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A MESSAGE FROM OUR CEO - OPEN SEASON ON ASSIGNED SEATING

gkelly1
Not applicable

I’m new to this whole blogosphere thing but I have really enjoyed reading all of the comments and am humbled that so many people are as enthusiastic and nuts about Southwest as we are.

I wanted to address some of the recent comments about Southwest’s seating policy. There’s been quite a bit of buzz both in the media and on this blog about our current open seating policy and my recent comments (at Shareholder’s Day on May 17) about our consideration of changing to assigned seating in the future. So, as the saying goes, here’s the scoop “straight from the horse’s mouth.”

At Southwest, quick, efficient operations and our desire to give the Customer what they want have been the keys to our 35 years of success. Everything we do at Southwest takes into account maintaining the delicate balance between operational efficiency and providing the Positively Outrageous Service that our Customers have come to expect from Southwest. One of the most common requests for change from our Customers is to add assigned seating. Obviously, many of our current Customers enjoy the open seating, so it’s not a unanimous request. However, we do listen intently to our Customers and do our best to give them what they want so it only makes sense to extensively research and evaluate this possibility.

Open seating has allowed us to build a highly efficient operation by keeping the time our aircraft are sitting at our gate to a minimum. Aircraft on the ground don’t make money! But it’s no secret that all airlines – even Southwest – are facing extensive cost pressures due to the rising price of fuel and we have to find ways to generate additional revenue.

Our Customer Service technology has evolved to the point that assigning seats may prove to be an efficient way for Southwest to board the aircraft. Our computer reservation system is undergoing an upgrade and, while we are in the “remodeling” effort, we are adding the technical capability to assign seats. This does not mean we will; rather, it means we will be prepared to assign seats, if we so choose.

We are currently conducting extensive research and if our research and testing (which some of you may be involved with) proves that we can bring in more Customers (without alienating our existing Customers) and increase overall Customer satisfaction, but at the same time not increase our boarding times or our costs, then I don’t see a reason not to do it. I haven’t given any time frame – just that it won’t happen next year.

I know that several of you have commented that you don’t want the current seating policy to go away because you see it as a part of what makes Southwest “Southwest,” but I’ll remind you that many people felt the same way when we transitioned from plastic boarding cards to electronic boarding cards. Things change and we can’t ignore that fact. One thing that will never change, however, is our dedication to you – our Customer – and we will always make decisions with your best interests in mind.

So, stay tuned…we promise to keep you informed of this and all of the changes at Southwest. And keep telling us what you want, we LUV hearing from you and we appreciate your business!

655 Comments
Michael12
Not applicable
I am very glad Southwest came to Denver, but we will not fly any airline with cattle call boarding ever again, unless it is MUCH cheaper than the other options. Traveling can be stressful enough anymore, we don't need the extra stress of rushing to try to get good seat together. It is obvious that the loyal Southwest flyers are the ones that like the current system and also that they are the only ones who post here, so I doubt this is a true picture of what the average person likes but it is a good picture of what your loyal flyers like. I understand why some people would like the existing system, but for us it makes Southwest the LAST airline we would choose for a flight.
David1111
Not applicable
Start assigning seating now!! Get rid of the ridiculous cattle-car system that you now operate. If you continue not assigning seats, you will remain the least desirable airline. As it is now, NO ONE wants to fly your cattle car airline. Assigning seats and boarding aircraft in a humane, courteous manner will NOT add any time to your time on the ground. Do the right thing; assign seats.
Don1
Not applicable
Don't change your open seating policy! That is one reason we fly SWA 100% of the time if we can. Too many airlines that have seat assignments won't assign them until you arrive at the airport. Only on a recent trip to Hawaii did Hawaiian Airlines assign a seat at the time of booking. We like to pick who we sit next to. Mainly not screaming kids and people coughing their heads off. Don
John_L
Not applicable
Please assign the seats. What is wrong with you people that don't want assigned seating? I am in the Baltimore area and have to fly Southwest often. I want to know where I am sitting. The game of checking in online as quickly as I can drives me nuts and there is no reason for it. I find myself going to extreme lengths to ensure I get a A group boarding pass. Then I have to stand in line with a swarm of of people all fighting over their seats. It's a joke. Just give me my seat!
