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Thankful for Southwest

Thank you for your piece on Southwest Airlines (“Southwest Airlines has been a boon to BWI and Maryland’s economy for 25 years,” Sept. 14). My introduction to the airline was in 1998. I lived in Long Island, N.Y. and my family was in Baltimore, my hometown. Unfortunately, my mother was very ill and I had to make frequent trips back home. Luckily, Southwest had frequent service from MacArthur Airport on Long Island so I didn't have to hassle with traffic to La Guardia or worry if my car would be there on my return. I could change my flight without penalty, or even cancel it with no fee and use the fare another time. During a stressful time, the land and air crews were so helpful, pleasant and entertaining!

You can still not reserve a seat. However, many airlines now charge for seat reservations. As for food, Southwest still gives a small snack and drink on short hauls and a more substantial snack on long flights. Now there's no free lunch or dinner on other airlines flying within the United States. You even have to pay for a snack bigger than a tiny bag of pretzels. Compared to other airlines these days, Southwest's seats are roomy and comfy. The last time I flew American, from Boston to Los Angeles, I struggled to fit a small carry-on under the seat in front of me. When the passenger in front of me tilted his seat back, it was almost in my chest. My knees were about one inch from the seat in front of me — and I am 4-feet, 11-inches tall!

My only complaint about Southwest is that it cancelled many long non-stop flights from T.F. Green Airport in Rhode Island where I now live. But they do go from there to Baltimore. So after 20 years, I still love Southwest! And thanks to the airline for providing jobs and business to Baltimore.

Dr. Margo Vale, Portsmouth, R.I.

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