Lyn writes about Southwest on her GotoTravelGal.com blog and has written a free guide that walks you step-by-step through how to earn the Southwest Companion Pass. Right now is the BEST time to earn the pass that lets someone fly nearly free with you because you can do it with just 2 credit card sign-ups AND it will be good until the end of 2019!
I’ve asked Lyn to share the latest Southwest news!
Lyn: Southwest had a busy 2017, adding new planes, new destinations, and announcing they would begin flying to Hawaii – news that I know has all of us excited!
I’ll share with you the airline’s latest developments over the last month or 2 that impact frequent travelers.
Southwest News February 2018
Last year, Southwest introduced new destinations like Turks & Caicos and Grand Cayman, added gorgeous new Boeing planes to their fleet, implemented a new reservations system, and did you know all Southwest planes are now Wi-Fi enabled? (Of course, if the Wi-Fi is working is another story.)
Here’s what’s new and upcoming!
1. Flights to Hawaii
Last fall, Southwest announced they would officially fly to Hawaii. That was music to many an ear! But we were subsequently disappointed to learn last December that it would not be happening in time for spring or summer travels in 2018. I think many of us had envisioned our summer vacation hula dancing. 😉
Southwest CEO Gary Kelly has been sharing information about Hawaii plans bit by bit. And just last week, he indicated the goal is to fly to Hawaii by the end of the year, but that it hinges on Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval. Hurry up, FAA!
I’m super excited at the prospect of using our Southwest Companion Pass to fly 1 person free with us to Hawaii. I was lucky enough to visit as a child, but haven’t made it back since.
We also know the first flights will be from the California coast. In that area, Southwest currently flies from San Francisco, Oakland, Burbank, Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego.
Southwest also announced this month they will add Everett, Washington, a Seattle suburb, as a new destination.
2. Lots of New Planes
Have you flown on one of Southwest’s new MAX 8 planes? I haven’t been lucky enough to fly the MAX 8 (I have flown the MAX 7), but several of my readers have sent me photos!
The airline added 14 new Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes to its fleet in 2017, retiring some aircraft that needed to be sent to greener pastures – you know the ones. 😉 These new beauties have LED lights inside that set quite a lovely mood, and they will be used for the upcoming Hawaii flights.
After the tax cut was announced late last year, the airline announced plans to invest in even more Boeing MAX 8 planes in the next several years. That means more brand new planes for us to enjoy!
Also, with these additions, Southwest now officially has a fully Wi-Fi-enabled fleet. Hooray! Here’s how to use Southwest Wi-Fi.
And here’s a video about the new planes:
3. New Reservations System Problems
In the spring, Southwest put a new reservations system in place to help increase their flight flexibility, change fares, and improve rebooking. But it seems as with everything technical, there are some glitches.
A Dallas Morning News article said there had been 5 technical outages since August, and Southwest is demanding that the vendor correct the issues. The outages apparently kept customers from accessing Southwest’s reservations system online.
4. Best Time to Get the Southwest Companion Pass
Right now is the BEST TIME to earn the Southwest Companion Pass! With the current Chase Southwest card bonus offers, you can earn all 110,000 qualifying Southwest points you need to get the pass with just 2 card sign-ups – 1 personal and 1 small business card.
Plus, the pass is good from the time you earn it until the END of the following year, so the earlier you earn it, the longer you will be able to use it. Early in the year is a GREAT time to secure the pass, because that makes it valid for almost 2 FULL years!
5. SNL Gets the Last Laugh
Did you happen to catch the Saturday Night Live skit last weekend about Southwest flight attendants? If not, enjoy:
With new planes, plenty of Wi-Fi, and our eyes set on Hawaii, here’s to a great 2018 flying Southwest – especially for those with the Companion Pass. And now is a great time to earn it if you don’t already have one!