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OK, I’ll admit it. I fly Southwest Airlines every week. I have achieved A-List Preferred, their top tier elite status, as well as a holder of the lucrative Companion Pass. While international travel is my aspiration, I have tried and tried (and tried) to find a legacy carrier to get me from point A to point B without hassle. Unfortunately as a Chicago flier, both United and AA have let me down with frequent delays and cancellations for domestic travel. I don’t fully blame the airlines as I know O’Hare is a disaster sometimes, but Southwest has been pretty immune to these problems with my city pairs so I stick with them.
Southwest Airlines identifies themselves as a Customer Service company who happens to fly airplanes. In most cases, I can agree as they have customer friendly policies of no checked bag fees and more importantly, no change fees! In fact, you can actually book an award flight on points, miss your flight based on your own mistake, and they will return those points to you for future travel! That being said, it baffles me how their standby policy so vehemently contradicts their other customer friendly policies.
I booked an award flight to Denver this weekend coming from Chicago. My flight was at 8:20PM. I arrived a little early so I walked to the gate for the 7:45PM flight. I figured the flight was likely full but it doesn’t hurt to be put on the standby list to save a half hour.
Southwest Friday Night Flights
The Southwest Airlines gate agent took my ticket, started hammering on the keys of the computer, and let me know she could add me to the standby list for only a 24,000 points upcharge. WHAT! In Rapids Rewards math, that is worth 400 dollars worth of flying! Southwest wants to charge me 24,000 points to let me take an open seat on a one-way flight that is 35 minutes earlier when the entire round trip flight cost 15721 points. Umm, I’ll pass.