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Southwest Airlines Community

Talking About the Changes

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(Southwest Airlines CEO, Gary Kelly, has been reading your comments about our recently announced boarding and fare changes, and he wanted you to hear his thoughts directly.)
261 Comments
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Southwest employees must take charge at the gates. Make people abide by the rules. I've seen people sit in chairs and say i'm in line(no way) stand like everyone else. Handdicapped solution (must have doctors note) these people get on first and jump off (no sign of medical condition) seen it many times. Plus we do not need a family of mom, dad, aunts, uncles, grandparents to help with the baby. please address these things. i like the A seating change but, still keep it as first come first serve, and go back to the old pricing selections. at first glance it makes you want to check out other airlines for cheaper filghts plus, get you seat assigned right away and that way there is no need to go online 24 hours in advance,.think about it!
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I HATE the new seating!!! A few weeks ago I flew twice with my 5 yr old daughter and 8 yr old son. Not knowing that the new pre-board restriction was in effect I automatically went to the pre-board and upon boarding was informed that we did not meet the requirements for pre-board, and my 5 yr old was too old to board between A & B. So we went to the END OF "C". when we got on the plane their were not any seats together. Someone was kind enough to move so that I could sit with my 2 children....in the last seat infront of the bathroom! Now on the return flight we were coming from a place that did not have internet service, so needless to say we were automatically "c" group. When we boarded the plane this time NO ONE WOULD GIVE UP THEIR SEAT so that I could sit with my 2 children. The flight attendents even offered a free cocktail to anyone that would move and no one offered. I Watched people actually cover up their faces pretending not to realize what was happening. I was then told that there was an empty seat in the back of the plane for my 8 year old and one in the front for my 5 yr old and one in the middle of the plane for me. ARE YOU KIDDING ME????? Someone really expected my 5 year old daughter to sit in the front of the plane with strangers? With this of course so started to cry....she is FIVE!!!! So I said that I would not allow this, finally the flight attendant asked someone to move and I was able to sit with my 5 yr old while my 8 yr old had to sit by himself. The witch of a woman sitting in the seat mext to me would not give up her seat to allow my son to sit with his mother. (Because her husband was in the seat across the way--what a joke, she does not want to sit without her husband, but it's ok for my son to sit without his mom). I am a frequent flyer, and have ALWAYS flown SW, but I am MAD!!! We are flying again tomorrow on a 7:00a.m. flight and I have to get up this morning and print my boarding passes right away to make sure that I will not be separated from my children again. But what is going to happen on my return flight????? Again, I will be in "C" (no internet). I can not stress enough the importance of pre-broad with children!
New Arrival
I'm currently a contractor for Southwest, so I fly on the company's dime and wait until the very end of the boarding process before I hit the jetway so that Customers get the best seats. This gives a me a great opportunity to see the pros and cons of the new boarding system as well as a score a middle seat on every leg of the flight :) From what I've witnessed I've seen a few dramatic shifts in passenger attitudes and activities prior to boarding.... -Passengers are now able to sit down and relax before boarding. No more folks camped out for an hour waiting in line just to secure their spot. -In upgraded gate areas - families are enjoying the redesigned "family areas" to relax and talk. Upgraded comfy chairs with power sources are fantastic...I heard one guy mention "if I had seats like this I think I might actually come earlier" - wow! -The process seems a little confusing for some who either haven't flown Southwest in a while or are new flyers. Gate agent announcements seem to reduce the confusion but some more visual descriptors of the process at the gate might be helpful. -There is a concern that folks may not be exactly where they should be in line, say an A29 is lined up before an A4. I'm sure this process will be tweaked, or peer pressure will force folks to find their right spot in line. I think the biggest gain for us as Customers is the fact that we can use that time before boarding to eat, sleep, or work unlike in the old system where we had to just wait in line to secure our spot. Additionally, the new Business Select fares may sound a bit elitist - but heck, with oil at $90 a barrel it's going to be very hard for Southwest to keep it's prices down - just like an other airline. Letting a few pay extra to board earlier actually keeps the fares lower for the rest of us. At the end of the day the boarding process is designed to react to Customers concerns that they were tired of waiting in line. The revised fare options allows Southwest to remain competitive by offsetting rising fuel prices by allowing Customers that wanted additional perks - like being first in line - to pay for that privilege. Finally, before and after you you board that plane you're still surrounded by the best Customer service in the industry. Southwest keeps me happy, even when I have the last seat which puts me between the two largest fliers on the flight. They have attendants that actually like their jobs; they sing, they clap, they make jokes. You won't find positive attitudes like that on any other airline. - hands down. You have a problem with a flight and you call Reservations, guess what, you're not confronted with a confusing phone-tree queue, you get connected to a real person who really cares. Again - wow - try that with any other airline. They keep it simple and they keep it nice. For those that are concerned, try out the changes, see what you like, what you don't like, and voice your thoughts. Happy flying!
