The airline I’m most thankful for in 2014, even though I only flew them once

September 21 was a terrible day.  My mom’s husband had been battling esophageal cancer and had moved into hospice the week previous.  He was at peace with what was coming and was not in any pain, thanks to a wonderful hospice staff who managed his condition well.  I had a conference that weekend in Las Vegas that I had been looking forward to for months and my mom and I decided that I should go, it’s what he would’ve wanted.  Early in the morning on Sunday, September 21, I got the phone call: he had passed away.

My dad died from colon cancer when I was just 8 years old, so I’ve had a long hatred for the disease.  My mom had since remarried and ended up with this great man.  I can’t imagine what she went through losing two husbands to cancer, but I’ll tell you that she has been so strong throughout the entire process.  I know she’s hurting but she’s pulling through.

What does this have to do with travel?

New Look

Source: Southwest Image Library

I don’t fly Southwest very often.  It’s nothing personal, as I typically enjoy it when I do fly with Southwest, but American’s loyalty program ties me to them pretty strongly since I live in Dallas.  Now that the Wright Amendment has gone away, I may fly Southwest more often.

So why is Southwest my favorite airline of 2014?  When I got the call, I needed to get back quickly to be with my mom.  What I should have done was book a one-way award flight using AAdvantage miles and moved the date back each day, which I’ll post about early next week.

I had to buy a last-minute one-way ticket on a Sunday from Las Vegas to Dallas.  Due to DFW airport being American’s fortress hub, these flights are incredibly expensive.  American could offer me a one-way ticket late that night from LAS-DFW for $1200.  Neither the time nor the price were good for me.  I figured it wasn’t worth calling American because I checked on Expertflyer and most of their flights were sold out that day already.

I checked Southwest.com at 5am.  There was a flight leaving at 8am that would get me to Dallas around 2pm (due to a required stop in Albuquerque as a result of the now-defunct Wright Amendment, one of the dumbest government intrusions of our time).

The price?  $214.  Southwest got me home to be with my mom for a reasonable price at the last minute.

So as we ring in 2015, I encourage you to take a look back at your wins and losses of the past year, celebrate what went well, learn from what didn’t, and hopefully I’ll see you in the skies in 2015!

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