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Enhanced Boarding

sboersma
Not applicable
Over the past year and a half, I've been fortunate enough to be involved in a project that is focused on improving our Customers' experience with our boarding process.  This is another great example of how Southwest Airlines truly listens and cares about our Customers.  Enough to make changes for you.  So what am I blabbering on about, it's the hottest craze to hit our gate area in the San Antonio airport.  We are testing a new boarding method that tries to improve our Customers' experience in our gate area.  I think it's great, and, no, I'm not biased.  Here's how it works: you check in and get your boarding pass, just like you would today, but now, in addition to the letter A, B, or C,  it also has a numeric position on it.  That numeric position is your spot in line!  We're, essentially, holding a place for you in line so you don't have to camp out in line before it's time to board the aircraft (Old Way: A...New Way:  A6).  You're now free to move about the airport...grab a coffee, a bite to eat, maybe even use the restroom with out having to leave those bags unattended. You don't have to be watching for thar first person to race to the front of the line and then hurry behind them, only to wait 30 minutes utill the plane even lands.  With all the flying I do, I lUV it, and I hope you will too.  Now remember, we're just testing it in the San Antonio airport.  We want to make sure you, the Customers, like it and that it doesn't hurt our "turn times."  So if your travel plans take you to the river walk, come say "hi."  We'll be testing there for a few more weeks.   
154 Comments
Howard_Brickman
Not applicable
Susie, For the folks that don't like standing in line and rushing for the the best available empty seat, Southwest should create a new super category of elite business organizational leaders of America. It would be abbreviated as EBOLA class. Charge them an extra $100. for each segment of their trip. Half of the EBOLA class surcharge would be used to subsidize the remaining cattle class passengers. Assuming that there are 135 seats on the average 737 and 120 passengers opt for EBOLA class. Southwest has an additional gross profit of $6000. and the 15 cattle class passengers share $6000. which would be $400 each. If my math is correct, a group of professional cattle class passengers would develop because by flying on two short segments say from Providence to BWI each day five days per week, one could earn about $600/day which is $3,000 per week. Just kidding. Why don't you figure out how to keep the airplanes flying safely-on time-at the lowest available ticket price, and I will adapt to whatever system makes all of this happen. After all who wants to mess with EBOLA.
BEEEE_K_
Not applicable
...not sure about the whole boarding card using the letter number combo. I fly swa to work up to 6 times a week out of Midway and I like getting my 'A' and then chosing whether I want to be the first 'A' in line by leaving my house at 4:30am; or the last 'A' by leaving my house at 5:15am. My only request is that you work with the airport when they lay carpet in your gates and put a stripe down for each letter. Red for A, Blue for B, and White for C...something to that effect. Less line confusion. Keep up the good work swa!
Sammy_G
Not applicable
I have enjoyed flying on Southwest for years because of their convienent n/s service from Islip to Florida, Chicago and Vegas, and their low fares. Open seating is nice because I know who I'm sitting near before sitting down. If there is a whining 3 year old behind me, I will know that I don't have to sit near he or she... I am happy with the current ABC no number policy because I can almost guarentee a good window seat with card A at home the day before without the stress of leaving extra early. The new process will create a bigger cattle run at the computer. Fast reflexes has nothing to do with being a loyal passenger, and is not worth it! Me and many other Long Islanders don't not want to go to JFK or La Guardia and get stuck in traffic on the LIE to get the same n/s service on another airline!
Betty4
Not applicable
A flight on SWA is always a pleasure and we like open seating. The numeric position on the boarding pass is a great idea and would eliminate the need to line up early. Sounds like those who have experienced it in San Antonio appreciate it, so let's try it! The convenient online check-in simply avoids standing in line at the check-in desk. Ticketless makes it so easy! As for pre-boarding, someone mentioned parents wanting to sit with their "little darlings." Of course they should sit with their children, and should be pre-boarded without question! By the way, we start with Rapid Rewards tickets. I can't imagine not getting tickets free by using our SWA Visa card. AND, if you haven't spent a little time on the phone to SWA, you're missing something. I tell people to call when they can get put on hold and get a good laugh! Any business that can be that creative must be trying to make things work for the customer! One little comment while I'm here.....Some of us can't eat peanuts but would enjoy a different munchy. Thanks for a good ride and all the laughs at the counter (back through the years) and on board. I can't help but smile at the pilots and crew on the way out.
