Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Changes will occur!

I started flying for Airtran on a whim, back in April 2010, but that is not when my love of Airtran began, nor my love for travel and planes.

I know here in Atlanta we are supposed to love Delta Airlines, but being a travel agent and seeing their customer service from my desk, I was never impressed, if I could even get through to them at all. If I called Airtran, I usually spoke to someone very personable that was sitting in Carrollton, Savannah or Atlanta- it was always the same, they helped me out with any need I had for my client and we carried on a very pleasant conversation while we worked. When I traveled, it was the same- Delta yes, they had meals, but they were usually served by some grumpy old flight attendant that acted like she hated her job. (I do have to say over the years Delta has got better, may it is because they have recently hired a lot of my friends!) Airtran would pass my pretzels out AND carry on a conversation with me. ValuJet was the first airline my kids flew on and we continued flying Airtran throughout their teenage years. Primarily because I would "earn" so many free tickets from work.
Throw back to commercial for valujet changing to Airtran

So you get the picture- I loved Airtran before I started working for them. Soon after I started, we got the news unexpectedly that we were going to merge with Southwest. I have always loved change, so I wasn't too scared, until I realized I was going to have to start commuting. Then I realized we were so small, I knew the people I was flying with, Southwest is huge- I will never see or fly with my friends! Will I ever be able to make friends?
Airtran Graduation 2010

 Some of my Airtan Memories!

 And the benefits of flying- taking my girls to Chicago for a little getaway!

New Friend

Well that change came December 19th- I went from Airtran over to Southwest and I have to say, I LUV it!!! Yes, commuting is hard AND EXPENSIVE, but I still love what I do. I am based in Houston, TX and now I am in love with Texas- my second home! The people I have met and flown with are awesome, and yes I am making friends! AND I am seeing my old friends too! 
Old Friends!
Don't be afraid of change, it will happen! Embrace it and hold on for the ride!!

Do you want to know how to "fly right"?

I know it seems like such a simple thing....going to the airport and getting on the airplane, but you would be amazed at the people that just don't do it right, or don't know know what to expect. I wanted to explain some of the important things you need to know about flying- my airline in particular, because we are new to the Atlanta market and we are a little different than other carriers. Plus, I have a lot of friends and family that will be flying us soon and I want them to have a smooth trip!

*Booking your trip- sign up for the Rapid Rewards program before you book. Go online and book your ticket, it is just that easy!

*Packing- I joke when I go on vacation that I follow a spread sheet, well it's not exactly untrue....My name is Traci and I am addicted to planning! Ok, folks first off decide on your travel outfit- make it something comfortable, simple and something that you can layer and take off, if the plane is hot and put on if it is cold! Southwest Airlines DOES not have blankets! Don't dress like a hoochy mama and get mad because you are cold. Don't wear belts, lace up sandals or shoes that are hard to put back on, you will be running to the plane barefoot and trying to dress in the jet bridge. Yes, I have seen that!
Second, you can check two bags for free at Southwest!! SO, that means you don't really need to bring all those carry-ons on board do ya? Items to pack in your carry-on, 1. an empty water bottle that you can fill once you get through security, that will save you about $6. 2.Headphones, we don't give them out and you can listen to music, watch movies and tv shows for free on our WIFI with Southwest. 3.make up, a change of clothes, any medication, enough of your essentials to have in case your checked luggage is lost. Please be able to lift this carry-on by yourself! It shouldn't be expected that a flight attendant will lift it for you! As far as that make up in your carry-on, here is the TSA requirements: You are allowed to bring one small bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes through the checkpoint. These are limited to 3.4 ounces or less per container. Consolidating these containers in the small bag separate from your carry-on baggage enables TSA officers to screen them quickly.
3-1-1 for carry-ons. Liquids, gels, aerosols, creams and pastes must be 3.4 ounces (100ml) or less per container; must be in 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin. The bag limits the total liquid volume each traveler can bring.

For your checked bags, you SHOULD NOT pack lithium batteries or ELECTRONIC cigarettes in  them. Make sure they are in your carry on. (BUT you may NOT use your E-Cig on the plane)
One more idea for packing that suitcase, take items of clothing that are interchangeable, and preferably wrinkle resistant. Don't pack any valuables, like diamond rings, computers or expensive cameras in your checked luggage.

*24 Hours prior to your trip-
1. THIS IS IMPORTANT FLYING SOUTHWEST!!! Check in on the computer, EXACTLY 24 hours prior, not 23 and not 25! This gives you the best boarding position and allows you to board first- the A or B group! This is especially important for people traveling together or families with children. OR you can purchase the early-bird check in  for $12.50 per ticket and get to check in 36 hours prior.
2. Pack your car and lay out all your documents, keys and anything else you are taking
3. Set your alarm, so that you will arrive at the airport 2 hours prior to your trip.
4. Practice lifting that carry-on over your head! If you can't do it, then re-think your packing.

*Day of Travel-
1. Arrive at the airport 2 hours prior, that will give you plenty of time and you won't be rushing. You never know about the TSA line or unexpected issues.
2. Bring your patience and leave your frustration at home. This is one industry where there will be delays, unexpected changes, rude behavior, and some down right nastiness- be prepared for it and SMILE through it! Being upset and ugly yourself, will get you no where, OR kicked off the flight.
3. It is an FAA rule and airlines can be fined a ton of money for allowing drunk passengers to fly, so wait till vacation to get hammered! EVEN if there is a delay and you can stay in the bar another hour throwing back the shots!
4. Watch your backpacks or any other carry-ons when you are getting on the plane. Don't go down the aisle and hit every passenger seated in the head!
5. Don't walk around the plane barefooted or allow your children to!
6. There are changing tables in the lavs, so don't change your baby's diaper in the seat, on the tray table, or on the floor of the galley.
7. Be nice to your flight attendants, we LOVE goody bags or just simple "we appreciate you's"!! Sometimes we work 11 hour days and don't get off the plane- just sayin! And speaking of Flight Attendants, we aren't a fan of making hot chocolate, hot tea or people that want to order two drinks at once- ESPECIALLY on short flights! If the flight is an hour or less, (unless you are dying of dehydration), do you REALLY need a drink at all??
8. AND parents- please take your car seat and buy little Johnny a seat! He should be used to riding in it in the car, so he shouldn't have a problem being buckled and safe. Plus, he will have his own seat and you won't have to sit and fight with him in your lap in a cramped space. If the seat belt sign is on, please don't get up with the child or allow him to get up! I don't want to see a child injured because a parent ignores the rules. Turbulence can happen at anytime,  it can not always be expected, and the seatbelt sign is on for a reason.
9. You can not go to the bathroom on the taxi-way- we will stop the plane and delay everyone!
10. Don't bring your own mini's, you can only drink our alcohol on the plane! (that dang FAA again)
11. Can't smoke E-cigs either! If our lav smells like cherry blossom we know you have been puffin, cause we know our lavs don't smell like cherry blossoms!

That's it for the do's and don'ts, sit back relax and enjoy your ride!!

It was important to write this blog, because I love my airline and I don't want to hear passengers complain and it is something THEY could have done to prevented their frustrations! Hopefully this helped you, and you will have a happy experience on our airline and love it as much as we do! Unfortunately, we can't do anything for you if you are unhappy with mechanical or weather delays, that is out of all of our hands! Thank you to all the flight attendants and travelers that helped with the writing of this blog!! If you have any ideas or suggestions that need to be added, please feel free to list them in the comment section!
***Disclaimer, these are my thoughts and the thoughts of my comrades, and not the views of Southwest Airlines!