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A MESSAGE FROM OUR CEO - OPEN SEASON ON ASSIGNED SEATING

gkelly1
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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
Christopher3
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The current every man for himself system brings out the worst in humanity. I have seen diplorable behavior in these lines just to get a better seat. I have seen pushing, shoving, arguments, and near fist fights when the line starts to form. This is not to mention those people that put their luggage in the "A" line then disappear until boarding. Last time I checked that was a security violation. What really gets to me is the people that stand in line for an hour for a 40 min flight. I just don't get it. This current free for all is what keeps me from flying Southwest. I pay more to fly US Airways out of Philly just to avoid this mess. If you know US Airways in Philly, I am speaking volumes by voluntarily choosing US Air. JUST GIVE ME A SEAT ASSIGNMENT ALREADY!!!!
ken11
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I am a lesuire traveler and fly 2-3 times a year. In the past 13 years I have tried several different airlines. I guess you could say I ave experienced a sampling of each. I belong to several frequent flyer programs including Southwest. This past May was my first on Southwest and I prefer the open seating rather than assigned. It is a unique Southwest Concept that makes Southwest a better airline. My first thoughts of the open seating were it would take twice as long to board. But I found that everyone got seated quicker than on other airlines that I have flown. Plus every seat was occupied and there were no complaints. Please scrap the assigned seating concept in favor of the Southwest way. "If it an't broken don't fix it!"
KL__Wong
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Please do not change your seating system. If your true reason to explore assigned seating is for passenger boarding efficiency, consider hiring several able-bodied folks to lift carryon baggage into the overhead bins. As I observe passengers boarding the plane, they waste little time selecting a seat. What really slows down boarding is stuffing luggage overhead. People block the aisle as they struggle with their luggage. I would gladly pay an extra fee if SW would speed up the boarding process in this fashion. Never go to the reserved seating system. Not only is it one of your main distinguishing characteristics, it serves as a reminder of just how poorly the other airlines treat passengers. If you are not one of their favored "platinum" status fliers, good luck trying to get a good seat, even months in advance. They simply aren't available. My simple rule for flying has always been, "If Southwest flies to my desination, I will ALWAYS choose Southwest." The real cattle call is on the other airlines.
Dennis_Sena
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As a frequent flyer, whether on business or pleasure, open seating provided by Southwest Airlines is the best. Please don't change your policy. On a side note your new rapid rewards policy is confusing. Using awards with blackout dates was less confusing. Southwest employees are equally confused when attempting to explain the new policy. Thanks Dennis
Gary_Avery
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If Southwest changes its policies because of allegations by some of its non-customers that they won't fly Southwest until there is assigned seating, it will be yet another example of corporations taking existing customers for granted and even aggravating them in search of a few dollars more. I would be overreacting to say that I would discontinue flying Southwest. But I wouldn't like it as much if I had to deal with assigned seating. And when the occasion comes that prices are about the same and schedules are about the same and I know that I have to deal with Southwest's assigned seating instead of being able to check in on line and get my "A" card, I will be likely to choose the competitor. So, please, consider us the loyal before you go after those who are so inflexible that they let this keep them off Southwest.
Elliot_Goldfarb
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I travel as a National Sales Manager around 45 weeks a year, all over the U.S. I've done so most of my life. I'm soon to celebrate my 55th birthday, and I'm just starting to feel a little old to make sure I get on line 24 hours to the minute to get a coveted "A" boarding pass and then arrive at the airport and have to still stand in line for about 1 hour in the "A" line to get a seat of my choice. The weeks that I fly Southwest (2 - 4 boardings in the week) I'm wasting over 4 hours of my precious time to serve Southwest. The current "Open" seating system smacks of a "Serve Us Attitude" instead of a "Service Attitude". Please change it something more humane and friendly to the frequent flier. It's a source of aggravation that causes many people to choose to fly with other airlines. Cordially, Elliot G. Goldfarb
sig
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Count mine as a YES response, absolutely in favor of assigned seating! From personal conversations with other travelers waiting in line, it is clear that the great majority of SW flyers favor assigned seating. Take a poll any day among the people sitting or standing in any line at any gate and you will get that kind of response. I have never heard one person in line say that they favored open seating. Combined, my wife and I have flown about 25 to 30 SW segments over the past 24 months. We have had enough! Solely because there is no assigned seating, we have decided to stop traveling on SW, unless there just is no other reasonable alternative. I urge SW to implement assigned seatin ASAP.
