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Trip Report: Southwest's Inaugural Flight from New York LaGuardia to Baltimore-Washington

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Southwest Customer Daniel Schiff sent us his trip report on a very special flight.

 

My name is Daniel Schiff and I flew on Southwest Airlines Inaugural flights from New York LaGuardia (LGA) to Baltimore/Washington (BWI) and then right back from BWI to LGA on June, 28, 2009.

When I couldn't sleep on that Sunday morning, I woke up at 5am and remembered that Southwest Airlines was starting service to LGA today, which is approximately less than an hour and a half from my home which is located in Brewster, NY. That is the airport I usually fly out of, when I need to travel somewhere.  I used Hartford for Southwest Airlines a couple years back because of a family reunion in Albuquerque, NM. My experience from that trip still makes me think of Southwest Airlines in a positive way.


I saw two hours prior to departure at my home, that there was a $49 fare each way, and the first inaugural flights #1305 (LGA-BWI) and then flight #275 (BWI-LGA).  I wanted to go on this flight! I went to the airport, with less than nine minutes before pushback I was greeted by Southwest Airlines employees, saying "You can make it, you can do it, run, run, run!!!" with a positive attitude! I sprinted to security, which in the mornings in LGA is not bad at all. Once through, I ran to the gate holding my shoes to put them on later so I would make the flight, and then was greeted with "Yayy you made it" also with bagels and Southwest Airlines bags, vanity kits, laptop cases, and even flash drives! Within minutes of boarding, we pushed back! I had just made the flight.

I love flying on planes, as well as taking pictures of planes! Shortly after we took off from runway 4 headed north, we made a sharp turn to the south where I found a magnificent picture of Central Park with Manhattan and the winglet of the Boeing 737-700 aircraft with the "southwest.com" on it.  During flight, I was greeted with smiles the whole way by all of the crew members on board. After landing, the flight attendant in the back asked “where are you guys headed?” We replied “oh, straight back to NY!”  He seemed impressed, and with a smile said, “Well, I will be your crew for the flight back!”  We instantly connected.

As I was walking from gate A10 to gate B4, I was impressed with the new airport in BWI. When I was last there it was very old. After walking down the ramp, I saw big balloons that spelled out New York along with a singer and a character artist (who did draw a picture of me ten minutes prior to departure time).  Games were played giving out Southwest Airlines T-shirts along with $50 Southwest Airlines vouchers (which unfortunately, I did not win).  But the whole experience was entertaining, along with the addition of black and white cookies and luggage tags we were greeted with in the jetbridge.

 

Once onboard, I made my way to my seat on the Boeing 737-300 aircraft in row 21A out of 23 rows.   Southwest Airlines employees were onboard en route to service later flights and sat behind me, also taking pictures.  I showed them my photo of Central park from the trip going down and each and every crew member including the pilot who flew the plane down admired the picture so much they suggested I submit it to Southwest.  In fact, the pilot admired it so much that he couldn’t stop looking at it!  So here it is:

 

Please enjoy!  The second picture I thought I would throw in from the return trip and the shadow is our flight, B737-300!

 

5 Comments
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i'm glad you had a good experience with them. i on the other hand am not quite as lucky. i flew from san antonio to seattle about 2 months ago with 2 young children. it was my first time flying southwest so their boarding process confused me (with their open seating and all). one of the other passengers was kind enough to tell me to go to the front because i have kids and need to board first. when i did, i was rudely told by the agent to get out of the way so they can board the wheelchair customers. this is understandable but the rude tone wasnt. on the second leg, i went up to the customer service desk to get a stroller tag but the agent had a phone to her ear and ignored me standing there for at least 5 minutes. seeing that the boarding process was almost nearing it's end, i went ahead and got in line to board and asked the boarding agent for a stroller tag. (which is how it's usually done on other airlines) The agent rudely told me that i was supposed to get it at the customer svc desk. he repeated again...next time get it at the cust. svc. des. Then he added...see, youre holding up the boarding process! i was too tired to explain anything to this guy. When i went towards the plane, there was a long line of people who havent even gotten into the plane yet! Then tonight, i went to book a ticket back to san antonio. I used the shortcuts to low fares thing. Among 200 and 300 dollar fares was one 88 dollar fare. i dont mind the bad service if the fare was this cheap. i had to start the search over to make sure there wasnt a mistake. When the fare showed up again, i scrambled in the dark to find my credit card. When i clicked purchase, it would not let me and advised me to call in. When i did, the agent told me the reason was because this fare requires a 7 day advance purchase. i told her well, today is friday and i will be flying on friday. she told me it's not friday anymore. it is now 1215am, so this would be a 6 day something advance purchase. 15 minutes! she refused to do anything more. That's 3 straws for me!
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@Anonymous...All these sound like your problem...You didn't read the monitors that tell you how to board, You didn't check in your stroller on time(or before the flight so it could get tagged) and you called too late...The "ding" deals are exclusively available during those times. Get to the airport 2 hours ahead so you get boarded right away, Print your boarding passes online 24 hours before.
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I LUV Southwest. They are the only ones that will let you cancel or change flights with no penalty. They let you take your luggage- 2 bags plus carry-on-- for free. The flight attendants are usually nice. I can live with just crackers. However their choice of white wine is terrible (don't waste the free coupons you get with your next free flight). The pricing structure is a challenge, but compared to others, it is usually pretty good. My one complaint is if you don't use your free flight for a year and it expires, you have to pay $50 to get it back! Happy flying to all!
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I am so happy that Mr. Schiff was so excited about flying that he took the inaugeral flight from LGA to BWI. On the other hand, I'm sorry that the anonymous writer had a bad experience in San Antonio. I'm a flight attendant for Southwest and I hate to hear about ANY bad experiences. I hope that person will give us another chance some time. Mr. Schiff, I also live in Brewster and use BDL for my commute to BWI where I'm based. I always do the peanuts for the crew, so I've probably passed you a few bags along the way. Hope to see you on your next flight!
New Arrival
To the SEA Customer it seems that if you are that computer literate you would have gone to the SWA website to get all you questions answered. When in doubt check it out.