Skip to main content

Southwest Airlines Community

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
Joyce_in_Nebras
Not applicable
Two years ago my husband went from being a 1K traveler with United to Southwest totally because of your service. One too many meetings were missed because of United. Nor, with United, can he depend on flying with a large plane as needed as he carries everything on because of time constraints. But, one thing we both appreciate is the unassigned seats. It has to be the reason for the quick turn-around at the gates and we get pretty close to the seats that we prefer. Someone else isn't assigning the seats; we have the choice....his on the aisle and me by the window. PLEASE don't change.
MERLE_YOUNG
Not applicable
PLEASE LEAVE THE ASSIGNMENT OF SEATS AS IT CURRENTLY DONE. THANKS FOR ASKING ,WE FLY TO AND FROM VEGAS ABOUNT FOUR TIMES A YEAR, MERLE R YOUNG
Tracy11
Not applicable
Wow, where do I start? First I had to pick myself up off the floor when I heard that there was the Possibility of assigned seating. Please I beg you NO NO NO!! Heres my dilemma, I live in Sacramento, my husband lives in Phoenix, we have a vacation home in Tahoe, we both have 2 kids that one is on a companion pass ( More on that issue later!!) I have to be able to travel at a moments notice. I also work as a National Manager for a Winery and have to "Be free to move about the country". If you assign seats then the people who know the system ( Getting A tickets online) will get all jumbled in with the flyers who rarely fly. I consider the way that we get our tickets 24 hours in advance online "First Class Seating" We who fly often EARNED this way of flying! We put in our time in the beginning, why take away something that we have made work for us? We ARE your First Class Customers! ( Ok maybe we are just smarter then the ones who are infrequent flyers, since they do not know the ropes yet) I do everything that I can to fly Southwest air first, in fact the only blip in my travels have been trying to get to Dallas Love Field, well now you made that wish come true.... although I think that I singlehandley sent in 5 million requests for SWA to fly to that destination! :-) I have been stuck on other ... ok Delta....with that horrible Zone boarding thing and to tell you the truth it always seemed to take longer then boarding on SWA. So Pleeeeeeese Pretttttty Pleassssse do not change my wonderful routine of booking last minute air to see my husband and kids! Pleasssse leave us alone and keep yourselves head of the herd in on time departures, oh wait a minute did I say herd? Herd of Cows? You know how some whiners claim its like a herd of Cows? Well then MOOOOOOOOOOOO! I am happy to be the A ticket Head of the Herd! Keep up the great work SWA, we Love ya! ( PS How do you get featured in the SWA magazine for being such a major flyer on SWA, especially with my crazy story of how and why I try to ONLY travel on SWA? Our Winery ONLY uses SWA when we can and we all carry the SWA Visa!) Hint Hint I am a presentable cute female, Seems like its always guys in those stories!
Rodney_Loesch
Not applicable
I'm trying to figure out exactly what the SWA preboard policy is. My wife has a knee disorder that does allow her to walk, but not very quickly. She doesn't need a wheel chair but takes a little additional time to make it down the jetway. I used to be able to go with her, that changed and that's OK. Wed. when we boarded at MCI the boarding agent said that because she was slow was no excuse, and he'd let her go this time but don't every try it again. Does she just need to get a wheel chair and insist on SWA wheeling her down the ramp?
Kyle31
Not applicable
NO WAY!!!!! You need to stay with open seating. Assigned seating is not the way to go. I am very disappointed that SWA is even thinking to do something like this just so save a coupe of $$$
Nan
Not applicable
Please go to assigned seating and enforce the carry on baggage rules. I hate the cattle call atmosphere at the gate. I've seen people come up late and try to cut in line. I've also seen people almost come to blows over standing in line and holding space with luggage. I fly a couple of times a month on average, but I book on other airlines when I can because I like to get a seat assignment when I make my reservation. I would prefer to fly WN if you had assigned seating.