Cin_Clift
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On our recent trip from Las Vegas because of folks butting in line. The F word was flying... the woman was yelling step back.... I thought the men were going to go at it. Many of children had to wittness this rude behavior. Southwest folks ignored it! My husband and I will use other airlines whenever possible to AVOID such nasty scenes and keep our selfs out of harms way. Let folks pick there seats... first come, first served on-line or assign them at check in.
Richard12
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My feelings about open seating are very simple. Eliminate it!! I dont like seating in a small waiting area-ie Chicago-and having to see people sitting right next to the front using a laptop on the floor. They are trying to be in the best place for Boarding Pass A. dont want to go to a basketball game, baseball game or a play and have to fight for a seat. I certainly dont want to do it on a plane. I suggest if people want a seat-get on your wonderful website, book a flight and pick one. You can book up to 4 months in advance. If someone tries to book a flight a day before or the last minute-they get whats left, Very simple. I used to travel with 4 children and my wife. I went overseas and stateside over a 20 year military career and also as a civilian. I went home to NY for funerals. I dont want to worry about where I sit. Thanks. Richard S./San Antonio, TX
Scott5
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It would get great if those who have their San Diego reservation for when the "test" is going to occur feel about their 1 in 8 chance of their flight changing from an open seat flight to an assigned seat flight. Also when will the seat diagram of the inside of the 737 aircraft going to appear somewhere on the main southwest.com website. Keep open seating. I'm also curious about those who are scheduled to change planes in San Diego where there first plane was open seating and the second was "assigned". Those people will get a chance to see both procedure in one trip and could give great feedback.
Richard_J_Garci
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Please, no assigned seating. I have enjoyed the quality and thoughtfulness of every employee that I have ever met on my flights and I have enjoyed the opportunity to choose my own seat. You are the difference and I choose you to fly. Please don't change. Nuts about you, Richard J Garcia
James_F__Girard
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I hope it is not too late to chime in, but I just read an article in today's San Antonio Express News about SW entertaining the idea of reserved seating. I've commented many times that SW is fine for a short direct flight, but not for much more than an hour. I'm somewhat tall at 6'1" and find the leg room just too cramped. I'm also fairly wide at 250 lbs., but the aisle and window seats are OK for the short flight, but not that dreaded middle seat! I managed this by getting to the airport early to get an A pass; however, when an hour was not soon enough to get an A pass, I avoided SW even on the short, direct flight in lieu of another airline or my car. Your allowing us to get a pass online within 24 hours brought me back to SW, but still for only the short flights. I will now change planes on SW; whereas, I wouldn't before because that surely meant a B or C pass and the middle seat. So, until you give me some more leg room, I'll keep it to short hops regardless of what you do with reservations. If they lengthen your landmark turnaround time and costs, I say keep the system as is.
Ed_Taylor
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I'm all for the open seating. I enjoy meeting and talking with fellow passengers as we stand in our A, B, or C lines waiting to board.
Dave5
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I have been flying Southwest for about 15 years. The thing I really like about Southwest is the open seating. At the time I board the plane, I can make my choice of where I want to sit. If it is a long flight and I do not need to get off quickly, I will generally sit in the back, if it is a short flight and I need to get off quickly, I will sit in the front. Also I may sit on one side or the other depending on which side the sun is shinning. If you move to assigned seating, I will not have the choices I have now in seating and Southwest will be just like any of the other carriers so I won't have a real reason to fly just on Southwest. All of us who like the open seating have not made comments before as we had no reason. Now I guess it is time we all speak up.
