Skip to main content

Southwest Airlines Community

To Assign or Not to Assign, That is the Question

Not applicable
As many of you know, the question about whether to keep our open seating or to assign seats has been the Southwest question for the past couple of years.  Proponents of each process have been very vocal and heartfelt in support of their positions, and my post of last summer generated more than 700 comments (including those on a followup post).  To those who weighed in on this issue, thank you, and I assure you that your voices were heard. After much investigation, which included extensive "real life" testing in San Diego and San Antonio, we are ready to close the book on "the great seating experiment" and announce our decision.  (If we had drums, we could have a drum roll at this point, but we don't, so imagine one in your mind.)  Southwest has decided to keep open seating, but to adopt a new and improved boarding process.  These decisions were based on the input we got from you, our Customers, through this blog, written correspondence, and surveys taken during the tests.  While a substantial majority of our Customers prefer the ability to select their own seats onboard the aircraft, many of those folks have told us they don't like our existing boarding procedure that sometimes has Customers doing everything possible to be at the front of their boarding group.  Instead, many of you suggested, why not board the aircraft in the numerical order of the boarding pass? Well, we listened to you!  After initial tests in San Diego last fall, we conducted a full-scale evaluation in San Antonio last month, and the responses we received were very favorable.  Basically, the new boarding procedure divides the airplane into groups of five Customers, based upon the order in which a Customer checks in.  The first Customer gets an A 1 and so on, and they will line up to board in their group of five.  (To the extent possible, our gates will be modified with marked columns that reflect these new boarding groups.)  Customers will know where their boarding pass aligns in the process as soon as they check in, and this will eliminate the need to "camp out" and hold a spot in the boarding lines.  For a full description of the new process and to see the comments, click here to read Susie Boersma's August 23 post.              Our goal is to have the new boarding process up and running systemwide by early November.  I am fully aware that this news will excite many and disappoint others.  To those of you who are skeptical, I can only ask that you give the new boarding procedures a try.  After everyone gets used to it, I bet you will wonder why we didn't think of this years ago! (Click here to see a video of the new procedures.  Also, check out this helpful site.)
525 Comments
Not applicable
Christine, Just give people a chance to be courteous. You can catch more bees with honey than with vinegar! When you board the plane and discover that there arenÃ
Not applicable
I fly SWA for one reason, price. Not boarding procedures, not LUV, not even Rapid Rewards (which is a nice perk). I for one loathe the current A, B, C system. I constantly make fun of the line squatters and prefer to be the last of the A's on the plane. No standing in line, but still enough quality seats available. The newly proposed system sounds a little better but it still creates the Window - Aisle Canyon which leaves the poor C's with squishing past Aislers to get to those despised middle seats. Not to mention the lack of overhead storage for C's. Face it, someone (or a lot of someones) has to board in the C group and they don't get any LUV. If my wife and I ever forget to check in online 23 hours & 59 minutes ahead of time (VERY rarely, but it happens) then we dread flying SWA because it means we either need to get to the airport annoyingly early to be at the front of the C's or face sitting apart with our carry-ons randomly placed on the plane. Actually, with the new TSA requirements, we just check everything now but you know what I mean. Granted, the baggage handlers just destroyed a newer piece of luggage but that is for another gripe... We just had a baby and preboarded for our first time a month ago which we didn't hate. Not being on the plane first, no, not by any means, I would rather be the last one down the jetway, but preboarding does give you a little extra time to get situated and get the little one straightened out without feeling like you are in the way of everyone behind you. And btw, the bulkheads suck for flying with kids, no tray tables or storage under the seat in front of you. So I agree, leave those to the long legged freaks among us. So for now anyway, SWA is where I'll stay. I would be lying though if I said I wasn't eyeing Virgin America or JetBlue, if they only went where I flew...
Not applicable
THANK YOU, Southwest for keeping an open seating policy!! I fly often for business and try to fly you (whenever possible) for pleasure. I'm glad you did not change (which would have probably led to my not flying you less) and am looking forward to learning the new system.
Not applicable
David - No offense, but when I see a 5'6" guy get in the exit row in front of me, I'm ticked. If you think there is so much room in the regular seats, take them. It is a real pain for some of us.
