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Gadling: Southwest Airlines offers early boarding for $10

lreynolds
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Nobody likes being the last person to board an airplane. In addition to zero overhead bin space that's left over, it's inevitable that the only seat left on the aircraft is in the back next to the lav between two enormous, smelly, sleeping wrestlers.

Traditional airlines get around this by assigning seats at ticketing (and often separating select seats out for elites,) but Southwest Airlines has always had an "open seat" policy. That is, you board roughly in zones and pick whichever seat you want when you get onto the plane. Kind of like a bus. Depending on when you check in and a few other factors, you're allowed to stand in a certain part of the line.

to read more, visit: http://www.gadling.com/2009/09/02/southwest-airlines-offers-early-boarding-for-10/

57 Comments
n797mx
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Now how do they decide which ones go first? If a large group of people do this who boards first from that group?
Anonymous699
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I would not pay the extra gouge. Is it any wonder ridership is down & airlines are mothballing planes? Does anyone in the industry understand customer service or long term profits, i.e. happy repeat customers??
Anonymous2020
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with the original A through C boarding ...it was still first come first serve based on who watched the clock to check in 24 hrs before. If your'e in on time...then you win! Board earlier. Now if everyone buys an early bird..back to square one....first to last to board....but gaining revenue. And to have the anytime purchasers have precidence over other fares if an early bird is purchased? Crazy! If one is watching closely for reduced fare specials and dings specials and take the time....whereas someone doesn't and effortlessly purchases an anytime fare......where's the true discount break for the lower fares! Providing a service for an added value? Don't think so.
Anonymous2378
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Keep starting new threads to make sure all the negative comments can't be viewed, seems a bit hopeful that opinions will change. From what I've read in the past 2 day seems to be about 95% against and few % undecided and a few % in favor. Some how I don't see that changing. I hope this OPTION/FEE whatever you want to call it is short lived. Just raise the fare $10 hardly any one would notice fares vary everday anyway. HORRIBLE IDEA!
blusk
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anonymous 09:24. I am sorry you are suspicious of our normal routine, but we post multiple news items and at least one blog post every day. I certainly hope you will be part of our community here in the future. I know you assign some sinister motive to restrict new negative comments, but if that were our goal, all we would have to do is either close the posts to comments or just not post the negative ones. With the exception of a couple of duplicate comments, we have posted every comment related to this issue, both here and at our blog post from Tuesday. And I would also ask you how many other airlines have provided a forum like this for their news??? So enjoy the site, look around and come back. Brian
Puzzler
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This new policy really hurts families who travel with children, making it difficult to stay together. Only families with really young children get to board early, so for families with kids in, say, the 6-12 range, it's important to get boarding passes early enough in the sequence to ensure that you can sit together and share food, games, books, etc. The way boarding currently works, I have a fair degree of confidence that if I am vigilant about checking in 24 hours before, we can get boarding passes that allow us to sit together. But the new policy makes it impossible to ensure sitting together. 1. If we don't pay the extra $10 per ticket, there is a very good chance we won't get boarding passes that allow us to sit together. If we ask people to move around in order to allow us to sit together, people will most likely refuse, because they have PAID for the privilege of getting on early, and won't want to shift to any seat they consider suboptimal, even as a favor to a family with kids. 2. If we do pay the extra $10 per ticket, first of all that becomes a big hit in the travel budget when traveling with an entire family ($10 per person per direction really adds up). Second, we're STILL not guaranteed good boarding passes, because it is entirely possible that too many people will have already purchased early-bird check-in for that flight. (Think how enraged people will feel when they buy early-bird check-in but still get C boarding passes because so many people have already early-bird purchased all the A and B boarding passes). Will the ticket-purchasing page show which boarding passes are available via early-bird check-in? If not, that means I'd have to buy tickets for my family without even knowing if any good boarding passes are still available, which is a losing proposition. I'm much better off going with an airline that will show me the actual seating assignments I can get before I purchase the tickets.