Jenni
Not applicable
What impact does this have on people traveling with small children? Will we no longer be able to board among the first to get settled before everyone else clogs the aisles?
bruce_church
Not applicable
Current boarding system is ok. Could be tweaked to allow numbers in the groups so that eveyone is not standing thirty minutes before the flight arrives. People are like sheep! Also need to make provisions for families traveling together in pre-board. It would be nice if the CP holders got to board early or always an A. Seems like a small perk to SWA's most loyal customers
Wes__Schultz
Not applicable
Please continue to experiment until SWA gets to the real answer; assigned seating. As someone mentioned earlier, as more and more flights are at or near capacity, the "aggravation factor" of the current pre-boarding abuses and boarding procedure increase. As one who has enjoyed a companion pass for ten years, the economic benefit my wife and I enjoy when flying SWA is about to be out weighed by the "aggravation factor". Wasn't it great when SWA flights were regularly on time and investors found SWA a good investment?
jim
Not applicable
Ever noticed how any posting on any blog or forum about SWA and assigned seats and/or changes to the boarding process always results in many, many posts?
Greg_Pruett
Not applicable
I think this is an great idea. I typically am around a computer and am almost always able to have a number less than 5 on my boarding pass. It's frustrating when you can't grab a bite to eat prior to the flight without worrying about your place in line. I hope this rolls out systemwide. It would be an excellent improvement.
L__Swanson
Not applicable
I am fearful that the corporate brass is going to ruin the RR program with SWA. It has been the most user friendly and simplest program to utilize. I search out flights on SWA to gain credits and purposely use partners for hotels and car rental. If changes are made that make the RR tickets more difficult to use, it will likely the purchasing habits for me and many of my co-workers.
Corey
Not applicable
I travel on SW a lot for business and am still amused by the Group A "squatters" who somehow feel that the row of seats leading up to the Group A gate, or B or C somehow entitles them to a spot in line. My theory: If you want a place in line, you should be willing to stand WITH your stuff. No dropping the bags and sitting elsewhere. I've been impressed with the cities that keep rows of seating away from the A, B and C gates. Anyone else have thoughts on this?
Mark13
Not applicable
I have an idea, why don't you let the business travelers like me, who pay full fare 90% of the time board 1st, we are the customers driving your profits up. Call it Southwest Airlines 1st class!!!!!!
Susan21
Not applicable
I personally think the new boarding procedure might work, but there will be definate kinks. I fly every two weeks back and forth and frequently see late arrivers with A boarding passes . I am one who gets online at 2 minutes prior to the 24 hours to get my A pass but that is good for me. I do not jump up when the first person is in line. I do think however having a gate agent at every gate not every two or three would help and asking the passengers to wait till A's then B's announced would be good too As long as southwest continues the non assigned seats i am one happy camper. No offense parents but i always let the little ones go on first and if there is a sneezing coughing passenger thatt is not where i am sitting..I also appreciate the ease and non charge of fees to change a flight even at the last possible minute . I often have to do this and very frequently have several credits in my account but this works well for me. I love southwest please don't change too much.
Susan21
Not applicable
I also want to add that i hope these new procedures do not affect preboarders of little kids and families and most importantly those who need time and assistance. Would like to see more seats available for preboarders often see people with canes and the like trying to stand in the preboard area no where to sit.