Jenny_Eames
Not applicable
I am not a business traveler, but I do fly about 6 times per year from coast to coast (& everywhere in between). Your prices are great, but unassigned seating has sealed the deal for me flying with you on many flights over the past few years. I made the mistake this past Oct. of choosing another airline for their lower price on a flight. I suffered through each segment of that trip swearing I would only fly on Southwest from then on. I even had the oppurtunity to share what a wonderful experience unassigned seating is with a fellow passenger that was unaware of your practices! Besides, I'm sure that some of your bragging rights for such a high percentage of on time flights has to be attributed to this lovely feature of yours!! Everyone wants to be the first in line for a Southwest flight!!
Gary_Mighton
Not applicable
As a frequent traveller, my wife and I are both Rapid Rewards Members. I LUV SWA for the fact it flies non-stop to many of the destinations we frequent, which is a nice thing, anyone who has to make connections in a large airport knows what a pain it is. This is even more important for my wife and I seeing as we are near a smaller airport which SWA serves. Other airlines board us on a very small commuter jet first and then we switch planes in a larger city. Those small commuter jets are horrible if you have carry-on luggage. So, for the pure low cost and niceties of direct flights, we LUV SWA. I do, however, understand some of the complaints about the open seating policy. While my wife and I are devoted and well-versed travellers, making sure to get our priceless "A" boarding passes, we do get annoyed with the need to sit in the "A" line in order to ensure our favorite seats on the plane. I think that SWA boards quickly and efficiently, which is nice, but I think there is a way to compromise, eliminating the "cattle call" feel, and making the gate area seem less like a camp-out and more like a relaxed environment. First, Keep the underlying policy of open seating. More times than not, this HELPS the frequent traveller who sometimes makes last-minute plans, and also HELPS families. Even in the B line, I have never seen a situation where large groups of people travelling together have not been able to sit together. Most people who fly SWA are kind enough to switch seats to make other people happier. However, the change you should implement is to actually ASSIGN a number to the boarding passes for A, B, and C. (Or at least A - we are the ones who show up so early). If you did this, the people who got "A" passes would know the order in which we were required to line up. You could also insitute a gate check-in where A pass people got a number in order of arrival at the gate. Then, when A line was close to being ready to board, an announcement can be made to line up in order of numbers. Most people are not idiots, we can handle this on our own. What this accomplishes is keeping the open seating policy, but eliminating the need to "camp out" on the floor at the gate. I think it will make for a less hostile environement, and completely eliminate the complaints of the people who hate having to get to the airport early. You make it THIER choice. You can assign numbers in order of online check-in or in order of arrival at the gate. Either way, you make it the customer's choice if they want to arrive early (for gate assignment) or to be diligent about checking in online quickly and early. You can even give passengers a choice when they check-in online. One option is to get a regular A pass with no line number, making these people still motivated to show-up early for a better spot in the A line, or, for those people who HATE having to show up to the airport so early, they can opt for the "place in the A line" number during on-line check-in. In short, I think things can be done to make open seating more fair, and for it to work better, but the underlying concept is still wonderful, and I am never afraid of arriving at the gate too early myself, I just always bring a book or other diversion. Keep up the good work!
Bill20
Not applicable
Please offer customers the ability to select seats before your flights. This would be most appreciated if it were possible to do this at the time I book the reservation online. The current process of "1st come = 1st served" has been the main deterent to me in choosing SWA. Yes, recently I flew SWA for my holiday vacation - it was the first flight for me on SWA in 10 years. The "time to board" was not noticably different from the assigned seats boarding process. But knowing the type of seat I'd prefer would likely be gone when I boarded, plus the "free for all" attitude of some in the A and B lines and the disappointed looks on the faces of those who slogged to the remaining seats in the back of the plane reminded me of concerts which have the infamous "festival seating", which concert and event promoters have mostly done away with. Thanks!