Not applicable
This new boarding policy is very disappointing for all American families and they should respond by giving their business to another airline that appreciates families. Flying with young children would be very scary in this day and age if they weren't seated together. I would think that other companies will follow suit and switch to using another airline. You are not nuts about your customers, you are just plain nuts!!
Not applicable
I rather dislike your boarding procedure. When I board a flight I like to know that I will be able to sit with whoever I am traveling with. I prefer not to have the anxiety of worrying about getting seats and have to sit with strangers when I am traveling with people that I know. I guess I will just have to check with other airlines before yours whem making my travel plans. Unless you have something absolutely out of the ordinary fare wise I will be traveling with another carrier. I cannot believe that any passengers in my situation would be happy about your policy.
Not applicable
The problem is not with the kids its with the older crowd. These people are clearly not disabled yet they feel entitled to pre-board. You got half the boomer population out there feeling entitled to pre-board SW flights. What exactly qualifies as a disability to pre-board?
Not applicable
As a business customer flying weekly and flying multiple times a year with soon to be 3 children under the age of two I am very disappointed in your policy change. Check the free flights I have accumulated this year I use your services frequently. I would agree with other posts that have been made in reference to the question have your ever flown with a child? It has to be one of the least enjoyable experiences out there for all involved. It does make a difference when and where you board the plane and it should be at the begining. You already have to go through extra hoops to get a boarding pass not to mention the mountain of luggage that you have to haul through the airport. Why make it more difficult for all involved? I can guranatee that with my small army of children and other fliers following right on my heels that I will do nothing but clog any isle for a long amount of time. I applaud your other changes and your previous quick boarding times, but this is a mistake!!! Please re-think it!!
Not applicable
I will plead guilty to being a line camper. I am also a "clock watcher" meaning that I usually check in online as soon as humanly possible when once it less that 24 hours until my flight. Now I REALLY wish that A&E hadn't canceled Airline. I would love to see some footage of people getting used to the new system!
Not applicable
We flew from San Antonio to Ontario, CA Sunday, September 16th. The new boarding procedure was already in place there and WE LOVE IT. I am one that always gets my boarding pass as soon as the time comes and we were 1 and 2 in line and were able to get our favorite seats without standing in line for an hour. Way to go Southwest!!!!!!!
Not applicable
Due to the family changes I will no longer fly southwest. I have been a loyal costumer with their credit card. With three children under the age of 6 I can not take the chance of sitting all together and trying to lug on the things on the plane plus the kids is stressful enough. I would rather pay for assigned seats. It is a shame that families are no longer seen as a priority.
Not applicable
I LOVE SOUTHWEST!!! I think that your new seating policy is great except for your new children policy. Brian in response to your reply...families can still board first if they have an A boarding pass...I have a daughter that is 16 months old and I am required to wait in line to show a brith certificate. I like many other families are not eligible for your electronic check in. Very rarely have I ever received an A boarding pass due to the fact that many people either check in online 24 hours in advance or are flying bye me as I wait in line to talk to someone in person. How does this policy help me or anyone else for that matter. The only thing that this is going to do is hold people up behind me as I lug a carseat, diaper bag, entertainment, food and anything else that I need to keep her entertained on a 3 hour flight. I urge you to reconsider your decision!!!
Not applicable
It sounds like a great idea. I have high hopes for it. I was sad to see that Southwest decided to stop pre-boarding for people with small children. We flew LAX-SLC last summer and what a relief it was to have the children situated next to us and have all our bags put away by the time everyone else came on. Those two flights were some of the best flights I ever experienced. We even got extra peanuts 😄 I did see from the article that families will still be able to "preboard" between the A and B groups; I will just have to try and make sure that my family is as close to A as we can possibly get (though with our three bags, collapsible crib, two carseats, stroller, and two kids, we will never beat those sleek business folks with their one briefcase). Keep up the good work, Southwest, and fly safe.
Not applicable
It will be interesting to see what happens when folks without children start complaining that boarding is slower... not only is the new policy detrimental to families with young children, but everyone else boarding a flight! Not a good move on your part Southwest!