Bob_O_Brien
Not applicable
I'm hoping the new sceme works; anything is worth a try. I enjoy SWA, and think it is the best commuter airline out there. Its safe, reliable and has great employees! The only negative with the airline is the dreaded "cattle call". I fly at least twice a week and usually end up near the front of the line anyway. What is really frustrating are those inconsiderate passangers that ignore the people waiting in the seats near the front of the line, and cut in front of them anyway without asking "are you in line" (by the way, I agree with the comment about squatters too...you just want to grab a TSA agent and remove the bags!). The airports I fly in and out of have poor seating arrangements near the boarding gate. The seats sometime line up with the three boarding rows, but they are set back far enough so that people automatically cut in front of those already sitting in place. I think ticket numbering can be successful if SWA streamlines the boarding areas and makes it clear the numbering sequence is place. Either that, or load the plane from the back first! There is nothing more frustrating than missing a connecting flight because several passangers significanlty delayed the flight during the boarding process by trying to figure out why their oversized carry-on luggage doesn't fit.
Judi4
Not applicable
I think SWA should leave well enough alone. Your filghts are almost always on time, your flights are normally fuller than flights to the same areas with other airlines and the flight staff is always friendly and helpful. I only fly SWA when booking my own flights. Recently I flew with a friend whose husband booked our flight and I had an assigned seat. Our flight was late, the staff unfriendly and I plan to continue to use SWA exclusively. I feel it would be unfair for someone to arrive at the airport just as the plane is about to board and step to the front of the line. What about giving out a number as you arrive at the airport if you really want to change things. But you used to do this system and it required staff at the gate for a long time prior to the actual flight departure which would increase the cost of doing business, thus increasing the final fare cost. PLEASE, if it ain't broke dont try to fis it. SWA is doing fine and should leave well enough alone. LOVE FLYING ON SWA!!!
Don3
Not applicable
I like the new boarding system and I vote to keep it.
Robbie2
Not applicable
Travelled out of San Antonio today and was introduced to the number assignment boarding pass...this was great! Didn't have to stand in line for over 30 minutes to get the choice seat that I wanted which made it easier and it seemed faster to board the plane. Everyone seemed to be much nicer than when we were just standing in line......hope this can be implemented in all the cities where you fly.
B_1
Not applicable
I fly Southwest several times a year, but absolutely agree with SeanÃ
Ron11
Not applicable
Sound very similar to what I suggested in my comments on the "A Message from our CEO Gary Kelly". I wrote it on October 1, 2006 http://www.blogsouthwest.com/2006/06/21/a-message-from-our-ceo-open-season-on-assigned-seating/#comment-4704 Sounds like a great plan. CanÃ
MDT_flyer
Not applicable
Southwest is moving in this direction so that they may charge for preboarding and certain seats
Rich2
Not applicable
For those who posted problems with the Southwest boarding method, pay attention to the process next time you have to fly someone else. I have to believe you don't fly much. Most of my flying (which is weekly) is on SWA, but when I do have to fly with others, I watch the process and the time it takes while most passengers stand listening to; "zone 14, zone 13, zone 12, Bueller, Bueller, Bueller, etc." Sadly, I don't see the American traveler as smart enough for assigned seating. Invariably, there's a conflict with the guy who sits one row behind his assigned seat. He then has to fight his way through the oncoming passengers to get to it, and upon landing, fight his way back to get his lunchbox in the overhead bin. As Judi wrote, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
Dreama
Not applicable
I was fortunate enough to experience the pilot in SAT recently and absolutely LUV'd it! Not only is it a great process improvement it also builds in an element of equity. If someone plans appropriately and checks in online 23 hrs and 59 minutes prior to flight time (or as early as possible) then obviously it is important to them to be in an earlier boarding group. They should not then feel compelled to arrive at the gate 2 hours before boarding to ensure they are not last in their respective boarding group. Nor should they feel that they can't leave the line to use the facilities or grap some food. The "clusters of 5" approach is also a great idea to handle those passengers that take their position number LITERALLY! It is also a wonderful improvement to have families with children board after the A group (unless they checked in early and received A boarding group). I have been frustrated on numerous trips to see a herd of 8 adults preboarding to accompany a single child. The signage requires some improvement (I wasn't sure which side of the robes to be on) but thats peanuts to fix. All in all I feel the piloted process is a wonderful gift of efficient excellence not only for us loyal LUV passengers fly but it will also help to keep unnecessary costs down - which means LOWER FARES for all of us! An important reason that many of us still are proud to say, "I fly SWA!" Thank you for your quest for continous improvement when it comes to your customers.