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After reading these blogs, I felt compelled to add my comments. I've been a Rapid Rewards member since 1996 and fly exclusively on Southwest. When the number system was implemented as a pilot at the San Antonio, TX airport, it went very smoothly and I supported it 100%. The SW representatives explained it very thoroughly and enforced the numerical boarding process. I would check-in online and have number A 1-5 99% of the time. Now I'm on the "A" list and the first time I flew out of El Paso on a return flight to San Antonio, it was chaotic! I arrived at the airport on Friday 11/16 with my A-List number A25, approximately 2 hours early. There was not a vacant seat to be found so I stood with dozens of other people. Seats had been removed to provide space for the "make-shift" lines, which resulted in reduced seating in all waiting areas. Where are the new seating areas that have been advertised? I hope this will be corrected in the near future. Prior to my flight (which was late), I observed the boarding process for another flight. Many of the passengers appeared to be lost and were in the wrong line. The SW Representative didn't do a very good job explaining the process and I saw people merge into the lines out of sequence. The SW representative that worked my flight explained it very well, and with my A25 I was the 35th passenger to board in El Paso. I'll be flying over the Christmas holidays on a RR's ticket and there is no telling what number boarding pass I'll get! My observation is that all SW staff should have visited the San Antonio Airport to observe their operation of the numerical system; and the waiting areas should have been redesigned, prior to implementation. Passengers should not be able to buy their way onto the A-List. It should be based on the number of flights - not the price of the tickets. Southwest Airlines owes it's success to the frequent flyers - not the ones with the deepest pockets. If priority is going to be given, it should be given to these frequent flyers.
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I hate your seating policy. I fly your airline when I have no other choice. Why you dont learn from JetBlue how to serve your customers.
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You know, whether I'm an A or a C boarder, somehow I seem to arrive at the same time. And like you say, drybar, on time!
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I refuse to purchase any more SWA tickets until the system is changed back. I believe we deserve a full REFUND on any tickets we have already purchased. My tickets are no longer worth what I paid for them. UNBELIEVABLE that you would install this program, screwing over people retroactively.
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I think it's ironic that you have implemented business fares. Company travel policies will still require that their employees book the lowest fare possible - that means most of your business travelers won't be able to take advantage of the business traveler perks you offer (more rapid rewards, free drink, preboarding, etc.). I think the business fares will end up being a big fat goose egg.
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Many times, businesses take the risk of alienating their current customers with the hope of attracting new ones. History seems to indicate that this doesn't always pay off. I never had any problem with the system of open seating. It seemed kind of funny the first time, but then I was okay with it. The bottom line was that I soon found that I was able to get better seats. It seems to me that this system was designed to appeal to travel columnists instead of Southwest's current customers. I will see it first hand soon enough.
New Arrival
Just an FYI....... That Ã
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NEW BOARDING PROCEEDURE--USED IT FOR THE FIRST TIME--AS EXPECTED SEVERAL PASSENGERS "VIOLATED" THE LINE W/NO ONE FROM SOUTHWEST "POLICING" THE LINE-UP --WILL JUST GET WORSE AS MORE REALIZE THE LINEUP MEANS LITTLE OR NOTHING. AS LONG AS SOUTHWEST IS GOING IN THIS DIRECTION--IT SEEMS KIND OF SILLY TO GIVE ME A "BOARDING NUMBER" WHY DON"T YOU GO ALL THE WAY AND EITHER: PROVIDE ME W/AN ASSIGNED SEAT OR AT TIME I BOOK (IF ON LINE) SHOW ME THE SEATING CONFIGURATION OF THE PLANE (AS OTHERS DO) AND ALLOW ME TO SELECT THE SEAT(S) W/ MY MOUSE. U.S. AIRLINES STILL MAKE A MESS OF BOARDING-I USED TO TRAVEL INTERNATIONALLY AND THE SYSTEM IN PLACE IN EUROPE MADE A LOT OF SENSE AND WORKED GREAT!! THE CHECK-IN AT THE GATE ALLOWED YOU TO PRESENT YOUR PASS AS YOU ARRIVED--YOU WERE THEN ALLOWED INSIDE A SEATING/BOARDING CORRAL AND WHEN BOARDING WAS ANNOUNCED EVERYONE SIMPLY FILED ON THE PLANE--NO LAST MINUTE CONFUSION/DELAY AS THE ATTENDANTS TRIED TO "CHECK" EVERYONE IN AT THE LAST MINUTE AS YOU WERE TRYING TO BOARD THE PLANE,BALANCE YOUR BAGS AND HAVE THE USUAL PASSENGER AHEAD OF YOU W/OUT A PASS OR SOME OTHER CONFUSION--IT TURNED THE PLANES AROUND "REALLY FAST!!"
