Southwest Is Officially America’s Favorite Airline

In the contentious world of air travel, we often forget to celebrate those who are doing things right. 

And according to a survey of more than 11,000 U.S. fliers, Southwest Airlines is doing them best. 

Southwest took top honors in Airfarewatchdog‘s annual travel survey, which ranks domestic airlines based on customer reviews. Nearly a third of fliers surveyed said Southwest was their favorite airline, with 31.9 percent of votes.

Next came Delta, at 19.3 percent, and American, at 12.8 percent.

What gives? Well, Airfarewatchdog’s audience is a deal-hunting group, so it’s worth noting that they may be more inclined to praise a budget airline than other travelers would.

But bias aside, there truly are some key perks that make Southwest an incredible airline to fly. Consider these points from Airfarewatchdog founder George Hobica:

No fees for flight changes 

Most airlines charge a $200 fee if you change your flight more than 24 hours after booking. Southwest doesn’t do that — you’ll only pay the fare difference, if there is one.

Two free bags!

Last we checked, no other major U.S. airline offered two free checked bags. Southwest does, of course.

Full refunds for fare drops

Even non-refundable fares are at least partly refundable with Southwest. If you book a non-refundable ticket and realize later that the price for your flight has dropped, you can call Southwest and get a travel credit to use for future flights, a spokesperson told HuffPost. If your ticket was refundable, then you’ll get cash back instead. 

The Great and Powerful Companion Pass

This magical pass gives you the right to bring ANYONE — a friend, family member, whomever — with you on any flight you take, for an entire year. Of course, you’ll need to take enough flights to qualify first. But once you do, you’re golden.

Tons of sales

Not every Southwest deal is apocalyptically awesome, but they have good flash sales every now and again. Follow along on Twitter for your best shot at catching the next one.

And there you have it. If you need more help choosing an airline that fits your needs, check out our handy guide here

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