Ronald__amp_Shi
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We have always been happy with the open seating policy of Southwest and feel it puts them ahead in the competition for customer service.Accordingly,we feel you are dropping back in the race for leadership innovation by thinking of any assigned seating arrangement.Please DO NOT CHANGE something which has worked so well. We LUV Southwest and want you to remain the same! Recently returned from Denver vacation and both of our flights were great with our A boarding passes.The status quo is sometimes the smart move.
Laura_Meyer
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I loved sitting in the first row of reverse seats so I could carry on conversations easier..usually friendly people sat there. Better than looking at the back of the seat in front of you for several hrs. Miss them. Anyhow assigned seating? I see the pros and cons but I am particular where I sit so I get there early. What if I have assigned seating and land up next to someone I prefer not to be sitting next to for 3 hrs. I like getting on the plane, looking around, and choose a seat where people look nice, happy, and have that "My vacation starts here look". Nothing would be worse than sitting between 2 people who don't say a word. Maybe we should seperate the plane into the family with crying kids section, the sleeper's section, the reader's section, the complainer's section, and the fun loving section. Then when you made arrangements for assigned seating SWA could ask you what section you preferred. At least I would know what to expect when I boarded. I would know whether to bring earplugs, a book, my pjs, or my sense of humor. Have had the greatest SWA flight attendants over the years. We know "nothing stays the same" but could we try not to change everything.
Howard_Lurie
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I travel quite often for business and pleasure and SWA has been my first choice for some time. No matter what the purpose of travel is I prefer the open seating policy. For business travel I purchase my tickets within a few days and pay full fare. Without assigned seats I know that I can still get an A group boarding pass and get a window or aisle seat of my choice. Please don't start assigning seats. It doesn't work. When SWA doesn't fly to a city I am travelling then I travel United or American. I have never left on time on those airlines because of the boarding process.
KK
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****KEEP OPEN SEATING**** The bottom line folks is this, you want to get from point A to B for a decent fare and you want a seat. Well you bought a ticket and you got a seat. Why complain about what has worked for 35 years. I love open seating and I hope it is here to stay
Steven_Larsen
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I guess I do not understand your rush to be like every other airlines: assign seats, slow down the loading process, go broke, and please a few snobby snobby people from California. In your blog you mention that change is inevitable and that not all change is bad. I agree, however, you are changing to a method that is not new and innovative, but a system that has been used, to the point of failure, for years by other airlines. Please do not take this a harsh comment. I love riding Southwest and will go out of my way to do so. You take off and land on time and treat your passengers as family Ã
Eddie
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Why not try this as an experiment: instead of assigning the 'A-B-C' classes when we check in (whether on-line or at the airport), why not assign the seats at the time of check-in (not at the time of the reservation). That way you keep some of the attributes of the current system, and encourage people to make early check-in's, while also ending the 'cattle-call' proletarian image and avoiding the undesirable lines and unruly/impolite line-cutters.
Jason31
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I have been flying Southwest since the early 90's and I have to also cast my vote for on assigned seating. In the quest for additional revenue per seat, you're are trying to imitate the people who are bankrupt in the first place (or close to it of course). In most cases your flights are consistently full and what has made you money has been what has made you DIFFERENT, not the same. Everyone who knows me understands that I look at your web site first to see if there is a flight to my destiniation, but if I am going to end up on the "back of the bus" as one blogger put it, then I might be tempted to look at other planes for a better seat. Please just leave the seats as they are. Thanks with LUV!
BSJ
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I'm one of those frequent fliers who avoid SWA because there is no assigned seating. There is typically no way for me to check in early enough to get an 'A' boarding pass (short of hiring one of the businesses that will do that for me). I welcome the change to assigned seating and look forward to giving SWA a larger share of my domestic travel as this becomes available on flights to/from SLC.
pat_mcmullen
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I fly approximately 40 trips annually and in the course of a calendar year fly at least once on all domestic airlines. I have not taken the time to read the comments above. I am reacting to a story in the San Antonio Express News, Saturday June 24, 2006. I can make this simple. I truly enjoy flying SWA and have no desire to see it become like the other airlines. If I need an assigned seat - which is rare - I can always fly them. If I need a flight ontime, with a fun crew, at a great cost, with maximum flexibility for my schedule......I fly SWA. Please do not become like the other airlines. You can not please all of your passengers. However, they have a hard time pleasing any of theirs!!!!!! Please don't do anything to damage the SWA culture of fast turn times.