Lisa20
Not applicable
NOOOOOOO! TO ASSIGNED SEATING. I have been a loyal Southwest customer for more than fifteen years. I love the efficiency. I love the reasonable prices. Most of all, I love the culture of the company and its belief in egalitarian treatment of its customers. I have flown other airlines and found that they simply do not compare to Southwest. Now I fly Southwest exclusively for business and vacations, and I am a proud "unpaid" representative for the company. I like the quirkiness of the company and its flight attendants are the best. I strongly urge you to keep open seating for all the great reasons given by everyone. I agree with comments that the system could be improved. For example, a simple rule that getting in line means actually getting up and taking your place in line would probably eliminate most of the arguments that happen when people try to hold a space with luggage or simply pushing to the front. I personally did not start out being a fan of the cattle line. However, after trying other airlines, I found that I love the company and have grown to understand the rules of the cattle line, which is symbolic of so much about Southwest. I had the privilege of flying to San Francisco this past week during Southwest's celebration of 35 great years in business. I took a copy of the in-flight magazine as a little memento of this wonderful event. On my way to Cally I sat next to two annoying people who talked incessantly about some film they were working on, taking time out to complain about everything. They complained with their nose up in the air about the cattle line. They complained about the jingles, which delighted most of the other passengers who clapped and asked for more. They complained about the people clapping (which made me clap enthusiastically) and called the airline cornie. I wonder why such people fly Southwest to complain. Maybe it's all the great reasons the rest of us fly Southwest, but their cynicism won't let them just sit back and enjoy the ride. I'm not saying all people who want assigned seating are miserable, but based on the conversations I've seen and had personally, many of these people dislike LUV's open seating not just because it is inconvenient to them, but primarily because they look down on the culture of LUV and how open seating fits into that culture. Listen to your loyal customers. They are happy and sold on the company on so many levels. That type of loyalty is rare these days and is what many other companies dream about. You have it. Please don't throw it away by trying to be part of the exclusive airline club - that club ain't doing so well these days and is nothing to emulate. I and many others like that Southwest is not like the other airlines. I would be sad and a little disillusioned if you tried to remake yourself in the image of your competitors. I have been loyal to other companies who disappointed me or tried to be more like the rest. I can tell you that once they became too much like everybody else, they lost a lot of my business because then "what's the point." If you decide to change to open seating to satisfy some customers, then I agree with suggestions to make a small section in the front or back available for limited assigned seating and let people who enthusiastically want to pay more for this service do so. I would seriously caution you that before making this change, try to to make sure that you are changing to meet the needs of loyal customers or potentially loyal customers who otherwise love and respect the culture of the company. Otherwise, you would be making a fundamental change that would make many already loyal customers very unhappy to try to satisfy customers and potential customers who will just start complaining about something else until they've succeeded in making you just like all the other crappy LUVLESS airlines. Please keep in mind that no matter how wide you open your arms, some people just will not accept LUV! As for me and many like me, you had us at "hello!" Keep up the great work. Finally, your anniversary magazine had pictures of Southwest ads from the 70's, including some very cool flight attendant uniforms. Is there any way you could make these available for sale to the public as posters? I'd buy them and I'm sure other would, as well. P.S. - If you ever need an extremely qualified corporate tax attorney to work inhouse, my resume is available upon request! Lisa
Marilyn_in_OKC
Not applicable
Please don't change. I am a Native Texan and live in OKC, and I have flown SW my whole life (you guys are 2 years younger than I am). The best part is not being treated like nobody because you aren't a frequent flyer. I know that SW wants more business revenue, and assigned seating might even be an option for really big airports, but surely there's a way to preserve the cattle call.
Beth_Talbott
Not applicable
Please keep your open seating policy! It allows me the freedom to sit near people I want to sit with. On my last flight I just wanted to read my book and unwind from a crazy week. I was able to sit in between two other passengers who were already reading when I arrived. Other than exchanging what each was reading and whether it was a book worthy of noting we read and flew in relative silence. ALoow mw the freedom to stay away from small children and enjoy my flight.
Jim_Honsberger
Not applicable
assigned seating is a terrible idea. i travel for business and pleasure about 16 times yearly. i mostly care to be on time wherever imm flying to. if there are no assigned seats and i have have business work to do i can avoid sitting next to infants ,small children as well i cant necessarily do that with assigned seating. im subject to the luck of the draw. on time matters.dont you really think that assigned seating will significantly slow down the process of boarding the plane? the bottom line is some people are just slow to board.its in their nature. add assigned seating and your on-time performance will drop drasticallly.bank on it..
Joe_R1
Not applicable
Hey, Thanks for the update. If effeiciency is an issue, why spend the money to reprogram a computer system to accept assigned seats?s. It also means that Southwest will need to employee people to straighten out problems with seat assignemnts and juggle last minute changes for those that are not happy with them. This is going to be an added cost which will invetibly need to be passed on. Rather than having people be upset about open seating, they will be upset that they did not get the seat assignment they wanted. Most of the passengers I have spoken with whom I have spoken do not like the system because they cannot arrive to the airpoirt late and still get a good seat. The system, as it currently stands, encourages people to get to the airport early. That is one of the reasons flights are able to turn around quickly. Leeting people arrive later, because they have assigned seats, is bound to slow the process down. The system in its current state is inheritantly simply and incredibly democratic. If I arrive when I am supposed to, I get a good seat. if I choose to run late, I don't. I have no one to blame but myself. Rather than spending this money on a computer upgrade and extra staff to manage an assigned seating system, why not take the money and put it into audio and video systems on long flights. That would be a better expense. Thanks for letting me express myself.