Not applicable
I am truly thrilled with the new boarding procedure...no more waiting in those awful A-B-C lines for 30 minutes before the plane even starts boarding. Finally, we get on the plane in the order in which we check in, but we still get to pick our seat on the plane. Perfect! Well done SWA! My one complaint is the pre-boarding change. It sometimes seems that half the people on the plane are pre-boarding, regardless of whether or not they need to. So, I can understand how others get upset by the number of people that claim they need "extra time" getting on the plane. Southwest simply needs to enforce the pre-boarding rules. I flew often before and after kids. I do pre-board with my children, but not for the sake of getting a "good" seat. I have two 6-month old boys who travel to the gate with a stroller and 2 carseats because I cannot physically carry 2 babies to the gate. Let me tell you, it takes me a LOT of time to get from the gate to the plane seat with 2 babies. Breaking down strollers and carseats, carrying diaper bags, bottles and kids is not an easy task. Pre-boarding allows me some extra time to get all this done without being trampled by the line of people coming down the jetway and airplane aisle. Even with pre-boarding, I still find myself sometimes getting run over by the 'A' group and they certainly don't wait to let me get out of the way. Allowing those of us with an 'A' to board in normal order is out of the question. We would either be run over by the others behind us or we would be holding up the entire line of people. Just enforce the rules and only allow those who truly need extra time to board early.
Not applicable
I've got to say, I'm impressed at the consideration you've shown for your passengers. The airport gate "cattle call" was about the only reason I'd avoided Southwest. With this move I will give you another try and may become one of your regulars. Keep up the good work!
Not applicable
As a Texan who has been flying Southwest for my entire life, I'm really curious to try out these new changes. I still miss those old plastic cards, you know. However, since many of the comments on this blog and in news coverage focus on the family pre-boarding changes, I find it ironic and oddly patronizing to have the "Boarding School" font look childish. Most people enjoy reading large, clear fonts (please see the August 12, 2007 article in the New York Times), and find it difficult to read tilted scribbles. I'm glad you have humor incorporated into this presentation, but please, tell your design team to use fonts that are easier to appreciate. Thank you.
Not applicable
I use Rapid Rewards so frequently I've earned a Companion Pass for the past 2 years. I've never had a problem obtaining an "A" Boarding Pass the night before my flight. I am looking forward to seeing how the new system will work, but I must admit, I don't see how it keeps anyone from having to wait in lines, because you still must stay within the boarding area to HEAR the announcements, which are always difficult to hear, so I forsee people lining up at their posts regardless of what letter or number they have. And what if you Godforbid miss your call (ex: bathroom, snack line) who is going to let you cut in line? I do vote for allowing anyone traveling with children under 5 to board first before the "A's".
Not applicable
I've been a Southwest flyer for quite sometime, in fact I fly them as often as feasible with my travel schedule. I have to say that this new plan has me concerned. Though I make an honest effort to check in as soon as I can to get an A boarding pass, there are times when my plans change and require me to cancel my checkin so I can book a different flight where I could end up with a B or C boarding pass. I have always enjoyed the fact that even if I have a B, there was nothing stopping me from being as close to the front of the line as I could place myself and get on while there is still a good selection of seats. While this new plan will avoid the crowd at the gate, it takes away some of the convenience that some of us have had while flying Southwest. Personally, if this is going to be the case, you might as well just go to an assigned seat model.
Not applicable
Happy to hear about your new seating arrangement. I hated sitting on the flour for one and a half hours even when we had an A. the new arrangement makes much more sense. It pays to listen to the customers. Thanks. Don & Jan
Not applicable
Brian Lusk & Everyone- Let me respectfully offer some advice. You have a 'communication' disaster brewing. The headline re: family board is: "Southwest gets rid of family pre-boarding." NOT "Southwest move family boarding after the first 60 passengers where those passengers will most likely have no problem sitting together" That leaves most people to picture boarding at the end of the C group with a 2 year old. IE- no more SWA. Your customers with little ones flat out WONT "try that out to see if they like it." The will rightfully conclude that is a silly risk to take. Your BIG problem is "the real story" is too complicated. The story that is spreading virally, in the mommy-n-me classes, at work and in the park, is the headline "Southwest ends family preboard." For the .0001% that read the blog and or find a newspaper that gave the whole story, they might try it A significant portion of the other .9999% won't give you the chance (because they only know the headline) Is it really worth it?? Steve Sky King JR- GREAT post. ((and I STILL don't see how this possibly speeds things up))
Not applicable
Good idea to let the passengers get on in the order of boarding passes. The camping out for seats has been a real drag. Horrible idea not to let families with children board first. You may wind up reconsidering that.
