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Southwest Airlines Community

New Boarding Process - After the Holidays

bstevens
New Arrival
In response to comments in our November announcement posts about our new boarding process, I asked that you be patient and allow our Frontline Employees to get used to working the new procedures.  It's now been two months and two Holidays since we started the new boarding process. Thank you for giving us time to adapt.  Here's what I heard and saw in Nashville during Christmas. I actually left my comfort zone (aka Baggage Service) in the month of December and spent some time working at the gates to see how things are going.  What I saw was a lot of Customers who have adapted to the new boarding process. I also saw a few that didn't know we made some changes because they only fly once a year.  But, they adapted quickly.  And best of all, I saw lots of people sitting around not worrying about their place in line (standing in line was the biggest complaint about our old boarding system).  I heard our Operations and Customer Service Agents doing a great job with the new announcements. They are flowing much better now and many Agents have added their own personality.  Additionally, Operations Agents did a better job keeping order when Customers tried to board out of turn.  Maintaining boarding order was something that had been requested by our Customers. I actively sought comments from Customers and Coworkers. The comments I heard were mostly favorable.  Everyone liked not having to stake out a place in line.   And to my suprise (and it would be to the surprise of a lot of the negative blog comments we received), quite a few Customers paid to upgrade to Business Select after receiving a C boarding pass. We did receive some negative comments at the airport and some people were caught off guard by the changes. But despite some of the initial concerns, the new procedures are definitly offering a more comforable, and stress-free gate and boarding experience for our Customers. I'd like to hear from both Customers and Coworkers about your current (real-life) experiences (as opposed to perceptions) with the new boarding process.  How's it going now?
80 Comments
Jo-Ann_Pelletie
Not applicable
I have been a longtime customer of SWA and didn't mind the old system. I understand that you are trying to make the process better but it is not working as though you intended. I was on a flight leaving Orlando last night and I was B8. So understandbly I waited until the As were done and then attenpted to process to my spot in the corral. Well, all the Bs betond me were already there and were not in their designtaed spot. At least in the old days you got in line and whoever was in line in front of you was just that. Now I actually have to "cut" rude people who refuse to take their proper position. The gate personnel need to do a much BETTER job of making sure that people go where they are supposed to be if this will work; otherwise I see fights ensuing and people switching to other carriers.
mikimous
Not applicable
I agree with Jo-Ann. The main "awkward" moment is in the fact when it comes to lining up if I have a lower number than the people in front of me, I am either forced to try and politely navigate myself in between. Honestly, it isn't worth the hassle or the potential confrontation (a sacrifice made by the passenger that I'm guessing Southwest considered and is willing to overlook with this new policy). So to make it best work, there are those with manners who are passively lining up behind those who don't care. I will congratulate WN on one smart move that has not gotten any press. I noticed that the company is finally installing changing tables in the lavs. Too little too late for my family.. but nice to see there is a better option now for those with kids. I guess that's the token consolation for eliminating them from the preboard. Family preboard not an issue for us as we aggressively pursue A boarding passes. Traveled a couple of times and felt bad for the other passengers who were crowded next to us in the line up. Carrying the car seats through the aisles without bumping anyone was a bit problematic though. Lots of changes in a short period of time -- most of which are positive for only a select few. I'm waiting to see if WN will still be the airline of choice for this year. Since other airlines appear to be actively offering other amenities on board for the benefit of ALL passengers (wi-fi trials come to mind), it is going to take a lot more than new seating in the gate area and some drink coupons to keep my business. Tighter fare specials out of PHX isn't helping their case either.
jhhaile
Not applicable
I have boarded in three different cities (ABQ, DEN, DAL) under the 'new' boarding process. I have seen that people have relaxed in the boarding area and are observing the new process very well. I have not seen any disgruntled travelers and no one causing problems. In fact, the boarding process is much faster than under the old system. Thanks for the new, upgraded system.
