March 31, 2017

Tips for flying Southwest + What you NEED to do before your flight :: budget travel tips

Tips for flying Southwest Airlines: How to get the best seat on your flight and inflight entertainment options available

 

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Southwest is a budget airline in the sense that it often offers low fares compared to other airlines AND they offer TWO FREE checked bags per person. So if you’re planning on checking your luggage, add in baggage fees when looking at costs of other airlines when comparing prices. On other domestic airlines, two checked bags will probably cost you $50-80!

Southwest isn’t typically included in the database of websites that compile the lowest flights available to a destination. So when you have travel plans that involve flying, be sure to go directly to the Southwest Airlines website to check ticket prices and see how they compare to other airlines! Southwest currently flies around the continental U.S., as well as Mexico and the Caribbean to popular beach destinations. See the route map.

If you’re headed for a cruise, Southwest flies to most major cruise embarkation ports in the U.S. so it’s worth looking into Southwest flights.

getting ready for your trip >> what to wear on a long flightwhat to wear hiking | what to wear snorkeling | what to pack for a cruise | what to pack for the beach

Things to know if it’s your first Southwest flight

If it’s your first flight ever, on any airline, you should know that the Southwest seating assignment is different from other airlines. So if you fly on another airline afterwards, it won’t be the same boarding process.

How you choose seating on a Southwest flight

In short, you pick your seat when you get on the plane!

Southwest is different from other major airlines in the way they do assigned seating in that they do not do assigned seating at all. Not when you book your flight, not when you check in, not ever!

It has what they call open seating.

This means you choose your seat as you come across an open seat. See an open seat you like? That’s where you’re sitting!

But that’s the key… to find a seat that you like!

So here’s how Southwest seating works…

Your seating location depends on when you board the plane

As you can imagine, the sooner you board, the more likely you are to get the coveted aisle seating or window seating. In fact, the vast majority of time, you are very unlikely to find any open aisle or window seats if you board in the final group.

So how can you board the plane early?

When you board the plane is based on when you check in

There are exceptions.

You can read more about this Southwest seating process, as well as the exceptions, here: Boarding the plane.

But generally speaking, and to put it simply, you board the plane in the order in which you check in. It’s like the online check-in is when you’re reserving your spot in the line when it’s boarding time at the gate.

So the later you check in, adjust your seating expectations and believe that you will just have to settle for a middle seat! Or, just check in early. 😉

So the time you check in is important if you care about where you sit on the plane! And because of that…

This is what you NEED to do before your flight!

Set your alarm clock for 24 hours and 5 minutes prior to your flight departure time

That extra 5 minutes is very important. 😉

Most airlines will allow you to check in online starting 24 hours in advance. But for most airlines, it doesn’t really make much of a difference if you check in at that 24 hour mark, or if you check in 6 hours prior to your flight, or if you don’t check in online at all!

Southwest is an exception. With Southwest, you want to check in as close to 24 hours in advance as possible. That’s why you’ll want the extra 5 minutes to get you prepared to check in at 24 hours on the dot. 😉

Now, for when you are sitting on the plane…

Free inflight entertainment

Okay, so now that you’ve gotten a decent seat on the plane, next up is entertainment on the plane!

TV is all you need to stay entertained on a plane, right? Well, it can work out quite fine to pass at least some time anyway!

Now here are your inflight entertainment options on a Southwest flight!

Note that your flying experience and inflight entertainment may be different as airlines constantly strive to better a flyer’s experience… or because things just change. 😉

As Southwest says… BYOTV: Bring Your Own TV!

That would mean, bring your own device so you can watch TV onboard a Southwest flight. Also don’t forget earphones!

How to watch TV onboard

Once you’re in the air, connect to Southwest wifi. Then open up your internet browser.

Now you’ve got live TV on your phone, tablet, or laptop! Quick and easy!

Free inflight entertainment with TV through wifi - Tips for flying Southwest

What channels does Southwest offer for free live TV?

Your flight may vary, as offerings can change, but these are some channels you can likely expect:

CBS, NBC, ESPN, ESPN2, Bravo, CNN, Fox News Channel, CNBC, HGTV,USA, Discovery Channel, FX, Fox Business, NFL Network, MSNBC, Fox Sports 1, Disney Channel.

There is also an offering of a variety of cable TV shows with episodes from previous seasons.

Free inflight entertainment with free live TV through wifi - Tips for flying Southwest

Flight tracker – Are we there yet?

Well don’t you like knowing where you are, how fast you’re going, how high up you are in the air, and how much longer it is to your destination?! Of course you do! 😉

And for that, you have a flight tracker with stats that include all that information right at your fingertips.

Inflight entertainment with flight stats - Tips for flying Southwest

Another thing the flight tracker is helpful for? If you happen to look down below at some amazing looking geologic formations, instead of wondering (and guessing) where you are, you can have a look at your handy dandy flight tracker! Then you’ll know where to go for your next vacation. 😉

Inflight entertainment with flight tracker - Tips for flying Southwest

HAPPY SOUTHWEST FLYING!

What to pack for a beach vacation!

How to prevent lost luggage on a cruise ship

Cruise insurance: Should you get travel insurance for your cruise?

Explore Caribbean cruise ports: nassau bahamas | san juan puerto rico | grand turk | aruba | curacao | st kitts | grand cayman | st maarten

Best shoes for your active vacation

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- Walking: These types of hiking sandals. For walking in hot weather, they are more breathable than shoes, while still giving you necessary traction on the trails. Also see these travel sandals.
- Beach: These types of beach shoes. For beach walking, wading in the water, and rocky shorelines, they can prevent cuts from hidden rocks or when bumping into coral reef.

see more:
- What to wear hiking
- What to wear snorkeling
- What to wear on a cruise formal night

Best things to pack for active travel

- First-time snorkelers love full-face snorkeling masks.
- These UV protection shirts are a hit so you don't have to keep re-applying sunscreen and don't have to worry as much about getting sunburn!
- These types of small backpacks are perfect for a day out so you can carry essentials... and snacks!
- And these popular packing cubes can be a life-saver when you're traveling!

Don't get your valuables stolen when you travel

- On city excursions: This neck pouch that tons of people love. It makes it harder for money to be stolen, and RFID-blocking feature stops thieves from scanning your credit card info when they are close to you.
- At the beach: This type of pouch that you can easily take your wallet in the water with you, instead of leaving on the beach.