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To Assign or Not to Assign, That is the Question

gkelly1
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
Rita1
Not applicable
Please quit complaining about the new preboard policy. Get online and get your boarding pass like the rest of the passengers. You can get an "A" and be in the first boarding group. The old policy was totally unfair to other passengers who had to arrive to the airport early/on-time and watch as the preboarders arrived late, scurrying though security and received what we would consider preferential treatment. Also, this new policy leaves us less stressed out for once. I have travelled with my children from infancy through their teen years - I'm not sure as to the reason for all this stress you keep mentioning. It was never stressful flying with my children - please do get organized. Southwest, we luv you! We use you for business and pleasure . Thank you!
Robbi_Cooper
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It used to be a no brainier for us. My husband and I met at LAX and with us living in different states, we dated easily, courtesy of Southwest. Every weekend for a year. When we married 7 years ago and I moved to Texas that didnÃ
Disappointedcus
Not applicable
I have been a frequent flyer on SWA for many years. I was pleasantly surprised when flying home from San Antonio today that I did not have to camp out in line for over an hour to get a decent seat on the plane. I was totally disappointed, however, to see that families would not be able to pre-board anymore. There was only one family boarding this time and they were seen scurring for seats towards the back of the plane, already partially full from the Las Vegas flyers continuing on to Dallas and 30 more filled seats from the A group. What will happen when there are 5 families boarding a plane? The isles will be clogged with children and parents trying to find seats together. It will take extra time urging others already settled in their seats to move so children can sit with their parents. Without seat assignments, this new policy causes families to become second class citizens and their trip becomes more tense than it already is. In the long run, all the passengers suffer. Pre-boarding families has to be reconsidered.
Taryn
Not applicable
To all of you who believe that it is fair for those of us with small children to wait in line to board with the rest-I cannot WAIT until you get behind that family with multiple children and mulitple car seats-because that is what you ( and the rest of the line) will do-WAIT and WAIT and WAIT...
Diane
Not applicable
Why don't you think about it like this, "Whoever buys the most tickets boards first". That way my family of 5 will always be on first and sitting within a reasonable distance of myself or my husband. The business traveler is alone, with a laptop and nothing better to do than stand in line and make sur they are the first on the plane. I have seen it time and time again. The "grown up" person traveling alone should be last to board and fill in whereever there is an empty seat. Who cares the seats are all the same. The only people who really care where they sit are the families. They need to be able to tend to their children. Why not let them have that priority? They bought the most tickets, I am sure.
julie_S
Not applicable
I am extremely disappointed in this new procedure. I often travel alone with my two children, an infant and a 3 year old. It is difficult enough traveling with them with pre-boarding. I traveled down to North Carolina on Friday and was given a taste of the new procedure prematurely. After a harrowing experiencing getting to the airport and through security [a whole other story], I was told I had to get at the end of "A". Instead of speeding up the boarding process, the new boarding procedure slowed it down. In the past, the gate attendant goes through the pre-boarding line and tags all the gate checked items so all the families just load on quickly dumping the stroller without pressure of people behind them. Now, she had to hold up the line to tag all the gate check items as we loaded. And people had to wait again as I got my baby out of the stroller and folded it up just before we got on the plane. [I also had a car seat to gate check.] In addition, I often travel with a car seat/stroller that does not go down your aisle. The furthest I can usually make it is one or two seats down the aisle [struggling], carrying my baby, the stroller, and a bag filled with food for me, them and activities. I don't see how I can possibly travel Southwest if I have to go more than two rows back. I have noticed over the past few years of traveling with Southwest that the edgy, fun and good spirits seemed to be diminishing from the airline as it got bigger. I guess this new procedure is just another byproduct of growth. Sorry to see it.
Kristen_Kelly
Not applicable
No more pre-boarding for families??? We fly every couple of months from Oregon to California. I have flown a number of times without my husband with my 9 month old & 2 1/2 year old. Pre-boarding is key. We have tickets for a trip next week and I can tell you that this will be the last time Southwest will get this family's business. Not smart Southwest!!
Cygnus
Not applicable
Frankly, I don't understand the hullaballoo about the families with small children not being able to preboard. I think there is evidence that that policy was being abused. With such families still being able to board between the A and B groups, there will still be plenty of seats available. Then again, I have never understood the need to "camp out" at the front of the line in each group either. The entire plane will get to its destination at. the. same. time. Disclaimer: I'm married, but have no kids.