Ray_Wilcox
Not applicable
I have been looking for a way to comment on the issue of assigned seating ever since I heard about it. This has been a topic of discussion in the lines waiting to board. I have yet to hear anyone supportive of assigned seating. I try to fly in the 'non-busy' times and so can't relate to the business travellers, but I can provide the following observations: 1 - Families with small children utilize the preboarding line, and manage to sit together. Additionally, while in the preboarding line they meet other families, and many sit with each other. 2 - Single travellers, especially female, meet other people in the waiting line, and they end up sitting together, having someone to talk to during the flight. 3 - I have been able to learn much about where I'm going while talking to others in the waiting lines, as well as providing information to others about Rhode Island. 4 - I don't see many late arrivals rushing to get on the plane at the last minute. I am extremely supportive of keeping the open seating, and sincerely hope that SWA doesn't make the mistake of changing a unique policy that appears to work very well. I noticed that Southwest is one of the few airlines that consistently shows a profit. I realize that much of that is due to sound leadership. However, it is also due to policies put in place that many travellers are in favor of.
Mary1211
Not applicable
I personally hate the cattle call seating. WHen travleing for personal reasons My husband doesn't mind it so i sometimes will; put up with it while traveling on a vacation trip or two each year. HOWEVER, if I am chosing flights or tavelign on one of my 20ish business trips per year, I avoid SW like the plague due to the lack of assigned seats.
Tony10
Not applicable
The open seating policy forces people who would like a better seat to stand for an hour or more before boarding begins. Why is this needed? While other comments indicate the policy is beneficial for people with small children, if one follows the rules, and doesn't pre-board after the kids are over 4 years of age, they run the risk of not being able to sit with their children unless they go through this hour standing in line routine. I recently traveled with my two kids aged 5 and 7, and unfortunately only boarded in group B. I was forced to sit my 7 year old by herself with strangers several rows away, as no one was willing to move. I fly other airlines that don't use open seating and out of curiosity time the boarding process. The Southwest policy doesn't load any faster as far as I can tell. Lets move on!
Louise_Costello
Not applicable
Count me as one of those who wants to beg you to never change your open seating. It is why SWA is our first choice whenever possible- recent "assigned seating" experiences on US Air and Delta, among others have reinforced that feeling. Only on SWA do I have the option of avoiding people who look to me like unpleasant choices- my US Air flight was spent sitting next to a toddler having a tantrum and throwing toys that would miss her mother and hit me. I don't know that I think anyone should be subjected to that- but I know I didn't like having no choice - and having the attendant say- sorry - you're assigned there - we have nowhere to move you. I am so looking forward to my SWA flight next month- please don't fall into the trap of fixing something that is certainly not broken in my opinion.
Thomas_Coates
Not applicable
I have been a Rapids Reward member since 1996, anytime I can I fly Southwest; whether for business or pleasure. I fly to Ft. Lauderdale when going to Miami instead of Miami on United or American; to Hartford when going to Boston instead of Logan (even though it would be more convenient to fly into Logan); to Baltimore even when visiting DC (although now that has been solved since you service both Reagan and Dulles) and I do it for one reason; THE OPEN SEATING AND THE OUTSTANDING CUSTOMER SERVICE. Atlhough other airlines have improved, routinely United, American, Delta; their Flight Attendants are cranky and the boarding process is a nightmare. Although there is "assigned" seating, routinely people crowd the gate, try to Board before their "time" for one reason or another, and clog the aisles wrestling with baggage. Going from the plastic boarding cards to the electronic A,B,C system was nothing compared to converting to be like "the other" airlines. I refuse to believe that people who currently do not fly Southwest will miraculously change their minds if Southwest converts to assigned seating. And frankly, these are not the people who helped make Southwest what it is today (the only profitable airline flying at the moment). Yeah, I get it, fuel prices have gone up, profits are not AS HIGH as they were and the Suits want more profit; but the Customers are overwhelmingly against it (from what I am reading on this blog); something to think about Southwest!!
