I’ll admit it, for years I’ve been a bit of a travel snob. I enjoy a business class seat when we fly overseas as opposed to a redeye in coach. I also enjoy hotel suites versus a regular room, especially when traveling with my family. And in the US, I enjoy first class more than coach.
I don’t ever recall openly making fun of Southwest but I don’t fly them much. There are two principal reasons for that:
1. Their network is weaker in the East than out West. More specifically, at my home airport of Washington-Dulles, they have very few destinations (Atlanta, Las Vegas, Denver and they just added Orlando).
2. I don’t love their open seating policy and lack of upgrades. I used to be concerned up in-flight Internet, but they’ve mostly resolved that.
My daughter has turned 10 now and has begun studying US history in school. I’m a big fan of using travel as an educational tool for our children. Catherine asked a bunch of really great questions when we were in Athens last year at the tail end of the Greek financial crisis. There’s no way she asks those questions if she didn’t see what was going on their firsthand. I mean, maybe a small chance, but between iPads, Minecraft, soccer, tennis and school, I think it’s unlikely.
We’re not very well-connected to the American Airlines route network at IAD. United has a good network here, but I’m still not ready to put my faith in them just yet on an ongoing basis.
My thoughts turned to the Southwest companion pass. A companion pass is just what it sounds like. You get one free ticket for each one you purchase. The big key here is that you get the free ticket even if you purchase your ticket using Rapid Rewards points (Southwest’s loyalty currency). You have to designate your companion ahead of time and can only change it a certain amount of times per year. But, it made a lot of sense for us to try, especially since if I got it at the beginning of 2016 we’d have it until the end of 2017.
You can earn a companion pass a variety of ways, including flying on Southwest, applying for (and spending on) Southwest credit cards and transferring points from select partners. Deals We Like has a great series of posts all about the companion pass.
We went ahead and took the plunge, though only got one companion pass for now until I get a better sense of how often we take a quick weekend jaunt to somewhere Catherine is studying in school. It’ll likely means we’ll be driving to National or BWI to take those trips, but that should still be workable for a long weekend.
My kit showed up in the mail in March. As usual, I’ve been behind on writing it up. But, we did get to use the companion pass for our spring break trip to Fort Myers, FL. Free airline tickets are a good thing, and for a flight of about 2 hours coach is perfectly fine for our family. It costs us a few more dollars to buy Early Bird check-in now to make sure we can all sit together, but it’s still a reasonable price to pay when traveling as a family. Here’s the kit they sent me. Stay tuned for a cute video my daughter put together to celebrate the occasion.
The post The Letter I Never Thought I’d Get From Southwest was published first on Pizza in Motion