Fly Southwest Airlines three occasions as well as your buddy flies free. We made it happen for less than $300.
I recognized Southwest Airlines had declared fight against Delta one evening after i saw a TV commercial announcing the outlet salvo: Fly three round trip flights from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Worldwide Airport terminal before May 17 and produce a companion pass. That’s an issue. If you purchase a ticket, a buddy can fly along with you virtually free of charge, a variety of occasions, without any blackout dates throughout the time period of the pass. It’ll only set you back the government’s cut, usually around $5 to $20. (Normally to earn this recognition you can either must fly 100 occasions or earn 100,000 points via Southwest’s cost-based “miles” system. Ouch.)
I rapidly recognized that by assigning my girlfriend as my companion, we’d both receive 50 % off airfare. We already fly a couple of occasions annually to go to our families and take vacation, so this is a great boon. Basically could squeeze in three extra journeys cheaply enough, we’d really be saving cash.
Fortunately, I had been aware of some timely inside information because of becoming an adult in Dallas, the founding town of Southwest Airlines. Many Atlantans wouldn’t know this, as well as the longest time Southwest have been handicapped by operating in the secondary airport terminal in Dallas: Love Field. There, the Wright Amendment, area of the Air Transportation Act of 1979, restricted commercial flights to simply Texan metropolitan areas and bordering states. The amendment was lifted last fall, and Southwest launched an enormous Love Field purchase to celebrate.
With affordable prices from Atlanta to start Southwest’s new Hartsfield-Jackson hub and economical fares from Dallas marking the finish from the Wright Amendment, it had been an ideal storm culminating inside a price of roughly $45 for each one of the six flights-a companion pass for that inexpensive of $270.60. All I needed to do was make sure my Rapid Rewards account had an Atlanta zipcode and sign up for the promotion online.
Beginning of The First Day. March 17, 4:00 a.m. Flight No.4340 ATL-DAL
To be able to retain the cheapest possible fares, our flights left Atlanta at 5:45 a.m. Too soon for MARTA, and so i enlisted my girlfriend to shuttle me. We drove lower a clear Connector, the very first of three morning hours journeys. Despite the fact that I had been excited, I wouldn’t say I had been passionate. Nobody should go out at 4:00 a.m.
Even this early, Hartsfield-Jackson was busy with red-eyed travelers dragging themselves through security. Still, lines were short in the checkpoint, and that i could catch the very first Plane Train during the day to C gates.
It had been St. Patrick’s Day, and Southwest had filled their kiosks with shamrocks, leprechauns, and containers of gold. This magically scrumptious illustration of customer support advised me that I am not on Delta, American, or U . s .. Flying on Southwest means you’re set for different things.
To begin, Southwest does not have assigned seats. Anybody who’s been stuck alongside a crying child and someone consuming an odiferous tuna sandwich knows how valuable this is often. To board, you’re given a zone: A, B, or C, along with a number: 1-60. You just fall into line so as, as well as on you decide to go. Choose a seat, any seat. The plane fills up tailgate to cab with no checked luggage charges means less people attempting to stuff impossibly full bags into overhead bins.
I walked lower the jetway onto a mature Boeing 737. With nearly everybody settled, a flight ticket attendant described in her own Texas drawl this is “not certainly one of [their] evolved planes” and joked that we’ll get free counseling service in Dallas to assist us deal with the possible lack of Wi-Fi. Tongue-in-oral cavity, she advised us to “kill [angry] birds” and “crush chocolate.” Because the final passenger raced to the plane, she then informed us the lights could be dimmed. “If you receive frightened, contain the hands of the individual alongside you. Should you not know them, become familiar.Inches I faded off and away to sleep because the late arrival required a seat within my row.
Somewhere over Mississippi, I automobile coupled with a short talk to my tardy seatmate. The 13C to my 13A, Kris, explained his story about barely making the flight. He’d checked at the end of and raced towards the front from the security checkpoint simply to uncover he’d left his ID in the ticket counter. In just a minute that will leave many people going lower using the ship, a Southwest ticketing agent ran as much as security, trying to find Kris, clutching his ID.
Right after, a flight ticket attendant came around to consider drink orders. I appreciated it had become St. Patrick’s Day-1 of 3 holidays where Southwest provides free drinks. Neither of my flights marketed the insurance policy, however it was there around the menu. I sipped a Bloody Mary because the sun rose within the endless sprawl of Dallas/Fort Worth.
As you could imagine, there’s not much to do in an airport half the size of one Hartsfield-Jackson concourse. There are only 20 gates, and only three of them aren’t used by Southwest. My daily sustenance would come from Texas mainstay and personal favorite Whataburger instead of the Georgian options of Chick-Fil-A and Moe’s Southwest Grill.
Texans to the left, Georgians to the right.
Photograph by Matt Walljasper
After lunch, I found myself searching for any of Southwest’s specially painted planes. I was able to check off the Texan flag adorned Lone Star One and the Beats partnership plane, proving that Southwest did not forget about Dre. Considering Southwest’s expansion into Atlanta, could we one day see a Georgia One? Or possibly a Peach One?
After exploring what Love Field had to offer, I boarded my return flight exhausted. This was one of the “evolved planes” featuring Wi-Fi with free live TV and on-demand movies streaming to phones and tablets. As we taxied, one of the flight attendants gave a very nervous safety briefing. As she finished, her co-worker solicited us all for applause—that uneasy speech was the flight attendant’s first. We clapped and listened to more Southwest jokes and sass before takeoff.