Not applicable
gary: you don't get it!! it's simple, but it's not about preassigned seating. 1. take care of your mfu's --------if it's about meritocracy vs aristocracy, then it's about what you do for your "most frequent users" ( your "mfu's"). for those of us who fly you a lot--and i mean a lot, i.e. companion passes, literally hundreds and hundreds of rapid rewards credits, etc. these folks are your economic backbone, and it's about what you do to keep and grow their flying usage and that of their families. you need to make every one of your mfu's experiences in every airport as easy and quick and bearable as it can possibly be. you need to give your mfu's priority check-in/kisok lines. you need to get your mfu's priority through the airport security lines where every other airline's "first class" passengers are getting priority, and then, whatever your seating plan is, you need to take care of your mfu's by putting them automatically in your top boarding group (or give them an "AA" boarding group --sorry wrong air line-- or an "I M Certifiably Nuts" group of their own) whenever they check in ---even if it's 10 mins before boarding time. you also need to seek out input from your mfu's---not just every vocal idiot who decides to try and criticize your airline once a year and threatens to move $1.98 in business at the drop of a hat. your mfu's can and will tell you candidly what is right and what is wrong about swa from the customer perspective. 2. there is a big issue about pre-boarding, but it's not about families with young kids. our kids are grown adults, yet we recognize all of the very important reasons voiced in the earlier blogs about why families w/ kids need to pre-board. those reasons are all valid, and they should pre-board. the problem w/ pre-boards is all the non-sense that we and your other mfu's see time and again when blatant abusers with tennis racquets, and mtn climbing gear in hand jaunt merrily onto the plane ahead of everyone else with a bogus pink or yellow piece of paper granting them priority for some feigned disability. (we also experience folks with genuine disabilities who refuse the privilege of pre-boarding.) the resentment of those experiences is exceeded only by those where an apparently genuinely frail elder or disabled person is pre-boarded while accompanied onto a flight by a healthy entourage that's larger in number that that which accompanies michael jackson or your average rock band or presidential candidate. let the families pre-board ---but stop the abuses. they're incredible in number, and your/our swa attendants are too polite and never challenge them. gary: let's go for it! stretch the envelope! you have great employees (we really luv their collective sense of humor) and great market appeal. AND you obviously have GREAT Customer Loyalty........but we are smart and we are fickle..................SWA......like every other business today.....has to earn that loyalty everyday. Thanks for listening/reading.... j
Not applicable
I fly Southwest several times per month, and I think the new seating process is a great enhancement. If it is important to you to get your choice of boarding groups check in early. I have flown United and have found myself without overhead space because all of their 1K fliers are boarded first, and the isle folks board last no space is left. Way to go Southwest.
Not applicable
I must admit that I've been skeptical about hearing this coming. A couple of concerns that I'd like to see addressed: PlS INF -- If I call and add a lap child to my ticket, I can't then do online check-in. Now, I realize that I can still get on board before the B's and C's... but you need to address the PLS Inf issue as it does put those of us who are willing to play by the rules at a slight disadvantage. Sequential numbering? Is this really a good idea? From the looks of the SAT boarding area and "boarding school" videos... I see that you have zones for each in line. I for one don't really care... to me an A was an A. Now though if you have groups of 5 (let's say 30-35) and I just happen to be the first one standing in the 30-35 section with #34, I can see someone who has a #31 insisting to get in front of me so we are in numerical order. Does it really matter? No.. but it is a chance for a confrontation in the gate area. Please don't give your passengers that much credit to see reason. I've seen lots of arguments in Southwest lines as it is. At the risk of sounding like your competition, you would have been better with zones (e.g. A1, A2, A3) instead of A1-5, A6-10, etc. I'm staying open minded. At least you still have some sort of consideration for families. There is another major carrier (the one that hubs in ATL and SLC) that did away with pre-boards all together. Trust me... it can be worse. Now... if only you'd do something to better control the other pre-boards. 20 PAX needing assistance to board the plane .... but not needing any assistance on the other end... hmm... I know that one is going to be tougher. Thanks for at least trying to be innovative at solving the problem. Heaven knows the other carriers have a big problem with actually trying to change their processes. At least you are taking the risk.