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Susan, this "Buisness" fare that you refer to is nothing new. This is the same "Refundable Anytime" fare, just under a new name. The only difference is the new option of "Business Select", which allows ANY traveller (business or otherwise, Rapid Reward customer or not) to pay a small upgrade fee to enjoy priority boarding (plus extra Rapid Reward credits and a complimentary drink). Business travellers, like anyone else, can still book under the "Wanna Get Away" fares at 14 day and 7 day advance, and in some markets 10 day and 5 day fares. So nothing has been lost here, Susan. In fact, there are more options avalable to the passenger, whether flying on business or not. As for all this concern about family boarding, keep in mind that we all have a new alternative available: If a family with children under the age of four is travelling, and they do not wish to priority board after the A group, then they can ensure first boarding by upgrading their tickets to "Business Select". This is hardly any new "class" system that treats the business traveller any greater than the family. It is an option available to all of us. Southwest is still offering the "freedom to fly', just with the freedom of more choices to benefit all of us.
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Always flew SWA because once you learned the open seating and check-in system, it simply required a little legwork on your end to acquire a good seat of your choosing. Thought it was a great idea to implement the numbered boarding system to eliminate the need to stay put for an hour before a flight lest yoy lose your spot in line. The latest change for prefered biz class is deeply disturbing, although not anywhere as disturbing as eliminating the family pre-boarding. My choice of SWA was always fueled by the knowledge that I would be able to avoid sitting a row away from parents with (usually) unattended children who kick seatbacks or climb onto the seatback in front of you, not to mention the lovely sound of bawling infants. That was the risk you took when purchasing assigned seats with another airline; you never knew who you'd be sitting near. My two cents...establishing an elite biz-class that has dibs on "A" seats removes the best aspect of choosing SWA as my carrier of choice. Not pre-boarding children is a HUGE mistake. Increased fares are a fact of the economy and fuel prices. While I was always a steadfast loyal customer of SWA, I fear I have purchased my last ticket to fly with them. I think I'd rather pay an extra $50 to $100 and not have to deal with this nonsense by purchasing assigned seats on another airline. SWA...you took a once great thing and totally destroyed it. Way to go...
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I have flown exclusively Southwest for many years because the prices were right and everyone was treated the same (no first class). In the past twelve months I have flown 23 flights which is not enough to be considered one of your "A-list customers". Last week when I checked in online just minutes after the 24 hour window to check in, I received boarding pass number A-51. I assume this was due to all your preferred customers receiving their boarding pass when they made their reservation. If you no longer value my business as much as your "A-list customers" I will be forced to start shopping around my air travel, which I never did in the past. I think you should re-think your new policy allowing "A-list customers" preferential boarding.
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We have homes on the East Coast (Philadelphia) and the Other Coast (Spokane, WA) and fly cross-country several times a year - often on Southwest. In general we have liked the experience, and have on a couple occasions snared boarding passes numbered in the first 5 (yeah, my wife has the internet thing timed to the nano-second). While not crazy about playing the A-B-C Line-up Game, we endured and usually were there early enough to get seats to our liking, at NO ADDITIONAL COST. You have always put the customer first, and to your credit, you fill your planes and turn them areound better that anyone we fly. But PLEASE take heed of what we, your loyal customers, are saying. Don't rock the boat for those of us that got you where you are today. Establishing "classes of boarders" goes against your founding principles. We all know what KISS means - let's admit the error in judgemant and level the playing field again.
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If you buy your ticket far in advance and don't mind paying $100 if you need to cancel or change it, legacy carriers may fit you better. If you buy your ticket within a few days of travel, and pay top fare, a legacy carriers will give you a middle seat if they are able to assign you a seat at all. Southwest wants to attract more of these high-fare late-booking passengers by guaranteeing them something other than a middle seat. The more of these passengers Southwest can attract, the lower Southwest can keep the discount fares for the rest of us. Giving the best seats to the customers paying the lowest fares doesn't make business sense from any angle. I'm surprised the legacy carriers haven't figured this out, but they always have been slow on the uptake.