DMan
Not applicable
I found this website by searching for tips on flying Southwest Airlines for an upcoming trip. You see, I can count the times I've flown on SWA during the past 25 years on one hand. I am a happy and regular AA flyer. I am only flying SWA ONE WAY because their NONSTOP lax-sat arrives when I need to be there. AA's arrives too late. I am flying back NONSTOP on AA, however. The reason I "never" fly SWA is because of the open seating policy. Here is a typical trip on AA. I arrive in the terminal typically one hour before flight time and have something to eat or drink, walk around a little, then sit, relax and (depending on the airport) people watch the SWA customers either standing or sitting all over the dirty floor and wonder WHY???? Then I sit until my group number is called. I wait until the last few people in my group are boarding before getting up to make my way to my assigned aisle seat in the front of the plane. I generally have nobody sitting next to me as I have selected or manipulated my aisle seat to go with someone who has selected the window seat. Unless the flight is at capacity, nobody selects the center seat, and if they do, when they see two people sitting in the row, they find an open seat elsewhere where it is less crowded. From reading this, I have discovered why people fly SWA. Their customer is the last minute customer who books a week or two in advance. AA = lowest fares and best seats in advance, high fares and poor seats last minute. SWA = decent fares ( but not the lowest) and decent seats (but you've got to work for them).
DMan
Not applicable
I think I may have thought of a solution here... Why not keep the paper boarding passes with a printed check in NUMBER on it. The number would be assigned "1" for the first person who checks in online all the way down to the last number being the last person who checks in at the ticket counter before the flight. Let's say that is passenger number "120". Then go back to the way it was done in the old days with the plastic boarding cards. Call boarding 1-20, boarding 1-40, boarding 1-60, boarding 1-80, then boarding all passengers. The customers could eat, shop, relax or REMAIN SEATED in a civil manner. They would not need to move to the door until their number is close to being called. Once called, you still have open seating. I left some other comments above and will be checking in by phone, I think that is great. Hopefully i will get a "A" pass, but I am still dreading that line. I would consider flying SWA more often if your boarding could be arranged similar to what i described.
Rebecca7
Not applicable
My husband and I fly from Seattle to Nashville at least two to three times per year. We love the open seating arrangements. We have had to fly other airlines before and due to assigned seating, we were unable to sit together as a family. We tend to travel with his four-year old son and the open seating and early boarding makes life easier for us. Just being able to get seats together as a family makes the flight less stressful for me. Please keep the open seating. The open seating and customer service (and the fair prices) is the main things that keep us coming back time after time.
Betsie__Bolger_
Not applicable
The best thing about having to fly somewhere that Southwest doesn't go -- is that by the end of our round trip via Another Airline, we are once again fully cognizant of just how many reasons we have for LoVing to fly SWA, first/foremost of which is: OPEN SEATiNG - It's NoT difficult, folks! Just GeT ON the plane, then SiT the *%^&* DoWN, please!! On a recent trip to the British Virgin Islands, we were seated mid-cabin on both legs of the journey to and fro. Thanks to our years of experience as seasoned SWA "Get-On-&-Go" passengers, we were able to proceed directly to Row 14 and plunk ourselves down -- with our carry-on totebag and backpack stowed overhead, books/snacks bag under the seat in front of us, plus enough time to stow a guitar in our overhead compartment for the guy sitting 2 rows ahead of us -- before the passenger assigned to the seat across the aisle from us proceeded to hold up the boarding process for at least 7.25 minutes (we didn't start timing him right away, so we're trying to give him the benefit of the doubt...) whilst he agonized over the placement of his roll-on weekender bag and straw hat in the otherwise empty overhead compartment above his seat. When the flight attendant finally was able to fight her way thru the crowd to ask if she could assist him, he wanted to know if she could hold his hat for him until he could be sure that nobody else put anything in the overhead bin that might touch -- er, crush -- it... ...Talk about people who REALLY don't use their head~{{;>}~!!! Thanx, Gary, to you & Herb & Colleen & Everybody @ SWA (especially our dearly beloved friend Mardi Coleman, who started out in Reservations and has been loving his job more with every promotion, and my DJ-turned-Adjunct-Multimedia-Professor husband's former RCCD student Chris Sommers, who works on SWA's interactive training videos), Betsie Bolger (Mrs. Jon Mott)
Fredrick_Mboma
Not applicable
Hi, SWA keep doing your thing. Let travellers be either with you or against you. BUT DON'T TRY TO PLEASE EVERYONE. Let those who hate Open Seating go somewhere else. It makes those who likes Open Seating even more proud to be part of SWA.
