Southwest Airlines review: PHX to SFO on a well-used (uh, “mature”) 737-700

SANspotter Southwest Airlines review

What’s this? Is this really the second Southwest Airlines review from SANspotter in less than a month? What the heck happened to the steady stream of international business class and premium economy reviews that I used to post? Well, as we all know, 2020 happened.

The crazy thing is that all-new reviews of Southwest Airlines (that nobody wants to read) won’t end after this post. I’ve still got one more to put together after this one, and…my apologies in advance. I can’t promise anything, but my hope is that 2021 brings a wider variety of airline reviews and trip reports back to the SANspotter blog.

WN1807
Phoenix, AZ (PHX) – San Francisco, CA (SFO)
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Aircraft: 737-705
Registration: N762SW
Duration: 1 hour 57 minutes
Seat: 18A (Business Select)

Southwest Airlines 737-700 side profile
Southwest Airlines 737-700 side view illustration by Norebbo.com
WN1807 flight track
Our route from Phoenix to San Francisco today as WN1807. Kinda neat that we got to buzz LA on the way up!

My finest Southwest Airlines review video ever (as if that really means anything)

As much belly-aching as I just did in the intro about posting yet another lame Southwest Airlines review, I have a confession to make: the video that I made to document this flight was actually one of my best ever IMHO. Everything just seemed to flow really nicely, and I didn’t struggle at all when putting it all together.

As you’ll see below, this was actually a fairly decent flight. Yeah, it was short and boring, but it forced me to get creative. Putting all the footage together was easier than I thought it was going to be and I was quite pleased with the results. Why doesn’t happen for all my videos?

Anyway, if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you should already know where I got the music for this video. Yep, it’s Epidemic Sound (as usual). They’ve got music for pretty much any type of video! Including boring Southwest Airlines trip reports.

Full transcript of the video: complete with loads and loads of pics (and bonus content too!)

As a reminder, this Southwest Airlines review picks up immediately where my other one (the San Diego to Phoenix segment) left off. Let’s pick things up here in terminal 4 at PHX immediately after deplaning from that flight:

Southwest Airlines terminal C PHX
Apparently the news of the Coronavirus pandemic hasn’t yet reached Phoenix. What do you think? Should I tell them?
SANspotter selfie PHX
I know. I DO realize that I’m part of the problem by being here. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all?

Those of you who have been following me for the past few years know that me and good ideas mix together like oil and water. This is typical, to say the least.

PHX airport hand sanitizer
No matter though. There is plenty of hand sanitizer available, and I’m not afraid to use it.
Southwest Airlines 737 PHX
If you read my last review, you’ll know that I’m headed up to San Francisco today on Southwest Airlines. Which wouldn’t seem so odd if I hadn’t started the day in San Diego.
SANspotter selfie phoenix sky harbor airport
And before anyone tells me that Phoenix is not the shortest way to get to San Francisco from San Diego…I don’t care.
SANspotter Southwest Airlines review
It had been 8 months since my last trip, and voluntarily going hundreds of miles in the wrong direction seemed like a perfectly fine idea.

A few words about Terminal 4 at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport

This is the first time that I have ever been inside of this particular terminal, and I’ve got to say that it was exactly what I was expecting. It was crowded, noisy, and it looked like it hadn’t been updated since 1995 or so.

PHX airport food
Spoiler alert: not only does the Coronavirus not exist in the Phoenix airport, neither do Camden Food Co Healthwhiches.
PHX airport southwest airlines terminal
Why did I chose to connect through Phoenix again?
SANspotter selfie terminal 4 PHX
Because I’m a gigantic nerd with a YouTube channel that needs content, that’s why. By the way, how about a round of applause for successfully finding a place to social distance here in terminal 4?

The boarding process for flight number 1807 to San Francisco

Due to the fact that the Coronavirus pandemic was in full swing at the time of this flight, I was a bit uneasy with the massive crowds. There were people everywhere. Some not even wearing masks. I like Phoenix and all, but I couldn’t wait to get out of there.

Gate C7 PHX airport
My sincerest apologies to any germaphobes out there who may be feeling a panic attack coming on by watching this. I’m totally with you, and I wasted no time in being “that guy” in order to avoid it.
Southwest Airlines mobile boarding pass
You know. The guy who was waving his boarding pass at the scanner just as the gate agent was reaching for the microphone to make the general boarding announcement.
PHX airport jet bridge inside
I couldn’t tell if she was rolling her eyes because I seemed impatient…or because I connected through Phoenix on the way to San Francisco.