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Herb, Gary & Colleen: I'll stand up and defend your position with the best of men or women. Your thoughtful redesign is the best of both worlds. You have obviously taken a very long time to think this process through. Most of the comments I have seen here have to do with people who fly infrequently. For those folks with the disadvantage of Orlando...my heart goes out to you...it must be difficult flying nearly any airline from the land of Mickey. However, as a recent flier of Northwest into Memphis...at a Ghastly $1493...then $116 for a change fee because I stayed one extra day, I'll take Southwest for are long as I can. This past week, I had the pleasure of flyig on the new system. Both at full fare as well as at the new Business Select Rates. Regular full fare and early checkin still lands you a decent seat on the planes. Business Select will probably land the exit rows with all the leg room. It appears as though 1-10 are held for Business Select Clients. Since many people don't purchase these fares...then A11 has a good shot at great seats. All without a cattle call. In fact I had A55 on the return trip from Salt Lake to Baltimore and still had a middle seat in the exit row. You'll find not much of a difference than in the previous design...except the long lines. Simply a brilliant design. Smart, Elegant, extremely well done. My compliments to all those hard working folks that put this plan in to effect. Keep up the great work Now if you can just connect to Rochester MN so that we can slaughter Northwest :) Shawn Pearsall Productive Solutions, Inc. Fairport, New York
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I am loyal Southwest customer. Love your airlines. I fly Southwest all the time. My only complaint is your lack of touch with the reality when it comes to seat assignment and boarding policy. Did you ever try taking a poll or survey from the people who actually fly your airlines instead of the pinheads who sit up on the high floors in your home office. If you ever did what I am suggesting, it will clearly tell you the following: a) Your new boarding policy stinks. It made it worse than it used to be. Massive confusion and none of us passengers know when to board. It's a royal mess. Trust me, I have experienced it first hand. b) We all make mistakes. Go with an (pre) assigned seat number. When I check in online, just gimmie, the dang seat number! Open seating will always, always lead to a "cow" lanes. Don't believe me, hire an independent firm and take a survey of all the passengers who fly southwest during this holiday season. Your are running a great and customer friendly airline company. I will always be a loyal customer. For goodness sake, please wake up and stop the chaos which is being touted as the best boarding policy ever invented, IT IS NOT! Sincerely. Ed
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I just returned from a conference in Las Vegas. The conference was the Word of Mouth Marketing Association Summit. Angela Vargo with SWA was one of the breakout session panelists. As part of the breakout session Angela discussed these recent changes in the boarding process and the prioritization of frequent travelers when distributing boarding assignments. Angela if you're reading this: - I enjoyed the discussion session - Thanks for the inflatable plane (my kids are grown so I gave it to another conference attendee) - I think Southwest has made a mistake. Not having exposure to the business case and extensive research and planning that went into this decision I'm clearly missing the drivers for this new approach. What I am aware of is the first hand exposure of the power of word of mouth marketing I experienced in the boarding line and on the plane ride home from Las Vegas. I was shocked by the volume of anger and frustration expressed by other travelers. Up and down the line one person after another expressed their disappointment and disgust for preference being given to the privileged few versus the average Joe. The decision didn't seem to fit the SWA brand. This may turn out to be a great WoM case study for a future WOMMA Summit. I'm anxious to see the customer response over the next few weeks/months. Jerry
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While I may get a free drink and an "A" boarding pass, the biz select fares are punitive, in my opinion. How many business folks are even going to take the drink en route to an appointment? Thirteen years of flying SWA at the exclusion of others. The party's over. I'll be shopping air travel more diligently than in the past.
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The difference in a $99 web special and 'Business Select' $389 on a one-way leg is ... well ... $290. Nearly $600 RT? Business flyers are asking for this? Really? Did SWA switch business consulting firms? For everyone who thinks the new boarding is better ... you're kiddin' ... right?
