Southwest is finally on Google Flights, a favorite sweet spot devalues and the world’s most turbulent flights (Saturday Selection)


ANA premium awards via Virgin Atlantic devalue again, Southwest pricing is now finally displaying on Google Flights and a list of the world’s most turbulent flight routes. All that and more in this week’s Saturday Selection, our weekly round-up of interesting tidbits from other sites around the interwebs.


Virgin devalues ANA awards with no notice…again

a man sitting at a table with bottles of alcohol
Nick enjoying a top shelf whisky tasting on ANA’s The Suite. Evidently, he flew somewhere too.

During last year’s Party of 5 challenge, the whole Frequent Miler team got to fly ANA’s sought-after “The Suite” first class cabin. In fact, not only did we get to fly it, we had the entire cabin all to ourselves. This was a ridiculously fun redemption and it was made even more delicious due to the fact that Greg was able to book five seats using only 275,000 Virgin Atlantic miles, taking advantage of what was long thought of as one of the best sweet spots in points and miles. Unfortunately, it became a bit more sour just afterwards, as Virgin took a hammer to the pricing by increasing it between 30-40% overnight. Evidently, Virgin had a good time the first go-round, because this week they came back to finish what they started. In another overnight move (don’t these people sleep?), the pricing for ANA business class awards between Japan and the US went up by 16-25%, depending on route. Thrifty Traveler has the details in the linked post.

Southwest Airlines is finally showing pricing on Google Flights

a group of people making a heart with their hands
Transparency is very important in a Luving relationship

If you’ve booked a flight within the last few years, odds are you’ve used Google Flights. It’s one of our favorite tools to find airfare deals: easy to use, reliable and fast. There was always one problem however. For some time Southwest has refused to allow any online travel agencies (OTA) to access its data, in an effort to drive booking traffic to their own website. This meant that, when searching routes using Google Flights (or any other third party search engine), you might be able to see that Southwest operated on a given route, but you’d have to click through to each time in order to find out what it was charging for the flight. Not a huge deal if you only had to look at one flight, but a PIB (pain in the booty) when searching multiple routes over multiple dates. This week, in a surprising and unannounced change, Southwest prices suddenly began displaying on Google, even though they continue to be blocked from other OTAs like Expedia and Priceline. We’ve no idea why Southwest suddenly had a change of heart…maybe free Kindles for the executive team? Regardless, we LUV it.

The world’s 10 most turbulent flight routes

CULT Film Series on X: "Grab your favorite seat & get comfortable for our Leslie Nielsen double feature. Airplane! & The Naked Gun, tonight at 7pm! See you there!" / X

Easily one of the most terrifying experiences that I’ve ever had in a plane (outside of the food on domestic flights) happened to me on a United flight from Los Angeles to Beijing when I was in my early twenties. At the time, I was a bit sheepish about flying, and even light turbulence had me white-knuckling the arm rests of my seat. So, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to 13 straight hours at 35,000 feet in the ‘ole metal tube. The flight was fairly smooth for the first several hours until, somewhere over the Aleutian Islands, there was a massive jolt to the plane, followed by what felt like a several hundred foot drop in altitude, followed by another jolt, another loss of altitude, then another, then another. Folks were screaming, the oxygen masks popped out and several people who weren’t buckled in were left bleeding from injuries they sustained from hitting the ceiling of the cabin. For what felt like several minutes, but what was undoubtedly only a few seconds, I was certain that we were going to crash.

Turbulence has many causes and levels of severity, but the common denominator is that most folks don’t like it. It turns out that there’s actually a website called Turbli that provides turbulence forecasts for most flights up to 36 hours before departure, at which point it’s too late for most people to change their plans; so it essentially serves to give the turbulence-phobic some peace of mind or additional time to dread what’s coming. Either way, it’s pretty cool. Turbli also analyzes data for over 150,000 flights each year to come up with a list of the most turbulent routes in the world… and unsurprisingly, most of them are over mountains. Sam Chui shared this year’s results and it left me with one conclusion: if you live in Switzerland, stock up on Dramamine.

Spirit now lets you change and cancel flights for free?

two men sitting in a plane eating snacks
Nick and Greg celebrating Spirit’s new change fee policy in the Big Front Seat

Spirit Airlines isn’t exactly a synonym for flexibility. The airline has made a name for itself with rock-bottom pricing, draconian change policies and extra charges for everything except the air you breathe (unless you’re an elite like Greg was above and they give you a little “Boom Chicka Pop”). However, things might be changing. This week, in yet another strangely under-announced move, Spirit ended change and cancellation fees for all of its flights…even basic economy fares. The airline is still keeping the rest of its additional and myriad fees in place, so it could cost you up to $79 to carry on a bag or $200 for a seat assignment. But, if you need to cancel your flight six hours before departure, no worries. Evidently, it’s finally time to plan that snowball flight in hell.

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The heading of this article makes no sense.