My first impressions of the Southwest Airlines 737-700 interior

Again, this wasn’t my first time on one of these old Southwest Airlines 737s. More than anything, I was mostly looking forward to seeing if they had upgraded the old “baby shit brown” interiors to something more…uh…clean looking. And not so shitty.

Southwest Airlines 737-700 boarding door
It’s been a while since I was last on a Southwest Airlines 737-700, and even from here at the boarding door, I can already tell that not much has changed.
Southwest Airlines 737-700 updated interior
“404 Baby Shit Brown seat color not found” (Woo hoo!)
Southwest Airlines crew member
The moment that the cabin crew identifies you as a gigantic airplane nerd.
Southwest Airlines 737-700 leg room
The leg room in row 18. It’s probably just as good in every other row.
SANspotter selfie 737-700
Oh. And here’s a not-so-subtle reminder for you to smash that “Like” button if you haven’t done so already. Thanks!
SANspotter selfie 737-700 interior
Interesting. I had forgotten what 2010 was like, so this was a nice blast from the past.
Southwest Airlines 737-700 overhead bins
Seriously though, the interiors of these Southwest Airlines 737-700s are getting a little old and worn out.
Southwest Airlines 737-700 review
While better than they used to be, they are nothing like the new interiors on their 737-800s.
Southwest Airlines 737-700 seats
Window seat just behind the wing secured, and…I’m ready.
Southwest Airlines Review PHX-SFO
I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to make a review about a generic Southwest Airlines flight from Phoenix to San Francisco interesting, but I’m ready for some action!

**several seconds go by**

Southwest Airlines 737-700 seat back
Why isn’t anything happening?
SANspotter Southwest Airlines
Unfortunately, there was no action located in the seat back pocket in front of me.
Southwest Airlines 737-700 safety card
Unless you like Southwest Airlines 737-700 safety cards, that is.
Southwest Airlines 737-700 safety card inside
Sorry. This is as about as exciting as it gets for a Southwest Airlines review.

The departure sequence

I’ve got to hand it to Southwest Airlines. For as crowded as it was in the main terminal, they did a fantastic job of getting everyone on the plane and out of there on schedule. I may complain a lot about this airline, but I do have to give them credit for running a really smooth operation.

PHX terminal 4
Here’s a nice view of Terminal 4 after pushback.
737-700 engine startup
Oh. And the engine is on fire.
Southwest Airlines blocked middle seat
Flying time up to San Francisco is going to be a short 1 hour and 30 minutes, and thanks to the generous Southwest Airlines seat blocking policy currently in place due to the pandemic, I’ve got an entire row to myself This may not be an exciting flight, but it sure will be comfortable.

By the way, did you know I have a second YouTube channel with unedited takeoff footage? I know that some of you enjoy that stuff more than the actual review itself, so here is the full takeoff out of PHX on runway 7L today:

What was the cabin service like?

If I haven’t already mentioned it, I was technically flying Business Select for this segment, since it was a tag-on from the previous segment from San Diego to Phoenix. Be sure to read that particular Southwest Airlines Business Select review to get a better sense of all the perks you get with it.

SANspotter and AirPods Pro
Alright. Here we go. I’ve got my window seat, my AirPods (FYI, AirPods Pro work great on an airplane!), some good music, and of course…
dropped my GoPro camera
…a bad habit of sacrificing my GoPro camera in order to get the shot.
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SANspotter reviews Southwest Airlines
How exactly do you say that the Southwest Airlines 737-700 interior sucks without coming right out and saying it? I swear to god it’s a miracle that I haven’t been banned by any airlines yet.
Southwest airlines snack mix bag
So yeah. It’s snack time. It should be no surprise that this is identical to the snack that I got on the flight over from San Diego.
limited snack Southwest Airlines
Cabin service has been extremely limited due to the pandemic, and I guess we need to be thankful that they’re dolling out any food at all.
Southwest Airlines drinks
And considering that I usually drink water in international business class anyway, I’m feeling right at home.
Southwest Airlines yellow snack mix bag
You know, as I sit here thinking of something to say about this pic, I’m SO disappointed in myself for not counting how many individual pieces were in this bag of snack mix.
Southwest Airlines PHX-SFO review
I KNEW that it was going to be a challenge to make this a Southwest Airlines review to remember, and I blew it. I’m sorry.
Southwest Airlines 737-700 lavatory
In an effort to redeem myself, I decided to go big for the loo review. There’s lots to see here, so hang on and prepare yourself for what I’m about to show you.
Southwest Airlines 737-700 bathroom
And yes, I literally mean “hang on” because I can’t promise that you won’t feel an overwhelming urge to puke from all the spinning and twirling I had to do in the video to capture it all.
Southwest Airlines 737-700 loo review
I blew it. I’m sorry.
Southwest Airlines snack service
30 minutes to go now and I’m still working on my snack. I’m also thinking about something redeeming to say about this interior.
Southwest Airlines interior
Honestly, it’s not that bad. The problem is that I got to experience the all new Southwest Airlines interior on the flight over from San Diego earlier today, and that was so much nicer than this. So much for a redeeming comment I guess. I blew it. I’m sorry.
Southwest Airlines under seat space
Here’s an angle that most people don’t see very often on airplanes. I attempted it thinking that it might help me find something good to say about this old interior, but – I can’t decide if this is extremely disgusting or…one of my most creative clips ever.