Horace_A_
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Please do not go to assigned seating as this is the best thing about Southwest Airlines due to the fact that when I am forced to use another carrier I always get the middle seat in the rear of the airplane. KEEP THE SEATING ARRANGEMENT THAT YOU HAVE PRESENTLY. Thank YOU
Gene4
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PLEASE! Leave the open seating as it is! This is one of the great pluses flying Southwest. I avoid flying with other airlines because Southwest HAS open seating.
Shirley_Kostela
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Although I don't have the privilege of traveling much these days, Southwest has always been my airline of choice - if you could get me there and back! In fact, I am NUTS about Southwest! Your flights are the most relaxed, friendly, and FUN of any I have ever had the privilege of being a part of. I am elated with the news regarding the Wright Amendment.....and only hope that one day SWA will be able to fly from 'anywhere' to 'anywhere' (regardless of the envy other airlines may have). I love the 'funny stuff' your pilots come up with. 'I have always liked the 'open seating' arrangement - if it ain't broke, don't fix it!
Rick_Ward1
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Mr. Kelly, There's an old adage that has served the wise well over the years: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. As a very frequent flyer of PSA in California in the 70s, one of their strongest points for passenger satisfaction was the open seating that allowed one to race through the airport and catch a flight. Their InstaTicket was a stroke of genious for the harried business passenger. I always had a stack of those in my briefcase to fill in and rip from the fanfolded stack. Sadly, I watched as management too far removed from the founders started tinkering with what worked so well for PSA, e.g., diversifying their fleet away from the B727s and expanding into markets already saturated. And so PSA is no more. Herbie took the PSA model and fine tuned it, ignoring the mistakes of the Johnny-come-latelies, creating undoubtedly the most successful -- and most influential -- airline ever to fly. That's why, as infrequently as I fly now (once or twice a year), I book on line with SWA. Maybe it's a nostalgia thing, PSA all over again, including the casual irreverence. Perhaps as suggested the compromise is to have a first class section for those few who just have to have the royal treatment. Frankly, I have to believe that most of your customers prefer that you continue to be profitable and operate those great ontime schedules with the ability of the customer to show up at the gate credit card in hand to hop the LUV Bird.
Danny3
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I fly in my business about 50,000 to 75,000 miles a year. There are 3 things I think about when I purchase a ticket. 1. Price 2. Schedule 3. Comfort Your seating assignments are not what affect my comfort, as I travel by myself, and just about any seat will do, please just keep the seat comfortable and large enough I can conduct some work on my laptop. Good light and fresh air are important. Price is atttractive to me in a small business, and I will pick a less comfortable schedule and airline if I can save over $50. If not, I'll pick the higher price everytime if it is within reason. Cost of doing business is one thing that helps SouthWest Airlines compete and keep their price within reason, while making a profit. If changing the seating option changes your revenue and or profit for the negative, I would seriously consider not implementing a change. Afterall, one of the "talked about" processes in the industry is what makes SouthWest unique. Are you prepared to accept that your "just like any other airline" when people forget about your unique seating assignment. I for one believe you receive some positive influence from customer referals over your current seating system. BTW, I have minimal SouthWest experience, as you have only recently enterred our market here in Denver.
LARRY_EMARINE
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I live in Albuquerque, NM and have been flying on SWA since the airline was first started. I average at least one flighr per month and think that SWA is the best airline in the country! Please dont change the open seating policy. The open seating is one of the main reasons that SWA is my first choice whenever I fly. Your present system of obtaining boarding passes is the fairest in the industry and your reservation web site is the best of any airline in the world. At one time I had over one million frequent flyer miles on the so called major airlines but today the only airline that I fly is SWA! Please keep your present open seating system. Thank you for allowing me to submit my comments.
