Trip Report: Southwest Airlines Las Vegas to San Diego

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01. Introduction: San Diego to Reno on Southwest Airlines
02. Southwest Airlines San Diego to Las Vegas
03. Southwest Airlines Las Vegas to Reno
04. Two days of skiing at Heavenly / Lake Tahoe
05. Southwest Airlines Reno to Las Vegas
06. Southwest Airlines Las Vegas to San Diego

The massive crowds that we encountered upon entering the terminal at LAS had cleared out a bit by the time we were ready to board our connecting flight to SAN. It was still crazy busy at certain gates, but the good news was that it wasn’t difficult to find empty gate space for some relative peace and quiet while we waited for our flight.

WN539
Las Vegas (LAS) – San Diego (SAN)
Sunday February 23 2014
Aircraft: Boeing 737-700
Seat: 1D

Southwest Airlines 737-700 N943WN illustration

Southwest Airlines 737-700 N943WN

Interestingly enough, our flight to SAN would be departing out of the same gate that we had just flew into from RNO (C14). Since this gate was one of the busy ones, we didn’t show up until a few minutes before they started boarding, opting instead for the peace and quiet of an unused gate on the other side of the terminal.

We had pretty decent boarding positions for this flight (A59 and A60) which left me feeling confident that I’d get a good window seat. Yes, we were the very last two to board in the first group, but there would still be two full groups behind us.

Once onboard, I immediately noticed that seat 1D was open, and I took it without hesitation. This was a pretty good seat overall, with lots of legroom because of the fact that it’s a bulkhead. The only downsides were that ALL carry-ons had to go in the overhead bins (which were pretty full by the time we boarded) and there were no tray tables. If you can live with those two restrictions, it’s one of the best seats on the airplane.

seat 1d leg room on the southwest airlines 737-700

Legroom in the front row (bulkhead) on this Southwest Airlines 737-700

Southwest Airlines 737-700 at LAS

View of another Southwest Airlines 737-700 from seat 1D as we wait to push back on WN539 to SAN

We had to wait quite a bit once we taxied out to 24R, as there were many departing flights ahead of us in the queue. Hey – this is Vegas after all, with the two busiest times of the week undoubtedly being Friday nights for arrivals and Sunday afternoons for departures. We spent about 15 minutes waiting our turn in line, but I’m assuming they padded that into the schedule because the pilot kept saying we’d arrive into SAN right on time.

departure from runway 25r at LAS

Departure from LAS runway 25R with a great view of the Southwest Airlines terminal

runway 19r and 19l at las

Flying right over top of runways 19R and 19L as we rocket out of LAS

Once airborne, those of us seated on the left side of the airplane were treated to awesome views of LAS and the Las Vegas strip. It was at this point that I was thankful for choosing a seat on this side of the airplane at the last minute – because before boarding, I had intended to grab an A window seat instead. I got lucky.

Awesome view of the Las Vegas strip from the air

Awesome view of the Las Vegas strip as we depart LAS

Flight time down to SAN was a short 50 minutes, and it seemed like we started our decent just as soon as we leveled off at our cruising altitude. And like my three other Southwest Airlines flights over the last few days, drinks and snacks were served to all.

no tray tables in row 1 on southwest airlines

It’s important to note that there are no tray tables in the first row of the Southwest Airlines 737-700. You’re going to have to hold your beverage!

Arrival into San Diego was as beautiful as ever, with clear blue skies and awesome scenery to go with it:

descent into san diego

Starting our descent into San Diego

the mountains surrounding san diego

Getting closer to SAN…

green hills of san diego on approach to SAN

The dry desert gives way quickly to lush green terrain when approaching San Diego International Airport

balboa park from the air as we approach SAN

Flying directly over top of Balboa Park on approach to SAN

approaching san diego international airport

Crossing over the infamous parking garage at the end of the runway at SAN

Touch down on runway 27 was right on time just like the pilot said, and we were docked at terminal 1 within minutes.

Touchdown on runway 27 at SAN

Touchdown on runway 27 at SAN

SAN terminal 1

Inside the busy (and insanely small) terminal 1 at SAN.

Conclusion

Some people swear by Southwest Airlines and go out of their way to fly with them over anyone else. I’m not that guy. Don’t get me wrong – they are a fine airline offering a fine product and I don’t really have any real complaints about them. However, I just can’t get past not having a reserved seat assignment. I’m the type of person who likes to plan airline travel in advance as much as possible, and it irks me knowing that it’s going to be a total free-for-all once I step foot on the airplane. That’s not my style at all.

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