The holidays are here, and that means that many of our Customers are heading to airports across the country to visit family and friends. We’re here to help make sure that your holiday travel is as stress-free as possible, so here are a few tips:
Be sure to check in 24 hours in advance to get the best possible boarding position. And if you download the Southwest App, you can check-in for your flight while you’re on the go!
Want Southwest to do the work for you? Purchase EarlyBird Check-In® and we’ll check you in at 36 hours prior to your flight, so you don’t have to worry about it!
Get the airport early! Arrive at least two hours prior to your flight to allow for time to check your bags, receive your boarding passes, go through security, and to grab some snacks before your flight departs. Flights typically begin boarding 30 minutes prior to their flight departure time.
Bags Fly Free on Southwest Airlines! Customers can check up to two bags for free, so don’t worry about what you’ll do with those Christmas presents you need to take home.
Traveling with kids under the age of six? You can take part in Family Boarding, taking place after the “A” group boards, and just before the “B” group begins boarding.
Carryon items are limited to one bag plus one smaller, personal-type item. Southwest Airlines limits carryon bag dimensions to 10x16x24 inches.
Southwest has open seating, so when you get on the plane, you can seat wherever you’d like!
Be sure to bring along your own personal device, so you can enjoy the Southwest Entertainment Portal.
Thanks to our partners, you can watch a live TV for free, and surf through a number of TV shows on demand. Cartoon Network is sure to keep the kids entertained throughout their flight.
Be sure you pack plenty of snacks for the kids. We serve peanuts and pretzels, and select snacks on longer flights, but sometimes you need a little more to keep the kids busy.
Traveling on New Year’s Day? Enjoy a complimentary beverage on us!
Looking for a last-minute gift? Southwest® gift cards make a great present!
Don’t forget to pack you’re the necessities, like phone chargers, cash for tips, and snacks for on the plane.
Your furry friend can fly home with you for the holidays! Small cats and dogs are allowed on Southwest Airlines; their carrier takes the place of your carry-on.
Wait before you wrap! The TSA may want to check the packages that you are taking through security, so make sure you wait until you arrive to your final destination before wrapping your gifts.
Traveling on December 22, 2017?
Southwest is once again teaming up with The Container Store to spread holiday cheer by gift wrapping presents for our Customers. Our Customers traveling through Atlanta (ATL), Nashville (BNA), Dallas (Love Field) (DAL), Detroit (DTW), Denver (DEN), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Indianapolis (IND), Chicago (Midway) (MDW), San Jose (SJC), and St. Louis (STL) on Thursday, December 22, from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. will be treated to free gift wrapping once they’re through security with their unwrapped gifts.
* NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to 48 contiguous U.S. and D.C. age 19+. Odds depend on number of entries.
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Bon Bini!* Southwest Airlines has officially launched the very first international flights from Houston (Hobby) to Aruba! The seasonal, weekly nonstop service took off this weekend, marking the beginning of what’s to come in 2015 for Houston. Later this year, Southwest will take more travelers to new destinations beyond the United States when Hobby’s new five-gate International terminal officially opens.
One of the interesting parts of this new route is the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Preclearance operations in Aruba. Through Preclearance, the immigration and customs inspections of passengers traveling to the United States is completed before departure. Regardless of your destination in the states, Preclearance means you actually “enter” the US border prior to leaving Aruba. Preclearance allows passengers to board flights to the United States without further Customs and Border Protection processing upon arrival in the States. Preclearance is available at 15 foreign airports in six difference countries.
Due to Preclearance regulations, and clearing two borders, it is recommended that Customers arrive 3 hours early when departing Aruba It is also important to note, Global Entry is available in Aruba for U.S. Citizens who hold that status.
* Bon Bini means welcome in Pampiamento*, one of the native languages of Aruba
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Houston Hobby has officially seen its first international flight push from the gate, bound for the beautiful Caribbean island of Aruba. On the same day, Southwest Employees welcomed the first inbound flight from Aruba, where Customers walked off the flight and onto the next chapter of their journey.
You might be thinking, "no Customs?" Well, not exactly.
Thanks to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Preclearance, Customers were processed prior to departing Aruba. This special provision was granted while our $156 million international terminal project finishes construction, due this October.
We plan to document the preclearance process upon returning from the island so you can get a hands-on look at it, and what you’ll need to do to prepare. For starters, the airport advises arriving three hours in advance.
Until we get back, it's sunscreen and beaches!
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If it’s broken, Maurice Alexander can fix it. As a Systemwide Senior Field Technician in St. Louis, Maurice spends his days keeping our airport terminals in full working order.
Maurice’s journey with Southwest Airlines began in 1997 when, with a little nudge from his wife, Rosalind, he decided to give up being a self-employed general contractor to apply for a job at the LUV airline. “It was the best move of my life,” he says. “I don’t just love a part of the job—I love the entire job, and I enjoy the Southwest spirit.”
Maurice not only applies his handyman skills to the airport terminal he is responsible for maintaining but also volunteers alongside his Southwest Coworkers to rebuild homes in his community. He has been known to help a Coworker (or two) with their home improvement projects as well.
But his generosity doesn’t stop there. For the past 12 years, on the second Saturday of every month, Maurice has fixed up old cars to donate to less-fortunate families in St. Louis through his church’s auto ministry. “It’s a delight to give back to my community and to see others giving back as well,” he says. “I have a purpose to serve, and I enjoy serving.”