California_Bay_
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I am appauled at the new fee Southwest is charging for "early bird". check-in. I have been a loyal customer with Southwest for years for both personal and bussiness travel. I often book several passengers (6-8+). Right now I am searching for another airline instead of Southwest because I am annoyed that they are continueing to advertise as the "low fare airline" all the while they are nickel and dimeing you with a little fee here and a little fee there. We plan to travel in a few months to a location for a long cruise and may need one extra bag, now that fee has DOUBLED. Previously it was $25 each way now it is $50 each way which adds $100 to my ticket. This is not low cost any longer. Also, if a group of 6 or 8 are traveling together and we each add the $10 fee for earlybird that would be a total of $120 to $160 to the total fares......again this is NOT low cost. We think this is an outrage. It is a real shame that Southwest has taken this approach to "gouge" their passengers........what's next ........a charge to use the lavatory? The system they have had in place for the last couple of years has been working fine......it it is not broke......don't fix it! We are disgusted! California Bay Area Customer
Anonymous3848
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This has to be a real joke. If you purchase a early boarding pass,now get this you get a whole hour.That's one hour early than the 24hrs before you have to attempt to get a boarding pass. So if your flying with someone else thats $40.00 for the privilage on getting a boarding pass (1) hour early than everyone else. Tell me Southwest do you really thing people are as stupid as you think we are??? I will be avoiding this SCAM. FREE BAGS $20.00 BOARDING PASSES.
Anonymous1424
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I do not like this at all! You say you 'do not' have to purchase this option. Let's look at that. You wait until the 24 hour point to check in on-line. Now after all the Business Select passengers/A-Listers/ and now Early Bird - you might as well sit in the lavatory (ok-bit extreme) - but you probably be in the 'C" boarding group and just hope for a good seat. So - really you are forcing us - YOUR CUSTOMER - to pay this. Your pushing people away instead of bringing customers in. Raise the overall fare by $10, go to assigned seats or limit the number of seats for this program on each flight. I mean not every seat on the plane is a discount fare, so why have every seat open for early bird?
Judy1111
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You have the best boarding system in the entire airline industry and now you are going to ruin it by letting people jump to the front of the line. I would prefer that you charged for a second bag. This is a ridiculous idea and you will have MANY angry customers - one of them will be me. I always thought Southwest was my airline, but this changes everything. I'm going elsewhere.
Anonymous2673
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I've been flying Southwest for over 10 years and have always liked the honest, upfront way you do business. However, this is an incredibly bad idea. If you have to raise the fares, raise the fares. Don't start the nickel and dime nonsense. Up until now, the Southwest philosophy has been to treat everyone the same. Except for Business Select. Then the A-List. Now it's pay $10 or shut-up and get to the back of the line. I'm sorry to see such a radical change in philosophy by what has been my favorite airline.
San_Diego_Frequ
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This policy flies in the face of the long standing concepts upon which Southwest was founded. There is no point in paying an add-on fee when there is no guarantee of getting any better seat than one might get from general boarding. If Southwest wants to assign seats, it should do that, and not make it a guessing game. But then it becomes just another airline. Most of Southwest's policies are winners and make it the leader: no penalty for changing flight plans within one year, no charge for first checked bag, generous rapid rewards program that includes easy redemption of awards and free drink coupons, on-time departures, and consistent service. This policy is a negative and should be scrapped. Thanks for posting this. Because of Southwest we have been able to see most all of the USA again and again for over 20 years !!! WE are confident Southwest will do the right things, and thank you for always getting us there. Byron in San Diego
Billy
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Southwest is starting to move toward a fee structure in a betrayal of the successful formula which made them profitable. It is the classic precursor of a company about to fail. They no longer value what made them successful and U.S. companies should know better!
Anonymous2496
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I am disappointed - I always thought that Southwest was an intelligently-run business. I'll admit, the idea of a mandatory RETROACTIVE surcharge (aka "Earlybird Check-in") is novel, but the effect on your customers, and maybe more importantly to Southwest, your first-line customer contacts is trememdously negative. I have one more Southwest trip scheduled, paid for some months ago, and recently updated for the surcharge. From then on, I'll fly Southwest only if there is no other alternative. Suggest you change the name of the blog to "Southwest is Nuts"
Anonymous3423
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I've noticed that the overwhelming majority of people are unhappy with this idea and I hope Southwest will take that under consideration. The whole idea seems entirely flawed to me. In actuality, the whole "benefit" of being able to opt to board earlier works exactly in REVERSE. It used to be, the early bird gets the worm. In other words, you check in earlier, you board earlier. This was a fair system and it allowed some form of control for people who absolutely need to have aisle or window seats. Now, with that being completely undermined by a very small fee, there is no way at all to have that "control". All this fee effectively does is change the boarding order from who checked in first to who bought their ticket first, because lets face it, most people are going to opt for the small $10 fee otherwise they'll be guaranteed "C" boarding and a nice comfy middle seat. So, when you look at it that way you're almost being strong armed into paying the $10. It's not so much a "priority boarding fee" and much as it is a "dear god, please keep me out of C boarding" fee. On top of that, I think this really sort of dilutes the "Business Select" product. On most flights, the difference between the wanna get away fare and the business select fare is pretty high. I have a hard time believing that people are paying double fare for a free drink and 1 extra RR credit. So, I've come to the conclusion that this was either a very poor business decision, or this move doesn't have the customer's best interest in mind and this is simply a covert way of jacking up fares $10 across the board. If the latter is true, I beg Southwest to just GO AHEAD AND RAISE FARES but leave out ability to assure ourselves the seating that we require alone.