Edith_Driban
Not applicable
we fly often to New England and use Southwest a lot, but to be honest with you, if we can find the same flight for the same price (which is often) with reserved seats, we will.... I've wanted to tell this to you for a long time, just didn't have an outlet!!! I've just recently talked with many people in the waiting line and they all said the same thing, they would fly you more often, if the seats were reserved... so, we hope you are listening!!!!!!!!
Edith_Driban
Not applicable
booked a flight for my sister (she has no computer) she got the last seat in front of the bathroom.. I've been reading a lot of the comments and it seems like you have so many customers that like your system because they rush 24 hours before the flight and print out their boarding pass.... what about the guy that is somewhere without access to a computer.... always the last seat on the plane? there has to be a better way....
mlh
Not applicable
It's been a year since you came to my home town, and I still love SWA! . For the point to point traveler, open seating works for me. From reading this blog, it seems like there is a need for BOTH open and preassigned seating ... Maybe it doesn't work so well if you have to cobble together multiple segments? It seems like the industry's preassigned seating protocol has lots of flaws, so why be a 'me-too', when you have a chance to reinvent it? I don't have the answer, but here's something to think about ... As an experiment attach some caveats; set aside the rear of the craft for booking seats, and rather than hold a preassigned seat for the duration of boarding, pre-board the preassigned seaters, and after that release the seats to open seaters. You could see how many of the preassigned seaters resist the urge to cheat and actually take the seat they were assigned ... now that could tell a story, eh?
JC11
Not applicable
I think swa needs to have seating assignments. How hard is it to assign a seat when checking in. It will eliminate the need for your valued customers standing in line for more than an hour prior to boarding. I think eliminates the chaos of people cutting in line and even your passengers can go to the restrooms freely not nervous they will loose their place in line. Treat your customers like they are paying customers because they are definately not lining up for a free trip, they paid for the tickets and they don't deserve to stand in lines for long periods of time.
Randy_Robichaux
Not applicable
I'm not necessarily a fan of assigned seating, and I actually rarely get anything but an A boarding pass. My only complaint is the lines that form at the gate that block the access and forces people to start standing long before boarding begins. I was in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago, and the line extneded out into the walking area outside of the gate, and nearly blocked the entire passageway. If assigned seating would help solve the queuing issue, I'm all for it. If ther e is some other way to do it and still keep the open seating policy in tact, that would be the best of both worlds. Thanks,
NotBizTraveler
Not applicable
Too much emotions, to little business sense. Are SW operation people all blind ? 1) Single or biz travelers prefer open seating 2) Group travelers hate it 3) The one thing in common, people hate the long waiting line At least the CEO is still sober and read what he said, " ..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. " Forget about the hype about love or hate SW, or what makes SW, do the right thing, whether it is SW or not.
Len1
Not applicable
I'm trying to figure out why I wouldn't want to fly Jet Blue and have reserved seats and directtv and not Southwest. At one time, Southwest was the only low cost provider available to me and it was great. There are more options out there now and Southwest is one of many. I enjoy the seats and the service. But seeing customers sitting on floors at airports and holding places in lines and at airports 90 minutes to 120 minutes early doesn't appeal to me any more on any flight longer than Providence to Baltimore.
Matt_Bramanti
Not applicable
"But seeing customers sitting on floors at airports and holding places in lines and at airports 90 minutes to 120 minutes early doesnÃ
Marshall1
Not applicable
I fly regularly for business, at least 1 round trip a week. Once SWA opened service at my home airport (DEN), I switched to them and have not looked back. The main reason for switching to exclusively flying SWA is the open seating. If SWA goes the way of every other airline and begins to assign seats, I will be switching back to a legacy carrier simply because they would have the possibility of first/business class upgrades with elite status. I realize that I am but one customer, but I have been a loyal one, and provide a decent chunk of revenue that would simply go back to an established legacy if Southwest changed what makes it Southwest.
