Which Is Better Between American Airlines and Southwest?

Struggling to decide between American Airlines and Southwest for your next trip? You’re not alone. Every traveler wants to ensure they’re getting the best bang for their buck, and with so many factors to consider, it’s not always an easy decision.

Both airlines have their strengths and weaknesses, and what’s best for one person might not be the best for another. It all comes down to what’s most important to you. Is it cost? Comfort? Convenience? Let’s jump into the details and help you make your decision.

Cost Comparison

In the heated discussion of American Airlines vs Southwest, one key consideration is invariably the cost. Are you more concerned with lower ticket prices or minimizing additional fees? Your answer could tip the balance.

When it comes to ticket prices, let’s look at some numbers. Based on data collected over six months, the average cost of a Southwest Airlines ticket tends to be lower than American Airlines.

Airline Average Cost
American Airlines $303
Southwest $264

Don’t pop the champagne just yet. Southwest may have an upper hand in basic ticket pricing, but consider the extras. When factoring in fees for checked-in bags, American Airlines becomes the more budget friendly option for those who travel heavy.

Airline Baggage Fee
American Airlines $30 per luggage
Southwest Included in ticket

There’s one more layer to this financial cake: flight change fees. In the past, Southwest would have won hands-ons down, being the only major airline to not charge for flight changes. But, American Airlines recently eliminated their change fees. Making both airlines stiff competitors in the ring of flexibility.

All this data shows you must carefully consider your travel needs. Are you traveling light or hitting the road with little more than your backpack? Southwest might be your golden ticket. Yet, if you’re going to lug a heavy suitcase, the cost scales might tilt favorably towards American Airlines.

Navigating through these costs and fees can be a tricky landscape. That’s why, in the following section of this guide, we’re going to dive deeper into both airlines’ amenities and comfort. Because when it comes to travel, it’s not just about the cost, it’s also about the journey.

Comfort and Amenities

When it comes to a comfortable journey, both American Airlines and Southwest have their unique offerings. But what does comfort mean to you? Is it about the legroom, or does it revolve around inflight services?

American Airlines offers a more traditional airline experience with a range of service classes, including Coach, Business, and First classes. If you’re flying for business and want to use your time onboard, the Business and First classes come with larger personal space, fully reclining seats, and personal entertainment systems. But, remember, these come at a higher fare.

On the other hand, Southwest adopts a different approach. To keep prices competitive, they offer only one service class. There’s no first class magic here, but don’t assume you’re not in for a comfy experience. Even though the absence of a luxurious segment, Southwest doesn’t compromise on giving a pleasant journey. What stands out about Southwest is their open-seating plan. Instead of a pre-assigned seat, you have the liberty to choose your seat after boarding. So if you’re the early bird type, you could snag a window or aisle spot!

Let the amenities game begin. Southwest offers free inflight entertainment. You can use your own device to stream a catalog of movies, live TV, and music. On the downside, WiFi purchase is necessary for Internet access.

How does American Airlines fare on the entertainment front? Their offering comprises seatback screens and wireless streaming to your device, replete with tons of entertainment choices from movies, TV shows to music channels. But note, WiFi is an additional cost on domestic flights.

How about complimentary snacks while enjoying those entertainment choices? American Airlines provides them on all flights, while Southwest offers a package of snacks and non-alcoholic beverages, but the availability can vary depending on the flight duration.

In the end, comfort and amenities come down to your preference. So, before booking, answer this question, are you one for a no-frills, cost-effective ride, or a journey wrapped in plush seating and fancy inflight amenities? The answer will guide you towards either American Airlines or Southwest. Or perhaps, to trying both! The next section will investigate into the reliability of services, and how each airline fares in that aspect.

Flight Routes and Destinations

When deciding between Southwest and American Airlines, Flight Routes and Destinations also factor into your decision. You’ll want an airline that serves your desired destinations and offers convenient routes and schedules. So, let’s immerse to see what each has to offer in this aspect.

American Airlines earns heavy points here as it’s ranked as the world’s largest airline in terms of fleet size and destinations served. Serving over 350 destinations in more than 50 countries, it presents a plethora of options for both domestic and international travel, giving you a world of possibilities. It is particularly known for its strong presence in the U.S., South America, and the Caribbean.

On the other hand, Southwest, while predominantly a domestic carrier, has been steadily expanding its international service. Currently, it serves more than 100 destinations, most of them within the United States, including major cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York. Also, it also operates non-stop flights to Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.

Below is a comparative look at the number of destinations served by both:

  Number of Destinations
American Airlines Over 350
Southwest Airlines Over 100

Both airlines offer a wide range of flight times, making it easier for you to find a convenient option regardless of your schedule.

If your trip involves multiple destinations, you might want to consider American Airlines given its vast network. On the other hand, for local trips within the U.S., either airline should satisfy your needs.

Next up, we investigate into the rewards program offered by each airline, a significant factor for frequent flyers.

Customer Service and Satisfaction

Delving into the realm of customer service and satisfaction, Southwest Airlines is acclaimed for its top-notch customer service, often going above and beyond to ensure passenger satisfaction. This includes providing remarkable in-flight service and handling complaints professionally and effectively, which is reflected in their consistently high ratings for customer satisfaction.

In contrast, although American Airlines is a global airline giant, it’s often criticized for its inconsistent customer service. While some passengers laud their service, others express dissatisfaction, citing reasons such as unsatisfactory responses to complaints and issues with flight delays. There’s room for improvement in this regard. But, they offer a wider range of in-flight amenities compared to Southwest.

In the realm of customer service and satisfaction, Southwest holds the advantage. Their commitment to customer satisfaction shines through, and they’ve received several awards attesting to their success in this area. In comparison, customer satisfaction is an aspect on which American Airlines needs to focus more.

Meanwhile, consider the kind of service you wish to have during your travel.

If you value a consistent, all-round good experience, Southwest is the way to go. In contrast, if you’re not too bothered about the occasional blip and would prefer a broader range of in-flight amenities and global coverage, American Airlines could be the preferred option.

It’s essential to consider your preferences and what matters most to you in an airline service. Both Southwest and American Airlines have their strengths and areas where they can improve.


Your choice between American Airlines and Southwest depends on what you value most. If top-notch customer service and satisfaction are your priorities, Southwest is your go-to airline. But if a wider range of in-flight amenities is what you’re after, you might find American Airlines more suitable. Each airline has its own strengths and areas for improvement. So, it’s up to you to decide which airline fits your needs best. Remember, the best airline for you is the one that meets your specific travel needs and preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: How does Southwest Airlines’ customer service compare to that of American Airlines?

Southwest Airlines is renowned for its exceptional customer service and high customer satisfaction ratings. American Airlines, in contrast, has received criticisms for inconsistent customer service, despite offering more extensive in-flight amenities.

Q2: What aspects of airline service does American Airlines excel in?

American Airlines stands out for its wide range of in-flight amenities, offering more options than Southwest Airlines.

Q3: What is the primary area where American Airlines needs improvement?

The main area where American Airlines needs work is its customer service, which has been reported to be inconsistent.

Q4: What is the major strength of Southwest Airlines?

Southwest’s most significant strength lies in its customer service and satisfaction ratings, which are consistently higher than most other airlines.

Q5: What factors should consumers consider when choosing an airline?

Consumers should consider their personal preferences and what they value most in an airline service, as different airlines excel in different areas. These could include in-flight amenities, customer service, and satisfaction ratings.

Q6: Do both airlines have areas for improvement?

Yes, both airlines have areas that they can work on. Southwest could offer more in-flight amenities, while American Airlines needs to improve its customer service.

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