Anonymous3467
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I have been a loyal customer to Southwest Airlines since they started flying into Denver Colorado and I always fly SW for all my leisure and business trips. I am HIGHLY disappointed with this new option, EARLY CHECKIN FOR $10. Everyone has an equal chance to checkin at SW 24 hours prior to their flight and if other customers choose not to watch the clock and checkin late then so be it, thats their own fault. I would prefer to see you charge $10 for the first bag checked in. As I said already I am very disappointed in SW over this new early checkin option and will start looking elsewhere at your competitors out of Denver such as Frontier Airlines. This is a BAD Business decision on SW Managements part.
Albuquerque_fre
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This new "Earlybird Check-in" program is not one the brighter ideas Southwest has come up with to provide great customer service which is one of your claims to fame. If you are in need of revenue, simple, increase your fares by $10.00, no one will complain because even with the increase you will still be offering lower fares. The boarding system you had in place was working fine for everybody, you remind me of the government "let's change something that is really working well for something new that is a mess" I hope you decide to terminate this ill conceived program.
Bruce_Grunsten
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I've been a loyal SW customer for years - my Rapid Rewards number is only 5 digits! I have flown SW almost exclusively for business and leisure travel specifically because of its former "cattle call" boarding regimen, which gives everyone a fair shot at early boarding. With this new change, however, anyone who's able to plan an itinerary far in advance gets first crack at early boarding passes for the nominal fee of $10. Unfortunately, I (and likely many others) don't have the luxury of months-in-advance planning, so will likely be relegated to last call boarding in the future. As a loyal customer, and a long standing Rapid Rewards member, I find that unacceptable. Raise your fares $10 and return to the previous 24-hour-before-flight-time system and you'll keep me as a customer. Otherwise, it's time to renew acquaintances with other airline rewards programs.
Anonymous1782
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Southwest - Are you listening? Almost no one is in favor of this "brilliant" idea marketing came up with. - Used to be exclusive SWA traveler
Anonymous937
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This new idea is just a little shady don't you think? What gurantee do I have that if I pay the $10 I will actually be any closer to the "front of the line" than if you did not charge the fee? Why wouldn't everyone else pay the $10 fee thinking they will be closer to the "front of the line" and where does the "front of the line" end (at the back of the plane)? I would prefer that you add the $10 fee each way to the ticket and assign seats at purchase. That way everyone is happy because we will know where we will sit and you get the extra fee and eliminate the cattle call. It will make you like every other airline but....... isn't that where you are headed anyway?
Anonymous4588
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Its a fee
StevePhoenix
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Up until now I have been a strong Southwest fan. I usually just check the Southwest site for a flight. I now will be a comparison shopper. If a competing airline will give me an assigned seat for the same price or a bit more then I will not hesitate to take that airline. Southwest, you just forced customers who were almost exclusive to you to start shopping. Good Move!!!
Anonymous3467
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Southwest Management are you listening to what your customers are telling you? Nearly everyone on this Blog Website is unhappy with this not so brillant idea. Just add $10 to the fare each way and start doing assigned seating. Your ruining your boarding process and making a heck of a lot of customers very unhappy!
Tamara1
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I am very disappointed Southwest has gone this route. We already purchased tickets for a Christmas trip to Orlando. Now AFTER we paid our money, Southwest has changed the deal for us, essentially saying we either have to pay more money for our family ($100 r/t for a family of 5) or run a pretty high risk of being separated. Or, since there is no limit to the number of passengers paying the extra fee, we might pay extra and still be separated. My kids are ages 7, 10, and 12, so we're too old for the family boarding group, but for a number of reasons, I am not comfortable being separated from them on flights. In the good old days, I could be at a computer (or my phone) 24 hours before the flight and be pretty much guaranteed an A pass allowing us to find seats together. But Southwest has now found another sneaky fee to tack on. Please! I thought you were different than the other airlines, but it seems I was wrong. In addition, there is no guarantee that even if we pay, we'll get to sit near each other. I expect that on very full flights (as during the holidays) and on flights between Chicago and Orlando like we're flying, there will be tons of families and completely full flights. Again, these factors mean I am much less likely to be able to sit next to my kids, who let's face it, should be near their parents during a flight. Believe me, if I'd known Southwest was going to do this, I'd have booked a similarly priced United flight where we'd have assigned seats. I'm just so disappointed at this point. Southwest, you really need to rethink this one. This December will be the last time we fly this airline if this policy stays in place.