Brian_Beaudrie
Not applicable
As a west coast executive that fly's more then one hundred flights a year with Southwest I would like to comment on Southwest's decision to look at assigned seating. I work in an office with five other people and we all fly at least one or two round trips a week on Southwest and while there are plenty of other carriers out there we use Southwest for the convenience. We also use Southwest because our business needs often require us to book our tickets within 48 to 72 hours of our departure and the open seating on Southwest assures us that, as long as we check in early, we can still get an "A" boarding pass that will allow us to carry on our luggage and to pick an aisle seat. We are concerned that if Southwest were to go to assigned seating that the premium seats would all be reserved well in advance by the vacationers that book their tickets months in advance, and usually pay lower rates (internet specials), and that even though we are paying full fare we would be forced to sit in the center seats and not be able to sit together as a group. As frequent fliers on Southwest we would like to see the open seating remain and if it were to change we would most likely choose another carrier that could reward our loyalty by upgrading us to fist class seating. We have a long history with Southwest and often recommend them to other business associates and we would hate to see that relationship change. Please reconsider and keep the open seating!
Scott13
Not applicable
I've been waiting for this ever since the 24 hour 0nline booking went into effect. I'm primarily a business traveler on SW, and its gotten to the point that you feel lucky if you can get into B group seating, even when booking online shortly after the 24 hour window opens. I'm done with the cattle call. Hail to the SW execs that are taking this by the horns!! Yea, many are up in arms, but they are probably the same business guys who are paying web companies to pre-reserve for them. Enough with the wining. Just keep your on-time efficiency, plenty of flight options, and low prices and we'll be there. That's what SW is really all about.
Henry3
Not applicable
Please keep the current seating system. I find it much less stressful than assigned seating, where, due to my usual late reservations, I get no assignment until boarding time and thus I almost always get middle seats. The seating policy is a chief reason why I now fly exclusivelyt Southwest, and why I will go back to other airlines if it is changed to assigned seats.
Robert_G__Valen
Not applicable
I am agreement with the majority of the comments concerning assigned seating. Southwest has been a leader for years, not to mention profitable. If you chose to assign seats, my business will probably go elsewhere. Keep in mind that I have earned a companion pass for two years running. Southwest has been a tremendous airline to fly. Don't mess with success! I recently flew USAirways (not my choice) to a conference in Minnesota. A disaster in the loading process. KEEP OPEN SEATING!!!
T_MOORE
Not applicable
My suggestion for open seating is to allow passengers without carryon luggage to board first. The larger the carryon, the further back in the line. This would certainly reward those of us that check ou luggage and reduce our stress while we stand behind all those people with those huge bags. And it would certainly encourage more people to check their bagd
nsjones
Not applicable
Please keep open seating. As a frequent Southwest traveler, I find the open seating efficient and convenient. I also travel with a child and the open seating is far more convenient than assigned seating. Please consider your passengers with children under 2. Since we are not able to print early boarding passes or get seating assignments online because of our lap child, I find Southwest's open seating to be much better than say America West and Nothwest AND British Airways - AND Delta!!!! I have flown all of these with my lap child and only the Southwest flights were easy and comfortable experiences. If you do move to assigned seating, please consider how you will deal with assignments for travelers with lap children when they purchase tickets online. Thank You!