TJ5
Not applicable
I am hoping this new system will work out, but i still think it would be best when booking your flight online you should be able to assign your seating just like every other airline does. This way now you should be able to call the back of the plane to start boarding first by there row# I think this would be a lot easier & efficient. Also with pre-boarding, families with children under the age of 5 (not under 12) should pre-board & it should only be the parents of the children not the entire party. also preboard should also be for people that can't walk & need a wheelchair to get on because preboarding now is geting way out of hand, people just coming up with all excuses to get on even when they don't have a blue pre-boarding pass and go up to the gate person to tell there reason ( such as one woman complaining that she needs to be closer to the bathroom, or another that just can't walk that great & then when getting off the plane she's running fast as can be. also if your an older person not in a wheelchair & can walk & stand in preboarding line all that time til its ready to board & your flying with someone younger I don't see that fare to be on that line, I can wait for you to board if you happen to be in front of me). You see some people on that line that are standing & walking & yet they are pre-boarding, for what reason. I always took pre-boarding from long ago to be only people in wheelchairs & families with young young kids. Whose to say that someone who has a brace on or bandages & crutches with them are being honest, these are thing you always have that are yours from any previous accident & can use them when you want. All these issues are you suppose to have a Doctor note or not? I hope this new boarding will work out for the best, i still think assigned seating is the best way to go by calling row #'s from back of plane.
nsx
Not applicable
julie S wrote: >In addition, I often travel with a car seat/stroller that does not go down your aisle. The furthest I can usually make it is one or two seats down the aisle [struggling], carrying my baby, the stroller, and a bag filled with food for me, them and activities. I donÃ
Jason_R
Not applicable
I'm sure this "new-and-improved" preboarding system makes sense for the bottom line, but Southwest's customer loyalty is clearly hurting. Look at all of the negative posts on this blog. These are not from 3 or 4 isolated crackpots. This is a concensus among families (do a Google search on this subject and you'll find dozens of parenting blogs condemning this decision). I won't be surprised if a competing airline sees this as an opportunity -- and when they reach out to me and my family, I'll be ready to give them my business.
julie_S
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nsx at flyertalk.com, Thanks for your reply. You may be "sure a flight attendant will be happy to carry your car seat/stroller" but many a flight attendant has seen me struggling to get this car seat back and I have NEVER been offered any help from any flight attendant. It also appears that you did not read my post very carefully. The gate attendants would go through the pre-boarding line BEFORE the plane was ready to be boarded [as the plane was de-boarding] and get all the strollers and gate checked items tagged so there was no waiting. Everyone just got on. As it worked for us last Friday, there was a delay as she tagged each item that would have ALREADY been tagged in the previous system. I can see that your new system will be less of a problem for parents with young children who can walk and don't have as much paraphernalia or if there are two parents. But for a parent traveling alone with an infant or two kids, this really will make traveling difficult. I'd like to see you or one of the consultants who helped make this decision try it. On my flight home, we got stuck waiting in the airport for 4 hours getting on and off planes. When we finally got on the plane it was way past bedtime and I was eternally grateful that the new procedure hadn't begun, because I was pretty much at my wits end and utterly exhausted. I think I'll be sticking with the other airlines. In addition, I think it is interesting that there is no mention that there will be premium seats now in all the announcements about this new system. That goes against the previous approach of this airline that everyone is equal - the whole point of open seating. It really is a shame. I think you will be losing a lot of customers.
Bob_W
Not applicable
I think that Southwest is making a mistake. They believe they are making life better for their most profitable market, business travelers, but they ignore the fact that business travelers and families chose them because of their competitive pricing. Although the margins are greater for business travelers, the price they paid would typically be cheaper than a competing airline; I doubt they used boarding policy as a deciding factor. Personally I fly Southwest for business travel because of a good record, and that I stand a better chance of arriving on time. This policy change is fundamentally Ã
Cathy
Not applicable
Just addressing the mis-information about "premium" seats... Though nsx@flyertalk gives good info mostly, the statement about..."Those choice front seats need to be sold at a premium price to business travelers; otherwise all of us will need to pay higher fares." is totally incorrect where Southwest Airlines is concerned. There is no business class.. even with the new boarding it is still OPEN seating... you may sit where ever you choose. The front seats are NOT reserved for Business travelers; just whoever sits there first.