Anonymous1615
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Wow. Listening to all the negative comments really dissappoints me. I am a longtime flight attendant for Southwest, and I love my job, I love the people I work with and I love the opportunity to meet and get to know all our "loyal" Southwest customers. While I have worked here (18 years)I have watched our company work hard to listen and respond to not only our customers but its dedicated employees also. Yes, our " everyone on the same playing field 24 hour in advance" was a great system, but it didnt always serve everyone as equally as you may think.You have no idea how often I hear customers ask for an alternative to the 24 hour checkin option. There was the same apprehension prior to the Business Select program and I have not witnessed the displacement I hear bloggers speak of here. Many of our longtime customers love the idea. Yes this is also a revenue generating opportunity, and can you really begrudge it in this current economical environment? Gouging? really? Its 10 dollars . (and the bag charge is for the THIRD bag. )I understand that everyone else is trying to make ends meet, but is your other option really another airline? REALLY? have you flown them lately? I have, and I think after one flight youd remember why you do fly SWA.As much as I appreciate my flight attendent sisters and brothers at other airlines- We are special.I suppose my disappointment is that as employees on the front line we work very hard to give you the best experience possible and Im confident that your choices for a carrier take that in consideration. Are you forgetting that? We're just trying to remain viable like everyone else and provide choices as well. There will ALWAYS be people checking in at the gate that will remain in the C group, and as flight attendants we always do all we can to help families stay together. It is also not our policy to prevent one from saving a seat for a family member that got stuck in a later boarding group. I look forward to continue to meet our loyal customers , and invite you to wait this program through to see how you like it before you form an opinion- I trust my company will do the right thing. PLease remember this in only my opinion based on my experience and I dont speak for SWA, but I also consistantly watch 95% of our passengers leave our aircraft satisfied- (in spite of some of the lavs 😉
Anonymous1781
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SWA Flight Attendant - I appreaciate that there are people who prefer an option to the 24-hour ahead check in. But, I how happy are they going to be when they pay the $10 extra and still get "C" boarding. My biggest issue with this whole program is not the $10 it is that you have no idea what you are getting for paying the $10. I don't like the program at all but if SWA is goig to keep it they should limit the Early Check-in to just the number of "A" boarding spots. That would give everyone else a chance at a "B" boarding spot and assure that you don't pay $10 still get a so so or lousy boarding spot. Also mark my words, letting people hold seats, especially with this program in place is going to cause huge issues, Used to like SWA the best!
Rich7
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I must admit I'm disappointed that SWA has done this. They're still my favorite airline, but the early boarding fee moves them more towards the rest of the pack. SWA can no longer call themselves the "no-fee" airline, although I'm glad to see they're still resisting the 1st and 2nd bag fees. As to the $10 boarding fee, my inclination is not to pay it. I generally fly with my family of 4. Our flights tend to be 2 hours in length. I'm hoping that 24 hour checkin still gets me at least a mid-B boarding position and that we can still sit together. If not, my kids are old enough that I would feel comfortable letting them sit by themselves for a couple hours. Its just not worth $80 extra for us to sit together. I also think Southwest made a mistake with the timing of this. Instead of just dropping it on us, it should have been phased in when the booking window opened up and only for flights starting on the first day of the window. In this case, Southwest should not accept early boarding fees for any flights prior to January 9, 2010. For those that do wish to take advantage of early boarding, it is unfair to those flying before that date that booked in the past. They may not even be aware of this opportunity and may have an unpleasant surprise when they go to checkin 24 hours before their flight. This just all seems a mistake to me; they could have added $7 to each ticket and we'd never know the difference.
Texas_Traveler
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If you must increase revenue just charge us all an extra 20 per flight and go to assigned seating. Then we would all know what we are getting for our extra money. I'm afraid you are going to have a lot of unsatisfied customers after we pay this extra fee and still end up in the C boarding groups. Anybody who is traveling with family is going to have to take a chance with your new early check in otherwise they will be assured to be split up. How many of you single travelers out there want to be babysitting other peoples children because of this new policy? You helped us and increased customer satisfaction when yall started the 24 hour online check-in so we didn't have to arrive extra early to line up for our "cattle-call boarding" but now this is just a move in the wrong direction. I don't think it would ever be a bad move if SWA went to assigned seating. Who wouldn't want that?