Tommy_D
Not applicable
Does anyone know when the October Fares will be posted? I plan on flying to Las Vegas from Philly on October 22-27. Thanks!!!
regina_m
Not applicable
I am so happy with the new boarding process. I fly on Southwest every other week and, with the previous system, trying to get to the gate and stand in line (even knowing I was in the "A" group) would get stressful. One of the most frustrating things about the old system was that folks would place a small bag as a placeholder in line while they went about their business. When groups were called to board, anywhere between 1 and 10 people could "own" the bag that was used as a placeholder. Let me tell you, those were stressful times. After standing in line for an hour, believing that there were only 5 people in front of me, I would find that I was now 25th in line. I also do not have to step over people who have camped out in line (think about the dirty floors and carpet that the old process forced people to sit on). Not only is boarding more pleasant but deboarding has improved too. I do not have to fight to get through the gate area because people who are waiting to board can actually sit and relax not get in the way of those deboarding. I will admit, that the first time I was a little nervous because I was unsure how to approach the people who were already in line but the Southwest employees did a great job of instructing folks. Now I find that those of us who travel often are more than willing to help out the infrequent Southwest travelers on the new boarding process. Southwest's commercials have got it right. I no longer have to get in line stressed out. I can grab a coffee or a burger and board the plane when my group and number are called. Everyone in line has been polite (unlike the process before where I saw several screaming matches break out when folks were perceived to be cutting in line). All I have to say to Southwest is thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
Anonymous689
Not applicable
I am a Southwest employee and I have the awesome benefit as an employee to fly for free. One of the rules of flying as a non revenue passenger is boarding last. I have flown a couple of different times since this boarding proccess as been put into place and have been completely suprised. When I am boarding last I like to sit back and watch how everyone responds to the new change and how effectivley it works. I have to be honest and tell you that I was one of the skeptics wondering if this was actual going to work. Let me tell you that we have awesome people who work with us and who came up with this. The last three times I have flown I did not see one problem at all. Everyone who was boarding the plane knew what to do and our lovely ground ops employees explained the process perfectly. This is why I love working for this company.
Jason7
Not applicable
The only time I noticed a problem with Southwest personnel with the new boarding process was in Nashville, when the A's were called to line about about 10 minutes before the plane ever arrived, and at least 15 minutes before anyone ever boarded, but at least everyone was ready. Other cities the agents have waited until just a minute or two before boarding begins to call for passengers to line up. The early call was no better than the old system because the passengers were standing in line for so long. Other than that, everything with the new boarding process has been great!
Mike_C2
Not applicable
My suggestion to Jo-Ann and Mike would be not to worry so much about position. If people have a larger number, they expect the people with smaller numbers to get in front of them, so the only awkwardness is in the eye of the beholder. Perhaps it's the layout of the gates at Midway, but the lines are parallel to the windows, meaning it's very easy to simply walk up to the silver posts that mark the area for your "group of five". You shouldn't have to cut through already-standing people. But if you do, simply say, "excuse me" and don't worry about it. They have the larger numbers, they know how the lines work.
Steve18
Not applicable
Love the new boarding procedure (Yes, I am on the A-list). There are still those passengers that cut in front regardless of their number and ignore procedure, but that happens on any airline. I found the non-conformists to generally be those who used to stand in line 2 hours before the flight to be first in line . This system is far less stressful for everyone. And, the boarding process seems to be smoother and quicker. I do agree that SW gate personnel need to better police the system. I have seen B's and C's allowed in the A group (under the old system).
Kent_M_Comstock
Not applicable
My recent flights from Nashville to PHX and back were a true joy. The boarding process was all new to me and went off very smoothly without a hitch. I'm sure in the very beginning of thought of this type of boarding system, it was doubted if humans could actually all get along and find their assigned boarding slot in line, but I found everyone very cordial and accomodating through the process. On the return flight, after having such a great time in AZ, I ended up with a very high boarding number. I was aware of this process and knew my high boarding number and was willing to accept it as it was. It eliminated the unknown and I had no high expectations, thus no anxiety. Although, I ended up in the very back of the aircraft, my flight attendent, who was just a delight, made sitting in the back of the plane a pleasure. That beautiful person, Debra or possibly Deborah could pass as 'the' face of Southwest. Afterall, it Is the people who make this a great airline, all the way down to the maintenance personel who changed the oil for this flight. That tidbit came from the pilot himself. I'm sure he cleaned the air filter too. Thanks Southwest, Kent
Russell_G_
Not applicable