TC4
Not applicable
Welp, 200 comments later, and we can summarize the pro-cattle-call-camp as follows: 1. I love being able to buy my ticket at the last minute and still get a good seat. My counter argument: as a business traveller, I too buy my tickets at the last minute--and yet I almost always get a good seat anyway, just by asking when I check-in if I can sit in the exit row, or front bulkhead. Half the time, it's no problem. But I didn't have to print my boarding pass at midnight and stand in line for an hour. 2. I hate kids. Really, that's what most of these "keep me away from the screaming children" (and the guy who wants "kid-free flights") are sayiing. Well here's a clue for you kid-haters: I PAID FOR THEIR SEATS, TOO. In fact, unlike you, who just paid for your own behind to be on the plane, I bought at least three, probably four tickets. I'd say that makes me MORE valuable to the airline than you, don't you? In any case, I have never, ever been bothered by a child--but drunk adults talking at the top of their lungs and laughing at crude jokes across seventeen states seems to happen every third flight. How about we make THOSE people fly in the cargo hold, while I play with my kids? 3. I like the rock-n-roll, free-wheeling, slug-fest that is the cattle call. Well, whatever floats your boat. I guess if the Greyhound experience is what puts the romance back into flying for you, good for you. But the economic reality for SWA is this: they have the highest labor costs in the industry. Without their famous fuel hedges, they'd be losing money. Meanwhile the legacy carriers, fresh from Chapter 11, have lower seat-mile costs than SWA, but have fully developed networks that can get people from East Podunk to East Timore with one connection--something SWA will NEVER have (look at their route-map--they don't cover half the country!) On the other flank, AirTran, Frontier, and jetBlue all offer the same smiling, joking in-flight staff as SWA, at the same low prices, but they also offer XM Radio, DirecTV--and assingned seating. SWA isn't run by dummies stuck in the past. They know who they're battling and what they need to do to survive; when they see people flock to AIrTran to fly to Boston in a pre-assigned seat, instead of stand in line to fly to Providence between two fatsos, they know it's time to change up the game and consider new things. Speaking of Boston, my next prediction is that Logan will soon be the next airpot to get some LUV, as part of that bid to stay competitive. No doubt you open-seaters will all come on here and rant about what a mistake that is because you enjoy that drive down from Manchester.
nsx1
New Arrival
Ed from Vegas wrote: "As a senior passenger, with SWA policy that does not allow a senior ticket holder to check in online, it is impossible no matter how early you arrive at the airport to get an A boarding pass" This was once the case, but for the better part of a year Southwest has provided a way for seniors to mail in proof of age and get age-verified for online check-in ability. This is explained at http://www.southwest.com/travel_center/seniors.html Others have posted that you need to have a working printer to get an A. This is also incorrect. Just check in online without printing. When you get to the airport, go to the kiosk and it will print you the same letter that you saw earlier on your computer screen. If you can't be at a computer 24 hours ahead, phone a friend and have him do the check-in for you without printing. YOU DON'T NEED THE PRINTOUT AT ALL.
Ellis_V__Couch
Not applicable
If you go to assigned seats we will still fly you 1st choice. BUT, I wish the groups (A, B, C) were smaller (I think they used to be). THe A Group is so large that most of them stand and form a line about 20 before the plane arrives. I hate that! You might keep (almost) everyone happy by not assigning seats but admitting people to the jetway strictly by the NUMBER on the boarding pass. (Every time I have printed my boarding pass 23 hours and 55 minutes before scheduled departure time, it has a #, A8 A12 etc.) So just use that order. Then people would stay seated until time to board. Because A 25 can't get on before A1, A2 ..... A24 no matter how early you get "in line". (Then watch people swap their low #s for a price, especially on WN711!
Chris25
Not applicable
No no no. Please don't dismiss open seating. I love Southwest Airlines. I book flights at the last minute like so many other Southwest regulars and the open seating arrangment would be a huge loss to me. However, beyond any of that is the fact I really appreciate the open seating concept for what it is and would hate to see it disappear. The open seating is one of the reasons I love and continue to fly Southwest Airlines.
K_Gifford
Not applicable
I love Southwest because IT DOES NOT ASSIGN SEATS! CUSTOMERS WANT TO BE IN CONTROL OF WHERE THEY SIT FOR HOURS. Customers with anxiety, obesity, or are claustrophobic need to BE IN CONTROL OF THEIR SEATING ARRANGEMENTS. Customers WANT TO CHOSE THEIR SEAT MATES. Customers DO NOT WANT TO WAIT IN LINE WHILE OTHER FLYERS TRY TO GET THEIR SEAT ASSIGNMENTS CHANGED. Please do NOT CHANGE YOUR SEATING POLICY. If you want to change something, make the seat belts longer.
Anonymous4371
Not applicable
I don't really understand all the complaints about open seating vs. assigned seating. In both systems, the seat you get is dependent on your actions prior to boarding. With open seating, you are rewarded for checking in early, either at the airport or online, and you are rewarded again for getting to the gate on time and securing your position within your boarding group. The people who make reservations closer to the date of the flight, and therefore pay the most for their seats, have an opportunity to get good seats. With assigned seating, you are rewarded twice for planning far in advance ... you get the lowest fares and you get the best seats. People who make their reservations closer to the date of the flight, often through no fault of their own, are "punished" twice ... they pay the most and they get the worst seats. It seems that open seating gives more people more freedom and control over their "destiny" and this seems to fit Southwest's culture and image to a tee. Neither systems is perfect. Stay with the system that gives more people the "freedom to fly."
Reub
Not applicable
Ed Steward says that some people "won't fly us now because of the lack of seating assignments." I say that those people are not TRUE Southwest customers anyway..so who cares what they say?? I've been flying SWA since 1994..have had companion passes every year since 2001...