Scott5
Not applicable
I wish that both past (San Diego) and current (San Antonio) could have been filmed and posted as a "YouTube" video, so we can see and get the full flavor of each of the methods. The San Antonio method places connecting passengers at an advantage and those who are flying out of PHX, MDW, LAS, HOU, you will notice that you won't get your A-1 even if you are logging in 23 hours 59 minutes and 59 seconds before your flight. Example: If I'm flying to Austin from Sacramento and I select "1131/125 PHX/1" I will be picking off your A-1 (on Flight 125 Phoenix to Austin) at 10:55 AM as a connecting passenger from Sacramento.
Russ_Browning
Not applicable
I fly Southwest quite often and the only thing I don't like is standing in line waiting to board. And there's always the person that complains in line when they think someone cut in front of them. I like the new Idea but I thought It should be in three groups of ten within A B and C Your ticket would read A 1-10, A 10-20, A 20-30 ... B 1-10 and so on. without giving sequential numbers. Then it's easy, most people won't fight over 10 seat positions. Then you can call by groups and people won't have to figure out where they are in the line up. If you guys adopt this I want some free miles ! Good luck SWA
Gregg_Turley
Not applicable
As a new comer to Southwest, previously Gold with Northwest, since moving to Vegas, I am very much in favor of the San Antonio boarding experiment. Frequent flyers "care" where they sit. I myself try to get in "Southwest First Class (exit rows) even for the shortest flights. Confirming on line 24 hours in advance had not been a hassle. I feel rewarded as a business flyer that I am able to get an A pass, until I reach the airport, and find other early arrivals letting friends and family join them in the line. (with the current boarding system you should arm each gate agent to prevent a riot!) Please expand this experiment ASAP. And while you are at it, clean up the early boarding process! Kids ok, old folks, off course, but when 1/3 of the passengers are on board before the A line, you know that this early boarding is being taken advantage of. JUST SAY NO!
Fred8
Not applicable
I just read an article stating that Southwest has been expiramenting with putting families on board last . Great idea when ever my wife and I travel with our 3 children 8,6,2,(two of which are speacial needs) wet til the very end. The last thing kids want to do is to be confined in a small area so why torture them anymore than need be, not to mention the peace of mind for the other passanger I Love my kids but they are loud . So anyway good thinking Southwest you have considered everyone involved
blusk
Not applicable
Fred, I think you misunderstood the article. First off, families who have A boarding passes board with the A boarding group. Then in our tests, the rest of the families can board between the A and B boarding groups. At this point in the boarding process, there are usually still many seats togethers for families, and it allows them some time to settle in. Brian
Buck_Lewis-Math1
Not applicable
Wonderful to read the posts of those who understand the Southwest Culture and the business pressures behind this experiment. As a CP holder and a passenger that does care about my seat selection, I mostly like this idea. I have the following thoughts: What of the "Boarding Pass" software and websites? While I understand that they are necessary at times with very frequent fliers (think of being in the air when your 24 hour window opens!) I generally frown on them. Perhaps they should be allowed to exist, but only able to access the system after the first 30 minutes of online check in have passed, allowing those sitting at the PC a fair shot at it. I have noticed recently that the online check in system becomes "unavailable" for up to 10 minutes just after the 24 hour window opens. I have to wonder if this isn't in part due to the afore mentioned boarding pass websites and/or software clogging the system. I might suggest allowing CP holders the ability to check in an hour earlier than others. This would give your true core frequent customers a way to check in and be more sure of a good A-1 etc pass. You might also consider enhancing the system software to allow customers who are on a flight when their 24 hour window opens to check in some time before that. I like the SAT system in principal. I especially like that families board AFTER the A group, if they don't hold an A pass. It seems more fair. I have often thought of creating a "rent a kid" airport kiosk business to help those with C passes board early as a group. Of course, I'm joking, but it is a point of frustration for many core travelers on WN. Like many, if not most, of the frequent fliers I have read and spoken to, I prefer the open seating plan. Not just as a personal preference, but as a reality of WN and its success. We all have choices when we fly. I applaud WN for understand it's foundation while still being open to improvement, but never at the expense of it's success! LUV is in the AIR!