I've used the new boarding process in a couple of airports now, and I really like it. I think it accomplishes everything it set out to, and I'm very happy that Southwest would go to the trouble of making such a big change to their system just to please customers. Based on the earlier comments here though, I get the idea that some people feel that they should line up in numerical order even within their 5-person group. Personally I just assumed that if you were in the 5-10 group, you'd just not worry about the exact order from 5 to 10, but maybe the gate agents should explicitly clarify whether that's the intent or not. Or maybe someone can comment about that here. However... I'm deeply disappointed by the whole Business Select idea. I've always loved how Southwest always tended towards equality among their customers, and didn't succumb to the pressures of having different seating classes or even seating assignments. I loved how everything was open and equal -- if you booked earlier, your ticket would be cheaper. And if you checked in via the web site earlier, you'd have a better boarding position -- no need to rush to the airport to be there several hours before, to get a better seat. And with that, I also knew that if I changed my flight at the last minute on the day of departure, I'd probably switch from the A group to the C group, but at least it was a purely fair way of doing things. But now, if I fly less than 32 one-ways per year, and therefore don't qualify for the new A-List, I can be the first to check in on the web and still get a boarding position that's quite a ways back, depending on how many people on my flight are getting preferential treatment because they either paid more (or their company paid more), or happen to fly a lot as part of their job. I know this is a losing battle because Southwest has already gone to a lot of trouble to promote this new plan, but I've been waiting for a good opportunity to give my feedback, so this is as good a place as any I suppose. (oh, and that reminds me... C'mon Southwest, get into the 21st century and start accepting email!) Thanks, Russell
Kyle_O
Not applicable
Overall, there are more positive results from the new boarding process compared to the old one. I flew three round trips over the holiday break and found no major problems so far. I love not having to stake a place in line, which enables me to get to the airport at a reasonable time, get food, use the restroom, and be more productive! A few suggestions though: 1. Increase the space between the poles (ie: 1-5, 6-10). It is very difficult to fit 5 people in that space with everyone's carry-on luggage. You may notice the actual line of people greatly extends the pre-existing poles. 2. I noticed that the electronic screens with "A 1-30, etc) work better than the rotating poles. I was always with the A's, but noticed B's and even C's lined up with me because they were confused. 3. Call smaller amounts of people, such as A 1 through 15, instead of "A 1 through 30". I was on a flight where I was A-16 with no Business Select passengers in front of me. When A 1-30 was called, I noticed a few people with higher boarding passes cut in front of me (A-27 and A-29) to be exact and the gate agent let them board in front of me... taking the exit row (I am 6'4") and there were also through passengers. As an A-lister who has earned priority boarding, I felt alienated that the gate agent did not enforce numerical order. The ones who cut in front of me probably felt they didn't do anything wrong because the GA technically called A 1-30 and they fit that criteria). 4. Which leads me to the most important thing: *******the Gate Agents need to enforce numerical order!!!**********
Tommy_Blog2
Not applicable
Hello, I flew over the holidays FLL-ISP and back. On the outbound out of FLL, that flight was my first experience with the new boarding procedure. Arriving at the gate, I just sat down and hung out because everything I heard was that you "Don't have to line up anymore". Well prior to boarding my flight, NO gate announcements were made as to what to do. Zero, nada, nothing. It was awful. All of a sudden an announcement was made for preboards, anyone needing assistance, then the agent call "All A's". No one in the A group was lined up - all of a sudden we were all running to try and find out spot and move towards the gate door. It was a fiasco. FLL needs a lot of help. ISP on the other hand was fantastic! When I arrived for my return flight, I went to the gate area, and about 45 minutes prior to the flight the gate agent made numerous, informative announcements. I was stunned by the night and day difference between FLL and ISP. Personally, I would rather just cattle call / line up and sit on the floor and read a magazine like in days past. Tom
jmk22574
Not applicable
Hi Bert - it's great that all the customer service agents in Nashville love their jobs and all (as there rarely seem to be openings for that position at BNA), but do you have any inside scoop as to when you might be hiring again? I'm waiting as patiently as I can. My husband and I flew from BNA to LAS the day after the new boarding process was implemented. The SWA employees in Nashville were very helpful and had everything under control. Vegas was a bit more hectic, but the funny part there was that someone had stuck two enormously long pieces of masking tape with numbers on them to the ground so that everyone knew just right where to stand. It kind of felt like being at a grade-school carnival and participating in the cake walk - too funny!
Nick_C1
Not applicable
Hi, I liked the boarding system mainly because we travelled with our kids,and families with kids board after A and before B and since there are not that many families, we are pretty sure when we will be boarding. I like the fact that there is a pre-board area for families. I noticed that the boarding is fairly orderly though not everyone queues up based on their number. Nick
GottaLuvCruisin
Not applicable
I've flown Southwest twice since the new boarding process was implemented. In some ways I think it is an improvement, but ONLY if the gate agents will board by number. If I have #16, I expect to board immediately after the (mostly non-existent) business group. If they allow the A group to board en mass, people will continue to line up (myself included). I'm extremely careful to check-in immediately as my 24 hours becomes available because I do have a seat preference. If Southwest changes policy to offer exit row seats for an additional charge, I'll be the first person to take that option. We're actually flying AirTran quite a bit this year specifically to avoid the boarding hassles and be assured of our seat preference.