Alicia8
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Why not let the ones who pay full fare have the first choice, they are the ones who keep the company afloat, not the cheap seat people. I love the freedom of open seating. This is not the lemming airline. I like to choose who I want and dont want to sit by. With other airlines I get stuck with the potty seat or someone annoying. On other airlines that I have flown with assigned seating the problem was that after everyone finally found the seats then the flight attendent would announce that since there is empty seats you can change to where you want to sit then that causes delays because everyone starts to play musical chairs. I agree that the ones who want to be told were to sit are not frequent flyers and they are just whinners. Who wants to be told where they have to sit at, thats not fair. What would help alot is if the flight attendents would make sure that passengers would save the bins for roll on bags and have everyone place small items under the seats like they are supposed to. That is the problem with getting on last.. Dont listen to the children who want to be told where to sit let us adults choose for ourselves
Rod_A
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I fly several times a month and Southwest is the last airline I check. Southwest has great fares and schedules. Open seating makes SW my last choice. I see no reason to stand for an hour in line just to get the seat of choice. SW start assigning seats and I will fly you more often.
Theda
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I have been flying SWA ever since you first started, and have always hated standing in line to board. At the beginning it wasn't too bad, but now it is like a herd of cattle headed to the feed yard. I have always thought assigned seating would work best. And now that we can get a boarding pass on line, that doesn't help me cause I usually fly senior citizen fare and have to show ID, which I don't mind. So definitely do assigned seating.
A__DAVIS
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If those who carry their large suitcases would check them in instead of stuffing them in the overhead (always in a hurry with no consideration of others type people) and 'saving' seats were barred ( If nobody is in the seat I sit down and to heck with the person 'saving' it...yea I risk an altercation but he who initiates it will be thrown off) then maybe first-come is ok- I prefer to fly those airlines that have reserved seating - I'd rather pay more than have to sit between two fat people or those that can't afford soap, have a cold / flu / whatever or want to talk my ear off with their life story / problems...etc etc.
Don_Anderson
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As a not-so-frequent flyer, but a Rapid Rewards Member, my wife and I would chose assigned seating. We try to book our flights at the earliest possible date and then having to get in a line like some animal at a livestock yard is not only demeening but also frustrating. We have observed on more than one accasion, most recently on a flight from Las Vegas to Seattle, confrontations as to who is or is not in line. If someone is "in line" but sitting on the floor, others consider them not in line and try or do break the line. This was so true on our Seattle flight whereby the passenger sitting asked the gate attendant to call security. The person standing not only tried to break the line once, but did it twice, which then caused the gate attendant to talk to him, which didn't make him happy either. Further, some passengers use their carry on luggage to hold their place in line, which, quite often, causes them serious frustrations especially if you have to use the restroom. Also, as a Senior Citizen, it's not as easy for us to stand or sit in line, like the youngsters, hoping we'll get a seat we like. I know one reason for the open seating routine is to board the plane more efficiently, however I don't see where this has helped at all. If the plane is loaded from back to front, what could be more efficient than that? With people chosing a seat anywhere, they will hold up the line behind them, regardless of where those passengers sit, assigned or not. Thank you for listening to me and thank you for considering a change us Seniors would appreciate.
Dr__Dave
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If it ain't broke - don't fix it! Your current seating strategy works great and provides the most efficient and effective method for getting butts in the seats. Efficient - since it minimizes the time it takes to get everyone on board a full flight (chairs, babies, overhead bags, etc.). aAlso minimizes the FA's time having to sort everyone out. Imagine the fights over the seats (hey mister, I'm in 18F!). Effective - no one wants the middle seat but hey...at least you have a choice. Between the two sumo wrestlers or the two college girls? Hmmmm, let me think about that one! Kinda like making your own tacos at a Mexican buffet, no complaints! Seems the only ones who really don't like SWA's seating ops are those who are not familiar with the system. Maybe make if more fun for newbies? Better pre-board briefings? I applaude your willingness to experiment with the system to see if it can reduce costs. (not sure how but I gotta believe thats your motivation). Is this like the dual boarding bridge experiment? One things for certain, SWA is best airline flying and I hope you keep it that way!