Bertrand_Ruhle
Not applicable
Sir I am A retiried person and I do invent for my pass time.What about I am going to tell you I wrote to A loth of company before with this idea but in vain no body want to believed that it is posiable to do what this idea well do. Try to follow what it well do to the air industry if you iinplant this idea to every airlines in the world. 1 The airlines well not have to check the baggage when the costomer comes to the airport ,just put the baggage on the strap that goes to the airplane 15 minutes before departure and it well be fine.NO witing for 3 or 4 hours for checking baggage. 2The idea well check the baggage and the personial in security well not have to check the baggage no more the way the baggage well be set in the airplane well make it safe . 3With this idea the airlines well save million,s of dollars of fuel Because of the way the airlines work. 4The airlines well lower there prices and still makes A loth of profit . 5The safety of the airlines well lboast morel in the pilot and the service people abord the aircraft because of the safety of the airraft would be sure that there is on baggage with harzardis meterial abord because the way the baggage is place in the aircrsft. 6 With this idea it well makes the passanger that are not sure this well assure them once more . 7 The only thing that the the safety have to do is check the people that takes the airplane and don,t have to check the baggage. Because the way I orginize The baggage does not need to be check. A telephone call at the airport from someone that gave A treat in the baggage is most unlikely to happened. Thank you for taking the time to read my letter Bertrand Ruhle
Red3
Not applicable
From a security standpoint assigned seats are best. On SW if the plane takes off & the pilot is notified that a suspected terrorist(s) are on board. Great but what seat(s) are they in?
Todd5
Not applicable
As a last minute business flyer and a RR member who flys WN at least once a week, and also buys fully refundable fares, I will go to another carrier if assigned seating is implemented.
Marcy
Not applicable
Brian14
Not applicable
Has there been any new news on this in the past year? What were the results of the evaluation period? Did the evaluation actually happen?
Denny_Fegan
Not applicable
Gary, I just happened to see a comment in the Wall Street Journal today about this blog and thought I would take a look. In fact, this is the first time that I have even looked at a blog! I have been flying SWA for over 27 years and I have never been a fax of the open seating. It got much better when I could check in on line and I am almost always in the "A" group. But to be honest; I avoid flying SWA on longer flights because of the open seating. If you adopt assigned seating you will certainly see more of me and my wife (who hates the open seating).
Clay_Harrison
Not applicable
I live in Texas, How do I become an airline Steward? please email me at my address and let me know
Alice7
Not applicable
Please keep open seating so we can keep flying SWA! My wife and I fly on business enough to have a Companion Pass for the third year in a row. We like to choose who we sit next to. Babies, kids, loud people, and large people are ones we avoid to make our trip pleasurable. We have noticed that more seating at the gates is being configured to allow you to sit down in each boarding group. This is very much appreciated and we would like to see it expanded. We have flown many other airlines when going to cities not serviced by SWA. We can truly say SWA is our favorite for being on time and with the least amount of hassle. The flight attendants are the most friendly of the skies. You all are the best! Keep up the good work.
Jim2
Not applicable
Something has to change in the boarding process. There's going to be a riot in the A line one day when some jerk comes walking up 10 minutes before boarding and goes straight to the front of the line, passing 40 people who have been sitting in chairs that are lined up directly in line with the A corale. Don't mess with me when I've done all the right things to get a good seat for a cross-county flight...
pissed_off_past
Not applicable
SWA sucks big time. I will never use SWA again and have refused to allow all employees (2000+) from ever using them as well . wake up! its all smoke and mirrors and about making money. anyone who feels otherwise is just drinking the cool aide. you can have your open seating, who needs an additional level of aggravation while in the airport if so fly southworst.