Alisa1
Not applicable
I can't tell you how frustrated I am that this new "no family pre-boarding" announcement was made AFTER I booked my holiday reservations. Had I known this, I would certainly have selected a different carrier. You really should consider postponing the roll-out until after flights booked prior to the announcement have been completed. As other posters have mentioned, travelling with a toddler is incredibly stressful. My kid is actually quite well behaved and I am a strong disciplinarian, but throw any 2-year-old into a foreign situation with tons of strangers in tight quarters and then force them to remain seated for several hours at a time? Forget about it. Even the most well behaved children can become screaming hellions under these circumstances. You cannot reason with a 2-year-old. Whether a BABY or TODDLER will act up on a flight is a total crap shoot and quite frequently has NOTHING to do with discipline or a lack thereof. And about the lateness? Last Christmas--flying Southwest--we BARELY made the preboarding... yet we had arrived at the airport 3 HOURS before our flight. Getting through security with a 1-year-old, a stroller, and an enormous carseat proved to be ridiculously time consuming, due to no fault of our own. It is extremely presumptuous to assume that every family arriving in the "nick of time" is doing so because they're incompetent. At the very least, families who plan to install CARSEATS on the plane should still be allowed to board first. I can't wait to see what kind of bottleneck my son and I will create as we stand in the aisle while my husband occupies nearly an entire row for 5+ minutes trying to get that thing strapped in. You are kidding yourselves if you think this isn't going to be an issue. I am seriously DREADING the prospect of flying SWA this Christmas.
Heather3
Not applicable
Shame on you for not allowing families to pre-board. This will be just as aggravating to the flight crew and childless passengers as it will be to the parents of small children, and SWA will be the only one to blame.
Melissa12
Not applicable
I'm a mom of a 15 month old AND a business traveller. Travelling for business - with all the delays and missed flights and everything - is far easier than doing the same, alone, with a toddler. To the poster who didn't get what all the "stress" is about - it seems you had the luxury of taking your infants on flights pre 9/11. When I get to the airport, I still have to wait in Long Line#1 with Toddler for my boarding pass and lap-child ticket. Then Long Line # 2 with Toddler to get through security - including holding baby in one hand, closing up a stroller with another and holding my boarding pass in my mouth while kicking off my right shoe with my left foot and swearing that the liquid in the Sponge Bob sippy cup is indeed milk. I would have just enough time to change a diaper and wipe the sweat off my forehead before heading to the gate but I always felt some relief knowing that at the very least, we could pre-board and my blood pressure would go down. Pre-board is the only reason I fly SW. I think it's time to remove the Ding from my computer.
Hero_Van_Harten
Not applicable
This change in policy demonstrates a complete lack of understanding and imagination. How can you think that this will not impact other passengers and staff as much as it will impact the families themselves? Honestly, the motivation for this move baffles me. Do you honestly believe that majority of your customers would begrudge the simple courtesy of pre-boarding to passengers who are already going through an extremely stressful experience? Those are the kind of people you want flying on your planes? Well, I'm proud to say that you will not count me among them. My family and I will not be flying your airline again.
Anita
Not applicable
I cannot fathom how you do not see the importance of family pre-boarding. I realized that some people would understand when I ask them to find a different seat so that I may install a carseat and sit beside my 2 year old, but just like anywhere else some people cannot be bothered by such an inconvenience. Of course, someone else may enjoy tending to my toddler & I'm sure the flight staff as well as the other passengers will enjoy the screams of "I want my mommy!" for the duration of the flight. I hope that you will reconsider your position.
Tim10
Not applicable
I'm with the other parents above who aren't happy with the change. I just traveled on Oct. 2 and experienced it first hand with my wife, two toddlers, two carseats, stroller and a couple of bags. I understand the policy may have been abused. Fine. Don't let extended family preboard with us, I can live with that. But we paid for all our seats and would simply like a little compassion when it comes to getting them down into the plane and installed, while juggling children and strollers and bags. I think a fair compromise would be to let parents with carseats that need installing to still preboard (just parents, no extended family). We "preboarded" between the A and B groups and it was not as rosey as your FAQs suggest. I had to try and squeeze through two-thirds of the rows to find seats together, trying hard to not smack anyone along the way (and they were all sitting on the row, of course). One person glared at me for daring to pass by with the carseats so I said "you can thank Southwest for this new policy." If this policy doesn't change, you've lost my family and business travel (and we travel quite a bit). I hope that one of the compromises suggested might be considered, though. Thanks for reading.