Mark_Davis
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I like the open seating option on Southwest and I fly almost weekly. On a recent fiight from Dallas to New York on American, me and 2 co-workers were jammed up side-by-side in three seats. After the doors closed, the back row of seats were completely empty. I asked a flight attendant if I could move to one of the empty seats and she said, "No! these seats are for the crew". Oh, really, I thought they were for paying customers. The crew piled their coats and bags and lunches in the back seats. Southwest's open-seating allows me to pick my seat (pardon the pun). If I'm one of the last on then I get the luck of the draw. I don't mind. One minor irritant, sometimes when I turn on the reading light above my seat, the light shines on my head, or shoulder, or the seat next to me, can you check the alighnment of the reading lights occasionally? Well, maybe a second minor irritant. I always check my bags to avoid having to wrestle them down the aisles. Only twice have I had a bag delayed and it was returned promptly by SWA. If everyone would check their steamer trunks instead of insisting they carry on, everybody would get in the air faster. SWA, keep up the good work!
TSV
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The best thing about not having assigned seats is that you can avoid the Kids on flights. Once you preboard them, I can then sit farterth away on a long flight so as not to be disturbed with crying etc. The old system is fast and effective and as a Companion Pass Member...I want it to stay as is!!
Mike22
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I have flown on SW since SEPTEMBER, 1971 and do today nearly every week and have earned a companion pass for nearluy 10 years I AM VERY MUCH AGAINST ASSIGNED SEATING. Go fly on Continental, Delta or United and observe how it takes them 40-50 minutes to board everyone. You have beenm very successfuly for 35 years doing it your way, so do not listen to a few whiners. As full as each flight I take each week is, not having assigned seats is not costing you business. Mike
G__R__Main
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I can tell by the tone of Mr. Kelly's post that management has *already*made*up*their*minds*! HUGE Mistake! Ditching open seating is the same as Coca-Cola dropping "Real" Coke a few years ago. This upper management group will run Southwest into bankruptcy court within two years. Bobber
t_nortier
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To the Top Guns at Southwest: Recently I have read of a plan to at least "test fly" assigned seating on Southwest. PLEASE REMEMBER. . It is ain't broke, don't fix it!" There are so many things right with Southwest - friendly people, clean, comfortable, ON TIME airplanes, on line ticketing and boarding passes - - don't imitate the others (they went bankrupt remember?!) Just keep doing what works! Thanks for listening!
Rick11
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This thread has gotten too long for me to wade through, so I'll just say I'm in favor of keeping the open seating the way it is. When I first flew Southwest I thought the cattle-call seating was a joke. But after six years of flying SWA four or five times a year I've come to appreciate it. I'd just as soon not have to listen to poorly-mannered children scream in my ear, thank you. At least with the open seating I can get some distance away from them.
A_J__Drummond__
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We are truly dinosaurs who remember Herb when he was a SA lawyer drawing plans on the "napkin and all his associates at" X " firm who did not to invest". Having many choices, we have always favored open seating and what it stands for. Get up a little early, grab your coffee and shoot for the "A" group. Now the contest is to be the 1st to get your boarding pass on line. I can promise you that if you go to assigned seating then you have joined the pack and slide back into mediocracy with AA and Continental and the only thing that will differentiate your market will be price. Why change, you have a very sucessful marketing plan ?
J_Spoltore
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I choose to fly SWA because of wide choice of flights & more reasonable prices. But open seating brings out the worst in people. Standing in the "A" "B" or "C" line for an hour is anxiety causing, because people are such hogs. If everyone would be courteous & follow the "rules," it could work, but we know that there are always those people who believe that the rules don't apply to them. And the Southwest personnel don't help - at all. If the protocol for lining up could be announced and reinforced by Southwest attendants, it might be better. But it's every man for himself. SWA also needs to enforce the rules about carry-ons. Some people carry on so much stuff, that there is no room in the overhead compartments for those who don't board first - and hence the anxiety about boarding first! Gary - there needs to be a better way ....