Cygnus
Not applicable
OK, I'll take the bait . . . So Mr. Troll PO'd Non-Customer, are you saying you'd rather fly an airline that LOSES money? There are plenty of them out there that would love to have your business while they go under. Or are you a disgruntled Northwest pilot?
Austin_Flyer
Not applicable
I understand that the buyer should be ware, but I now know that open seating is not for me. Having to stand in the group C line for 2 hours before a flight is nuts. I couldn't go to the SWA site and pre-print my pass because I didn't purchase my package from SWA. When I arrived at the airport 2 1/2 early and was told that I was in the "C boarding group". No more for me, I'll travel with another carrier and spend my money with them.
Bay_Area_Flyer
Not applicable
I haven't flown SWA for at least 10 years but used to fly it all the time for the great fares. However, I just returned from flying Southwest to Vegas and now clearly remember why I stopped! To echo the sentiment by another customer, the last thing I want to do at an airport is be forced to stand in a line and stress about where IÃ
Bob2
Not applicable
I can see, by the number of resposes, that Southwest will probably never go to assigned seating. I suppose it may be that the same people that find they have the time to stand and fight for a spot in the "Cattle Call" line also have time to fritter on this blog. I found it while looking for any news of Southwest changing its ways. I fly about twice eack week, spending between $400 and $900 on plane fare in the U.S. with the bulk of my flying over the past two years on SW. I have recently dropped Southwest as an option because I am tired of standing and guarding a spot in line against, what I have seen as, increasingly obnoxious travellers who have discovered that they can bull their way into lines and otherwise disrupt what once was a fairly descent system. These folks have discovered that, in most cases, SW employees do nothing to help this situation. And why should they? What finally did it for me was Philadelphia, where you see fit to schedule departures 30 minutes apart at the same gates, causing even more chaos than usual, given the normal occurance of flight delays there. The last straw for me was when, five minutes before loading, I had a man try to fill the one foot space between myself and the person in front of me with his bulk and when I ejected him, having to listen to his liturgy of curse words. As for the folks writing here about it all beng worth it for the lower fares, I have news. Check again. In most cases SW is no cheaper than any other carrier. In fact, I have found that by purchasing about two weeks in advance, I have been able to get the aisle seat I prefer and am actually saving, sometimes as much as $100 over booking in the same time-frame with SW. Granted, the aisle seat I am referring to is usually futher back in the plane compared to within the first five rows I was always able to get with SW, but I have also found that it does not take even as much as an extra five minutes to de-plane. Well worth being able to grab something to eat or use the toilet just before flight time. I also much prefer the over-all relaxed boarding associated with everyone knowing well in advance where their seat will be.
Coburn
Not applicable
Please consider adding Knoxville, TN to the list of cities that you serve. I really don't care if I sit in the first or last seat, I just want to be able to travel to Knoxville with out breaking the bank. Thanks.
vinnie_mirchand
Not applicable
Gary, welcome to blogging. I am a multi-year running Companion Pass kind of flyer. I am also in the technology business (and fellow blogger) and like to see it applied to optimizing airline ops. But on the assigned seats - don't do it! You have optimized seating by allowing travelers to get their seats 24 hours in advance. That just about guarantees an A boarding pass holder a seat of their preference on the plane. Opening it 3-6 months in advance is no fairer...then as an "elite" flyer I will expect to have you hold some seats for us elite...you will open another can of worms...The system works fine right now. Those who call SW cattle car or milk run (I hear that all the derisive talk about SW every time I fly internationally on Delta) will never convert to you anyways even with assigned seats...focus on your loyal customers ...most are likely of my opinion...