Not applicable
Last Friday i flew from Houston to Tulsa. I thought a better system would be to assign numbers to the A,B,C designations. I didn' t know SW was thinking about this. Glad to see something better than the cattle call i experienced. I think a better way would be to assign a number based on when you purchased your ticket instead of when you picked up your boarding pass. If you book your ticket early you should get up in the front of the line. Good start, now improve it with my suggestion.
Not applicable
One other note... This policy might eliminate "some" of the lining up. But make no mistake... even with assigned seating, the vultures hover in the gate area of the other carriers (no matter how many announcements are made about it). The issue is really more than just the seat preference. Let's face it... it is about space. Overhead space to be more precise. I travel with two kids and we try to limit our carry ons to the bare minimum. Yes... we check our bags!! Mid boarding (even in a B group), you can find yourself with 4 tickets passengers and there won't even be room above your seat to slide in the diaper bag. New Preboard slot puts us after the thru PAX and after all the A's. With all the roller bags, garment bags, shopping bags, etc... I see our odds dwindling and that we will have to stuff our items beneath the seat. Getting on board is more than just getting the seat up front, it is part of the competition for overhead space. Personally, I have a seat down below and would like to think that my ticket gains me a little real estate in the overhead bin. But, let's face it.. that isn't always the reality and being first on the plane is the only way to ensure that to be the case. How about a some sort of incentive to the baggage policy? Reward those who check bags for instance. You'll find that turn around times will imiprove if people who can barely walk aren't also dragging 50 lb bags down the aisle. Don't get me wrong... I'm probably one of the few who realizes how generous Southwest is with their current baggage policy (3 50 lb checked bags per customer?!?!?). However, that does not appear to be enough to convince some people.
Not applicable
I am glad that Southwest is going to assign the numbers to passengers. However, I am bothered by the lack of family friendly service during boarding at Southwest. Our family enjoys flying the airline because the attendants are so nice and the flights are usually on time. But now they say they will not let families with small children board early. My main concern with that is that we always buy a seat for our 1 year old and install her car seat in it. It takes the entire time people are boarding for us to install that seat properly and get buckled in. If we are not allowed to get on first, the whole plane will be waiting on us to get finished before we can taxi out for take off. Maybe it wasn't the right decision.
Not applicable
I have been avoiding Southwest in the last couple years because of the "open seating" system. Judging by this blog, many people like it, but I still fail to understand in what way being able to pick your own seat after boarding - and after jumping through a lot of hoops if you are to have any choice at all - is superior to being able to choose your own seat at the time of booking, like many other airlines let me do. The new system sounds like an improvement, so I'm going to give it a try - it's a pity not to have SW as an option, you do offer convenient flights between Chicago and several cities I frequently have to visit. On the other hand, having pre-assigned seating would be a much bigger improvement in my opinion, so I expect I'll still fly other airlines whenever they offer comparable schedule and price.
Not applicable
Way to go SWA! I think once the families try out the new boarding process, they'll see its not as bad as they're painting it to be. I'm tall, so I admit to being a line camper for the exit row, but I think these new changes will give me just as good of a chance. As a frequent SWA traveler for both leisure and business, I applaud your decision. I look forward to seeing the changes at BNA and elsewhere!
