As part of its continued effort to go global, Southwest Airlines now offers service from several major U.S. cities to Cancun, Mexico, including nonstop service from Los Angeles, Calif.
While Southwest has always been known for their reasonable airfare rates and flexible and abundant flight schedules, the airlines jaw-dropping rate for a direct flight from LAX to Cancun was all the motivation I needed to take advantage of a last minute trip with my family that I booked less than 24 hours before I was scheduled to depart. How much you ask? My ticket was $283 roundtrip all taxes included! (I also traveled with my 2-year-old toddler on this trip, so for the two of us it was a little under $600).
Full disclosure, I was a little hesitant to take a Southwest international, because I wasn’t sure how they would compare to other airlines especially when it comes to the basic features they offer. But I’m here to report, my first and only experience with Southwest from Los Angeles to Cancun had a few ups and downs, but overall I can say it was an affordable and efficient way to travel and I'd definitely consider using their nonstop service to Cancun again.
The pros about flying to Cancun via Southwest:
The leather seats are comfortable and spacious and you get a good amount of legroom. Having been on several flights, I’d say legroom and comfort on my Southwest flight was above average. So if comfort is important to you — you’ll be pleased on this flight.
You can check in luggage for free. This is especially important to point out because any other airline will charge you for check-in baggage. The awesome check-in policy is what Southwest is known for, and when it comes to international travel, it applies here too. Your first two check-ins are absolutely free, so if you’re bride with lots to bring, Southwest is a great option that will cut down on baggage fees!
Easy check-in and flights are timely. During both legs of journey, we didn’t run into any problems with check-in or flight times. Also important to mention, there were several flights we could have chosen from when we were booking our tickets, which is a great advantage if you need flexibility. From Los Angeles, there were two non-stop flights to Cancun offered daily — one in the morning (with arrival in mid afternoon) and one in the mid afternoon (with arrival in the late evening). This gave us options if we needed them.
Great rates. Bottom line, Southwest offers unbelievable rates if you can nab them at the ‘Wanna Get Away’ rate. I’ve never flown to Cancun for such a great rate with check-in baggage fees included.
Southwest does not offer pre-assigned seating. So yes, you have to chance possibly not sitting next to people you know. The solution to this is purchasing the Early Bird check in option, which allows you to get a higher priority boarding to increase your chances on getting the seat(s) you want. This option was only $15/person for each flight, so it’s not too high a price to pay if you want a better chance of sitting where you want and choosing your neighbor.
The no-assigned seating method may also make you a bit nervous if you’re traveling with children, but after some asking around, I found out that they do allow people traveling with children 6 and under to board the flight after the A group and preferred members board — so you’ll likely be abler to sit next to your child with no problem. I also witnessed the flight staff, really work hard to keep families together once all passengers were situated.
No meals are offered for free or for purchase on Southwest flights, but they will load you up with all the drinks and snacks you can eat (chips, cookies, crackers and peanuts), which is actually a great thing compared to some other airlines that do offer food for purchase. So make sure pick up a meal at the airport or bring one from home if you like being able to eat a meal on your flight.
Wifi service is TERRIBLE on Southwest. I can only attest to my two flight to and from Mexico, but either way it was a crap shoot and mostly didn’t work. Wifi will cost you $8 for all all day pass on a single device and no matter how hard I tried to pay — I was basically like “TAKE MY MONEY!” and it never worked. So don’t rely on Wifi onboard, this is a problem I’ve read is a common occurrence in other travelers who’ve used Southwest to go international.
While Southwest does NOT offer any entertainment module on board (screens on the backs of seats in front of you or television screens above), they do offer free streaming TV and movies for purchase if you use your own device — BUT again, anything streaming on my flights was terrible. This was basically the message I saw the whole time when trying to watch their free live TV, “ Hold tight! Our Live TV is currently outside a coverage area.” There simply wasn’t a stable connection and it was quite frustrating. So I basically spent my in-flight time on my laptop catching up on work (i.e., writing up this review LOL.)
If you can get past Southwest's minor shortcomings, it’s a great and affordable option for traveling into Mexico. It all really depends on what in-flight comforts and services are important to you!
Note: My travel period from LAX to Cancun was May 29, 2017 to June 1, 2017.
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About me: I am a former BDW Bride AKA as MarieSam and I was addicted to this forum as I planned my own wedding in 2009. Since 2010, I have been the proud owner of MarieSam Sanchez Photography -- a husband and wife photography team based in Southern California and documenting love all over the world. I am also a mother to two girls, an avid traveler and a destination wedding writer/blogger.