Susan4
Not applicable
Dear CEO of Southwest, As a victim of the Northwest monopoly in Michigan we are constantly trying to use other airlines to avoid the nightmare NWA provides. In carefully planning a trip to Disney with my family for November of 2007. I was very concerned about your open seating system as it pertains to young children. I then spoke to a very friendly and helpful representative and she dictated your policy to be, "children will board first." So in good faith I have book my tickets with you and your airlines. Only to read today in the newspaper that you will no longer allow young children to board early on flights. So what your saying is that if I don't hurry up and print my boarding passes 24 hours early you are going to seat my 2 and 4 year olds with strangers? Is that what the so-called "friendly" airline is stelling me? I am appalled, disturbed and dismayed by this policy change. Not to mention, I now want a refund. I was specifically told when I purchased the tickets that this was the case and all of a sudden you decide to change your mind? What is with airlines, you say you are thinking about your customers, but you are going to send my children to sit next to strangers if I don't get there early enough? I don't mind your normal cattle call method, but There should be exceptions especially when you are supposed to be travelling to the "happiest place on earth" and on the "friendliest airlines." Disgusted Traveler, I want my money back, because I changed my mind to! Susan
Dana_Thorin
Not applicable
I was so horrified when someone recently told me that you were considering assigned seating! Most of the time when I go to an airport (and I do fly quite frequently) - the airline with the most people boarding, is Southwest. They have the lines of people to check bags, etc... Don't you understand that the reason for this is that Southwest has a setup that is so appealing to so many. The 24 hour check-in is great. Yep, I have forgotten to do it or done it late or arrived late and didn't get to sit where I would have preferred. Guess what? My fault, my problem - it is part of the experience. Then there are the times that while I was waiting in that wonderful "cattle call" line I have met an interesting person and we have gotten to sit next to each other on the flight and visit. Letting people actually have some say in what they do is not the norm in today's society - many people have been conditioned to not even be able to handle it, but Southwest has allowed people to actually have some say in their own travel arrangements & I have enjoyed it thoroughly!! When I am planning a trek I don't even think of anyone else. When I have had to take other airlines (because SW doesn't fly everywhere), it is always a major disappointment. I miss the lines, the choices, the involvement in the flying experience! Virtually any time I have heard a complaint about the seating method, it is from someone who doesn't fly often or has never flown SW before. They generally get into the swing of things if they fly again. Please, let things be!!! I do hope that this is not one of those things where letting people air their views is for form only and your mind is made up already! Dana Thorin p.s. Also, generally, your clientele is always much nicer and more down to earth then any I have had to travel with on other airlines.
blusk
Not applicable
Hi Dana, This post is over a year old. To see our decision, please go to Gary's newest post: http://www.blogsouthwest.com/2007/09/19/to-assign-or-not-to-assign-that-is-the-question/ Brian
blusk
Not applicable
Since Gary has published a new post on this subject, http://www.blogsouthwest.com/2007/09/19/to-assign-or-not-to-assign-that-is-the-question/, we are going to close comments here. Brian
jp720
Not applicable
I love SWA. I have since I first studied their business model since formation in 1971 and have always been impressed with their bizarre out of the box approaches to doing business. I love, love, love the seating and have always been a proponent of this approach to getting people to organize themselves such that schedules are more easily managed. I fly it whenever I can, even though to do so means I have to drive 90 minutes south of MKE to get to MDW. However, it seems the frat party has evolved into a Fortune 500 company approach. My wife and I just tried to get on the 8:45 am light from Nashville to Chicago with our 10am boarding passes. Even though SWA didn't have enough passengers to begin the C group (i.e., it was 1/3 empty), they would have required me to pay an upcharge of $68 per ticket for my wife and I. Just after I made my request, a pair of non rev passengers walked up and got on. Now the key question - why is it that non rev passengers get special treatment, while I (with 38 flights in the past 12 months) do not? A 1/3 empty plane flies over an hour earlier than my totally full plane with a pair of non rev passengers receiving special treatment. Nice.
Anonymous1690
Not applicable
Okay so I probably shouldn't be writing this here but i have a perfect idea for a new commercial. It should be a big football game and one of the players intercepts the ball but starts running the wrong way until finally he makes a touchdown. He hold up his hands doing a little dance until he realized everyone is booing him, eyes wide he looks around at angry fans. Then right when he realizes what he's done the maskot tackles him and right in mid air the screen freezes and the voice say "want to get away?" Well it makes me laugh.