Not applicable
I am the mom of a just-turned-2 year old and, since her birth, have flown Southwest about once a month to visit family in Phoenix (most of the time, it's just me and my daughter, without my husband). I was utterly disgusted and angry when a gate agent told me last Sunday (as I checked in for my return flight home after my latest trip to Phoenix) that I could pre-board this time, but that Southwest would no longer be allowing pre-boarding for families after October 1st. What???? You've GOT to be kidding, I thought. I am so disappointed to learn that this is no joke. Clearly, the people who decided on this new policy do not have young children. Flying solo with a small child is probably one of the hardest things I have done as a mother. As hard as it is, I have made the effort to fly regularly with my daughter since her birth, and Southwest has been the link that has allowed my daughter to get to know her grandfather well over the last 2 years, despite the fact that he's over 1,000 miles away. It's the only airline that offers direct service between my city and Phoenix, where my dad lives, so I'm not sure I can say I will never fly the airline again (though I would LOVE to be able to say that). However, I now feel complete disgust about Southwest and am absolutely dreading flying the airline again. And please, Southwest, don't dismiss my feelings as the irrational knee-jerk reaction of someone who "just doesn't understand" how the new system will work. Not only do I feel tremendous ill-will toward the airline for being so blatantly anti-family/anti-kids and for making what is already a daunting and exhausting experience that much more stressful, but I am dreading the reaction I will get from whatever lucky passenger I am forced to choose to sit next to when I finally get to board the plane. Do you know how many times I have had a whole row to myself because no one wants to sit next to a mom and her little one? I don't really blame them - I was the same way before I had kids. To put families in the position of having to pick someone to sit next to just isn't fair to anyone (as some of the other posters have already noted). I am sure I will get plenty of disgusted eye-rolls and sneers when some "A" group passenger who is happily settled in to what they thought was going to be a "choice" seat finds out my daughter and I are going to be sitting next to them. This is only ONE of my many concerns. Also, I will likely no longer be able to chose a seat near the very front or back of the plane, where a flight attendant will be close by if I need some extra water for a bottle, an extra napkin or some snacks. I expect to feel stressed about trying to get myself and my daughter and her stroller, blankie and carry- on settled in while the plane is already half-full. I probably will have a much harder time getting a window seat, which on some flights has been the only thing that has kept my daughter entertained (despite that I come armed with a backpack full of toys each time I fly). I won't even allow myself at this point to consider the possibility of ever flying solo on Southwest with 2 children after my second child is born in January. Please, Southwest, don't patronize me by telling me to "just give it a try." YOU just give flying with a 2 year old a try. Again, I am just totally disgusted, disappointed, and angry, and the good feelings I had about Southwest have been done away with in one fell swoop. Oh, but, I forgot - you don't care about my business or opinions anyway, because I'm not a business traveler. SHAME ON YOU SOUTHWEST!
Not applicable
I've read comments elsewhere that were very positive about the boarding procedures at SAT. I only wish that I could get to experience this when my wife and I travel to MCO next month. As for the change in family boardings, I understand BOTH sides of the argument. Allowing families with children in strollers to board early guarantees that they sit together and have enough time to remove the children (and allows those who want to sit as far away as possible from the families with small children to do so). On the other hand, if catching a connecting flight, it's nice to grab the bulkhead seats up front. As for the person who asks "what if we're split between numbered groups?", well, you have two options. 1. The person with the lower number boards first and saves seats. 2. The person with the lower number stands with the person with the higher number. As for tall people, talk to the gate agent. I once saw a very tall (7' 6") man be allowed to board early so that he could get the long legroom seat. All this talk about numbers makes me wonder what was done with the old plastic boarding cards. I'd have loved to have kept one (especially one of the California shaped ones) as a souvenir.
Not applicable
I don't understand how it will save any time boarding the families with children between the A's and B's. There will still be the same number of adults and children and same amount of paraphernalia to get situated whether they go before the others or in the middle of them. I have traveled with small children many times and it is a demanding, difficult dance that takes all the skill, poise, courage, and patience you can muster. And even then there is no way to anticipate what is going to work and what isn't. So by making things more difficult for them are you attempting to reduce the number of families that fly on your airline? Because saying that it would actually "save time" really doesn't fly. All it will do is further frustrate parents and children, and in kind those who have to sit around them. Honestly. I would like to know what your real motive is?