Maurice counts every day as a blessing since beating colon cancer in 1999. He remembers waking up from surgery and seeing several of his Southwest Coworkers in his hospital room. “It made me realize that the battle was not just mine,” Maurice says. “I had my own family, my church family, and my Southwest Family all pulling for me.”
When he’s not focused on fixing things and helping others, Maurice enjoys swing dancing with his wife, roller-skating, and spending time with his four grown sons. “My boys thank Southwest for the freedom the Company has given them to explore the country,” he says.
Thank you, Maurice, for putting others first with your Servant’s Heart. You are an inspiration to all and a shining star in the Southwest Family.
Photo courtesy of Wesley Law
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Daylight saving time is fast approaching—this weekend in fact! This year, in the United States, daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. on March 9.
If you’re like me, the whole clock-changing concept is a love-hate relationship. I hate losing an hour of beloved sleep when the clock “springs forward,” but I thoroughly enjoy more daylight in the evenings during the spring and summer months.
And in case you thought I may have made an error, it is actually correct as daylight saving time, not savings. But daylight savings time (with an “s”) is often used.
So being fairly new to the airline business, curiosity got the best of me. Does the time change influence Southwest operations?
“While daylight saving time does impact our schedules, it is not in a particularly difficult way,” explains Bill Owen, Senior Business Consultant Network Planning. “However, you can definitely see the shift on flights to/from Phoenix and Tucson. During standard time those locations are on Mountain Standard Time, but during daylight saving time they are in the Pacific Time zone.”
That’s because not all places in the U.S. observe daylight saving time (see #3 on the list below).
Here is a look at some other interesting facts about daylight saving time:
The idea of daylight saving was first proposed in 1895 by English-born New Zealander George Vernon Hudson, but it was first implemented by Germany and Austria-Hungary in April 1916.
Many countries have daylight saving time at various times since 1916, but most countries consistently use it since the energy crises of the 1970s.
As mentioned above, not all places in the United States spring forward the clocks. Hawaii and most of Arizona do not observe daylight saving time. Nor does Puerto Rico.
Adding daylight to evenings benefits retailing, sports, and other activities that exploit sunlight after working hours,but can cause problems for evening entertainment and other occupations tied to the sun (such as farming) or to darkness (such as firework shows).
Clock shifts are usually scheduled near a weekend midnight to lessen disruption to weekday schedules.
A 2009 U.S. study found that on Mondays after the switch to daylight saving time, workers sleep an average of 40 minutes less, and are injured at work more often and more severely.
Studies on daylight saving time have mixed results when it comes to effects on health.
Not all countries begin and end daylight saving time on the same day. For instance, France, Spain, and the United Kingdom won’t spring forward until March 30. Since 1996 European Summer Time has been observed from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October.
Daylight saving time is generally not observed near the equator, where sunrise times do not vary enough to justify it.
Only a minority of the world's population uses daylight saving time because Asia and Africa generally do not observe it.
In reference to #8 on the list above, Bill Owen explained how this can make the management of time change a little trickier as we move into the international arena.
“The Caribbean islands (other than the Bahamas) do not observe daylight saving time, but Mexico does, and its cutover dates are different than North America. For example—North America goes from standard to daylight saving time on Sunday, March 9. However, Mexico—with the exception of the immediate border regions—makes the change on April 5. And ‘fall back’ times are similarly out-of-sync.”
So, remember to “spring forward” on March 9, and “fall back” on November 2, unless, of course, you are traveling outside the United States, visiting Hawaii or Arizona, or live near the equator.
Photos by SMF Ramp Agent Marah Harris
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We’ve met hundreds of incredible people, traveled on some amazing adventures, and shared many heartfelt memories over the past seven years thanks to THIS very blog.
As 2014 quickly approaches, let’s take a moment to reminisce about the most memorable Nuts About Southwest blog posts of 2013.
1) A Wish Trip for Dex
Many of you may remember Dex, the little boy whose Make-A-Wish trip became a reality with the help of Southwest Airlines. In fact, more than 16,000 people were drawn to his journey, making his story the most popular Nuts About Southwest blog post in 2013.
2) An Act of Kindness
Cynthia Moynihan, a hearing impaired passenger, was so touched by the helpfulness of a Southwest employee during her time of need, she wrote to us through LUV Letters. An Act of Kindness was posted on the blog in May 2013, and the response was overwhelming. Cynthia’s story is one of the top five most viewed Nuts blog posts this year, and it has been shared more than 2,000 times in social media.
3) APRIL 1: Baskets Float Free
Sometimes people just want a good laugh. And Nuts delivered. More than 11,500 readers enjoyed the humor in the April Fool’s Day post about hot air balloons as part of our new fleet.
4) Worth the Wait
And often, it’s a new process or important industry changes that draw interest, as can be seen by thousands of blog readers who found the Worth The Wait story worthy of their time, because after all, who doesn’t want to leave their personal electronic device on below 10,000 feet?
In all, more than 635,000 people have viewed the Nuts About Southwest blog so far this year, and the numbers don’t lie. When words and pictures come to life to tell an emotional story, people will want to read it, share it, and comment.
Nuts About Southwest is more than a blog. It’s a window into our company soul. It’s the emotional stories of our employees, our passengers, OUR people. We hope you like what you see, and more importantly, enjoy what you read. There is more to come in 2014…
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