David_R
Not applicable
I have no problems telling me in front of me that I have a lower number. I don't like the fact that I'm on my computer at exactly 24 hours ahead of time but still get a relatively high number in the A group. I do understand that people are paying to "cut in line" but I still don' like it.
Jo-Ann_Pelletie
Not applicable
As I commented earlier I think it will work if they make sure there is some sort of assemblance of order, not within the 1-5, etc. as I don't care to that detail. But when I purposely checked in immediately at the designated time to get a good spot and then someone who is 29 spots behind me is in front of me I am pretty upset. The gate person at MCO did not tell people to get within their group at all. He simply said we will be boarding A1-A30, etc. I agree that it's a bit akward to "cut" in front of someone.
bstevens
New Arrival
Wow! Thanks everyone for all the great responses. I'm glad to things are going so well around the system. For those that had less than stellar experiences, please accept my apology. Please know that our leaders are being advised of your city specific comments. Kyle - The rotating poles are temporary. New gate designs are being rolled out to all cities. Jill - Sorry, I don't have an inside scoop on hiring. Just hang in there. You never know when someone might decide to transfer to a new city.
jmk22574
Not applicable
Thanks Bert! I intend on "hanging in there" until I'm your co-worker. 🙂
Diane11
Not applicable
how do you get an a or b designation -- we had a c designation on all 4 segments of our travel and our family was split up and always in the middle seat. horrible.
Ted_Neville
Not applicable
Here is a suggestion for an innovative new way to board the plane: place chairs in the gate area configured like the seats in the plane. Have the customers take their assigned "seats" in the lobby chairs. When the plane is ready for passengers, have the window seats on one side stand in unison and file onto the plane, farthest seat from the door going first. Then the other side window seats stand in unison and go. Then middle row, one side, in unison. etc. This should save time. Plus it would generate tons of free publicity as another Southwest innovation. Good luck.
Allan_Newman
Not applicable
I like Southwest overall, and I like the fact that you are trying to make change
Bob_O_Brien
Not applicable
I'm a frequent flyer, traveling twice a week minimum by SWA. I had the pleasure of traveling to San Antonio right before the program was launched nationwide, and was incredibly surprised how well the process worked. Since then, I've experienced the new method of boarding in several cities, and am not surprised that the training SWA boarding agents receivd is spot-on to coin Gordon Ramsey's favorite saying. Each airport is consistant, and I hope SWA continues to re-affirm the boarding procedure with their employees. Customers are much more relaxed and most of the fights I've witnessed between passangers are a thing of the past. The only complaint I heard after a couple months came from the wife of a frequent flyer passanger. He is a number 15 under the new program, and she got the dreaded Boarding Group B pass (I saved her a seat next to her spouse). She was concerned about traveling with her kids and being seperated from her husband. Something to consider in the future re-tooling. Last but not least, at the Seattle Airport, SWA Gate 14, its fun to watch the competetor airline use their older boarding process (1st class goes first, followed by back of the plane to the front). It looks like a heard of cattle jockying for position. Kind of like the old SWA method. Congratulations SWA on this excellent quality improvement change. I'll miss when I don't have to travel frequently and loose my boarding number in the A group, but I will sure appreciate the organized manner you board your planes. Thanks!
