We have had the Southwest Companion Pass since early 2018 and have made sure to use it to its max. I estimate that we likely received nearly five figures worth of free flights throughout the life of the pass, although I really should have taken time to add up the total value.
The pass has allowed me to enjoy numerous experiences that I would not have otherwise been able to enjoy. And, while this flight was not operationally different from other Southwest flights, since their flights are very standardized after all, I more so want to reflect on the experience for the sake of nostalgia.
As I said in the intro, I won’t go in-depth about the details of the pass, but please check out other articles I have written about Southwest’s companion pass or comment below if you have any questions.
This review is part of my Trip Report: Southern California 2022:
- The Final Companion Pass Flight: DCA-SNA
- Hotel Review: Sheraton Park Hotel Disneyland
- The Happiest Place on Earth: My One-Day Disneyland Experience
- Lakers vs. Nuggets: Box Seats
- Hotel Review: Hilton Checkers Los Angeles
*While I am lucky that Southwest’s systemwide disruption did not directly effect me or my travel plans, I understand the difficulty many individuals had while flying them this holiday season. For that reason I am posting this article after the disruptions have been resolved.
Surprisingly, for flights booked only a month out from the busy holiday travel season, we were able to find a flight from Washington D.C. (DCA) to Orange County, California (SNA) on Southwest for about $153.
The flight connected through Chicago Midway (MDW), but they did not require us to get off the plane since both segments were serviced by the same aircraft (but different crews). Southwest was offering a direct flight from Baltimore (BWI) to Los Angeles (LAX) at roughly the same price. While this was also a good deal, I don’t think anyone blames me for not wanting to drive from Northern Virginia to Baltimore to make a 6:30am flight.
After booking the flight on online, we called customer service to switch my dad’s companion from my brother to me (you can only have one designated companion at a time). After switching, they were able to issue my companion ticket for the standard $5.60 for the same itinerary.
Given that we were able to fly two people to California for just under $140 right before the busy travel season, WITHOUT use of any points or miles, we thought that this was a pretty good deal overall.
The flight was not super eventful. We boarded the flight at 5:30am for the 6am departure and were eventually in the air by around 6:15am. From there, it was roughly a 1.5-hour flight to Chicago.
We barely made it out of D.C. before weather conditions took a turn for the worse (good thing we were on the early flight), and despite the takeoff being a little bit bumpy, the rain (or sleet) made it look like we were going at lightspeed on our 737 while it was dark outside (I thought I took a picture but I guess not).
Drink service was prompt and seated in row 5, we got our drinks soon after takeoff. They also offered pretzels, but I am happy they got through this service quickly, so they could turn off the lights and let passengers rest on the early flight.
The crew was awesome and in typical Southwest fashion, made their Southwest jokes. While I wish I could have grabbed my phone quick enough to record what they said, some individuals were a little scared that they got on the wrong flight and were headed to Detroit instead of California.
When we stopped in Midway at 7am local time, I was able to quickly jump off the plane to run and grab some breakfast. My dad stayed on the flight to hold our seats since they were going to start boarding shortly after the first flight deplaned.
I made it back to the plane right around when the A-group was boarding and got back on without a problem. This flight we got lucky and ended up without anyone in the middle seat between us for the 4-hours to Southern California.
After eating my breakfast and the first (or possibly only) drink service, I ended up sleeping through most of the remainder of the flight. I was hoping to write a few articles, but alas, my sleep deprivation from finals caught up with me. I woke up about 30 minutes before landing and enjoyed my first sight of snow in the mountains that we were passing over.
After landing and thanking us for choosing Southwest, as well as making light jokes about their competitors, we taxied towards the gate. Since we had arrived early, we had to wait for about 15 minutes for the gate to clear so we could deplane.
The Last Point
While the flight attendants oh Southwest were feeling quite gitty, there was nothing particularly special about that Southwest flight to California. But that is exactly why I loved it.
Southwest’s consistency, including an amazing crew and always offering two free checked bags, means that I can often rely on them to get me where I need to go. Southwest has always treated my family well and while I know that I will be flying Southwest again in the future (how could I not), I am happy my last regular companion pass flight reminded me of the simplicity and ease that Southwest has offered me for flights around North America.
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