For people that are new to Southwest Airlines they often ask if Southwest has an equivalent of business class or first class. For a seasoned Southwest traveler that may seem like a dumb question, but I get traffic on my web site every day with people asking that exact question.
Does Southwest have business class or first class? No.
Remember, once onboard a Southwest plane every one on the plane is equal. There aren’t a handful of seats at the front of the plane filled with the elites. All the seats are roughly the same with some small differences around exit rows, bulk heads, and the back of the plane. It’s true the people with status are probably sitting up front, but not always.
What is Business Select though?
Business Select is Southwest’s top fare aimed at business travelers. While it is the most expensive fare, it is only usually $22 more than the refundable fare. Whereas a first class or business class ticket on another airline can cost hundreds if not thousands more.
What does Business Select get you? You’ll be one of the first on the plane with a position of A1 – A15, you’ll get the most rapid rewards points possible for the flight, and you’ll get a free drink coupon for that flight. You’re one of the first people on the plane and that is nice. Keep in mind though that you still board after the pre-boarders. Some flights will also have passengers from a previous stop as well. Still you get to board before everyone else after that so if you are picky about where you sit, Business Select is for you.
Is Business Select worth it? Depends on the flight. If you can get someone else to pay for it, absolutely. Business Select is usually reasonable for those flying on short regional flights at the last minute.
On longer flights such as Dallas to La Guardia, the Wanna Get Away fares don’t get booked up as fast on last minute flights. That means the price difference between Wanna Get Away and Anytime / Business Select might be a few hundred dollars each way. That’s usually hard to justify.
When it comes to points, you get double the amount per dollar (12 points versus 6 points). Couple that with the higher fare and you will get a huge number of points for each Business Select flight you take. No other airline can compare to this.
Note, if you don’t use your drink coupon on that flight, you can usually get away with using it on another flight. This is a good use for those drink coupons you get from those 6 am flights on the way to see a client. It means you can double-up on the way home.
Hopefully that explains how Business Select works on Southwest. If you still have questions about flying on Southwest, be sure and read my Beginner’s Guide to flying Southwest.