T_Hammer
Not applicable
1. Applause to SWA for staying fresh and trying something new. 2. Applause for SWA attempting to help business travellers get to where they are going with less trouble. 3. Applause to SWA still managing to make a PROFIT! 4. No applause for the company who got the contract to make the last minute signage used for boarding. The spinning letters on top and the twenty some odd poles seem like I am in some weird wonka-like bingo stand up board game from Milton Bradley. It is hard enough to turn a plane in twenty minutes at a gate let alone have 134 people attempt (with three carry-ons mind you) jockey into the correct seating positions based on a numbered ticket and a cramped waiting areas. Hell half the customers just realized they can print their boarding pass on a computer before they get to the airport? Normally I sit and wait until everyone has boarded in my group then get up board......and pick the most attractive and nicest looking people in the first few rows with an open middle seat, (knowing they are a married couple) ask if it is taken, he of course moves to the middle and PRESTO I am on the aisle. For me nothing has changed with your new boarding system, so it seems like a waste of precious profitability. I have a MUCH better idea...... Everyone in Group A who has a phobia about flying, needs to be somewhere pronto when we land, has flown before, and or knows how to get on and off an airplane efficiently and knows how a computer works may board now. Everyone in Group B who obviously refuses to check any luggage of any sort, always takes the window and aisle seat, can't believe they can't sit together on the 45 minute flight, and is always asking is this the "B" line please board now. Everyone else in Group C who knows you don't need to be at the airport three hours in advance, actually has an A boarding Pass and just got to the gate in order to maximize time, or just sits and reads the paper until the last possible minute and doesn't mind where they sit since it is a 45 minutes flight please.............well wait how about simply all "Rapid Reward members actually board now." You are free to continue to make travelling easy SWA.....keep doing that first please and put those silly numbered poles on EBay. I'll help. T Hammer
David_Parry
Not applicable
I am an A List customer and a longtime Southwest Flyer. I appreciate the new boarding procedure, but believe that the Southwest boarding agents must do a much better job communicating the procedure and enforcing it during the boarding process. It is stressfull and annoying to have others crowd in line. Imagine the distrust of the procedure when one pays the upgraded fair, only to have someone else who does not upgrade, crowd in line.
Greg10
Not applicable
I recently flew BUF-LAS and LAS-BWI-BUF, and had no trouble at all with either the check-in or the boarding process. Fellow passengers were all agreeable during the inevitable shuffling as people got into their proper places. There were no fights, as suggested elsewhere on this blog, and I think if there were any, the offender(s) should be denied their flight. I like the idea of a Business Class purchase and its associated benefits. I haven't yet taken advantage of it, but I can see where I would in the right situation. I give the new boarding process an A-. Now if we can just figure out a way to get people to check their bags instead of insisting that they carry them on, the boarding process would be even better!
joanie
Not applicable
A+ That's my comment!! And please do not change this new boarding system back to the old way. I LOVE THIS WAY... and I fly very often... mostly out of Long Island and into many different ports in and out of Florida. I have never seen any problems since the change and I too have boarded many planes since the change! (PS.. is it true you are now beginning non-stop into Jacksonville?? That will help me board less planes! thanks) I cannot tell you how many times I approached that long line the way it used to be, only to find out that all the seated people NOT on line, told me they were all really "on line" and I should stand behind the chairs as they were ahead of me "on line". Hey I'm from New York, I don't have a problem being polite and assertive at the same time! I just stood at the front of the real line, and smiled and said good try. This way is so much easier! Thanks SouthWest... you are the most awesome airline! Seriously!
Brigitte_Goar
Not applicable
Hi...I am new to this. I don't fly very often....usually drive, but would like to know something, if anyone can answer my questions. I am flying to Las Vegas from Detroit in April. Can someone please explain the boarding procedure....I really don't want to be sitting somewhere else away from the people I am going with. Also what is the size of the plane we would be flying on? Thanks so much, Brigitte, Ontario
Charles_Wood
Not applicable
I, for one, won't be flying Southwest Airlines in thye future. The new boarding process to put it bluntly, sucks wind. It's like lining up to go to the cafeteria when you're in the first grade. SW still doesn't get it with respect to boarding and I have to say, Delta, and perhaps other airlines as well, have it figured out. The zone system, with seat assignments, starting at the back of the bus is more efficient than the SW method. I would venture to guess that the attitude at SW was to come up with any system, regardless of whether it works or not, that is not the same as the other major airlines. I won't be back.
James_Burnett
Not applicable
I am surprised that SWA chose to insult the normal Rapid Awards ticket holder by forcing us into the "back of the bus" loading procedure. First you limit the seats available with RR tickets and now we have to watch as all your favored business customers load first. We have little chance of getting in the A zone regardless of when we download a boarding pass. Not much more you can do to insult us further. Its hardly worth the effort of acquiring RR credits anymore since you think so little of your non-business customers. Shame on you SWA I have loved you for so long.
DisneyBoy76
Not applicable
Flew over the holidays. Love the new boarding process! If you notice, all the comments used to be how bad the boarding process was. Now it's just a few! Don't worry about the negative comments. You can't please everyone. And they'll continue to "put up with it" as long as the price is right! Congrats again!