The arrival into San Francisco

According to my flight log, SFO is one of my most frequently-visited airports in the entire world. I know this place like the back of my hand. As just as how I don’t like to go very long without looking at my hands, it was nice to see this airport again. Damn you Coronavirus!

view when flying into San Francisco
You might think that after 8 months of being grounded, I wouldn’t be able to get enough of incredible views like this. That wasn’t entirely the case.
SANspotter mobile phone
Does anyone have a phone number to a good therapist who can ween me of my mobile phone addiction? Thanks.
Arrival into 28R SFO
I love this approach, and I can’t wait until the day that Neil from the Moments In The Sky YouTube channel uploads a video narrating his arrival into 28R in only the way he can.
SFO approach view
Seriously. He has one of the best narration voices in all of YouTube, and my life will be complete when I hear him describe this Martian-like landscape in his butter smooth British accent. Seriously. Neil could make a bad case of runs sound suave and sophisticated.
Terminal 1 SFO
Oh heck yes. Looks like we’re pulling up to the brand newTerminal 1 here at SFO – which is something I’ve very much been looking forward to seeing.
sanspotter southwest 737-700 interior
Welcome to San Francisco! That pretty much wraps up this review.
sanspotter carry on bag
Hope you enjoyed it! By the way, have you ever wondered what’s in my carry on bag (besides the dirty underwear of course)?
Southwest Airlines 737-300 deplaning
Apparently these people wanted nothing at all to do with me or my dirty underwear (and I don’t blame them).
SFO jet bridge
And for the record, no, I was not chasing them up the jet bridge while waiving said dirty skivvies in the air or anything…
Arriving flight from PHX
…It’s just that I ran out of things to say 3 pics ago and I couldn’t let go of the dirty underwear thing. I blew it. I’m sorry.

Pros and cons of the Southwest Airlines 737-700 experience

The last time I was on a Southwest Airlines 737-700 was from Las Vegas to San Diego back in 2017. The time before that was on a flight from San Diego to Las Vegas in 2014. And although that might make it seem like I fly to Vegas a lot, I do feel it necessary to clarify that those were the last two times I’ve been there. So don’t get any silly ideas in your head.

Anyway, the purpose of this section is to tell you all about the Southwest Airlines 737-700. More specifically, all the good points and bad points. And to get even more specific than that, I really mean the pros and the cons. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could just get to the point?

Pros

  • For as old as some of these Southwest Airlines 737-700 are getting, they’ve been very well maintained.
  • The seats on the particular aircraft that I was on were brand new, although they weren’t as nice as the seats I had just experienced on one of their 737-800s from San Diego to Phoenix several hours earlier.
  • In terms of cabin service, it was typical Southwest Airlines (although slightly abbreviated due to the pandemic). The cabin crew was helpful and attentive, as usual, but we didn’t get much in terms of snacks. They did what they could with what they had, so I guess I really can’t complain about that.
  • The nice thing about the 737-700 is that it’s a smaller aircraft compared to the -800. This means less people on board, and a slightly more intimate experience.
  • It also means a faster boarding times in deplaning times. Unless you’re a truly hard-core aviation geek, what fun is it to have to wait for everybody else to stow and retrieve their oversized carryon luggage?

Cons

  • The -700s are some of the oldest aircraft in the Southwest Airlines fleet. Although the seats were fairly new on this particular aircraft, the walls and lavatories were showing their age.
  • Remember what I was saying a moment ago about how “intimate” the smaller -700 is? Well, the downside of that is a more densely packed airplane (with less room to spread out).

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