SCOTT1
Not applicable
Southwest has done a great job of balancing fairness (for those who plan ahead) and family needs. Families still pre-board ahead of 2/3rds of the passengers, and they can do even better with modest planning. My wife and I traveled with our children when they were young, and it's not easy. But the inconvenience of traveling with kids was not a function of when we boarded, it was a function of all the other stuff involved when traveling with small children. The boarding and disembarking are only a fraction of the trip. And this plan still assures that families will sit together. Walking back an extra few rows of seats is nothing compared to the journey from home, to the airport, through security, out to the gate, and onto the plane. Having said that, here is a possible solution to the concerns voiced by traveling parents--go back to allowing families to pre-board, but have them fill the seats from the back. That has several advantages: (a) families can continue to settle in without blocking other boarding passengers; (b) families will be conveniently seated nearest the restrooms; and (c) kids will be seated together away from most business travelers.
Rachelle_Golden
Not applicable
As a customer who flew the very first day they tested this change in San Antonio, and who was NOT notified of the testing process until I arrived to my flight,and who was flying alone with a 2 year old child and a carseat...I can honestly say that the elimination of pre-boarding was devistating. You try carring a car seat, a 2 year old, and a diaper bag down a narrow aisleway past 10 or 20 rows of people without hitting the aisle row people in the face with either your child, your carseat, or your diaper bag along the way. Never mind the fact that the airline staff never once offered to help or assist. They didn't bother to tell the 5 families standing in line at the pre-board area who weren't informed when they arrived that there was no pre-board. As a very very frequent flier on Southwest with two Southwest credit cards, one for business one for home, and a companion pass for having so many points through Southwest I am sincerely disappointed. Pre-boarding for families with very small children who require a car seat and diaper bag for a flight has nothing to do with getting "prized seats". It has to do with safely boarding a small child who is helpless, without causing harm and/or discomfort to others. There is absolutely NO way to avoid bumping or hitting an aisle seat passenger while carrying a child, a diaper bag and a car seat alone on an airplane. THAT is why you pre-board families with small children. Go ahead and only make it for children who require car seats....or families with only one parent boarding with a child under 4 or something. If you can't at least do that, offer a service to carry the car-seat down the crowded aisleway so that I don't get sued by the angry child hater who gets hit by the carseat as I go down the aisle as carefully as I can. Oh, and just a side note....my child is a frequent flier, he does NOT cry on airplanes, he is quiet...reads books, plays with soft toys, and sleeps through flights. Not all toddlers are noisy travelers, not if you know the tricks how to keep them happy!
Victoria4
Not applicable
We fly from WPB to ISP at least 3-4 times a year with SWA. On our last flight 32 wheelchairs went on before the A line moved. When we reached ISP only 6 wheelchairs were needed. Another SWA miracle flight. We see this everytime we fly with SWA. This was the biggest number ever. Hey, people with children are real. You see the kids. But 75% of those using the wheel chair route because there is no assigned seating are phony. Do something about this nonsense and stop worrying about families with kids. If you start loading the wheelchairs last you will see how few people use them and that will speed up loading the plane.
Kristen3
Not applicable
It's fine to say that families have the option of obtaining an A boarding pass, thereby no longer needing to pre-board. What about families with lap-children? You can't check in online...eliminating any and all possibility of obtaining an "A" boarding pass. Discriminated against for having infants? That's not exactly what I'd call "family friendly." And while I've heard business travelers are tired of watching families get to board first--just wait till we all get on AFTER you and choose the seats next to, in front of, or behind you. You'll be wishing you got on after us and had a choice. There was never any mandate that people had to stand in line for an hour prior to boarding. To call this part of the cure for that problem is ridiculous. People created the disease---they can end it any time by taking a seat in concourse.
Kristen3
Not applicable
One last thought . . . When I called SWA customer relations number, the agent I spoke with FLAT OUT told me that this decision was to make business travelers happy, because they were "where the money is at." That may be true, but I was astonished that he was so proud to admit it. This airline has had bad press much of the summer regarding passenger dress issues and used "family airline" as their defense. I think I'd like to see that "family airline" attitude in place for things that are important, including allowing families a few extra moments to get down the jetway, get strollers collapsed (without hurried people trampling them to get 'a better seat') and get their families seated together.