Brad1
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I think this assigned seating issue is just a smokescreen for a bigger issue that will be coming down the pipeline over the next months. That issue will be the inability of Rapid Rewards members to utilize their award tickets with the ease that they can use them now. When the new policy of 24 month expirations with NO BLACKOUTS came out, all of us were supposed to get real excited about this great deal. What the fine print said was don't expect to get a guaranteed seat (even if one is available) since there will be a LIMITED number of RR award seats available on every flight. As those of us with "old" RR awards gradually use up those awards, I'm betting that we will find it increasingly difficult to find an available seat using a RR award. When that happens, SWA will be just like the other airlines frequent flyer programs. So now we will lose our ability to use our RR award ,but they want to assign us a seat on a flight we won't be able to take. I agree with the majority of the bloggers above me: if you want to be more like the other failing airlines, keep proposing changes like the new RR award and the assigned seating. Five years ago, I switched all my credit cards to a SW Visa card and started flying exlusively on SWA. I have now almost come full circle: looks like I'll be switching credit cards again and go back to my original frequent flyer program. At least I can fly to Denver and Kona again using frequent flyer miles.
Terry1111
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I've been a business traveler for 25 years and many times have passed on SW so I knew where I would be sitting. Even more so when my wife travels with me. There have been times when circumstances required flying SW and several cases where we couldn't sit together. ASSIGNED SEATS---THE SOONER THE BETTER !!!
Pamela_Scala
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No doubt my comments will be redundant so I add this only as my vote: don't get rid of the current seating policy. There is a culture that has evolved among SW passengers that makes it the most efficient airline to board. On no other airline do passengers board so quickly. Assigned seating is a step backwards. Let's face it: flying today is the new public transportation. Can you imagine boarding a city commuter train or bus and having an assigned seat? Move quickly and plunk it down! The tedious boarding process on the other airlines is archaic. In my mind SW will lose their fast turn around time at the gate, but SW will find that out in a hurry. Moving fast from point A to point B, even if it is cross country, is all we want from our airlines.
Beverly_Warren
Not applicable
Regarding seat assignments -- we really wish you would add that! Having no seat assignment often makes the difference in which airline we choose to fly. Except for that, Southwest has been a great way to travel. With no seat assignment, you typically end up standing in a disorganized line from the moment you arrive at the gate until you board the plane, and sometimes that is a very long time. Often the lines zig zag in ways that make it difficult to even find the end. Often there are people (usually teenagers) who are literally lying on the floor, eating their meal, drinking their drinks, reading their books, with their bags and food spread around them like they are the only passenger, while others who are trying to "find" the line have a hard time doing so. We would strongly encourage you to add seat assignments. For those who do not want seat assignments, let them stand in line and board after everyone else! 🙂
Bonnie_Wiggin
Not applicable
Please don't change open seating. We love it. We've flown other airlines and it never fails that someone is sitting in our seat and we're told to take another seat, which just adds to the problem.
W__Russell
Not applicable
Assigned seating is the way to go. It's not the concept of open seating that's so bad, it's the execution. People lining up sometimes hours before a flight, congested gate areas, people all over the floor. Passengers who put their bags in line then go sit down are the ultimate in rude. I'd fly almost any other airline except Southwest , but because my company requires we take the lowest fare I'm usually stuck with Southwest. I don't even claim my frequent flyer miles because I wouldn't travel on Southwest for personal travel, instead I'll pay more and know I have an assigned seat and not subject my family to having to sit on the hard ground for an hour just to get a reasonable seat. The message from Southwest is "We don't care about you because we know you'll take whatever we dish out to save a buck" or maybe the slogan should be "You're just Cargo"
Rob_Mossack
Not applicable
I went against my better judgement and flew Southwest several weeks ago to get to Chicago from Nashville. Participating in the cattle call you folks call boarding convinced me to cancel a flight scheduled to Omaha on SW the next week, choosing to book on Delta. Sorry, but I'm not interested in having to stand in line for a seat, especially when I've booked the flight weeks, even months before. That comment someone made about being able to book at the last minute and still get a window or aisle--- hey, didn't your parents teach you that there are consequences to procrastination? Book late-- lousy seat. That's justice. I'll never fly SW again--- well, I guess I have to use that cancelled ticket at some point, but believe me, I'll dread every minute of it.