Nick3
Not applicable
I fly Southwest very frequently and I personally agree with the system as it stands. It has held up for over 35 years. Personally, I did like the old boarding card system better. In my humble opinon if you want to get a good seat, it's first come, first serve and stand in line! After all these are peanut fares, not Delta Crowns. The calling of boarding groups divided by letter and number groups would be a better change than what is happening in SAT. Honestly, if you still assigned the numbers like you do currently 24hrs prior, then split it up as they board there wouldn't be such a rush to the gate. Start with accepting general boarding at goup A, 1-20. Then proceed with group A, 1-40. (still stating 1 through, incase someone with A8 was in the bathroom and didn't get back in time to board with the 1-20 group) Then finish group A, 1-60. Now then Start accepting boarding group B, 1-80. Then follow with group B, 1-100. Then group B, 1-120. Then board group C, 1-140, and then end with final call for the total number of passengers on the plane 1-whatever that number is. This system should satisfy everyone for the most part. If people are hell bent on being the very first person in line, then they should get there early. Life isn't always 100% fair and these people moaning about a few people being in front even though they get there 'early' apparently don't fly enough to ever be first. Or maybe they will never be satisifed unless they feel they can take the easiest route to get to get ahead of everyone else. Customer inconsideration and APATHY is what slows down turn times! I see it all of the time. If people aren't actively trying to line up get on the plane, then they lose the desire to act in a timely matter to get on the plane. But most customers don't look at the big picture "get on the plane and get to your seat ASAP so that we can get to our destination faster." Unfortunately it's true, people are sorta like cattle, they need to be 'prodded' (given an insentive of being able to choose their seating first) to focus on being expedient in their boarding. Other than implementing the system I outlined, the system should be left as is. These people who are new to the whole Southwest way of travel just don't understand that there's a reason Southwest is doing better than all of the other airlines. I love the fact that if can't plan ahead and I need to get to an emergency meeting in Houston that I can purchase my full-fare ticket online, check-in online, arrive at Love Field 45 min before my flight and still get to choose my seat. OPEN SEATING is what keeps me flying SWA everytime, even when I can sometimes get flights cheaper on 'Bigger' Airlines! Listen to the people in your Hub City, who have always LUVed you and have supported you from the beginning! Nick from North Dallas,
Van_Kim
Not applicable
How about a Ã
Paul1111
Not applicable
Add me to the people who find this a big improvement. our local airport, BUF always has lots of pre boarders, so the "anxious A" people are in line a full hour before the plane leaves, almost always before the plane lands. Add to that the problem of finding a business center to print our return flight boarding passes while on vacation, and I would much rather have assigned seats. In a related question, does anyone know the brand and model of a very small travel printer that will print the passes so they will "read" properly? Or can anyone tell me about what definition the printer needs to be for the passes to "read". Thanks. Paul
Rick3
Not applicable
I flew through the SA airport with the new seating policy and it is a step in the right direction. Southwest will still never become a favorite of business travelers until 2 things much more important to business travelers are addressed. One why is there no loyality program, so that folks that fly you most are assured of the coveted A boarding card and two, why do we still have to pay to go standby if we are smart enough to book ahead to have a good rate. The only way SWA still rates high is because they still do a fair job in leaving the airport on time. So don't mess with the things that are not broke and work on the things that really matter.
