Flight Review: Southwest Airlines – Memphis, TN to Chicago Midway (WN1470)

In today’s Flight review on AU Abroad, we take you on Southwest Airlines‘ service from Memphis, Tennessee to Chicago Midway in the USA.

Airline: Southwest Airlines
Route: Memphis, Tennessee (MEM) to Chicago Midway (MDW) – WN1470
Seat: 22C (aisle, 3-3 layout)
Aircraft: Boeing 737-700 (73W)

Scheduled Flight Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
On Schedule? Departed 15 minutes late, arrived about 5 minutes late

Frequent Flyer Program:

Southwest have their Rapid Rewards program, which you can use to save up points for “upgrades” which allow you to board earlier, or for free travel. I redeemed this flight on points which was an easy process online.

Check-in & Baggage:

Most of your check-in process is completed before you line up to drop your bag. Your first two checked bags are free, which is one of the most loved features of the airline, as long as they are under 50 lbs. With Southwest, however, you don’t get a seat number. Instead you get a boarding number. When your group is called, you line up in order of the number that appears on your ticket, and then you take the first seat you can. I was lucky enough to get an aisle on this flight, but that doesn’t always happen. You can pay a bit extra, or use points, to guarantee yourself a spot in the first boarding group. It’s a love it or hate it sort of system. But your boarding number generally depends on when you checked in, so the earlier you check in online the better chance you’ll have at getting the seat you want!

Meal Service:

The airline walked through with honey roasted peanuts and they had one drink service. Unlike other airlines who walk down with the cart, the stewards and stewardesses walk down and take your order for tea, coffee, water or soft drink, and then bring you down a cup of the drink later in the flight.

In-Flight Entertainment:

Make sure you download the Onboard Player app on your personal device before you board to enjoy some great on demand free TV in addition to the live TV which you can watch through your browser. There are 24 channels and 47 TV shows on demand, as well as Apple music selections, all free during your trip.


An easy flight on a typical 737-700 aircraft – and we were only in the air for 70 minutes.

Customer Service:

Southwest crew are always rather delightful, and happy to help – this flight was no exception.

About your Departure Airport:

At Memphis International Airport, Southwest leave from terminal A, but all the shopping will be found in B. Once you’re through security, however, you can walk between those areas. There’s plenty of “local flair” at the airport to enjoy: There’s an Elvis store, a Sun Records cafe and great music throughout. You’ll also find some excellent and free wi-fi from boingo throughout the terminal.

Arrival Tip:

Chicago Midway is an airport that focuses on flights to the Midwest of the United States, and is a smaller than the city’s main airport, Chicago O’Hare (which can be a bit of a nightmare). It’s also a little bit closer, about 30-40 minutes from downtown Chicago and the best way to get into town is via train, a service which Chicago knows how to get right. It costs just $3 and couldn’t be easier. It also gets you onto the city’s above ground loop, to give you your first taste of the city.

The writer flew on his own expense in July 2015.


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Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.