Mark_Carpenter
Not applicable
Gary, as a weekly flyer of Southwest, I HATE HATE HATE the idea of assigned seating. One of the many charms of flying Southwest is you can find total strangers while waiting to board, and then being lucky enough to find someone interesting who you actuallly WANT to sit next to. No screaming kids, no middle seat if you are smart enough to print your boarding pass online (hello, that's one of the reasons you guys are the most successful in getting your customers to print online, saving you big time cash !), and always being able to sit at the back of the plane. My biggest question to you is this: Why in the world would you want to copy the business practices of your failed and failing competitors ? You are basically the only successful airline in the country, and that is because from the beginning you have strived to be different. Please do not take away those things that make me pick YOU over the competitors. If I wanted to fly Delta or United, I would book them. The next thing you know, I'll be reading about your considering changing your Rapid Rewards program. STOP STOP STOP ! Be SOUTHWEST AIRLINES, not your miserable competitors !
Richard_Deresz
Not applicable
Comparing changing from plastic to paper boarding passes is not even close to a comparision of going to assigned seating. I am a very frequent business traveler & I am completely against switching to assigned seating. This is what makes Southwest unique & efficient. Simply put, the convenience of booking/changing flights at the last second & still have the ability to get an aisle seat is what allows me to easily chose Southwest over say Continental or Delta. This also allows me to complete my booking online a hell of a lot faster then using the other airlines system. You change the system to what all other airlines do & my easy decision to fly Southwest just changed to a decision between 3 airlines. Conclusion - I probably would fly Southwest 1/3 of the time vs. 90%+ under the current successful system. I guarantee you would lose more business frequent flyers than you will gain. The compromise of creating a "1st class" of say 5 rows, where those people say they would pay "20% more" for an assigned seat, does make some sense.
Gina_Newman
Not applicable
WE LUV the way things are here in Texas......I luv getting my A boarding passes online. You guys have flown our 5 children, by themselves from SAT to LAX for the last years, twice a year. We would not change a thing. My kids would not know what to do if Mom did not get them an A borading pass. They laugh, but they luv it! Thanks for always having the best service, prices and people! WE LUVV you all here in TX....
George_Klander
Not applicable
I very strongly disagree with the idea of going to assigned seating. Those who complain are probably those who just don't want to be put out at all....they want the best of all possible worlds, being I get to show up in the last thrfee minutes of boarding with a tremendous amount of luggage and handle it all my way...me, me me me. Well, I am just as much about me; but I am willing to go through the horrible hassle of getting my electronic boarding pass early....(all of 1.5 minutes on the worst day ever), standing in line (15 minutes yesterday, worst since you started using electronic boarding passes...so what?) checking my bags (gee, curbside service by smiling Sky Caps...what a hassle that is...excuse me?) I do'nt get it. The Southwest experience ,being so different, is an 'opt in' kind of situation. If you don't want to play that game, go elsewhere and stop whining! The same folks who are so concerned about assigned seating are generally never going to be happy with whatever seat they get, where they put their bags, blah, blah blah. If it's REALLY importnat, I think those folks should probably go first class somewhere else, and bite the bullet and pay up for it. I have sure had a lot of fun flying open seating. I like you just the way you are.....PLEASE DON'T CHANGE IT!!!!!
James_L__Hahn
Not applicable
I really don't care one way or the other about the assigned seating. What difference does it really make. Folks that travel on SW constantly know the system and know how to get "A" boarding. If you go to assigned seating, the frequent travelers will still get the preferential seats anyway - assuming you will grant some type of tiered loyalty system based upon our frequency of flying SW. This is what irks me. I am usually at a gate at LEAST 2 hours before boarding. Invariably, I am # 1 in the "A" line. By boarding time, here come all the preboards. Poof - the preferred seats are gone. Have you ever really looked at and examined your pre-boarding policy? I would venture to say that SW has more preboaders than any other airline - certainly a lot more than the norm for the industry. I have no problem with the wheelchairs and those on crutches, etc. I see, time after time, many able-bodied people preboard. Talking to the gate attendants, they are told "not to question" anyone who gets in the preboard line - blue sleeve or not. I have even asked able-bodied men why they are in preboard and the answer was that no one ever questions them, so they do it. I can understand letter a mother with a baby in arms preboard - but why let every kid "5 or under" preboard. What purpose does that serve? Really? What purpose? None that I can think of. Unless SW can restructure their preboard policy, then I will be in favor of assigned seating. One other complaint. I frequently travel SAT to MSY, connecting in HOU. Always arrive in Gates 40-50, or so. On my return flight, again I always arrive somewhere between, say, 40-50. EVERY TIME on the return flight, I have to connect through Gates 1-7, which means I have to change terminals and go through that damn security again. How about shifting this around a little bit? Send the HOU to SAT flights out of 40-50 at least every now and then. I often take American to MSY just so I don't have to gon through this. OK, I'm off the soap box.