Buck_Lewis-Math1
Not applicable
About printing passes while on a trip: You might consider that you can Check in and NOT print the pass when it is displayed. When you get to the airport, just go directly to the ticket area (or other area... some airports have kiosks where you can get boarding passes without going to the ticket area) and reprint the boarding pass. Its still just as valid, and it saves you the trouble and expense of finding a printer. You can also check in on your web-enabled PDA or cell phone. Try it out at mobile.southwest.com
GottaLuvCruisin
Not applicable
We are rapid rewards members and fly Southwest often. But we booked AirTran for 11 flights in January / February. My husband and I are swapping off with trips to the northeast to pick-up and return elderly family members for their winter vacations with us in Florida. With AirTran I could get seat assignments. I had to pay $5 per person / per flight extra, but we know we are all seated together close to the front of the plane. I'm over the cattle call...
interstate275fl
New Arrival
I think this is a splendid idea of not only assigning the boarding group, also assigning your place in line in that boarding group. However, if Southwest wants to implement this boarding procedure systemwide its computer systems need to be secure from these so-called "automated" web services that claim to promise you the coveted A boarding group. After all, being a loyal Southwest traveler myself I would not - repeat not - spend any of my hard earned money to pay one of these web services claiming to get you an A boarding group boarding pass when you can do this online at Southwest.com for free. Besides, I would save that money towards a rental car and/or a hotel room. Additionally, if someone wanted a specific seat on the plane (such as a front bulkhead seat, for example) I would not mind paying Southwest for the privilege of doing so. This would be a lot better than purely assigning seats like the other airlines do.
FriendofBlogBoy
Not applicable
Susie, This was a great blog piece and explanation of some of the ideas being tried out. You were bound to know when you wrote this that there would be no shortage of comments! It seems as if many of the responders above me are saying two similar things; one, we want Southwest to explore ways to make the boarding process easier and more efficient and two, we still value open-seating. From what I read, a lot of Customers appreciate the necessity to keep turn times to a minimum while still trying to figure out how to make the entire flight process as enjoyable as possible. I think it would help to bear in mind that there is no perfect solution. I can remember seeing people lined up at empty gate counters 30 minutes before the one-hour preflight opening just to get that coveted plastic number 1. Whether it is online check-in, curbside check-in, a random lottery system or the bribing of some airport executive, there will always be someone who feels that they got the short end of the stick. However, we need to keep in mind that we're talking about Southwest Airlines, the low-fare leader in aviation. I've waited an hour or more for a table at some high-end, fancy and exclusive restaurants, even with a reservation. There are also times that I've walked right in to a fast-food restaurant below the sign with the golden arches, gotten my food and sat down within two minutes. I have seen fares from cities in the thousands of dollars for last-minute trips of several hundred miles. At those prices, I expect a certain level of service. When I'm able to book a flight on Southwest with a day's notice for less than a couple of hundred bucks to many places, it is hard to gripe or make apple-to-apple comparisons. Let's give the intelligent folks at Southwest enough credit for not throwing the baby out with the bathwater and trying to find ways to "tweak" the system and not completely dismantle it. The Employees are interested in what is best for the Company AND the Customers! Kim Who has been FIRST to board some planes and LAST to board some planes, but always got where I was going 🙂
Catherine2
Not applicable
I think Southwest should just bite the bullet and go with assigned seating. The current A,B, and C system is broken. As it is now, even if you do queue up in your proper letter corral to get a good seat, there is no guarantee that you'll get a good seat, because as soon as the gate attendant calls the letter, it seems that miraculously dozens of people magicallyy pop up and jump into the line where they claim they have had their space "held" by a piece of luggage, a friend, or an invisible piece of paper. My elderly mother and I experienced this first hand in Philadelphia last week. We waited for 30 minutes near the front of the A line only to have 20 or so people jump into the line ahead of us as soon as the letter A was called. As long as people persist in violating the spirit of the system, it can't work. Go to assigned seating. i can't imagine it would cost that much more.