Not applicable
HELP! I actually feel panicked after reading about your new policies. I fly with 3 children frequently from Las Vegas to Oakland and your new policy makes my airport experience even more stressful. We cannot print a boarding pass for a lap child & have to go through the ticket line. We try to arrive at the airport 2 hours before our flight, but it takes us a lot longer to get through security with our kids & stroller and actually walk to the gate. I can see how it looks unfair to other people that we don't stand in line as long as they do, but our kids really can't handle standing/sitting around for an hour in a confined space. Once we get through security, we actually try NOT to get to the gate more than half an hour before boarding. Pre-boarding has been a life-saver! Are you trying to tell me that if ticketing gives us a "C" boarding pass, we will actually have to board the plane last and place our toddlers in random seats throughout the cabin? I have always loved Southwest because they treated our children better than other airlines (our kids are very well behaved on a plane, by the way). I actually feel attacked by your new policy & we have been very good customers!
Not applicable
I cant wait to give it a try... Come on people, lets not knock it until we try it... I have to say though, I'll be disappointed about not having the "pre flight" entertainment of watching the A line campers and the pushing in the A line. The best boarding experience I've ever had was with Frontier, unfortunately you can't fly them unless your going to Denver. They assign the seating, but load from back to front, by row. Nobody lines up, they just call, 26, 25, 24. etc. But in any case, this new boarding policy is a really great compromise. its a great compromise for everyone... With the kid situation... Anyone who doesn't travel with kids, i can tell you pretty much resents the family preboarding. it always seems like, just because someone has a 4 year old, it gives the family of 10 the right to cut the line... I actually think that the boarding after A, but before B is also a great compromise for those of us who don't travel with children. SWA is always #1 in my book. I don't care if they make us walk backwards down the jetway - just flying with smart, trained, friendly and intelligent employees is enough for me to deal with any boarding process. my only real complaint is not being able to travel with my dogs. I say remove the children, and let us bring our dogs. My dogs are probably better behaved than your children 🙂 Just kidding, lighten up...
Not applicable
Yes, we do fly southwest quite often, we'll wait and see....often the announcement of a new plan and the reality of the expereince of that plan differ quite a bit.
Not applicable
Are you kidding no pre-boarding for families. I can imagine people have taken advantage of it, but what a joke. I call on all families to croud the aisles, take your time breaking down the strollers, leave your supplies in the aisles, chase your kids between seats, and don't worry about them crying. Let them all feel the pain they will reconsider.
Not applicable
Your point is clear you do not want families traveling your airlines. Why else would you make the change? We will take our business elsewhere!!!!
Not applicable
I think your new plan regarding families with young children is ridiculous. It seems to me that anyone with gray hair gets to pre board but now those with young kids may not be able to sit with their children. So, potentially my 2 1/2 year old is sitting by some strangers? Is this a safe situation? This plan was obviously hatched by a man.
Not applicable
So, I can't preboard with my family now? O.k. Then how about this. If there are 2 seats together, my two under 4 can sit together and your flight attendants can look after them while I take a much needed rest.
Not applicable
Southwest will have to reconsider the new policy of not letting families with small children to preboard. We have always bought a seat for our baby and we use a car seat which is encouraged by the airline. There is no way we would be able to use a car seat under this new seating policy. It is difficult enough to carry and install the seat with many people coming up behind you and that is when there is a small window of time allowed during the preboard process. We also have two older children (all under age 7) and I can say it is definitely a challenge even with preboarding with all three kids. It will be impossible without preboarding. We are Rapid Rewards and Companion Pass members and if this policy is not reversed...we will not longer be able to fly Southwest. It will be just too miserable because most people are not happy to see smaller children near them on a plane in the first place. BTW...my children are so quiet on airplanes and after our flights many passengers comment on how good they were on the plane once the flight is over. Sorry Southwest that you have made a very unfriendly policy for families. We will now fly Continental unless this policy is reversed.
Not applicable
Glad to see Southwest is staying Southwest. Yes, it can get a bit dicey being in the C group on a full flight. But, in my experience, Southwest passengers do a better job of sorting themselves out than the reservations computers of the competition. I even suspect that some of the angry parents will discover that they still end up sitting in Rows 1 & 2 (with the facing seats), even if they board last, because the lack of legroom in those seats favors families with small children. Keep up the good work. Luv Southwest--as a passenger and a stockholder!