Scott5
Not applicable
My best answer for Brigitte in Ontario, is to make a note of when you Detroit plane is scheduled to leave. Example, Let's say you are scheduled to fly on April 17th and you selected Flight 195 and leaves Detroit at 8:30 AM Detroit time for Chicago-Midway and Flight 498 which leaves Chicago-Midway at 9:25 AM Chicago time for Las Vegas. At 8:30 AM Detroit time on April 16th (the day before your flight), the on-line check-in process begins for flight. Since the above example involves two flights, you will be logging in for two boarding passes. One for Flight 195 and the second for Flight 498, each flight will have two different boarding numbers. On boarding pass might say A43 and the other A28 for example. Boarding passes numbers A01 through A16 have been set aside for Business Select customers. If 7 people bought Business Select customer then A1-A07 will belong to them and A08 through A15 will be vacant. Check out this link for what will happen at the gates on the day you fly. http://www.southwest.com/help/boardingschool When you click on the black notebook it will go through the steps. Have a great trip to Las Vegas.
Tim6
Not applicable
I'm a frequent SWA flyer. I have a 3,000-mile commute, so I see Burbank, Las Vegas, Phoenix, BWI, Raleigh, and Manchester operations up close pretty frequently. I'll second comments from Jo-Ann, Mike and others: The new process works much better if the gate agents enforce the sequential numbering. When they do not, or when they do cattle call - "All As 1 through 60!" - the process falters. The same people who cheated on the old system do the same with the new system. It's annoying to see some guy with A 50 waved onto the plane first when I have A17. One of the reasons people complained so much about the old system was that it was left to the passengers to police themselves. Some guy who casually drifted toward the front of the A line five minutes before boarding? He got away with it if the other passengers didn't want to have a confrontation. Same with the new system. The guy with A50 standing in the A5-10 position needs to get bounced by the gate agent when he tries to board, not waved on with a wink. SWA needs to monitor and enforce its own system. (I'm talking about major line jumps, not turning back A19 if A18 hasn't boarded yet...) Thanks for the opportunity to provide feedback. P.S. I've received eight separate e-mails in two days about SWA's schedule opening up through August. Not sure if your servers are stuttering or someone's just over-eager with the "send" button, but eight e-mails is a little much.
Rob_in_Oklahoma
Not applicable
Dear fellow Southwest family members. I do not usually submit letters like this but I do this in the hopes that this reaches the few travelers that have not yet figured out what being in "Southwest Country" means to the rest of us. My Story begins like any other day traveling with Southwest, knowing my place in line was already set by using southwest.mobile.com. It is great to be able to check in no matter where I am or what I am doing. I arrived at my gate in St. Louis pretty relaxed and eager to return home after a long week on the road. When I approached the gate area I overheard a loud traveler at the gate service desk. Evidently he did not like what he was being told and I could tell by his body language he was not someone who was comfortable traveling. I sat down in the gate area and put on my headphones to listen to some music that I am way too old to be enjoying. I look up and notice this same man standing in the new line area in the space between eleven and fifteen on the posts. It kind of made me laugh because the flight was not due in for 40 minutes. I thought perhaps this guy was longing for the old days of standing in line. As I sat there and observed him I noticed a few things right away. He had two suitcase and a laptop roller bag. I hope it's not a full flight. i hate it when people abuse the carry-on limitations. Not a big deal in my opinion, i always travel with one bag and check my luggage. To cut to the chase, he tried to get on the flight first with number 29, and I appreciated the gate agent because he asked the man to step out of line and board at the end of the first group called. When the man boarded the flight, I watched him load his 3 bags into the first space available, (taking up one and a half bins) then walking back to the back of the cabin, not leaving any room for passengers under those bins to place luggage, slowing the whole loading and unloading process. This guy did three other things during the flight that embarrassed me to be a road warrior, but in the interest of space I wonÃ
Todd_M
Not applicable
I agree with Tim, Kyle O & others above. I love the new system if the gate attendants enforce the boarding procedures. Please keep the new system. It's great to be able to have time for food, bathroom, work, relaxing, etc. Saying "A1-30 can now board" confuses the passengers & encourages line jumpers. I fly SWA roundtrip every week on business. yes i get the A16 boarding pass. PBI has been pretty good about explaining the system. BWI has been erratic at best. The Gate Attendants need to announce how boarding process works every time. i'm afraid they are going to have to keep announcing the process every time for a long time as many SWA passengers fly one or 2 times a year or less. As stated before, it is disheartening to your 50 plus round-trip per year SWA flyers to be holding A16 and watch several line jumpers cut in front of us (with A30 to 50's) and the Attendant does/says nothing. I also agree that it is frustrating to board when the Attendant says NOTHING about the new boarding procedure. i unfortunately have heard "OK A group can now board". what a disaster that is. Saying A1 thru 15 can now board works. Then say A16 thru 20. etc. People then start to understand the process. Thank you SWA for making difficult changes that were necessary. Please educate the Gate Attendants and keep explaining the process every time!!!.