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You people complaining about the changes absolutely confound me. Why shouldn't the person paying more for their plane ticket expect preferred boarding? Why do you think that because you were able to plan your trip 3 months in advance and secure a ticket for a transcontinental flight for $99 that you are entitled to the absolute best seat in the airplane. Let me explain a little something about airline economics to you. Airlines don't make money by filling an airplane with $99 passengers to fly across the country. They make money by responding to the laws of supply and demand. So you're going to go shop around for airfare now? Why in your right mind were you not doing that before? You'd rather pay more for bad service instead of flying Southwest? Come on; get off your high horse. Southwest is tweaking its business model to cater to a demographic that they have essentially ignored, at their peril, for the past 30 years. As a business traveler, I welcome these changes. Life on the road isn't pleasant and when you're racing back to the airport to catch your flight after a day of meeting to discover that you're stuck in a middle seat in the back of the plane between two individuals who leave arm rests up because they don't fit in their own seats is not a pleasant experience. 70% of business travel revenue is generated by 10% of the flying public. Now you tell me why Southwest shouldn't target that group?
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Gary, I encourage you to give your new boarding system and business select choices a chance. My first thought about the new system was like many others - "don't fix what ain't broken" however after a couple of runs at it, I 've come around to it. I have chosen Business Select as my seat of choice the last two times I've flown and I'm giving it a thumbs up. As a business owner, with last minute flight schedules, I like the options that Business Select offers and the options of last minute changes without huge penalty costs. As reference, I fly a couple of times each month during the year and look forward to flying Southwest Airlines. And really, your on-time record is what really sets you apart from he other guys. No other airline can even come close as far as I'm concerned. Thanks for the superb service. DJ
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A few insights from a former Southwest devotee: I, like many other young professionals, am disappointed with Southwest's new selection of fares. I am not interested in "business class" perks and wastefulness and have always flown Southwest to avoid it. I have enjoyed the super low fares and am disappointed to see them jumping up so high in 2008. I will start to take my business, which is considerable, elsewhere instead of paying the much higher prices and dealing with special treatment of certain "business" passengers. Also, I was happy when Southwest moved the families pre-boarding to in between the A and B groups since I often fly from Orlando and know how out of control pre-boarding can be. But to learn that instead of boarding behind families with children, I will now board behind spoiled businessmen? Yeah, no thanks. The message I'm getting at is: don't change your positioning. Continue to target the younger, tech-savvy, frequent flying crowd rather than the cranky business stiffs. Because let's face it, the business stiffs have lots of choices with more attractive perks. And you're losing the customers who got you where you are today - the young professionals - with all this fluff and price hiking.
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The new boarding process in reality is too complicated. People do not know where and when to line up. People do not like it, go look from behind the scenes and listen to the comments in the boarding area in a place like Las Vegas or L.A. Bring back the pld simple way please or just do it by numbers only. Maybe just preboard your Business Select people like other airlines do with boarding their first class people first so they get first choice of a seat. Thank You
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Wow! I wonder what any A group boarding pass might look like!! We charge virtually all our expenditures to one credit card and as a result, use our credit points for all our travel. Since our card company has to make our reservations and then provide us a ticket rather than a "ticketless" reservation, we cannot get a boarding pass online at all. So, we arrive hours early in hopes of even a B group boarding pass, but seldom see that as the flights are so full and most travelers have gotten there boarding pass online. Even though we sometimes book months in advance, we cannot check in until arriving at the gate and seldom get to sit together. Now, the last minute "business" traveler, making his reservation weeks or even months after we made ours, is going ahead of us (and every one else). Gee, what a new twist on the caste system! Every other airline lets us choose our seat when booking, so the earlier the better. This new system is a pretty lame way of asking people to wait until the last minute or ask for the highest fare when booking so as to gouge their employer with the expense account. If I were in charge of corporate travel for a major company, I'd really think twice about having Southwest as a supplier - they're actually encouraging the bread and butter business traveler to rip off their employer. Pretty dumb move, I believe. No doubt a "bean counter" decision - someone with true sales or marketing skills would have more sense.
New Arrival
Those of you who are considering trying other airlines may want to take a look at the piece of the Phoenix ABC affliate put together. The piece authored by Lisa Fletcher. Look under the heading "Cashing in frequent flyer (SWA has Rapid Rewards) miles without sufficient advance notice. source:www.abc15.com
New Arrival
The piece is called "Hidden Airline Fees".
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The new boarding proceedure with the poles is the first major error I have observed at Southwest in its history. This is a confusing big mistake.
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Thank you Southwest for Business Select. I love the new boarding system. When my children were littlte and flew back and forth from S.A. to Dallas they were pre-boarded because there was no adult with them, but when I traveled with them, we never pre-boarded, we stood in line like every one else. Now I see hoards of families take advantage of this and they always want to sit up front. Then they delay the whole flight putting up the luggage and getting down the luggage with no regard or consideration for anyone else. If they want to pre-board 2 or 12 people because of one small child, then why don't they at least sit in the back so they don't delay others on the plane who can quickly grab there luggage and get off? I suggest that Southwest reserve the back of the plane for people who have issues which delay the boarding and unboarding process? Then the attendents and the passenger in need can take all the time they want getting to and from their seats during the boarding/unboarding process without delaying the other passengers. I will be flying quite often this year and I am going to continue with Southwest as long as there is business select.