Joan_G_
Not applicable
Please, don't make any changes to Southwest. It is always our carrier of choice because of the open seating and the ease of getting a boarding pass. Not having to check-in at the gate is a real bonus. I am concerned about third partys getting passes for others. I hope you are able to stop this practice. Joan G.
HQ
Not applicable
Okay, stop and think about what your are doing. Years ago, Southwest created a strong brand, the definition of which is the sum total of the emotional connection a consumer feels for a product/company, created over time by every single interaction that consumer has had with that product/company. In the marketplace, strong brands have both APPEAL and DISTINCTION. One distinct element of your brand is unassigned seating. It is part of what separates you from the other airlines. So now you are thinking about trying to be like the other companies. Are you not successful? Have you recently lost market share? Or did you recently hire the same people who worked for Coca Cola and years ago gave us the Ã
Jo11
Not applicable
Please, please, please go to assigned seats. I have flown Southwest for almost 30 years and have gotten to the point where I do not want to fly you because of this outdated system. I have seen in almost every instance harsh words and stress by passengers in lining up at the gate. People try to cut in line. We try to figure out where the line is. Does a bag in line constitue being in line? This is so stressful and so unnecessary. The rest of the flight is so enjoyable, why not make the whole flight experience enjoyable? I simply cannot believe this would impact your scheduling. If this was such a great system why did not other airlines adopt this system?
Richie1
Not applicable
I DON'T fly Southwesat primarily because of the "open seating" policy. I am happy to pay an additional 20% for this service and I'm sure SWA would enjoy making extra income. One of the primary reasons I don't like the open seating policy is the "herd mentality" you acquire when you stand in a Southwest line. I have to stand in line getting my ticket, going through security AND now 45-50 minutes BEFORE the flight jsut to get a "A or B" seat - heaven forbid if you get shamed into the "C" line......... I pay good money to fly, not spend close to an hour BEFORE even getting on the plane standing in line like a child in school........ Life's a choice, I choose to spend my money AND time wisely when I travel, not standing in line like cattle to save $20.......
Richie1
Not applicable
I DON'T fly Southwest primarily because of the "open seating" policy. I am happy to pay an additional 20% for this service and I'm sure SWA would enjoy making extra income. One of the primary reasons I don't like this policy is the "herd mentality" you acquire when you stand in a Southwest line. I have to stand in line getting my ticket, going through security AND now 45-50 minutes BEFORE the flight just to get a "A or B" seat - heaven forbid if you get shamed into the "C" line......... I pay good money to fly, not spend close to an hour BEFORE even getting on the plane standing in line like a kid in school........ Life's a choice, I choose to spend my money AND time wisely when I travel, not standing in line like cattle to save $20.......
Mary_Rogers
Not applicable
HOORAH! HOORAH! ASSIGNED SEATING AT LAST! . I had to quit flying Southwest, because I could no longer stand in line and I dispise setting in the back of the plane. I can't imagine why anyone would like the "cattle call" which reduces you to a non-person. APPLAUSE APPLAUSE APPLAUSE for assigned seating.
Kathleen_A
Not applicable
I am 57, own a business, have been flying SW since the 1980's, Rapid Rewards member - I always look first to see if SW serves my destination. Having established some credibility, this is my opinion regarding assigned seating: NO, NEVER, NEVEREVER. Don't fool with the business plan that has made SW so successful. Why be no bettter than the others? Open seating allows me to book when I need to, choose the seat I want without all that 'class by money' system on the other airlines. With NW and others charging extra for window/aisle seats you should become the new darling of seating because of your open seating policy. How do you intend to get everyone loaded and meet your stated turn around goals? Have you ever been assigned a seat by a person with small, unhappy children, or a person who should have booked two seats for size comfort? Have you ever needed to jump of the plane to catch a connection and needed to be at the front. Freedom to choose! It goes well with 'Freedom to move around the country'.
jim_williams
Not applicable
PLEASEEEEEEEEE!!!!! keep your open seating!!!!!!! It is one of the most effecient things you can do for the boarding process. Too many times I have seen passengers sit in the wrong seat, then disrupt the boarding process when the passenger with correct boarding pass shows up. I have been on lightly filled flights and watch in amazement as people MUST sit in their assigned seat even though there are many other vacant seats nearby------this, even at the very end of the boarding process. Stay different & efficient!!!!! Especially if it helps keep your fares lower!!!
