Why I love flying Southwest Airlines

We are fortunate in the Northeast Ohio to have two large airports within a 45 minute drive.  I can drive to the Canton-Akron airport within about 20 minutes and to the Cleveland Airport in about 45 minutes (with no traffic).  With these two airports our selection of airlines is quite extensive, however I love flying on Southwest Airlines.

  1. No Frills Flying–  Southwest airlines are able to keep their flights relatively inexpensive because of the lack of frills.  There is no first class and coach option on these airlines.  You get your snack and your drink and that’s it.  Personally for me, I am all about saving a few bucks rather than a bunch of perks that I don’t need.
  2. Direct Flights to Orlando daily- Every day from our nearest airport there are direct flights to and from Orlando!   It’s great when you can catch those too!  It’s so nice being able to have an 2 1/2 hour flight straight to Orlando without having to deal with layovers. If the time isn’t convenient there are usually other flights offered with a connecting flight in Atlanta.  It’s slightly more inconvenient, but at least you’re heading in the right direction!
  3. Two Free Checked Bags- Yes you heard right, with Southwest Airlines you get two free checked bags plus a carry on per each ticket.  When traveling to Disney, it’s wonderful to pack an extra bag for the return home for souvenirs!  I sometimes buy some more fragile items, and it’s nice to have that extra bag on the way home to pack them up safely, and not have to pay for that extra bag!
  4. Great for families with children- While I myself don’t have children, I can imagine there is a bit of anxiety associated with flying with younger kids. If you’re traveling with younger children you get better boarding.  You may not necessarily get first pick at seats because they will board the A group first (generally the business select group) but you will get to board before the B group.  This will allow you to make sure your family can sit together during the flight.Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 9.37.45 AMThe above picture is a screen shot of the rules about boarding as a family.
  5. No Change Fee– If for some reason you need to reschedule your flight or change flights there is no fee to change.  You simply pay the difference, or get the difference back.  This happened to me a few years ago.  I had to reschedule my Disney vacation because of an unforeseen conflict.  I was able to do so with EASE because of Southwests simplicity and lack of fees.
  6. Fuel Perks– If you are in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, or Maryland you may have a Giant Eagle near by.  If you do, chances are you already know about their fuel perks program.   If you’re unfamiliar, fuel perks rewards you for shopping at Giant Eagle stores.  For every $50 you spend on groceries or gift cards you’ll receive $.10 in fuel perks (which means 10 cents off per gallon up to 30 gallons at GetGo stations.)  So let’s say you are a family of 4 purchasing round trip airfare and it’ll cost $950.00.  Purchase the Southwest gift cards for that amount and you’re looking at $1.90 in fuel perks.  $1.90 x 30 gallons = $57.00 in free gasoline.  PLUS sometimes they will run specials where you get double fuel perks on gift cards, so you could be looking at saving even more!  ***Be warned though, southwest only accepts 4 forms of payment per transaction, so if you’re purchasing gift cards make sure that you get the ones where you can preload up to $500 on the card to ensure that you can do it all on one transaction!***

 

  1. Etihad 777 flight

If you’re making the trip to Disney or any location, be sure to contact Ashley@charmingtravelsllc.com to book your travel needs!  Ashley is able to book cruises, hotel rooms, all inclusive packages, and of course all of your central Florida attractions!

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Reflections of Vacation + Tuesday’s Tips

Good Morning Mouskaholics,

First of all, I wanted to thank you my readers for following me on my journey to Disney this past week.  Craig and I had a wonderful time.  Today will be a short post, mostly because I’m exhausted and will need time to collect my thoughts and topics from this past week!

So first, here is Tuesday’s Tip-

When saving for your Disney vacation, find a way to get Disney gift cards for your trip.  Around here, Giant Eagle offers fuel perks, and if you watch carefully you can get double fuel perks or even grocery bonus coupons for purchasing your gift card.  We saved close to $400.00 in gas and an additional $120.00 in groceries by purchasing gift cards from Giant Eagle.  If you don’t have a Giant Eagle around, check out Sam’s Club.  They don’t offer the bonus fuel, but you can save a few bucks on each gift card.  They sell a $50.00 gift card for $48.88.  Not a huge savings, but if you’re paying for your entire trip with gift cards (which you can on the disney website) or taking spending $$$  that can save you quite a bit.  Let’s say you purchase $1200.00 in gift cards to pay for your vacation.  With the gift cards you’re only paying $1173.12.  That’s 27 bucks back in your pocket.  If you take an additional $500.00 for spending money, that’s another $11 in savings.  I believe that fuel perks are definitely the way to go, but if they don’t offer a deal like that near you, then check out Sam’s club for the savings!

Additional gift card info you should know-  If you’re staying on Disney Property they set up your magic bands with charging privileges.  You link a credit card to your account and you essentially can charge anything that you purchase back to your room.  Even if you charge items back to your room, you can still use your gift cards!  Even though it’s linked to a credit card, they don’t have the charges go through automatically.  The concierge at the hotel told me that if you get past a $500.00 limit they will then charge the card.  If you stay under $500, it will not charge it until midnight the night before you check out.  So every two days or so, I would stop down at the front desk with my gift cards and they would apply those to the balance vs. charging my credit card!  It was much easier than carrying a bunch of gift cards around the park and trying to pay with them!

Reflections from my trip-

I will be brief here.

1) I pre-blogged last week, and posted my itineraries as they stood before we left.  I took two afternoons and posted all of my blogs before we even left and then scheduled them to post while I as gone. (Just in case anyone was wondering how in the world I had time to blog while I was at Disney).

2) There were days that didn’t go exactly as planned and that’s okay.  Being flexible is something you have to do while on a Disney trip.  Your fastpass may have to be used later because of weather, you may not be able to go swimming when you’re at the resort because of lightning, you may need to pick an attraction that you wouldn’t normally do because it’s hot out and you just need to sit in the A/C for a moment!

3) I have learned that going at this very hot time of year, it is absolutely necessary for me to go back to the resort and get a break from the parks.  There was a time in my youth where I could hit early extra magic hours in the morning a park and stay through closing time.  At 30 years old, that is not the case.  I need a break.  If you have kids I bet they need a break too!

4) The next vacation I plan will absolutely NOT have 6 park days back to back.  I need a break in between parks.  At most, I will plan 2 days of parks in a row, and then a break.  Break days are great for either swimming at the resort or a water park, and shopping at Downtown Disney.  I had a GREAT time on my vacation, but I am exhausted.  This could have been a much more relaxing trip had we even done 1 less day in the parks and taken a day off to recoup.