Terry6
Not applicable
Hi Susie, I wish I liked it as I can tell you really put some thought into it. But I really do not. We flew from San Antonio on Monday and it just seemed to make things more difficult as the post said 6-10 and number 9 was in front of number 6 and were about to fight over it. We fly Southwest all the time and love you!!!! We make a living traveling and like that we can control when we board by when we get to the airport and line up. We fly with guitars and no one treats us with more respect than SWA. I have told many a musician that if they are not flying Southwest they are just wasting money and time. I know that you have floated the idea of assigning seats as well, I pray that it does not come to that as we really like the current system. I know that eventually if you changed it then people would adjust but I really hope we do not have to. We fly you even if you do not go into the city we are flying to, ie when we go to Cedar Rapids we fly into Chicago and drive because we know can board early and get our guitars up and out of the way. A roller bag can go in front of the neck but we can not get it in if they get the bags up first. If your boarding process becomes the same as everyone else than there would be no advantage to us. We actually spend more by driving the extra distance with the current gas prices, but feel it is worth it for the ease and security of carrying our instruments on. Thank you for always trying to better the process but please go back to the ABC. best, Terry disappear fear band
Cygnus
Not applicable
Catherine, did you still get on the plane? Did the B and C groups get put into a "trailer" that arrived 30 minutes later? Blog Boy is right: the whole plane gets to the destination at the same time. If you value assigned seating, by all means fly an airline that features it. I will happily keep flying Southwest because we know what we're getting and what to expect. Isn't the free market wonderful?
Jen16
Not applicable
this is just making the situation worse for me
Kat3
Not applicable
I flew out of San Antonio on August 30th and loved the new boarding procedure. There was no "rush" to line up and then wait 30-40 minutes before an aircraft arrived at the gate. Once the plane arrived, we lined up in groups according to our letter and number on the boarding card. It was a very smooth process and all the customers around me liked this new system of boarding. On my return from Orlanda, I only wished that this same process of boarding was used in that station. The new system works well and I hope it is something that continues to all Southwest citie. For those of you that are skeptical, don't knock it until you try it! Change can ge a good thing!!
Ted_Coleman
Not applicable
I had an experience at the SWA boarding in Las Vegas yesterday. We arrived at the gate to find 6 people ahead of us in the A-LINE, so we asked where the end was, and joined the line. Since the wait was approx. 1 1/2 hours for the plane, we were all sitting in the chairs, when a younger person walked past us, and went up to sit down on the floor at the beginning of the A-LINE. Needless to say all of us were shocked that the person would do that, and what really shocked us was that the person refused to move until we found an SWA person to help convince the person to take a proper place in line. How do you resolve the issue of those people who do not wish to follow the proper place-in-line technique ?
Susan13
Not applicable
I have now flown out of San Antonio twice in the last month (normally out of Austin so it's rare to fly out of SA), and I really liked the new procedure. Granted, I have been lucky enough to get low A's both times, but it really makes things so much easier. It totally takes the CHEATERS out of play. If you are A1 then you are A1 - no if's, and's or nuts. I wish this were everywhere so that I wouldn't have to explain to people on a (almost daily) basis how a "line" works - where people who are standing in front of you are considered - IN FRONT OF YOU. People don't respect the line and there are way too many people that try to preboard. Those of us who are patiently waiting in the cattle call line are always penalized. The San Antonio boarding process was easy, fast and so much less stressful!! Bring it on!