T_Sisk
Not applicable
I love SWA. My wife and I are strictly vacationing travelers. The last time we flew UAL from BWI to LAX we were assigned middle seats in the middle aisle. I felt like I was in a crowded theater, and forget about stowing your carry-on bags. Our last trip via SWA was BWI to PHX, return via LAS to BWI. SWA offered more flights, more direct flights, and attractive senior discounts. Although we arrived at BWI one hour prior to departure, there were quite a few passengers in line already. Their choice. The only problem we had was with carry-on luggage. The previously boarding passengers used their overhead space, our overhead space, and anyone else's they could appropriate. Since we had only brought on one shoulder bag each, they fit easily under the seat in front of us. At LAS on our return trip, it was the opposite, three or four passengers standing in line. Again, their choice. In both instances we were afforded the best remaining seats available, which were comfortable, if not a bit cozy. I feel that the open seating policy is more convenient and faster than assigned seating. I hope that this policy remains in effect and look forward to flying SWA in the future.
Floyd_Strand
Not applicable
I recently traveled with southwest from SA TX to CA. with layovers in EPaso. I was pleased on how smoothly the loading of passengers was. At that time I paid attention of why and I realized that being able to choose which seat best suits individual passengers was a faster load because they did not want anyone else getting their chosen seat, making for a faster load process. I am a senior with a background which includes Airline passenger service across the globe. It was a pleasure traveling with you.
Joe_Wiseman
Not applicable
Gary, PLEASE keep open seating. I travel over 100,000 miles a year on both SWA and AA here in Dallas. One of the worst things on AA is the "trainwreck" they call a boarding process (to be fair, it's the same on all the other non-SWA airlines). Watching the process once I get seated is a nightmare! Maude wants her bag in the overhead near her seat but Doug, who's eight rows back, put his bag there. Now Maude stands around looking for a place to stash her bag, holding up traffic until she has to head upstream and give it to the folks on the ramp to take below. Flight attendants are uncomfortable telling people to sit the heck down because - well - they need to be in "their" seat rather than the empty chair they're standing right next to. Finally, open seating introduces yet another common phenomenon: the guy who knows he has seat 6B so he waited until the plane was about to take off before running to the airport. With open seating, it's "so long, sucker" to that guy. I could go on...suffice it to say that I have now adopted a policy of closing my eyes until the cabin door is shut and everyone's seated on AA because I simply cannot stand to watch the boarding process anymore. During the same time on SWA, I'm usually striking up a great conversation with the person next to me, making the whole SWA experience more friendly, engaging, and enjoyable. BTW - folks may not like the "mayhem" at the SWA gate area but, in my view, it's a "pay-me-now or pay-me-later" kind of thing. I'd rather take some jostling and confusion in the relatively large air-conditioned boarding area than have the continuous struggle in the cramped, one-aisle airplane where your excellent flight attendants will now find themselves hamstrung to do much to accelerate the process because - hey, it's the customer's assigned seat. Good luck as you make the choice. Please know that the more you become like "them", the less compelling your value proposition becomes for "us". Joe P.S. I'm not an airline operations expert but I really have a hard time believing even Southwest can load an "assigned seat" aircraft as fast as it does a "open seating" plane today. I hope someone in Operations is traveling on other airlines to see what a disaster it is (and it only seems to get worse with higher load factors).
Daniel_J_
Not applicable
Please contact your weekly fliers on this topic. For those who fly "once-in-a-while" would not mind the open seating. I would prefer to have a selected seat than watch all these people rush to a seat. Most people act like it is the day after Christmas sale and do whatever it takes to get a seat!
bill_zapalac
Not applicable
Keep the seating as is. Down with the idea of assigned seating. I like Southwest the way it is. Bill in San Antonio
E_Skipper
Not applicable
I am not a business frequent flyer. I travel from SAT to Lubbock to vsit my mother . I get my boarding pass online. I have always been pleased with the quickness with which SWA boards passengers. Having assigned seating seems to slow down boarding because of people looking for seat numbers--bumping into others while looking overhead. I have never stood in line but a few minutes to board. For those who have stood in line 45 minutes, they could wait to get in line until their letter is called. We are all going to get to our destination at the same time no matter where we sit. I believe looking for an open seat is faster and smoother--and assigned seats don't mean a person won't be put by children. To those who feel they are so important they must have advance seating in first class--let those few fly with a second-class airline.
