In the years I traveled back and forth from California to North Carolina, it was always the cheapest to fly Southwest. My family had mostly grown up on this airline, because they were the lowest fair in the sky. There’s a photo of my brother and dad holding up their group “a” tickets because we rarely got them. But this trip to California (which is very backwards… a weekend trip to Cali? Its usually to NC) thanks to Grandma I flew on Continental out of Greensboro rather than Raleigh. It is thanks to this new airline experience I have come with the newest (yes these happen fairly often) pros and cons list.
Whos got the seat power?
Pro for SW: You get their early enough or check in online early, it is up to yourself to nab a good seat.
Con for Continental: You can pick your seat when your buying your ticket on line. But if you get your ticket last minute (like I did) you don’t have choices like that.
This by no means any airlines fault, but I always seem to get those older men who want to chit chat or have no scene of personal space that they kinda spill over into my seat. I want to remind them how they did not paid for that part of my seat, if they have to please hand over my refund. Yes, I am a small petite girl, but this gives no one sitting next to me the right to lean into my spare room! That’s my spare room! I usually go for a window seat, but I may just go for the isle from now on. Since I avoid airplane bathrooms at all cost, window seats are great because I don’t have to get up. I’d gladly get up if only that means I get my seat all to myself.
Id also like to note that my favorite plane ride in a very long time was on the flight from Houston to California. I was given the middle seat (boo!) and sat and prayed no men would sit next to me (they are always creating problems. Women tend to mind their own business and stay to their seats.) and Jesus answered my prayers. Two girls about my size sat on ether side of me. Neither one of them tried to chit chat with me or get into my seat. All of us fell a sleep a one point and even the continued to stay in our own seats. We were polite to each other when turns to the bathroom happened. They just seem to get there wasn’t much point to the ‘What do you do for a living” chit chat and entertained themselves with a book, writing or sleeping.
Pro for Continental: Actually food! One flight I got crackers with salami and spread, trail mix and M&Ms. Other flight was in the morning so they offered us Cheerio’s with the perfect size carton of milk and a banana. Although they do offer pretzels instead of peanuts. I don’t understand this switch but I did rediscover my love for pretzels this weekend. And when I asked for another bag of pretzels, I was given two.
Con for SW: Snack pack. They are fine and all, but never give me an ounce of fullness. I always brought on my own meal to get me through the long flight. But they still do offer peanuts, good peanuts too.
Both airline use coke products, so both get big points for me on that. Although I’m half tempted everytime to say “Can I please just have the whole can of Diet Coke? I’m gonna ask for more the next time you come around anyhow. Saves you some steps.”
Pro for Continental: Both times my layover was in Houston. The layovers where not long at all. First one was enough time for me to get across the airport (had to take a train, but that was kinda cool) use the bathroom and grab another snack or magazine. And then off I went to my gate where I didn’t sit very long at all.
Con for SW: I always seem to get the flights that stop at least twice (once to switch planes and then just a stop to get more passengers at another). Or I only have one stop but its for about two hours. Airports can be the neatest place to hang out in (people watching) or the worst, depending on the wait of the layover.
Now this was a toughie. I’ve always liked how its always sorta a guess where my layover would be. Visited lots of different states in one flight thanks to SW. I like to travel so I like the accept of the layover, but not enough to give it full pro points. And then again, SW has never made me travel completely across the airport to get to another terminal. But then again, the people working the desks in front of the gates for SW are much nicer than Continental. Oh what a great segway to..
Pro for SW: I guess I have never really had issues with the people who work for SW. I’ve seem most SW flight attendance be overly nice to a man whos wanted 5 bags of peanuts with his can of coke. Also SW has a song that everyone once in a while you’ll have a flight attendant who knows it and sings it over the speaker system in the plane (always a lot of fun). Also the staff on the plane always seems happy on SW. Have a bit of fun with the safety speech the poor guys have to give out who knows the number of time a day. And whenever I’ve called SW about redeeming free flights, they are always so helpful and nice.
Con for Continental: I know I have only flown with them once, but this one employee set my mind on their customer service. On the way to California the service wasn’t unpleasant (this is where I got the extra bag of pretzels) but wasn’t anything noting (other than the pretzels, very important). But this one girl who was being the desk in front of the flight from Houston to Greensboro was just unpleasant. The flight was delayed and so another flight boarded before ours. This was very confusing to a lot of people but it is no reason to be rude. She wouldn’t even look up at them and tell them the plane wasn’t there yet. How do we know? There are no windows to watch for our plane so we rely on you for all information. And we know its not your fault the plane is delayed but with a sour attitude like that, we are gonna blame it on you. Also, I had a very heavy bag of mugs and curtains (that’s another story) that was under my seat on the little commuter plane from Houston to Greensboro but bothered the man (another story) sitting next to me. So I brought it forward seeing if they could store it for me safety someplace else since their tiny overhead bins didn’t fit it like the last one. Desk lady was there and was so rude. Thankfully, not nicely but nice enough the flight attendant put it with the crews stuff in a closet on the plane. I could rant all day about how bad customer service is, but I shall leave it at that.
Pro for SW: I have never had a problem carrying anything on (even three smaller items on the plane where it should only be two) or fitting anything into the overhead bin.
Con for Continental: I still don’t get why we took one of those tiny planes from Houston to Greensboro but we did. And the overhead space on those planes suck big time. They are smaller than under the seat for crying outloud! So here’s the heavy bag story. I was moving back (still on strike with the post office) a box of kitchen items, along with my bag stuff to the brim as my check ins. As my carry on, my mom and I carefully wrapped all my mugs and glasses along with one of my couch covers and curtains. It was in a duffle bag that I have had since I think Jr High, but still does its job well. As you can imagine, this thing was heavy. I had nice fellow passengers on a plane help me get my bag up and down in the over head bin, mostly them feeling bad for me that I had to carry such a load. Through the Houston airport I drug the bag because I was hurting from carrying (come to find that I have a rash on my shoulder from the bag.) giving the other travels a site to see for sure. But when a normal size bag wont fit on the plane, that is not my fault! And when asking for help and getting a rude face and comment doesn’t help ether! The guy who sat next to me on the flight from Houston to Greensboro had long legs so he was not excited about my bag taking put part of his leg space, nevermind he had the isle seat but I understood. But then he later had his legs in my leg area and we all know how I don’t like that (and always kept leaning into my seat to look out the window). I finally put my tray table down, which slapped his knee and he moved his leg over (if only I had thought of that sooner!). And then I closed the window so he’d stop leaning over me to look out! He smelled funny too, which never helps someone case.
So after this carefully analyst of the two airlines, we can see that Southwest is the clear winner. They are cheaper too, even with the drive out to Raleigh, Southwest is the way to fly. (Also, on my flight from Houston to California…the window seat girl next to me took out a water bottle towards the end of the trip and drank from it. I did not fear for my life since it seems that you’d want an isle seat if you were to pull anything. But none the less if she was allowed a water bottle, why shouldn’t have I been allowed a water bottle?)