A Good Reason to Fly Southwest


I earned two free one-way coupons on Southwest Airlines. I tried to redeem them for a round-trip flight in March, but there were no coupon seats on the return flight. So I redeemed one coupon, and have one left over. That’s a clever strategy by Southwest, as I will now use the other coupon as part of a second round trip.

Unlike the older trunk carriers, Southwest prices solely on one-way tickets – there is no gain to buying a round trip. That means that I have an incentive to pay (either with cash or coupon) for two Southwest trips. When I use my mileage to obtain a “free” ticket on the other main carrier out of Austin (American Airlines), it always pays for me to use it for a round trip. Southwest’s pricing and coupon policy ties me more strongly to them. American’s policy does allow use of mileage for a one-way ticket; but given their pricing policy, it only pays if I am planning one-way travel.


Southwest does just about everything better when it comes to service and keeping customers coming back.

I had to cancel a trip a few months ago. I cancelled my one way out on SW about 18 hours before the flight, and got a credit for the amount of the one way flight! So I'll be sure to schedule another trip to a SW destination, most likely both ways if I can.
The other part of my trip was with American. I asked to cancel that one, about 18 DAYS before the flight, and I was offered a credit for the amount of the flight minus the cancellation fee of 125 dollars, the cost of the segment I was cancelling. So I got nothing. Good plan. Way to keep the customers coming back!
Even the phone system was easier to get through for SW than American!


In my experience, right now most domestic fares on every airline are one-way, so I don't quite buy that argument.


Ah Southwest, change your flight, change it again, oops need to change it again, no problem, just find the best fare available and use all your original funds towards your new ticket! No charge for baggage, easy to earn and redeem reward flights. What are all the other airlines thinking? SWA - easy peezy lemon squeezy


On Southwest u don't even have to cancel the ticket. u don't board the flight they refund the money to ur SW account. I did that once.

Tom Kelly

I fly SWA exclusively now.

No more sweating bullets when I press the BUY button on a reservation that I may have put in a wrong time or date or name. Even on the cheapest tickers you can always reuse the fare!

When family members foolishly had tickets on another airline to the same destination on the same day and time, I took their two bags with me and saved them $60 in bag fees.


I had over 800,000 miles on Delta. I was a Diamond, Platinum, Moon-Rock Frequent Flyer. I had free use of Airport Lounges and even had a special 800 number to call exclusive to high mileage flyers.

But when I called to use my miles to fly the family to Hawaii, there were no seats...8 months in advance! If I elected to use twice the regular miles, I could get seats. Unbelievable! And to use the miles to get a "free" ticket, would've cost me $50 per ticket in fees, plus $25 for the first bag and $35 for the second bag. My three "free" tickets cost about $300.

I now fly Southwest every chance I get!


Interesting you mention that, because I just got an email from United on Monday announcing the launch of their one-way awards similar to Southwest's. Seems like you're not the only one who has noticed Southwest's longstanding one-way awards system.


You can look up flights just like SW on AA.com showing prices for each leg of the trip and use miles for one way trips as well, and have been for a while.

Mike M

This article might have been accurate if it were written 10 years ago. It still wouldn't have been interesting, but at least not a total loss.


Mike M #9 is hallucinating. Two weeks ago I shopped a trip to Australia, and got a round trip pric of $1500 and one-way of $1800. And service is going down--I'll never fly Continental again and I'm less than thrilled with USAir of late.


Though I haven't flown since 1991 (no, I'm not afraid of terrorists--but I'm terrified by Homeland Security), Southwest looks like a good investment. A safer bet might be to buy SW and short the others.

Adam Kennedy

Just goes to show one of the golden rules of economic systems design.

Never invent your own private currency when there's already a better and more common, it's going to cause nothing but trouble.


I make fun of Southwest as being "The Greyhound of the Sky," but they honestly do better than the other domestic carriers when it comes to customer service and pricing. I was recently shocked, shocked I tells ya, when I was able to change a flight time without being charged extra!


I always liked Northwest's cash & miles options. You use miles for half of a roundtrip ticket and cash for the other half. i always ends up being a perfect balance of the number of miles spent and the number of dollars spent. I'm not sure if Delta has maintained that policy.


My cousin works for SW, and thinks they are pretty great to work for. They treat their employees with respect, rewarding innovation, extra effort, and longevity. She gets free flights for herself and immediate family, and can earn extra flight tickets during the frequent work centered promotions. (the tickets are standby, to be sure) They have a fun work environment that reminds me of the work focus of many dotcoms. She loves it and never plans to leave. And, get this--she runs a supply truck out on the hot, hot runways of Phoenix.

No wonder their employees are generally friendly and helpful.


From the evidence provided, it seems that this is a good reason NOT to fly Southwest to begin with. They are taking away customer options.

Connie Boyd

I live in two different cities and fly between them frequently, and I also travel frequently on business, so I've done a lot of research on airfares between various cities. When traveling between my homes in Colorado and Nevada, using one-way tickets from Southwest in combination with round-trips from United has sometimes worked out to be the most economical option for me.

I noticed recently that United has started allowing a suitcase to be checked for free. I think this was a direct response to Southwest's "two free checked bags" policy.

I have frequent flyer accounts at both airlines. I love Southwest, but I use frequent flyer miles for a membership in United's Red Carpet Club. That's an incentive for me to fly United to and from some cities.

I've learned from experience that United tends to overbook certain flights from Denver to Las Vegas, so I book on those flights, give up my seat in exchange for a free ticket, and camp out in the Red Carpet Club while waiting for the flight I've been bumped to.

I'm looking forward to seeing the movie "Up in the Air." I was on a long layover at one of the airports where it was being filmed.



American definitely has one-way awards. They've had them for several months.


Can someone help me understand this?

1) He said that there were no coupon seats on the return flight - is that by design, or were the allotted coupon seats all booked already? I can't imagine the former being true, since he says that SWA prices solely on one-way tickets - so how can it deny him flying back, since there is no such thing as a "round-trip" under SWA's pricing? If the latter is true, how is that a strategy by SWA?

2) Why is it better to use a free ticket for AA for a round-trip? Is it because a round-trip is cheaper than 2 one-way trips? (I don't fly very often......)

3) Why does SWA's pricing/coupon policy tie him more strongly to SWA?


The only redeeming aspect of being a frequent (business) traveler is the few bones - upgrades to business class, extra checked-in baggage allowance, and earlier boarding - that my airline throws at me. Should I complaint if I don't get more? And why? Aren't they just in the business of getting me from point-A to point-B safely, and on time?!
- Mohan