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Hi, I am an "A-Lister" thanks to traveling the required number of segments over the past 12 months, so I guess I should be happy about it. However, even as such, I noticed last night on my flight from Austin to Dallas that most of the boarding group from A1 to A15 was non-existent. Do these spots get saved for last-minute business fare bookings? It just seemed odd. And, most of us in line were wondering just what was up. Although I think the basic principles behind your changes are well-intentioned, the execution leaves something to be desired. I will not be an A-Lister for long given these changes, as I will start to fly American and/or Continental more often. I think the old system was really not so bad afterall.
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The result of the open system was fast seating resulting in quicker plane turnarounds and better profit for Southwest than their peers. Many folks seem to find an open seat a lot faster than matching a seat to a ticket. Southwest has had a successful business model with loyal and satisfied customers and has been penetrating new markets successfully. Why not continue that rather than tweak a big competitive advantage during the holiday season? The results will show up in a quarter or two - because you can't hide lost customers and profit. If the results are not positive, I expect SWA will reconsider.
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I am VERY, VERY UNHAPPY with Southwest's recent Familes With Infants/Young Children Pre-boarding changes. In October, my wife and I traveled with our two children from Mississippi to New Hampshire via BWI. One child is 2 yrs old, the other 2 MONTHS old. We were STUNNED when told we could no longer preboard and must wait - strollers, etc in tow - in the regular line and HOPE we could sit together! I would like Gary Kelly or any other executive at Southwest to answer this: have you ever tried to board a plane with TWO children 2 and under - WITHOUT pre-boarding? Folks in line looked at us like we didn't know what we were doing. They said "you can pre-board...why are you here?". They, like we, could not believe that this convenience had been taken away from families with VERY young children. (for the record, my two kids have yet to cry or disturb anyone on any flight - they are extremely well behaved in flight...and I have seen some disruptive infants/kids while flying believe me) And I totally agree with the person who wrote about the "fake handicap" pre-boarders. WHY would you send a family with infant(s) into the pack with strollers and all that comes with travelling with children...yet allow the voluntarily obese in wheelchairs to pre-board?? The vast majority of these folks in wheelchairs - are just FAT AND LAZY...they are NOT handicapped! Don't believe me? Try watching them walk or jog throught a given airport...only to look VERY pitiful slouching into a nearby wheelchair as they near their gate. It's in plain sight for God's sake! My family has flown Southwest for 10 years. I have been a stockholder since 1993. I have sung the praises of this airline to all who would listen. And now I have stopped. We are disappointed in this company. My young family must now look to other airlines that will allow pre-boarding when travelling with very young children. I never thought this day would come.
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In the past we have used SWA on every trip we've taken from Albany, New York to our 2nd home in Tampa, Florida. Price has always been our first priority. Direct flights are the second consideration. It appears that you have lost your focus on these incentives. You have always been the airline of choice until now. For the first time in may years we now look at other carriers for the best value for our money now that you have entered the mainstream. Good Luck with your new endeavor. Kindest Regards Sim Adams
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You need to better train your gate agents for the new boarding system. It's a great idea that should avoid passengers having to stand in line, but on a flight out of Las Vegas to Indianapolis/BWI on November 10 it didn't work worth a damn. The agent was still having people line up for A or B, leaving it to the passengers to sort themselves out in groups 1-5, etc. even though there were numbered posts where they should have been directed. It was rank confusion. I also saw folks roaming around the terminal before boarding who were perfectly mobile, but when pre-boarding was called, they were boarded as disabled. Let's cut out that nonsense too.