Jodi21
Not applicable
I saw a single mother struggling to get on a Southwest flight out of St. Louis on Friday. She had a ninth month old, a four year old, and a bulky stroller. She camped out in the A line with her kids and stroller so that she might have a chance to sit with her child. Southwest's new policy does not seem at all family-friendly.
Just_trying_to_1
Not applicable
I read a number of comments from travelers, and then the responses from Southwest, and then decided to post my own. I have flown Southwest as an individual, as part of a couple, and over the past 3 1/2 years, as a mother with my growing family. As an individual, I was on the ball, and always got there early enough to check-in for group A or B so I would have some choice of seat. I never stood in the actual boarding line to be at the front; I just waited until my group got on and then got on. I thought standing in the line for an hour was silly, but having an A or B got me somewhere comfortable, no matter if I was first or 60th. This worked well, and I liked being able to sit away from the families, who all tended to crowd together at the front. Now I am a mom. We've flown with our 3 1/2 y.o. since 9 wks, our second took her first flight at 5 wks, & has been just as good. They are typically no louder than most people carrying on general conversations. What I've already found challenging is that I can not check-in online with a lap child. I used to buy my kids seats regardless of their age, just to guarantee the space, but they often sat in my lap anyway, and 2x now, Southwest has asked me to give up my already paid-for kids seat because someone else wanted to buy a ticket. So, I have to wait in the tickey line already to check-in. I don't have the chance to check in early. There is no way I can get into group A with my situation. Preboard was the only option. I have a flight schedueld for late October where I will be looking for 3 seats together and carrying a lapchild. Without the ability to check-in online with a lap-child, and no availability of assigned seats, there is no way for my family to get into group A and guarantee the number of seats together. We'll see how happy kid unfriendly travelers are then when they have my kids spitting up breatmilk on them as I nurse them to keep them quiet. I'll reserve my final decision about whether I will continue to fly SW until after that flight, but one of the reasons I have stuck with them without reserved seating is because I could still sit together with my family even though there was no assigned seating.
nsx
Not applicable
To check in online with a lap child, you need to (a) but two one-way flights rather than one round trip so that the return won't automatically be tagged as "plus infant", and (b) notify Southwest of the infant at the airport or any other time AFTER you have checked in online.
Harold_Charvat
Not applicable
I posted earlier that I would withhold judgment on this program until we finished our trip (wife, 4 year-old, lap baby, and myself). The trip is over, and I do not like this program. It seems clear to me this policy is a way to segregate families to the back of the plane. When we preboarded in the past, we sat up front by the bulkhead. This prevented another passenger's seat from being kicked or otherwise disturbed by the preschooler. Try as we might, we cannot always prevent this from happening over five hours of flight time, so on this trip SWA had multiple unhappy passengers: Us, and those who had to sit in front of our 4 year-old. Good luck with your family-segregation-ghetto policy, Southwest. We will not fly this airline again.
Getthemthehello
Not applicable
I travel by air 40 times during the year. That's 80 round trip flight segments. The trips are for business and extend over a three day period. During the year there will be a minimum of 8 delays due to the weather, several of these delays will extend my stay another day. Time is very valuable to me as it allows me to oversee a staff of forty or so individuals. What the majority of travelers DO NOT UNDERSTAND is when time is of the essence to the traveler exiting the aircraft is as important as boarding. So FAMILIES, the disabled and vacation time individuals should be directed to the back of the aircraft regardless of boarding preference. Thanks.
Bob_Abooey
Not applicable
I love the comments from those who complain that pre-boarding isn't fair. Are handicap parking spaces fair??? And for those who continue to say "why does it matter what seat you get, the front of the plane arrives at the same time as the rear," please grow to 6'-8" and then tell me it doesn't matter where you sit. And you really gotta love the guy right above who thinks his time is more important that anyone else's. Is this a great site, or what?
Bob_Abooey
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Wait, I just re-read that guy's comment. You're more valuable because you oversee FORTY people? Ooooooo!!! Can I have some Grey Poupon??? Dude, if you're THAT important why are you on Southwest? Forty people...bwaa-ha-ha-ha-ha.......
