sick, citing neuropathy in his feet and he coughed. I was across the isle from him; I could hear the mucous in his lungs rattling over the sounds of the jet engines. One attendant asked him not to throw trash at her. He then went on to claim she mistreated him. The gate agent who boarded as we stopped in Texas asked him if he would be willing to sit in the rear of the plane where he can have the whole row to himself. He declined the offer making spurious claims about the black flight crewmember that was more than respectful to him. Bringing on sickness that can infect the children and elderly is just as much as a risk to every one as are the chemicals screened for at TSA. In this case it is a biological threat. Again the crew did every thing they could to mitigate the damage this man could have caused. I think they deserve and at a boy. Please, in the future, adhere to your policies and procedures regarding every ones safety. Respectfully Submitted, Robert L Krieger Jr.
Ann13
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I am flying to Florida for a wedding. I am a bridesmaid and have a long dress. Can I carry this dress on and would there be somewhere to hang it, or do you have any tips for packing the dress so it doesn't wrinkle much. Thanks
amy1111
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My daughter and I will be traveling soon with my mother who will require wheelchair service at airports. How do we assure that this service will be there for her at both airports when we depart and arrive, and again on the return trip? Also, she will no doubt be given priority early boarding because of her needs. Will my daughter and I still be able to sit with her, if we are in another boarding group? Thanks for your reply.
Jack21
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i know carry on is limited to 10x16x24. I've got a duffle type bag that pooches out to twelve inches when full, but the other dimension or several inches under the limit, like 12x12x20. It's soft so can be compressed when put in the overhead. Can one just add all the dimensions together like checked luggage or will I have to find a different bag?
blusk
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Jack, the dimensions can't be added, but from your description, I don't think you will have any problem as long as your duffel can be compressed. Brian
Dee2
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First of Thank You for the handy packing information. I am an over packer and just repacked my bags for tomorrows flight!!! Yeah rolling does save space ~ I would never have believed it! I do have a couple of questions on carry~on or to the airport. Is it OK to bring a little battery operated hand fan? Sometimes it gets pretty warm while waiting to take off and I am going thru that stage of life right now! Also are we able to bring fruit and cottage cheese to eat while waiting for our flight as it is recommended to be to the airport and check thru security 2 hrs ahead. Thank you in advance for any helpful information and Have a Great Day!
blusk
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Dee, the hand held battery fan should be fine. As to the cottage cheese and fruit, you don't mention what kind of fruit or if it is fresh. Most fresh fruit should be fine. The cottage cheese might be a problem. It's not really a liquid or a gel, but it could be considered that. I'm not sure which airport you are using, but there are only a few on our system that require two-hour checkin time anymore. Heres a link to a chart with all that info: http://www.southwest.com/travel_center/suggested_arrival.html Brian
Kimiko
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Flying a guitar? Be sure to loosen the strings, as the pressure can snap the neck.
Jason16
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Would a small back pack be considered as the free carry on ??? i.e. purse, breifcase etc...
Anonymous3643
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I have not flown for some years. I have prescription and non-prescription pills and capsules that I take on a daily basis. Can I carry on a pill box with a weeks worth of this medicine set up on a daily dosage basis and do I have to identify each pill with some kind of bottle or something. No gels, liquids involved.
KissMe2324
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I have been flying with Southwest for years now and no other airline compares to great service and friendly flight attendants. I always feel safe when I fly with Southwest and I don't think I have ever had any problems with them. My only concern is with the rolling of the clothes. As this is a great idea for packing light, what if you were going somewhere exceptionally nice right after you arrive at the airport and don't have time to iron? Your clothes will get wrinkled. Other than that, these tips are great! I love Southwest and I will continue flying with them. Thanks Southwest!