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Congratulations !!! The new boarding system is a step in the right direction. I for one, have never understood, why a sensible person would want to sit on a dirty floor waiting, for well over an hour, just to get a decent seat on an airplane. Now all one has to do is be quick and timely to secure the coveted Ã
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I have been a loyal Southwest customer for about 5 years. I live in San Francisco and go over to Oakland to get the Southwest flights I want. It was worth it for the convenience and price of Southwest. After completing the trips I already have booked for the holidays, I will be flying on United for all of my future trips. Although I often take 12-16 roundtrips in a year, I likely won't qualify for the "A" Rewards program, and if I want to get in the A group for a decent seat I will have to buy the Business Select tickets, which end up being MORE expensive than getting an ASSIGNED seat on United from a much more convenient airport. I was initially excited to hear that Southwest would start boarding by number, as I used to usually be one of the first to check in and print my boarding pass, but didn't realize that you'd be implementing other changes that would make it pretty much impossible for non-business travelers to get in the A group (as a side note, I've flown Southwest for business trips before, because of the low rates - my employers chose Southwest because of their low fares, and would not pay for the Business Select fares). I have to say I'm very disappointed in the way Southwest has chosen to change the boarding policy. I mean, this is so complicated and user-unfriendly, why not just assign seats? As of now, there is nothing convenient or advantageous for me to fly Southwest. After five years of 12-16 roundtrips per year on Southwest, I regret to say I am done. Another example of a company making "improvements" that completely eliminate things that made them great. I'm curious to know exactly how you surveyed your customers to come to this conclusion.
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When are you going to start flying to Minneapolis?????
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Question: What should a highly successful operation do when it outperforms its competition year after year and builds a phenomenally loyal customer base? When it consistently shows a profit while its competitors bounce in and out of bankruptcy court? When its customers share stories about the fun they had on their flights, while competitor's customers complain endlessly about how horrible their experience has been? Southwest's answer: Change to be more like the competition!! Anybody remember "New Coke"?? What an amazingly bad decision made by the (obviously) new leadership at Southwest. Herb, where are you?? Please come rescue your loyal customers!! I have always chosen Southwest over any other airline whenever possible, but now will have to reconsider that decision. If I have to pay more to get a seat I want, will the flight still be cheaper? If I don't pay the increased price, will I get stuck in a middle seat between the guy who smells bad and the woman with a screaming baby? Who knows? Why take the risk? I fly Southwest because they have cheaper fares, lightning fast turnaround at the gate, rarely a canceled flight, and I get to choose my seat in person when boarding. I'm at the airport early anyways, so why not get in line and get a great seat? Now, I will lose out to those who pay extra for the right to choose first. Kind of like the "Lexus lanes" being added to highways, where those willing (and able) to pay can get a faster travel lane. Shame on you, Southwest. Shame on Gary Kelly. And shame on Herb Kelleher for allowing this to happen before he leaves. You have a very disappointed customer, and one very upset shareholder. Apparently I'm not the only one, though, judging by the stock price since the announcement.
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After trying the new boarding system in Orlando Nov 12th and being a loyal customer for last 5 years....my comment is ITS BULLS&$#. After a Southwest Rep ( Debbie from Operations )from Dallas was asking me how I liked it, I asked , why are we all lined up and not sitting down like its professed we can. We were told to get in line and stood IN LINE for 20 mins. So much for sitting and relaxing, no different then before. When the rep said " buy another ticket and give it a chance " - I said, " Give me a free ticket and let me try it " she laughed at me and said she doesnt fly free......so you LAUGH at your customers ??? I already cancelled my Chase Southwest Card and now time to find a different airline too. Herb please come back, your airline is going NUTS!
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Has anyone taken a tally of positive comments vs. negative ones from this posting and the previous announcement posting. As I scroll through I don't have the time to read every single one but I'd guess it's 5 to 1 negative to positive. As a current employee I originally thought the plan was great for 2 reasons: 1. Families still sit together, which is very important, and they don't clog up the jetway waiting for their strollers to come up from the belly of the plane. Strollers are already waiting for them. Additionally, they don't sit in the front of the plane clogging up the boarding and deplaneing. 2. The numbered system is great and most love it because they don't have to stand in line. However, this BS system is where the gripes stand. First of all, we named it BS! That's like naming your unborn baby something you know he will get teased for the rest of his life. It doesn't seem that the business community or the non-business community likes it. I know we do exhaustive research on every move we make but holy moly! We are getting blasted from all sides on every aviation web forum I've read. I hope this was a process put in place to be easily changeable.
