I hadn't flown in several years and admittedly was a bit stressed about it with all the new rules one has to follow. The ticketing process was easy online and after a friend recommended I pay extra for the early check-in online that Southwest offers, we ended up boarding in the first group and getting good seats.
The TSA protocols were easy. I have read nightmare stories and I'm sure they have happened and continue at some level but we had absolutely no problems. Even when I forgot and left a water bottle in my carry-on backpack. Everyone I encountered was helpful, friendly, and made our trip out and mine back very easy.
I enjoyed Southwest. The flights were reasonably priced, two bags flew free, they allowed two carry-on pieces as well, and although the seating is as cramped as it was the last time I flew, fellow passengers were easygoing and friendly with one exception (and thankfully that presented food for observation and not something I had to personally deal with).
We flew into San Francisco International airport and that one was the most challenging, mostly because the rental car line was long and slow and there were issues (which later got resolved when I tweeted about them) with pricing.
I flew home out of Burbank, which was as easy and delightful as I remember it. Boarding still happens in the open air, which I love, instead of through tunnels that attach to the plane.
I also learned when picking my son up out of our local RDU airport that there's a very easy to navigate route from our house that involves no traffic. The RDU gates were easy and I was allowed to sit parked at the curb while waiting for my son, even when his flight was delayed. Making things easy for both passengers and family/friends who are dropping off or picking up seems more of a priority in the smaller airports.
The trip was wonderful but it was so good to see the lush, green landscape of North Carolina when the plane began its descent. There's no place like home!