Anonymous1008
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SWA is becoming just like every other airline, cutting corners on safety and now this charade with charging for a place in line. Why not just charge $10 more per ticket and assign seating at time of purchase?
Anonymous3343
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I am very disappointed in Southwest Airlines. I have been a loyal customer for years and fly Southwest exclusively because in the past they have been the best, low-cost and easiest to work with as far as customer service. There are still many things about Southwest that I love. I am however extremely disappointed in the airlines for instituting this early bird check in. I think it would be so much better to just raise the prices $10 per ticket versus creating all of this extra work to buy the early bird pass, keep track of the time to go online and get the boarding pass, etc. It is a stupid move for an airline that up to this point has been brilliant in it's operations. Think about this Southwest. Not smart. Not to meniton that I change my plans often and love that I can with Southwest with no penalty. If I buy the early bird check in I will lose it when I make changes. I was a loyal customer to United Airlines for years and when they started going downhill in caring about customers and taking care of customers I left. I will do the same with Southwest if they continue down this road.
aaron_b
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My wife and I really upset with this new policy. I fly southwest multiple times a year and my family flies southwest to visit me multiple times as well. I am very disappointed with this move. This is nothing more than a price increase which will affect all people on the plane. I know its not mandatory, but when this catches on in a few weeks, it will have a downward spiral at which everyone will do this to get their choice of a seat. A prime example was my parents logged on to check in for their flight yesterday exactly 24 hours before the flight to the minute. They already were at b-8. This is rediculous and I think needs to be taken away. There will be a time where if you don't pay the extra fee, the check in process will start in the c-group. I understand the airline has to make a profit, but this is not the way to do it. We would rather just see an increase in the ticket or actually pay for bags. Paying more just for the opportunity to get a seat you want is not right. If you don't do this in time, you could pay and still get a mid b seat or beyond and not get your seat. What is wrong with the current system? You can check in, get your seat, and be happy. We are really going to consider going with other airlines with this new policy. To us, it would be better to either pay more for a flight with a reserved seat or pay for our bags than to go this route. At least you know what you are getting. As far as I can tell, this new policy could have you pay and then still get a "c" pass. So if anyone is reading this please note that this new policy may cause you to loose between 10-15 flights a year with 2 or more people. Heck, we even have groups of 13 that come out to Las Vegas to see us and always fly Southwest. In my conversations with them, they agree they would just prefer to pay a little more for the price of the ticket and keep things the same instead of having this new policy. I also own stock in the company and still am against this. The idea of not charging for bags is great, not having assigned seats is ok, and the airline is doing fine. But this is just going to upset people and cause people to have to pay what comes down to an extra "fee" just for a seat. This is wrong and we might consider using alternate airlines.
Anonymous381
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This is just a bad business decision by the airline. To try to say use our airline because we don't charge for bags, but then add a fee for early boarding is crazy. I feel if the airline wants to make more money, just charge a little more for the seats. But this just hurts the average person who travels. It makes it so you will have to do this just so you might get in the a group. I prefer the system you have now at which you can board 24 hours before. There is nothing wrong with this. But when you travel with family, friends, or a large group, you prefer to sit together. I think this needs to be looked at and changed. There are other ways which are fair. This is going to cause many people to be uncomfortable on their flight. I know this was a business decision, but it seems that it will not work. In reading all of the blogs, it seems an overwhelming majority of the people are against this policy. As I said, im ok with paying a little more for the ticket if it would keep the same process of boarding. It just doesnt' make sense to pay for something in advance when you can't really tell what you are going to get.
Anonymous3608
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Unbelievable. Not only have the prices gone up,now this. A frequent flier and satisfied customer for some time but lately very frustrated. Turning to the travelocities of the world to look for deals. A year ago I was booking flights from Tampa to New England for less than $180 bucks. That same ticket with advanced notice is around $230. Hmmmmm... Add on the $20 Rt advanced boarding fee and WOW... Who is pricey now.????. Looking for better deals because it isn't with SW any more..
SHOOBABY1
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As long-time loyal Delta Sky Miles customers, we recently switched to Southwest for a Jan. 2010 round-trip flight. The determining factor was price. We feel the new $10.00. Early Bird fee is fair considering Delta charges $15.00 per checked bag in addition to their high ticket charge. We do prefer assigned seating & it's disappointing that it is not yet incorporated into Early Bird. One negative that must be addressed by Southwest: if Southwest passengers attempt to use their ONE $10.00 Early Bird ticket to SAVE SEATS for later boarders, family or not (as noted by several bloggers on various sites), there will be major disturbances. Along with most other Early Bird passengers, we would not allow a seated passenger to save seats unless the other E.B. passengers were present. We did not pay an additional $10.00 so those who did not purchase Early Bird can have a preferred seat. SOUTHWEST MUST ADDRESS THIS POSSIBLE PROBLEM BEFORE IT HAPPENS! NO SEAT SAVING ALLOWED!
