Discounts are always useful in whatever walk of life you are from. Fortunately, there are a lot of companies out there willing to honor the service and sacrifices made by military members on active duty (or veterans and armed forces of the military). If you are a serviceman or woman, you may find yourself needing to travel around a lot to see family or head to other bases and locations. In our opinion, every airline should offer discounts to the military, but not every airline does. Fortunately, Southwest Airlines do, further proof that they are an amazing American airline with a great reputation.
Starting from relatively humble beginnings, Southwest was founded in the 1960s and originally operated in the State of Texas. The company didn’t originally offer flights to other states but quickly grew, and in 2014 it was announced that they carry the most domestic passengers of any US airline. In 2018, the airline operates flights to over 100 destinations across forty different states and even flights to other countries such as the Caribbean and Mexico. It is the domestic flights that the company is known for and these make up the majority of the opportunities for military members to save money with a military discount.
Southwest’s military tickets are not available through their website or through other online flight booking websites. The extremely helpful staff at Southwest (who has won awards for being a happy workplace) will be able to help via their helpline. The number to speak to someone about getting the best deal you can, and for any questions about exactly what they offer and what percentage discounts you can hope for is 800-I-FLY-SWA. The company’s reputation for friendliness means you’ll be welcomed by someone more than willing to assist.
There are certain details about the scheme which you should know. These are similar to most other airlines that offer similar money-saving schemes for the military. Their fares are on offer for military currently on active duty as well as any dependents they might have. The discounts will even apply if the member of the military is not traveling with them. The discounts are normally applied not just while they are on active service but up to seven days after they have been discharged from service too.
These discounts aren’t available on every flight. The company offers a lot of different loyalty and money-saving schemes which can help you to save money. Some of these are even cheaper than the Military fares, but the staff member you speak to will be able to help you with this. Military discounts are available on roughly 3/4 of their flights, which varies from time to time. You can book flights just a couple of days before you need to take them and many will still be offering these cheaper fares.
Naturally, you will need to provide proof of your identification in order to claim these discounts. The easiest way is a US Uniformed Services ID Card, but you can also use a discharge order, which you will be asked for at the airline’s desk at the airport or when you check in. If you are using it after your discharge, your ID and a privilege card which has been marked as ‘active’ are needed as your proof that you are eligible.
Another brilliant thing about Southwest is that up to three dependents can also make use of your discount whether they are traveling with you or not. You can fly your family out to see you for instance and be able to get the best fees for them. On top of this, if you are traveling because you are changing station, you can have additional bags and luggage with you. Luggage that would normally be charged as over your allocated size or weight will often be allowed to go with you for free. It is worth checking with their 800 number before making use of this scheme.
Other brilliant schemes offered to everyone by Southwest airlines include Rapid Rewards, which is a points-based way to collect and redeem offers on future tickets. This is among the best loyalty schemes offered by any US airline and members don’t have any ineligible dates or restrictions on seats when using their Rapid Rewards card. Discuss what can be done with their reps to see if you can either use your credits or build credits when using your military benefits on these flights. Rapid Rewards is free to join and as you can see from their website there is even a credit card that can be linked to your account. From time to time, the brand also offers special promotions and double point rewards on flights.
Southwest Airlines is a modern and forward-thinking company and even offers an iPhone and Android app. This makes it super easy to check in and keep track of flight times. You can book flights from the app ordinarily but these won’t apply your military discount so it is worth calling the 800 number to make sure you have got the best price. You don’t always have to download the app, and the company website is also very simple to use and keeps up-to-date information about your flights.
Southwest’s military dedication can’t be questioned. They are the official airline of Honor Flights which is a program and not-for-profit organization which is designed to help aging war veterans to visit monuments for the wars they fought such as the Washington DC monuments.
There is a reason that Southwest Airlines has such a great reputation. Their well-maintained fleet (mainly consisting of 737 planes) along with helpful staff and a great record of on-time flights means that you’re very unlikely to be let down by Southwest. On top of this, the company has done the right thing by American citizens and ensured that service men and women are treated properly and rewarded for the sacrifices they have made for their country. Military personnel often need to travel around and having airlines that make this that extra bit more affordable is very helpful.