Just_trying_to_1
Not applicable
In response to nsx at flyertalk.com who states to notify the airline when you get to the airport about a lap-child: In my experience, because I have done this before, a new boarding pass will be reissued when you notify them at the airport of a lap-child. The new boarding pass will not necessarily be in the same boarding group that you were issued on-line. You must get the new boarding pass before you go through security, after waiting in line at check-in (which can take a really long time), otherwise, you can't go through security with the lap-child (in case you were thinking you could notify the gate agents.) And for people like Getthemthehelloutofway...if you are so important, buy a first class ticket on an airline that assigns seats and has a separate section for jerkslikeyou. You might even consider chartering your own plane. At least then someone will be forced to pretend you are a civil human being.
dfetterman
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The new system will not solve the basic problem of the wacko, once every 5 years flyer, who will say "I have an A5 and you have an A10 - you shouldn't be in front of me." You may think the system is working, but for the business flyer standing next to the wacko with the motor mouth - it won't. Just assign the seats! I've change airlines already - thank God!
Jay_Mathis
Not applicable
I see your new policy of familes after the A group lasted about a week. Now families with children age 4 and under get to preboard? Happen in Austin Sunday night
Cygnus
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And for those who continue to say Ã
T_K_
Not applicable
As a mother of a two year old, I am appalled that the pre-boarding of youngsters has been discontinued. You say that there will be enough seats left between the A and B group to accomodate families, but does that give us enough time to unload our toddlers, fold up our strollers, schlepp our carseat and diaper bags and carry on luggage halfway up the plane (bumping elbows and knees all the way), buckle in the car seat and then finally, FINALLY buckle in our child before take off? And we're supposed to do this while people stuff bags in overhead bins all around us? Right. I love Southwest. It's the only airline I like to use - the ONLY one. It's the only airline with common sense - well, that's a thing of the past. I'll give your system a try, but I'm willing to pay for convenience. If I can fly more easily with my daughter on another carrier you betcha' I'll be turning in my Rapid Rewards Card.
Linda_Gold
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Where can I find a schedule of when this rolls out at different airports? I am flying with a six-month old baby from Indianapolis on November 4th. Will this new boarding be in effect? I'd like to be prepared.
Bob_Abooey
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Note to Paul T who said "Start your own airline which has only 40 seats on a 737. Good luck making it profitable!" Huh? Yeeeaaahhh...I suppose that's an alternative. Not quite sure what your point is since I never suggested they change the config of their planes. But, ok.
Tim10
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To Linda Gold: The new family preboard policy is in place at every location as of Oct. 2. The new numbered boarding is what is being rolled out over the coming months. Good luck with the new preboard, though. We did it on Oct. 2 and have flown SWA for the last time until they allow those with carseats to preboard.
Shaun_Dakin
Not applicable
LUV Lost - Southwest I never knew ya LUV Lost. Can I get it back? It started 20 years ago. I had been flirting with a young upstart fun airline. I had heard through the grapevine that they were different. They were fun. Heck their Flight Attendants wore shorts! So, it began. Cheap, clean, fun. Particularly for a young man out of college looking to save money. Then I moved into Southwest territory, Phoenix, for business school and learned to LUV Southwest for quick, cheap and fun flights to interview for jobs, enjoy Las Vegas, and get to San Diego! The relationship continued strongly as I grew up, got a job, married and had a wonderful son. As the son was born my Wife and I continued to use SW to get to family reunions and vacation events. The preboard policy was perfect for harried parents of a new born and we enjoyed the customer service and care that we received. That was 2004. Now, the LUV is lost. Last week, traveling alone with my 3.5 year old son, I was looking forward to a trip from BWI to PVD for a short vacation. I checked in online, got to the airport early, bought some food for us and decided to saunter on down to the gate agent and get my stroller checked in for preboarding. Innocently she asked me, "Do you know about our new preboard policy?" "No," I answered. She told me that children were no longer considered part of the preboard and handed me a leaflet that explained that 10.02.2007 the policy changed. The leaflet was like a divorce paper. Sterile, produced in a "legal" department somewhere in the bowels of Southwest. All "fun" was gone. All the guises of "customer service" was missing. The LUV was lost. And we will not be flying SW again. Shaun Dakin
Katie1
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Buh-bye Southwest. Nice flying you. Better service on Northwest! Was allowed to pre-board and get the carseat (on our full fare ticket that we always buy for our baby) installed and our baby safely strapped in. Your prices aren't that great anymore and I don't like being made to feel like shit, like people are breathing down our necks or like my child is unsafe.
