Last weekend, I was traveling with my daughter and husband from Providence, RI to Baltimore, MD, returning from a long-overdue weekend getaway. We reached the airport in ample time, so our check-in experience was smooth sailing.

My family and I have been frequent flyers on Southwest, so my confidence in this company is very high. However, the weather was tumultuous, with threatening storm conditions in Baltimore, and I wasn’t really looking forward to the trip home. We had already been prepped to expect the flight to be, not only delayed, but prolonged as well. Apparently, rerouting was necessary.

While we were waiting to board, our Southwest agent announced that they were looking for volunteers to be “bumped” from the flight in order to lighten the weight of the plane. I hadn’t given this option much thought in the past, but everything seemed to support the perfect timing of this opportunity. So, I decided that my daughter and I would forfeit our seats, and stay in Providence. My husband, however, needed to be back in Baltimore for work early the next morning, so he would not be joining us.

The agent was cheerful and very thoughtful in explaining the procedure and our compensation for our forfeiture. In accordance with Southwest’s “bump” policy, we would receive 2 Southwest travel vouchers valued at $500 each, the tickets for our return flight, and the night’s stay at the Sheraton, since they weren’t able to fly us out within two hours of our original flight. The Sheraton was a real bonus, since we are members of their SPG program and therefore, received additional points for the stay.

As luck would have it (at least that night) we didn’t check any luggage, so we had everything we needed for a comfortable evening. It was one of those rare occasions when I was able to share a lovely mother and daughter adventure. As the hazardous weather conditions were only a threat in Baltimore that night, we were able to meander out into the Historic Federal Hill section where we enjoyed a lovely dining experience in Rhode Island’s own “Little Italy” neighborhood. Most excellent!

My husband’s evening played out quite differently. Sadly, he had to endure the unpleasant, but sometimes necessary, ritual of airline misfortunes. At one point before takeoff, all passengers were instructed to exit the plane (luckily, he was able to grab a quick bite to eat) and then, once the flight took off, the re-routing doubled his travel time. Poor guy! Perhaps next time we’re presented this opportunity, we’ll all find a way to get “bumped” together.

I would definitely opt for this benefit again, if circumstances allowed! I’m looking forward to booking our next flights with the $1,000 value of Southwest travel vouchers, which seem to have no restrictions and are good for an entire year.

So thanks again Southwest for a completely unexpected treat. I can honestly say that you served up a great deal more than peanuts that night.

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card25,000 Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account
  • Earn 6,000 Bonus Points after your Cardmember Anniversary*
  • Earn unlimited points that don’t expire as long as you are a Cardmember*
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines® and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases*
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases*
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made abroad†
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions when you redeem with points*

P.S.: Current sign up bonus when you apply online is 25,000 points when you spend $1,000 in 3 months.  Check your mail and the seat back on Southwest flights, which frequently have the 50,000 point offer.

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4 Comments

  • Betty Dixon says:

    I volunteer at the gate before most Southwest flights. They appreciate not having to make the public announcement that they are oversold. I stay away from the staff and watch their efficiency getting the plane boarded. They have always rebooked me with joy when the door is closed.

    • Barbara Jones says:

      Always a great tactic. On my one of my recent flights with Southwest they were not able to get enough people to volunteer to give up their seats so the offer went from $300 to $500. If it looks like they are looking for more than one or two seats you may want to sit it out a little bit and get a better deal.

  • Todd LRoche says:

    I haven’t ever taken an airline up on staying back, but maybe I’ll consider it now that I’m retired and am usually more flexible with my travel timing. I do love my Southwest Rapid Rewards VISA (with the new chip), though and basically use it every time I buy anything. The miles I can use for my NY to Florida trips, which are more frequent these days, really grow fast! And Southwest is a great company to fly with!

    • Barbara Jones says:

      Remember to call Southwest when your annual fee is due and let them know you are thinking about canceling your credit card. We have found that Southwest will offer an additional 3,000 rapid rewards points on top of the 6,000 anniversary points but you will have to keep your card open and pay the annual fee.

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