Not applicable
Although we were terribly upset seeing you have this so called "gay travel" section, we are glad to see you will continue the open seating. Assigning numbers sounds great! I am planning a trip in Nov. though to travel with my 4 kids by myself and am a bit nervous about not being able to board first. I was really counting on this and this is why we chose Southwest over the other carriers, so all those flying with us will just have to have lots of patience.
Not applicable
Steve Dillinger: Hey are you a R.R. man? I am flying alone with my four kids ranging from 2-10 this fall and am only using southwest because of the free flights my hubby gets here in Texas from dead-heading. 😉 This new system has me kind of freaked out. I wonder what we'll do!
Not applicable
If the families are heck bent on "staying together" and are up in arms over potential A-/B+ boarding status, perhaps you could accommodate them and keep the rest of us happy. I propose that any family who wants to pre-board MUST go to the very back of the plane, and MUST cluster themselves so that no seats are wasted. Also, ZERO use of ANY overhead bin excepting those immediately above the families. One benefit is closer access to the lavatory. If this is truly about being together, a family would take this deal in a heartbeat. I can't imagine that the folks who have objected to the family pre-boarding would be anything but pleased.
Not applicable
I have always thought of Southwest as a business air carrier. I have used Southwest extensively to meet my customers for the past 15 years. I think this is a "Luvly" solution.
Not applicable
Just a reminder that Customers traveling with an Infant or Child Fare CAN check in online, as long as the passenger is age verified in advance. Here is the link on how to do that: http://www.southwest.com/travel_center/children.html#age Brian
Not applicable
My wife and I have flown Southwest out of PHL and PVD numerous times and one of our gripes with the ABC system was the abuse of passengers upgrading their boarding pass assignments. If we're a "B", we routinely see "C" boarding passes that the boarding agent had already collected at the podium. If we're an "A", passengers holding "B"s had already been permitted to board. The airline's policy should include an announcement at the gate that passengers must line up in their assigned class, will not be permitted to board, and will be escorted to the back of their assigned class if they attempt to board before their assigned class is called. For their part, boarding agents should enforce the ABC system, and not allow passengers to board ahead of their assigned class.
Not applicable
Mr. Kelly- I commend you and the entire Southwest team for the continued effort to be the most reliable and affordable airline out there. BWI is my home airport which means Southwest is my airline of choice. Over the years I have logged thousands of miles. The seating change is a perfect time to address a negative situation I've incurred on 2 of my hundreds of flights. On two occassions I was holding an "A " boarding card but arrived at the gate after the "A" group boarded and was instructed to wait until all of the passengers boarded -in other words I was sent to the back of the line. I don't have a problem with that but - some airports let me board immediately, others made me wait. (Of course the obvious answer is to be on time....;~). With the addition of a # to the boarding pass you may find people will not be at the gate in as timely a manner as they might otherwise. This is a perfect time to add Southwest's policy on the boarding pass, on a sign above the gate or, maybe a pop-up box on the web check-in. Many thanks and keep up the great work.
Not applicable
Last year, I traveled on United Airlines with my 3 and 1 year old. I asked the flight attendant if I could board early since I had 2 carseats to install on the airplane, towing 2 diaper bags and a stroller, all by myself. I was denied preboarding and told that travelling with young children was "an inconvenience not a disability". Right then, I vowed to fly Southwest every single chance I could, even if I had to pay more so I could preboard with my young children. All the families with young children tended to sit in the front of the plane, alleviating the need to walk multiple rows, towing unGodly amounts of "stuff", to find a seat together . We unknowingly formed a group, a support system to lean on when inevitably, a baby would scream from the pressure in her ears. I'm extremely disappointed with Southwest on your change of policy. So tell me, when I'm in group B and walking down the length of your plane with 2 car seats and mistakenly smack someone in the head with one of them, who are they going to sue, you or me? And what will the rest of your passengers think when the screaming babies are now all over the plane and not just in the front? Southwest, you need to rethink this policy change, FAST!