Disgusted_in_th
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My family are frequent fliers who have been flying SWA exclusively for years. My husband and I were mortified upon reading the announcement in USA Today. We thought that surviving the Business Elite who should board first, followed by the families with one baby and 14 family members was bad enough. The ticket price was low enough to make up for the inconvenience. I began investigating this new "Convenience" fee and contacted SWA for clarification. The customer service representative listened to all of my concerns with great empathy. They have obviously been directed to sound very "Sorry" about each individuals concerns. I brought up the fact that even though you pay $10, there is no guarantee of an A or B ticket, and in fact, the entire plane can be sold as "Early Bird". She said yes this is true, you can end up at the back of the line. This is an appalling money grab for a "Chance" at a good seat. It's like playing the lottery. I questioned the representative about "Seat Saving" as one person in a party pays the fee and the other people in the party do not and total chaos ensues. She could provide no answers to my concerns. I asked what happens if you pay and end up last in line? She said it is not refundable. I also expressed my disgust that we have already purchased Holiday travel tickets for our family and if I had known this policy was going to be implemented I would have purchased an alternate ticket on another airline with assigned seating. SWA was actually more money at the time than several other carriers. What a mistake! This is the topper.....the Customer Service Representative told me all the calls she is receiving were IN FAVOR of the change. Do I need to say more?
Anonymous2020
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Wow! I was hesitant to 'blog'! I think mine was the about the 3rd blog or close to it. Since then, everything I have heard is 'nay' and not 'for'. Society can reach out negative easily, but I must say, this is a problem. I have been and my family members have been SW passengers for years. Even my elderly parents did not mind the 'cattle' herd boarding. It's a shame to say, after my fathe passing this summer, my mother is flying for the first time on her own without the passenger that usually guided her. I have had her flight, as I do with many to get the 'best fare'...check in early to get the 'best seat'.....early sitting awaiting that click and save, ding,or web special. Now only to find out whether I pay $10 extra to early board...may not be all that early. Especially, and correct me if wrong, the non restricted fares (books there's at a much later date) can purchase the early bird later than someone having a special web fare and get a head in line? (!)... I sit and await new reservations to open to get a jump on holiday flights......before I lose a deal. I'm taking the time to get the best fare and now I pay more for not even feeling I will board early....in this case...nervous for my mother flying alone and may end up with a C......very anxious. Others stated adding $10 to the fare...heck..with the comments..who know if you will get many to pay the $10.....so upping the anny even..$5.00 each way would have promised you incoming revenue.....it's a shot in the dark.....crazy bird special
Anonymous2723
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I find it hard to understand (and borderline comical) to see why so many people are "up in arms" over WN's decision to offer an additional perk for a nominal charge. The Early Bird fee is completely optional for those who choose to exercise it and this creative way of generating additional revenue is what will allow WN to continue to offer competitive fares without having to raise them across the board. Furthermore, WN (like all carriers) is a FOR-PROFIT business. The Board of Directors and Stockholders understand the necessity in this troubling and competitive environment for WN to find new and innovative ways to raise revenue (for those who choose that option) to avoid having to raise prices universally. No one is holding a gun to anyone's head or forcing anyone to pay more money...it is TOTALLY OPTIONAL if you want to exercise it. No one is criticizing other carriers for charging extra for window, aisle, or emergency row seating, or for their baggage checkin fees, but as a LCC, the ability to raise additional revenue is essential since WN does not have the luxury of charging exhorbitant walkup fares wherever there is no low-cost alternative. Planes cannot continue to fly half-empty or at $49 a ticket and generate a profit. If additional revenue is not raised by some creative methods, the air carrier loses money until it goes bankrupt or out of business entirely. It's simple mathematics. If you wish to enjoy a better seat selection, please exercise that option. If not, then please take the seat you get and stop whining and lamenting over the fact that you are not happy with it. Life is all about choices, and EVERYONE has equal opportunity to exercise that choice.
