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Assigned seat

Explorer C

This is the WORST experience I’ve ever had on a flight due to the seats not being assigned! This makes absolutely no sense; takes more time to find a seat and postpones take off; you are separated from your family and my kids were forced to sit next to strangers separately, which I was extremely uncomfortable with, especially during COVID-19 pandemic I would prefer to sit next to someone in my household. It’s first come yet you are assigned a section to board, leaving you unable to sit together if you have to board last, which is what happened with us. Additionally, the flight attendant was very rude and would not assist me or allow me to ask other passengers to relocate so my kids could sit together. I will be spreading the word! Ridiculous!!! 


Re: Assigned seat

Adventurer B

I'm sorry that you had a bad experience. I actually like the way that Southwest handles boarding and, for the other perks of flying SWA (free checked bags being one of them), I think it's an airline worth sticking with especially for a family. 

So, perhaps if you expound a little bit about your situation some of the helpful contributors here on this forum can guide you to a better experience next time. 

My first question is why were you all boarding separately? Or maybe you were boarding together but you had a late boarding position? 

Hope you get some good help here and don't give up on SWA.

Re: Assigned seat

Aviator A

Southwest has used this boarding process sin  ce the day it flew it's first flight in 1973. It has never been a secret.


Most people like t for two reasons

1) It helps SW be more efficient, and allows the airline to pass on the savings as lower ticket prices.

2) It gives passengers flexibility. If someone who is offensive sit next to you, you can get up and move to another seat. With an assigned seat you are stuck. Also if a friend comes aboard, you can choose to sit with him/her - not so with assigned seating.


Next time put all your family members on one ticket. When you do  that, boarding position numbers will be sequential and you'll be able to board together.  Next you can buy Early Bird Checkin, and you'll get a boarding spot better than those that check in themselves.


If you chose to check in yourself, be sure t o do so  EXACTLY 24 hours prior to the departure time. Why? Boarding spots are assigned based on when you check in. The later you check in, the worse your boarding position.

Re: Assigned seat

Aviator A

@dfwskier wrote:

Next time put all your family members on one ticket. When you do  that, boarding position numbers will be sequential and you'll be able to board together.  

Unfortunately this is not always the case. Before my A List days i had reservations with 5 people and sometimes they were not sequential boarding positions. Now days the sequential boarding group only applies to a list customers and the testing of companion pass folks. 

Re: Assigned seat

Aviator C

Odd... they always seem to make comments asking for help reseating other passengers. 


Given the fact that they have always done this,  I find it odd that you didn't know.


And given the fact that there have been a spate of new arrivals in the last week or so making quite unusual and  exaggerated incidents, I'm finding it hard to believe them all. 


Methinks someone is getting some practice with their online trolling writing skills. 

Re: Assigned seat

Frequent Flyer A

How much assistance they give in moving people will depend upon the ages involved. Are we talking 8 year old kids or 14 year old kids? I doubt anyone would worry too much about moving people around for a 14 year old.

Re: Assigned seat

Aviator A

I find it just a little hard to believe that you had this much trouble finding seats together on your flight, considering many flights are still under capacity - not full. Even if your flight was full and you boarded before the person you wanted to sit with, many people do try to "save" seats or they simply ask the person who is attempting to sit there that you are waiting for your spouse/sibling/child/etc. Many times people are understanding and move to another seat. But not always. I am sorry that was not the case with you.


This is what you get with an airline that doesn't have assigned seating. If assigned seating is that important to you, I'd recommend flying with a (much more expensive) airline, because assigned seating is part of what you are paying for with them - among many other things that Southwest does for free. 



Re: Assigned seat

Explorer C

I do agree with you!  I think it would be more efficient, cost-effective, and more comfortable for the passengers if they had assigned seating! Having an assigned seat where you board the plane from the back to the front eliminates people trying to fight the aisle and overhead space.  Overall, it makes sense to be more efficient, thus reducing passenger and crew stress, which is never a lousy business plan! 


So if anyone can logically explain why my thoughts are either incorrect or how it would cost the company x amount of dollars to implement, please do so!  Justification with facts and figures is a surefire way to prove that one method is better than the other; unfortunately, I don't think SW would approve for me to fly around the world on their airline and competitors to prove my hypothesis!  But in case someone is reading this who has any pull in this area.....I am available for the position!

Re: Assigned seat

Aviator A

The airline has 48 years experience that proves   it's boarding process is m ore efficient than the airlines that provide assigned seating:

1) It gets peo  ple on the plane faster

2) That allows SW to fly more flights/day/plane than the legacy airlines

3) That provides more revenue and profit

4) Which allows  SW t o keep fares low.


Back in the day when SW was flying smaller planes ,737-300s, it was able to turn a flight

around in 20 minutes. That means getting everyone off the arriving flight and everyone on the departing flight -- in 20 minutes.  That would not be possible with assigned seating.


Re: Assigned seat

Aviator A

 Here's what a SW flight attendant  reported 14 years ago  on another blog





"We still do them.... - 20 minute turns

Last Friday night I worked:

DAL-HOU 3:00pm-4:00pm
HOU-HRL 4:20pm-5:20pm
HRL-HOU 5:40pm-6:40pm
HOU-DAL 7:00pm-7:55pm
DAL-LBB 8:20pm-9:25pm

We stayed on time and our actual turn times were: 16mins, 20mins, 19mins, and 23mins. "