Steve___BUR_pas
Not applicable
My wife and I really like the new boarding method. I especially like not having to deal with the mass of people that always formed beneath the A, B, C, signs at the gates. We usually fly BUR--LAS and have not experienced any problems at either airport. The most difficult experience at Las Vegas is getting through security ( way too much civil service attitude) and the best part of flying out of Burbank is being able to board from the front and rear of the aircraft.
Brian_Sommer
Not applicable
New boarding technology: Southwest Airlines An Imperfect Answer A recently had the opportunity to use Southwest AirlinesÃ
Nicola_London
Not applicable
The Southwest boarding process is horrible. I will NEVER fly southwest again. My story begins on Sunday, January 20th, 2008 when flying from Orlando to BWI. I was with my two children and my niece. We checked in at the ticket counter and received our boarding passes. To my surprise my 8 year old son got A35, I had B42, my 12 year old son had C22 and my niece had B43. I brought this to the attention of the ticket counter agent who told me that it was not a problem and that I could board with my son in the A group. I though that this was great. To my dismay I get to the gate and was rudely told by the gate agent that I was misinformed and my son could board by himself or he would have to wait for me when B40-45 was boarding. He then proceeded to tell me more that my 12 year old would have to board with C, but he could over look that and have him board with me. CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS!!! I was appauled. I was even more embarrassed when I told him that I asked the ticket agent about this and she told me that I could board with him. He asked me who it was, which of course I didn't take her name, but that she did not know the policy and that was incorrect. He proceeded to rudely tell me to that I was boarding with B and to go back there. I have never been more embarrased in my life. I feel that I was treated less than human. I am also African American and I am also feeling that there may have been some discrimination, but I would hate to read that much into it in the year 2008. SOUTHWEST needs to figure out who is a child and who is not and give them the same boarding group. I boarded with B on my flight to Orlando and we all boarded together because we all had B, so I am not upset about boarding with B, I am upset about the fact the I was told misinformation and then embarassed by a rude gate agent. How dare him tell me that my 8 year old could board by himself. If he had boarded by himself which I would never had allowed and then was molested, how would Southwest have felt about that. Parents this is wrong.
Ed_Zehrung
Not applicable
I live in Alaska so don't have a chance to fly Southwest often. I flew this morning though from Phoenix to Orange County, CA and have this to offer: I bought the Business Select and was disappointed that there wasn't an express bag drop and an express security line for the Business Select customers...that would be a lot more important to a business traveler than a free drink coupon. Especially at 7:15AM The boarding process went very smoothly and I thought it was great!
Bob_Roth
Not applicable
Here lies SWA, A once proud airline that felt it could do things more simply than its behemoth relatives... and actually accomplish simplicity with easy to understand fares, rewards, and boarding (yes, we all got used to getting to the airport extra-early for the cattle call), Southwest was something to shout about. "Much LUV!" Unfortunately, the SWA we knew is now dead and gone. A nasty disease called "Maximus Rules-a-must" has taken our SWA from us and we never expect her to return. Where once we could count on her being the low-priced carrier, we can no more. Where once we understood that every seat and ticket were the same, we now have multiple classes. Where once we knew that our rewards could get us on any flight with an available seat, we now have to double up if we really want "freedom." I might be "free to increase my productivity" if I didn't now have to spend more time navigating the rest of the carriers to find a less costly fare. R.I.P. SWA, I'm done with your "wanna-be" attitude. If you are going to turn into the old standard, then I might as well go back to one of them so I can choose my own seat and earn points that can take me all over the world. You're now dead to me, from my flights to the chopped up SWA Visa that now sits in a landfill somewhere. See y'all in the Maldives... oh wait, you don't fly there... never mind. Sincerely, Bob who liked the little company that let us "move about the country" more than the turned-corporte company that lauds about "increased productivity" PS: Please distribute simplicity enhancers to the management team ASAP.