PENNY_GILMORE
Not applicable
WOW....IS THIS TRUE, ARE YOU REALLY GOING TO HAVE ASSIGNED SEATING? No, No, No. I am a devoted flyer with Southwest, and if I ever have to fly another airline, I am not a happy camper, unless it is some overseas company that I have to fly to get to my destination...Anyway...PLEASE KEEP OPEN SEATING...I LOVE IT, and being able to choose where I sit on your flights are a big perk for me...Who needs seats to be assigned, and then being stuck in an area that you are not happy with. I love to fly, and just the thought of being able to fly on Southwest and enjoy being with you in the skys above means so much to me...SO NO MORE TALK ABOUT ASSIGNED SEATING...that is for SNOBS, not the real Southwest Airlines lover. UNOCT@AOL.COM
Ron_Smith
Not applicable
Somebody in your Company doesn't have enough to do. When people don't have enough to do they start changing things. For example, they might want to change "open seating" to "assigned seating". Give those people something else to do. I am perfectly content with the "last one on gets to sit next to the lady with the squealing kid" policy. I certainly don't want to pay more, wait longer and still have to sit next to that person. I don't know who Gary Kelly is but I do know he doesn't have enough to do. Why doesn't he have enough to do? It is because Southwest airlines runs smoothly and effeiciently the way it is. Get Mr. Kelly a book of crossword puzzles or a jigsaw puzzle and lock him in the closet for the next twenty years. Or maybe you could buy Mr. Kelly a ticket on another airling and he could spend his time waiting for someone going up and down an aisle squinting at the seat numbers, trying to determine where they are supposed to sit. Changing to assigned seating is the most ridiculous thing of which I have ever heard.
Frank3
Not applicable
Obviously SWA is doing something right, and that includes open seating. My travel agent can't believe that I actually enjoy flying SWA for that reason alone. But she does have respectful accolades for the airline. Yes, the planes are full--what a great sign of loyalty and indication that thousands of people can't be wrong. Yes, the seating is open--what a wonderful opportunity to sit together with friends, or make a new friend. I personally enjoy seeing families pre-board, because they usually take up 2 of the 3 seats, leaving either the window or the aisle seats open. I bring along a set of earplugs, and enjoy my flight in relative quiet. And when Mom needs a break, I offer to watch the kiddos while she retreats to the restroom for a moment. It's all part of the Southwest experience. If you don't have a preference for this type of flying, there are many other carriers for you to choose--make your choice and be a loyal flyer of that airline. For me, it's Southwest. BTW, I do like the idea of restricting roller bags to gate check and not bringing them on board. It does take extra time to find room for them all, and increases the potential of injury when placing them in or taking them out of the overheads. United Express gate checks them, and its really not that much of a problem for the passenger. And they have a plan to handle all the door checked bags, which expedites the load process.
John41
Not applicable
I've read the comments and as the spouse of one of the BEST Flight Attendants in the business, I had to speak up. With all of this
Mary20
Not applicable
Please leave a good thing alone. I love the fact that I can choose my own seat. I sit where I want and am happy to do so. As far as I can see the only people that want a change are those that are always in the "C" boarding pass area. You know the type. They are the ones that are usually unprepared, bring more than two carry-ons, stand around the isles looking lost, bang other passengers in the head with thier stuff, have a loved one that they were not able to sit with therefore bothering all of the other passengers talking out to each other, passing notes etc. etc.etc... Southwest you are doing a wonderful job. Keep up the good work. If you are determined to change something change the "plane" crackers. They are a cute idea but have no taste. My year old grandchild did not even find them worth eating and you should see some of the things she will put in her mouth and eat. Thanks for hearing us out and I think I just hear a "BING" so it must be time for me to move around the country.
Bernie2
Not applicable
We have flown Southwest on several occasions, but choose to fly other airlines because they offer assigned seating. The main reason is that we do not have to arrive hours in advance, wait in lines for the boarding numbers and be a part of the mayhem and stressful environment that we have experienced. If Southwest does adopt boarding passes, we will choose them more often. But that is what is so great about this country, we have choices. We were happy to see the recent article and hope that you will implement the program. How difficult is it to find the row of seats to which you would be assigned? The primary airline which we fly now boards in a timely manner. We can check-in online, get our boarding passes online, stop by the kiosk at the airport to check in any luggage, which is so convenient, and go through security. All this makes the travel experience much better.
joe_and_barb
Not applicable
My wife and I enjoy flying Southwest and like the open seating very much. We do not have to book months in advance to get an Aisle seat and we can make an instant adjustment as where we sit when we get on the plane. The present method is faster for Southwest (and for the passengers) than that of other airlines, it is relatively hassle free and it works. Why mess with it??? Please keep the present system.
Michael_J__Kutc
Not applicable
Assigned seating would definitely get me and my family in them more often. Thanks for giving it a try. I hope it catches on and spreads throughout the system.
Judi_Mitchell
Not applicable
I definitely would like Southwest to begin the assigned seats system. I am not disabled enough to qualify for the pre-boarding, but do have arthritis and cannot stand in line for an hour or more in order to ensure that I get an aisle seat. Due to my arthritis, it is necessary for me to stand and move around during flights lasting longer than a couple of hours. Needless to say, it is very, very difficult to get to the aisle from a middle or window seat. I would even be willing to pay more for a ticket if you would also provide larger assigned seats. Judi Mitchell