Bob_Oscar
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To the last annonymous commenter who is surprised that people are up in arms about this, are you serious? Take a look at this Early Check-in scheme carefully.....there are no refunds...you have no idea what kind of boarding pass you'll get if you pay the extra $10 (there is no limit as o the number of people they can sell it to)... Would you be happy if you paid $10 and then were the last person in the C boarding group? Your chances of getting a decent boarding pass number have been reduced with this new enhancement.. Why no comments on any of this from Brian Lusk? If Southwest is really listening to their customers, it's time to nip this in the bud and find another way to get another $10 out of the customer. I'd prefer the current (old) system and you adding $10 across the board on the base fare. Let's be honest. You can spin it any way you want but this is a fee. And the change wasn't made to benefit the customer.
Anonymous1693
Not applicable
I considered paying the $10 when I heard about it because we had just made plans to fly, but there are 4 of us traveling and we can board in the family group. Considering that the seats are 3 and 3, I don't see why some people, especially the poster flying with his 3 kids, thought they would be sitting together. Clearly with my 4, we will be 2 and 2 considering there are 2 car seats involved. However, if anyone wants to sit by the 2 kids while my husband and I sit together, we would be most appreciative. I used to be bitter like all of you, especially when Southwest dropped the young children boarding at the beginning, however, I find this as an excuse to ask for help from passengers in the same boat as me. So if you see a family of 4 on Halloween on the morning HOU-BNA flight, how about helping us get the car seats and all of our stuff situated rather than standing behind us impatiently sighing for us to hurry up? We will all have a better flight, even if we get stuck in the middle seat.
Anonymous1781
Not applicable
Dear --- I find it hard to understand (and borderline comical) to see why so many people are "up in arms" over WN's decision to offer an additional perk for a nominal charge. The Early Bird fee is completely optional for those who choose to exercise it and this creative way of generating additional revenue is what will allow WN to continue to offer competitive fares without having to raise them across the board. Furthermore, WN (like all carriers) is a FOR-PROFIT business. The Board of Directors and Stockholders understand the necessity in this troubling and competitive environment for WN to find new and innovative ways to raise revenue (for those who choose that option) to avoid having to raise prices universally. No one is holding a gun to anyone's head or forcing anyone to pay more money...it is TOTALLY OPTIONAL if you want to exercise it. No one is criticizing other carriers for charging extra for window, aisle, or emergency row seating, or for their baggage checkin fees, but as a LCC, the ability to raise additional revenue is essential since WN does not have the luxury of charging exhorbitant walkup fares wherever there is no low-cost alternative. Planes cannot continue to fly half-empty or at $49 a ticket and generate a profit. If additional revenue is not raised by some creative methods, the air carrier loses money until it goes bankrupt or out of business entirely. It's simple mathematics. If you wish to enjoy a better seat selection, please exercise that option. If not, then please take the seat you get and stop whining and lamenting over the fact that you are not happy with it. Life is all about choices, and EVERYONE has equal opportunity to exercise that choice. --- Why don't you get it that people don't want to pay extra for an unknown lottery chance at a better seat. Not to mention people are complaining and criticizing other airlines for all the fees that's why they were flying Southwest in the 1st place NO FEES. Next all the southwest flights I have been on lately were full or almost full. Next I would much rather pay an extra $10 for my ticket then this rediculous boarding scheme. I don't want airlines to lose money. I always tell people I would much rather fly an airlines making money than one losing money (one of the many reasons we have favored Southwest in the past).
Anonymous3629
Not applicable
As a companion pass and A List holder I am extremely disappointed with the path Southwest is on now. My father recently purchased a ticket for my wheelchair bound grandmother to visit my uncle. As she is in a wheelchair he though the early bird option would be good to get her seated on the plane early. After I explained to him how it works and that what he really needed to do was arrange to pre-board her, he called and added disability assistance to the reservation and asked for the early bird fee back. He was told it was non-refundable even after explaining the situation. Is it really so bad at Southwest that you have to refuse to give an 86 year old, wheelchair bound, great-grandmother on a fixed income $10 back because of a misunderstanding of this horrible new program that she is not going to even use? Shame on you Southwest.
BTNAShville
New Arrival
10 bucks, not a deal breaker for me...but I would rather see it charged for oversized carry-on's (that people bring on anyway without a peep from SWA). But bring three bags (a small carry one, computer bag and a purse) and get chastized for taking up LESS space and being considerate! Go figure ! Now I have to be "De A-Listed" over this new program which doesn't really reward me for the amount of flying I do. Fees for other things that have less potential impact on every passenger should be explored. Upgrade the planes and let me buy a movie. Sell magazines, charge for all drinks, anything that is truly optional and doesn't create a more competitive approach to seating. If revenue is the objective, add 10.00 to my ticket, give me a smile and a friendly face when I fly, and take care of the things that really get passenger's blood pressure elevated (carry-on's that are too big, loud mouths on cell phones after they should be turned off, people that stand in the front cabin waiting on the bathroom, etc...) and assign me a seat!