Don_Kabeary
Not applicable
I have to chuckle at some of the negative comments posted on the blog about the new boarding system. I have been a long time frequent flyer with SWA, since the days of the "Company Club", and I must tell you that this new system is GREAT! I came to SWA after growing tired of having to fit my 6'7" frame into middle seats with other airlines. I was normally able to find an isle or a window with SWA even though most of my trips are last minute do to the nature of my business. Yesterday I did a last minute round trip OAK to BUR and thanks to Business Select I actually got the exit row both ways. Never would have happened with anyone else and the fares are competitive. Thanks SWA, keep up the great work.
Mike_Whitley
Not applicable
We just completed a round trip from Chicago (MDW) to Portland (PDX) and could not ask for a smoother or more pleasant experience. We checked in online and the new boarding procedure was flawless. Both flights pushed away on time and arrived 20 minutes early at both destinations. Thanks Southwest for stress-free travel!
Bruce_Gallagher
Not applicable
Thumbs down of the new boarding process. It may drive the revenue up for WN as people pay more for the higher priority but for me it doesn't work. At 6'4" an isle or exit row is priority and I had learned to get to the airport early enough to insure this these seats. Now I am locked out a great many times. The reality is if I have to pay more to help get a boarding number that might make it possible to get an exit row or isle I may as well buy a ticket on a competing airline and pick the seat I want. One other problem occurs when my wife and I fly together. I have flown more on WN than she has so our boarding numbers are frequently very different even though I check us both in on the website within moments of each other. We have to stand apart waiting to board (did not have to do that before the new system) and I have to be polite but try to save a seat for my wife behind me. Arrgh, not the best program for me
Not applicable
[...] class passengers on the planes first, then families…to the outrage of families. Their blog suggests that everyone liked not having to stake out a place in line and people paid to upgrade after [...]
Rhonda
Not applicable
About the new boarding process, I have a + - experience. I like that I don't line up until my letter designation is ready. Much cleaner - no cuts in line - less irritating and frustrating. What I don't like is the lack of room in the airports for lining up. In most airports that SWA has implemented this new process, not enough room for 5 people to gather under a number designation with their luggage was considered. I am not a large person and usually only have a carry-on computer roller bag - but I really feel personal space being infringed upon and sometimes am pressed up against the windows to accommodate the other 4 folks. The word I am searching for is claustrophobic Please consider this as you expand to airports and maybe make some adjustments now? 3 people might work better.
Desert_Ranger
Not applicable
Ok, here is a weekly Wn flyer's take. You wanted a few months to get everyone onboard, well its now Jan. 24. SWA is not here yet. Let's face it, you want business travelers. To do it you need the system you implemented, I am A-list due to 45 weeks of travel. I live in the New Mexico, so I am basically a SWA flyer. The gate personal in the western States I fly still don't get it, boarding week after week is a gaggle at best. Yes, a few come forward and check sometimes the A-1 to 30 protecting the precious BS fare folks. But, wait where are they? I haven't seen enough BS fares to fill both hands yet. There is no enforcement! Due to that I have been switching my weeking travel biz to Express Jet, Frontier and United. After all these years of standing in line for 45 minutes I embraced the announcement, but why not make it work? I suggest teaching numbers again to gate personal, can they count???
Lana_Burris
Not applicable
I love Southwest, including the new boarding process. Check out my article on The Feel Good Airline: 11 Reasons to Fly Southwest at hqhqblog.com
bstevens
New Arrival
I don't know if your comments caused it, but all Operations and Customer Service Agents recently received a memo from Headquarters titled, "Boarding in Numerical Order". Here is an excerpt I thought you'd be interested in seeing: "We are not policing the A-22 boarding before A-19, but the obvious 'line-cutters' should be addressed in order to maintain the integrity of our boarding groups." Thanks for all the comments! Keep them coming. We appreciate you letting us know where we have met or exceeded your expectations as well as where we have failed and need to improve.
Desert_Ranger
Not applicable
Bert: thanks for the info on the "Memo". Fact of the matter, I as the customer shouldn't have to enforce the policy at boarding that WN put in place. Being A-List is a benefit, not to be getting the benefit is a problem. It is constant problem as it was friday DEN-ABQ, you had line jumping everywhere. Full flight and panic set in, I had A-17 and got to gate as the stampede was over walked to my position as GA started to board. It was a gaggle! Oh, I got seat OK but why the mess??? I am like the guy above who is switching to others, this deal could work if enforced. As a longtime customer and stockholder it seems that enforcement rewards the Biz traveler instead of making it a hassle. In the past 12 months I have accumlated 185 Rapid Reward Points, my wife won't even use here Comp. Pass any more due to the boarding process. Tie the A-list to the CP user!