David43
Not applicable
I haven't flown out of San Antonio yet with this new procedure, but it sounds good. I fly on SWA a lot (25+ times per year) and I LUV the open seating method. My gripes (and my associated suggestions) have to do with how Southwest counter agents handle (or don't handle) the situation at the ABC corals. In many SWA gates at many airports I've flown into and out of (mainly in the Western U.S.) it seems that there is no SWA representative overseeing the ABC ticket corals until the pre-boarding process begins. Consequently, there is no one with any "official" authority reminding passengers that can't "save" their place in the A line by leaving a piece of luggage there. Only one time have I heard an SWA rep announce over the gate's P.A. system that placing a piece of luggage does not "save" your place in line. If SW would pay a bit more attention to what's actually happening at a gate in the 45-60 minutes before pre-boarding starts, and laid down some rules (e.g. you can't save your place with a piece of luggage) I believe that would avoid some problems and make us regular SWA customers feel more at ease. Also, on this subject, I never can understand why able-bodied adults have to sit in chairs prior to boarding an airplane where they are going to sit in chairs for the next 2-3 hours? What's so hard about standing in a line for 45-60 minutes when you are waiting to board a (nearly always full) airplane and then sit in a chair? I can understand needing to sit if you are elderly, very young, or not in full health, but for all of you others, why not just stand in line? Why do you insist on sitting in chairs and pretending that you're in the A line, and then rushing to get in the line once pre-boarding is announced? Just my $.02.
Buddy
Not applicable
It is nice that they will try it first but it really will not improve anything. Just another thing to think about. With the cheap prices, is change really that necessary? I mean - if I wanted more I would seek out an airline that has 18 inch seats (Southwest is 17) and I would pay the 20 bucks more for the ticket. But for the price, the service is fine and adequate, I think.
Daniel_Joseph
Not applicable
Companion Pass and Y ticket holders first, then ABC...That would be nice.
Katie
Not applicable
I think that this idea is great except the making families wait to board. My daughter is now 3 and I have flown with her by myself probably 30 times. I always get an A boarding pass and am always there really early - I have encountered many many many people who really get quite mad that I even bring a kid on a plane- even though she is very well behaved- stays in her car seat the entire time- and I am extremely well prepared (dvd player, markers etc etc etc) at least by letting the people with kids board first- than all of you grouchy people out there can opt to sit as far away from those of us with kids (who by the way do pay for their child to be on that plane- ) but if you choose to let all of the A's go first- than there may be people who get stuck sitting next to a kid for 4 hours (you would be surprised how many people have actually yelled at me for my kid bugging them even though I sat down first and they could have easily kept walking and sat somewhere else- ) And yes- there may be plenty of room after the A's board- but how about plenty of window and middle seats for a mom with a kid in a car seat? I understand that alot of people use a plane to commute- and fly frequently- but can you all just realize that people with kids (especially those of us with kids over 2 who are paying full price)- have every right to be there- and that your own kids at home act the same exact way that my kid is acting... please just have a little compassion for a poor mom who is stuck alone on a plane with a kid because her husband always has to work...... And can I take this time to mention that out of my 30 flights with my child- every single one of them was absolutely fantastic because of the flight attendants- they are the nicest kindest people ever- and they do seem to realize how hard it is to travel with kids. I think that they have a very hard job- and I always make it a point of thanking them numerous times.
Nan1
Not applicable
Since the seats are all the same size why do people want assigned seating? If there's a fairly full flight coming in and you're scheduled to get on it, it won't make any difference if you really want a window seat and can't get one because they're all full. As dingy as I can be I almost always remember to go online and get my boarding pass ahead of time. Something else I don't understand. If group A is allowed to get on first then they usually (but not always) get the seats they want. Group B follows after group A is pretty well seated, then group C. How different is that from assigned seating except that first-on get the seats that they want (usually) and B and C get what's left? I may as well add my complaint. I wish they'd ban suitcases in the cabin. I get so sick of standing there (bent over if I'm next to a window) waiting for people to drag their crap out of those overheads. I hope they never go to assigned seating. 🙂
jana1
Not applicable
Does the new way of boarding now exclude priorty boarding for those traveling with an elderly person? By the way, glad to hear you are not going with assigned seating! Being a long time customer and ex employee of SW Airlines, I think that is great. That's why alot of people fly with SW as well as the company's integrety and great customer service.