Anonymous691
Not applicable
This is too weird. I really like the Southwest folks but I think I will be heading back to US Air instead. I'll pay more, but at least I can reserve a seat for my long flights and stop playing these nutty games. It's not the money, it's knowing what you're getting.
MFR
Not applicable
Got an email from my corp travel dept saying early bird checkin will be done after business class and A-List??? There was a Southwest link in the email which stated this too.
Anonymous44
Not applicable
As a rapid rewards customer, loyal flyer of Southwest for over 10 years, and a stockholder in Southwest Airlines, I am very disappointed with this new policy. I really am considering flying with other airlines. This early bird boarding is a joke. It makes it harder to get a good seat, makes you pay for something upfront without knowing what you will actually receive, and is just another way to make people pay more. In seeing what is being written and said, I feel people would either rather pay for a bag or just pay extra for the ticket then to have the policy as it is now. I have had conversations with my family, realatives, and friends who all usually fly southwest. All are not happy with this new program and feel that they will look at other airlines to fly. I feel many people feel this way. It will only take 1 time where someone pays the fee and gets a C boarding pass. This policy is not good business and Southwest Airlines should consider changing it back or finding another way to make the extra money. Hopefully they are listening to what people are saying about this.
Anonymous2020
Not applicable
It's unforunate that I await for booking to open for flights that I know I will need to fly on in the future and each day I log on to see when a great fare is available for that furture date. Now, it appears even if I pay the $10 early bird fee, it's not a guarantee how soon I board because someone that purchased an unrestricted fare down the road and adds the $10 gets on ahead of me. On other airlines your seat availability most likely is available as to how soon you buy your ticket. Wait too long, the seat most desirable is gone! Also, at times, fares continue to creep up. It's seems if you wanted $10 extra from us and appears we were getting a service for this, then why not have an option to purchase an A passe at the time we purchase our ticket. That would be an option as well, and at the same time first come--first serve (same as those airlines that you select a seat when purchasing). If all the A's are purchased, then, Purchase a B--maybe at a cheaper rate.... As someone addressed earlier, and along the same lines, it is really gouging to feel you can't get a refunds.....even if you change flights??? cancel????? ridiculus!
Anonymous2020
Not applicable
Someone ealier mentioned carry ons. Maybe this is one way to get us to check baggage in knowing several of us would have chosen to take the time to check in for early boarding, knowing we wanted a bin space, but now, will we?? And there truly needs to be some more assistance and control over the larger pieces being carried on. Also, some more directives from attendants to acknowledge that little lunch bag and top hat in the overhead bin, or small tote bag, and similar items to be stored under the seat. I don't know how many times I stare at those bins and rearranging can be made or small items need to be asked to be taken and placed under the seat. So please attend to this situation and maybe we can get people to stow the large items in more open spaces and get seated more quickly. I rarely see any assistance or attendants addressing whats in the bin, and helping moving it around to get the individuals seated and help place what needs to be where.
Anonymous1004
Not applicable
I have been flying Southwest for years and have defended it against, among others, my fiance, who has always hated the boarding procedures. My reasoning was that, at 6'8, my vigilance in getting a boarding pass (or getting to the gate early in the old days) would reward me with a comfortable seat that I'd have less chance of getting on another airline. Since this is no longer the case, I have booked my last flight on Southwest. I've always defended Southwest by saying that it is the most democratic of the airlines. I've admired the lack of special treatment bestowed on those just because they might fly more. As a semi-regular but not weekly flier, this had a special appeal. I've regularly said that Southwest is the only company to which I am truly brand loyal. Maybe that's why this feels so much like I've been personally betrayed. Your greatest asset was that you empowered the consumer without charging for that privilege--a rare thing indeed. You wounded your greatest asset with business class, and now you've gone and delivered the death blow.
Anonymous571
Not applicable
Ya'll people complaining about Southwest should stop...at least you have some decent service... here in the sticks of the Florida panhandle we hardly have any choices..and they all are expensive and most go through Atlanta.. ugh!!! Hush up now!!
Anonymous1777
Not applicable
Flew from PBI to ISP last week. When we boarded (a44-A45), a man was 'saving' 2 seats for his family. The FA did nothing to stop this. He surely paid the 10 bucks for his ONE ticket.....As a long time, consistant SWA flyer i think this system is just not working out. Raise the fare for everyone by 5 bucks and you will make more money while keeping us happy!