I had gone to bed early, but nothing could prepare me for the second day’s 3:45 a.m. wake up. At 26, I figured I had the energy. After all, it hadn’t been that long since I was pulling all-nighters in college. I now know that I am mortal, getting older, and that waking up during the witching hour is a fool’s errand.
My cabin crew, though competent, was not as cheery as the day before. Gone was our Texan matron and her jokes about Wi-Fi. This crew was based out of Atlanta, possibly absorbed from AirTran. If that’s the case, then they simply just haven’t learned the Southwest way yet. I did come to a realization during that flight though. Southwest doesn’t use aisle-blocking drink carts. A flight attendant comes around to take your order and then delivers your drink a little later. This is a game-changer. If you need to use the lavatory, there’s nothing blocking you!
Most of my day was spent catching up on sleep. I walked the terminal a bit and ate Whataburger’s Honey BBQ Chicken Strip Sandwich to stave off boredom. Whenever you see an animal pacing at the zoo, think of me trapped in Love Field, waiting to get back to Atlanta with a companion pass in hand. Coming home, I sat toward the back of the plane in the same row as a Southwest pilot hitching a ride. This was another no-nonsense flight crew, which I didn’t mind, since all I wanted was to drift back into sleep.
Not lengthy after takeoff, I woke up to heavy turbulence. I’ve been flying since i have would be a toddler, so bumpy skies don’t usually bother me. However when the whole plane cried a tickly Styrofoam-like seem, the shell listed right and left just like a sailboat, and also the wings’ bird-like flapping appeared is the only factor keeping us upright, I required notice. The person alongside me was eating a salad. I heard an abrupt thud so we dropped an obvious altitude, miraculously being able to escape from putting on new lettuce hats. He nervously closed the lid, and also the Southwest pilot within our aisle happily joked, “That appears like advisable.Inches Ten white-colored-knuckled minutes later, all was obvious.
These flight have been Thursday. To keep costs under $300, I needed to hold back until the following Tuesday to complete up. That reprieve switched out to become a blessing. The weekend had rejuvenated me, and that i figured I possibly could finish your way with little discomfort. I showed up in the airport terminal just a little earlier to understand more about.
Things I didn’t know was that within the dead of night, the Plane Train moves slower compared to Atlanta Streetcar at Centennial Olympic Park: Quite simply, by no means. We had to go ahead and take lengthy walk, fifteen minutes, in the domestic terminal to C gates. Serenaded with a soft jazz rendition of “My Favorite Things” and also spooked by my very own sleep-deprived shadow, I pressed on with the united nations-air-conditioned subterranean of Hartsfield-Jackson.
Concourse C is split between Southwest somewhere and Delta alternatively. To passengers, it might actually be East and West Germany having a Cinnabon. The Delta side is dingy. Imagine all of the pleasure from the Department of motor vehicles along with a bus station. Southwest’s side is renovated, with every gate housing a couple of faux-leather chairs linked to power outlets. Everything feels newer and cleaner. Around the walls, they’ve plastered ads espousing the airline’s amenities (free checked bags, no blackout dates, no change charges.) The Delta side’s signs explained to me they fly to San antonio and my carry-on bag ought to squeeze into the sizing cube. The slogans weren’t any match. Delta guaranteed assured travelers it had become “building a much better air travel.” Southwest fired back: “Without a heart, it’s only a machine,” “Low fares are what we should do,” and “The snacks take presctiption me.”
My earlier feelings of rejuvenation was really a bit premature. I spent the majority of the day over sleeping airport terminal chairs. Still, as time passes to kill, I discovered myself observing Love Field’s lone Delta gate. It had been 5 p.m., and Flight 2543 to Atlanta was seriously delayed. It had been designed to have remaining Dallas at 12:46 p.m. After nearly five hrs of waiting, passengers had been administered free snacks and water for his or her trouble. Earlier this Christmas, my girlfriend and that i experienced an identical situation on the Southwest flight. Following a five-hour delay in Atlanta, we received neither free snacks nor water. Rather, i was given a $200 voucher . . . each.
The deed is completed.
Photograph by Matt Walljasper
Southwest’s prices war honestly won’t change much for Atlanta. But it’ll bring additional selections for domestic travelers. Casual flyers motivated by cost and luxury might skew towards Southwest, attracted in by the possible lack of charges, easy travel, minimizing fares.
After I arrived that third amount of time in Atlanta, I’d earned my companion pass. I figured concerning the approaching airline travel I understood my girlfriend and that i have planned. My suffering helps you to save us nearly $500. That’s enough for 2 more flights using the pass. It was not easily earned, and that i can’t say I suggest the trial towards the average person or intolerant of caffeine. However, if you’re able to take some time from work, wake up at 4 a.m., and fly backwards and forwards three occasions without going insane, Southwest includes a deal that’ll cause you to think hard about who you’re likely to fly with. Otherwise, then I know the reduced fares will still draw you in. Happy trails, Atlanta.
Find out more: Air fair?
When Southwest gobbled up AirTran this year and began its very own service at Hartsfeld-Jackson this year, hoopla ensued. Experts predicted the “Southwest effect” would push all airfares lower making hometown heavyweight Delta sweat. Using the merger complete, our author takes stock.