Cygnus
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Baba O'Riley said: Note to Paul T who said Ã
Tina_M
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I have flown 2 flights since the new policy prohibiting family pre-boards was in place. Both flights found the flight attendants begging people to move to allow families to sit together. This delayed the flight longer than the family pre-board process. I travel for business and never with children but would rather allow families to pre-board than give up a window or aisle seat (for a middle seat). Please reinstitute this process - small children need to travel with parents and other travelors should not be made to feel guilty or responsible if they are unable due to Southwest policies.
A_Cheung
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I am not a parent and I travel mostly for business on Southwest, still I would like to see parents with young kids board the plane first. I am not happy to see that Southwest plan to take their pre-boarding privilege away. Travel with young children is never easy, especially in today's airports. They don't necessary need more time to board, but a bit more time to settle in their seats. Is it all about no crying babies in the first few rows so that business travelers can get on and get off fast? If so, it is sad that business travelers can't be a little bit more understanding and accommodating, and that Southwest accommodate them more than the families!
Bob_Abooey
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Paul T said: IÃ
Cygnus
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I don't chew my cabbage twice, Bob. Have a day.
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[...] Apparently Southwest reads our blog or something because they have decided to change their boarding system. Of course they made a more complicated system then my suggestion, but kudos for the [...]
Lisa29
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OK, I took your advice. I tried it with an open mind. It SUCKED. We flew across the country with our 2.5-year-old. Four planes in all. It was the worst and most traumatic trip we've ever taken, and sadly, I'm going to have to try other airlines for our next trip. We are frequent travelers. Our son has flown at least 20 times with us, all of them on Southwest. I am normally a very loyal customer, but without preboarding for small children, you've lost us. On every plane, we had to jostle and bump our way down the aisle to the back of the plane after it was mostly full. We sat behind people who clearly did NOT want to sit near kids, and endured dirty looks and sharp words from them every time our restless son bumped their seats or made a noise. I really, REALLY hate to put other people out, and just knowing that these people were unhappy was torture for me. I'd much rather be segregated into a kids-only section, be it in the front or back of the plane. On one flight, my husband dropped all our stuff on the way down the aisle and one passenger got beaned in the head with our carseat. I was carrying our son and a couple of other bags. Another passenger (NOT a flight attendant--they seem to be forbidden to help at all) picked up our stuff and hauled it to the end of the plane for us as I sobbed my way down the aisle. It takes a lot of stress to reduce me to tears. I won't go through that again. We were even in the A boarding group a couple of times. But YOU try keeping a toddler in his place in line after he's been through the check-in and security lines. Not gonna happen. So we had to board after the A group, by which time the flights were mostly full. A, B and C groups don't represent true 1/3 groups of passengers, and the groups are even less proportionate when there are continuing passengers already on the plane at the gate. We ended up in the back of the plane every time. I don't have a problem with being at the back of the plane. I *do* have a problem schlepping a carseat, a DVD player, and a backpack full of diapers and stuff to try to keep the kid quiet, bonking people in the head and shoulders all the way down the aisle, when the plane is already mostly full. If you are going to put me in the back of the plane with my child, just let me get on first and make me move to the back. PLEASE!! One flight attendant cheerfully proclaimed that "Everyone loves this new policy! Give it a chance!" as I grumbled down the aisle of one plane. This same flight attendant came to me at the end of the flight and whispered that I should write a complaint letter, because the new policies are so hard on families. She's seen enough to know it doesn't work. And now, after four torturous flights, I, too, know it doesn't work. I'm really sad to get rid of my Southwest Rewards VISA, give up my credits, uninstall DING!, and stop identifying as a loyal Southwest customer. But I don't feel I have a choice. Bye-bye, Southwest. Call me when the LUV is back.
Lisa29
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P.S. In case my last comment wasn't clear... I am not complaining because families with small children are losing a privilege. I am not asking to be treated with special consideration because I chose to have a child. What I am asking for is the chance to be as considerate to other passengers as I would like to be. I feel that the new boarding policy denies me the ability to minimize the effect my child has on other passengers; it forces me to be rude. That's why I can't deal with it.