Why Buy Southwest? Well…

by Megan M. on November 8, 2009 · View Comments (Blog) |

Marty and I are visiting our families in Ohio for Thanksgiving this year. For some crazy reason, I bought our flights through Southwest.

Why did I do that?

If I had bought American Airlines, I could have gotten wifi on the flight. Hell, if the flight was empty enough, I might have been able to upgrade our seats to First Class for a couple hundred dollars. I would have had a power port for my computer, in any case. If I had bought the flights through Continental, I probably could have had a power port, or wifi, or both.

Why did I buy them through Southwest? Southwest doesn’t let me do any of those things.

When Marty and I flew to Vegas—our first Southwest flight ever—this really cool flight attendant rapped the safety instructions instead of just going through them point by point. This blew our minds. However, I have no reason to expect this experience on other Southwest flights. Maybe the next time I go to Vegas, but I doubt stuff like that happens all the time.

Furthermore, seating is first come first serve on Southwest. So if I pay $10 per flight (that means $40 for Marty and I, round trip) we can get preferred seating and find our seats first. But on American or Continental, I could just choose my seat beforehand and know what to expect.

Of course, Southwest won’t charge us for luggage. But the flights have seemed (so far) a little more expensive on Southwest, anyway. So that doesn’t seem to make much difference. I’m paying for preferred seating instead of luggage, but it feels better to pay for preferred seating instead of luggage. With the luggage, I feel punished. With the preferred seating, I feel like I’m getting a bonus. This is still not a huge point—though I think it’s part of the final effect.

I have examined and examined. The truth is, there’s no logic here. I must have bought Southwest because Southwest seemed NICER.

All of my rational thought suggested that I should go with a different airline—when it came to buying these tickets, I just did what my gut told me to do. Their website is definitely friendlier. Their staff seems friendlier, too. All the seats on Southwest flights are the same. There IS no First Class. But actually, the seats on Southwest flights all seem nicer than your typical run-of-the-mill economy seats. Whatever decisions they have made in their hiring and their design and everything else, they have made me feel positive vibes about Southwest. And these positive vibes have resulted in me buying tickets with them instead of someone else, even though it means going without internet and power ports and the fleeting possibility of a cheap First Class upgrade.

You know how integral my web access is to my ability to make it through the day. So you know how wacky this is.

Even better, I don’t regret the purchase. I’m still perfectly happy to be flying Southwest, even considering this whole thought process.

The power of emotional decisions in marketing, am I right?

  • Nicholas Haasch
    It's all about the emotions. Mmm... Sell the risk of fear or sell the satisfaction of known comfort. Yes! You are right. :)
  • Bob Poole
    Stuff like that does happen all the time on Southwest. The company encourages its employees to have fun and to make sure the passengers have fun too.

    Sounds like you got caught up in it too! They are still the only airline out there that seems to really care about their customers these days so I fly them too.
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