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Instead of a free drink I will take a 10% coupon on my next flight, recovering AA here. Gary one thing I ask is please enforce a program that if you use a blue card to get on or wheel chair they need to make note and not allow these people to race off the jet, too many 35000 foot recoveries take place on every flight. All the FAs I have talked to see it all the time. One flight from MDW to PHX had 38 wheelers out of MDW in the spring, we were delayed and I can understand it, but upon arrival in PHX, the chairs were lined up and maybe 10 if they were lucky used them. Now on UAL and AA and others that have check in and assigned seating they know who these folks are and pretty much make them wait. Not sure what you can or can't do and it is sad that people do these things. One more is when a young troop is in Uniform, let them on before anyone else, as they need to be recognized as if it were not for the troop we would not have the "Freedom to Move about the Country". I am looking forward to seeing how things go, but am sure that the best folks on the front lines the FAs will put on that SWA charm and all will go well. Happy Thanksgiving Gary, I am thnkful for your airline that gets me around the USA,,,,,
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THANKS SWA FOR THE BUSINESS SELECT; WE ARE SO TIRED OF WAITING IN LINES FOR AN HOUR AND SOMETIMES TWO, PAYING $450 FOR A SEAT SETTING NEXT TO SOMEONE THAT PAID $100, ALL THE SILLY PREBOARDS JUMPING AHEAD OF LONG WAITERS.. SWA IS NO LONGER THE AIRLINE OF THE ECONOMY CLASS NOW WE BUSINESS TRAVELERS HAVE A BUSINESS CLASS, WE PAY MORE WE GET MORE, TAKE THAT ALL YOU CHEAP WHINERS..
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What a brilliant idea the "new generation" Southwest management has come up with!! Southwest, leader of the "discount carriers" will allow me to buy a business select ticket from Nashville to Dallas, Jan 10, for the low, low price of only $229 - and that will guarantee I can be in the "A" something lineup. That almost guarantees I can get a seat near to my choosing, unless,of course, there are already passengers onboard, in which case the valued "A" boarding pass becomes of no value. On the other hand, the high priced folks at American Airlines will sell me a ticket the same day for $228 - gouging me by making me pay a dollar less and taking me non-stop as opposed to 1 or 2 stops and an airplane change on Southwest. Oh, and they'll make me go ahead and select my seat when I book the flight. Gee, I wonder if I need "new generation" thinking, applying proper algorithms and so forth to make my decision like the Southwest mangement team?? Southwest, you better "dance with the one who brung you" or you may not be dancing too much longer.
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When I first heard about the new boarding system I was optimistic. I have experienced the "get there early sit on the floor and wait" for years and watched the attitudes and tempers flare with those further back in line jockeying for position. I enjoy the SWA mentality of "he who is best prepared gets the best seat" and I expected the same ideal to hold true with the new group/ number assignment system. However, I was surprised when I logged in exactly 24 hours early online, as usual, and recieved an A36 designation. Normally logging in this early would result in a number below 5. Later, at the airport, I learned about the Business Class option and the pieces fell into place. While I do appreciate SWA's attempt at expanding the client base, my question is: is it worth alienating the budget flyers who have been the bread and butter of your business for decades? I do enjoy sitting in a seat until it is time to board, but ditch the Business business and you have it nailed.
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Wow.... clearly the masses have spoken. It appears Southwest may soon displace Microsoft as the King of Backwards Innovation.
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Mini DVD players are on sale and I highly recommend them for the frequent flyer in your family. $ 49.00 at Walmart Friday morning. They are great for long flights and late nights. Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a great flight.
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The biggest change that I see is the price of tickets. While people are distracted debating who gets to be first in line (like school children) ticket prices took a jump. My frequent flight BWI-PBI has almost doubled. We have traveled for years at a cost of 49.00 to 79.00 each way. Today the tickets for Jan. are available 124.00 to 172.00. The DING fare today is 81.00- 94.00 two weeks ago it was 59.00. Southwest is a great airline, and I don't mind price increases for operating expenses, but this is ridiculous.
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I Just switched all my business travel to SWA and could not be happier. I live in Phx, Az and had the option to fly SWA or US Air. I have been a Chairman member with US Air for 10 yrs (100 segments per year). After many problems this past year with US Air I decided enough is enough. I will give up a first class seat on US Air to fly SWA for the simple reason SWA gets you from point A to B on time. As far as the new boarding process I have experienced it for 2 weeks now and the only problem I see with it is they call A 1-30 and people that might have A 30 jump the line. This problem needs to be addressed before there are fights. As far as the new Business Select I have purchased this fare twice and think that it is a good move. For the people who travel 1-4 times per year on tickets that cost $99.00 one way for a cross country flight stop youÃ
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I agree with minnemandy. Minneapolis needs Southwest. It certainly can't be hard to put 2 planes at MSP and run them to Chicago (for flights going east and south) and another to Denver, Salt Lake City, or Vegas for flights going west. The new HHH terminal is a great place to fly in and out of too. Please Southwest, Minneapolis needs you!