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Can SW please help the boarding 'pain'

New Arrival

My daughter travelled on SW from FLA to California this summer.   There was one stop in Texas, each way.  The boarding experience is already stressful enough, because there are no assigned seats.  Could Southwest perhaps lend a hand to help reduce the stress?

 

On each leg there were other passengers who were 'saving seats'.  Is this really allowed?  There are other couples who travel together, taking the aisle and the window seat while placing a purse or a bag or even holding hands across the middle seat to discourage other travelers from using that seat.

 

For example, when making the boarding announcements could the SouthWest Representative perhaps remind everyone that 'saving seats' is not allowed.  Perhaps a cheerful reminder that we are all travelling together and we should treat each other with courtesy and respect. 

 

Just my thoughts.  When I travel myself, I try to avoid SW just because of the 'no assigned seats' catch.  The whole SouthWest boarding experience seems to bring out the worst in some travelers.

 

I'd rather pay a bit more to travel --- have an assigned seat --- and not be able to take two free checked bags.  Having an assigned seat means more to me than having a checked bag.  The very least SW could do is try to mitigate the stress by encouraging everyone to be courtesy, kind, and respectful to their fellow travelers during the painful boarding process.

13 REPLIES 13
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Re: Can SW please help the boarding 'pain'

Top Contributor

Hello.

 

First of all most Southwest fliers don't think that the boarding process is painful. Most enjoy being able to chose where to sit and who they sit next to. If you have an assigned seat next to a big smelly person, you are stuck with it.

 

Second, while not encouraged, seat saving is also not discouraged. Due to the boarding process, people traveling together may board at different times. Seat saving lets them sit together.

 

Southwest carries more passengers within North America than any other airline -- probably over 160 million this year. If the boarding process were a major issue, that would probably not be the case.

 

I do agree that a pre boarding announcement asking paassengers to be considerate of other travelers would be nice.

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Re: Can SW please help the boarding 'pain'

Active Member

If having an assigned seat means more to you than having free checked bags then go for it!

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Re: Can SW please help the boarding 'pain'

New Arrival

With the increase in EB fee to $25 I fear there are going to be more of the seat savers.  My wife and I travel on SW we both pay for EB Boarding.  How is it fair to us that someone else only pays the fee for one party in their group and then saves seats. 

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Re: Can SW please help the boarding 'pain'

Top Contributor

Southwest allows seat saving because, unlike firms that allow reserved seats, Southwest does not assign seats and it is one way of giving family members a chance to sit next to one another.

 

My advice to you would be to join the crowd  one buys EBCI and saves a seat for the other.

 

Better yet, one of you (or maybe both) can easily get A-List status and avoid EBCI all together.

 

Here's how to do so:

 

https://www.southwest.com/html/rapidrewards/promotions/swa_status_match.html

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Re: Can SW please help the boarding 'pain'

Top Contributor

@dfwskier wrote:

Southwest allows seat saving because, unlike firms that allow reserved seats, Southwest does not assign seats and it is one way of giving family members a chance to sit next to one another.

 

My advice to you would be to join the crowd  one buys EBCI and saves a seat for the other.

 

 



There also isn't a mechanism for them to police the entire aircraft, and there would be too much judgement involved in deciding when saving one middle seat was okay compared to someone saving a "premium" seat - which I think is discouraged or at leat not encouraged - so from a practical sense all except the most egregious seat saving instances would be difficult to stop.

 

The trade-off being that they want happy A-listers and people to keep paying EBCI, so I think it might be mentioned mainly when someone is saving exit row for instance and then someone else comes and asks for it. But if no one asks and involves the FA they wouldn't even be able to decide that someone was saving a spot that another passenger wanted.

 

 

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.
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Re: Can SW please help the boarding 'pain'

Top Contributor

@DancingDavidE wrote:

@dfwskier wrote:

Southwest allows seat saving because, unlike firms that allow reserved seats, Southwest does not assign seats and it is one way of giving family members a chance to sit next to one another.

 

My advice to you would be to join the crowd  one buys EBCI and saves a seat for the other.

 

 



There also isn't a mechanism for them to police the entire aircraft, and there would be too much judgement involved in deciding when saving one middle seat was okay compared to someone saving a "premium" seat - which I think is discouraged or at leat not encouraged - so from a practical sense all except the most egregious seat saving instances would be difficult to stop.

 

The trade-off being that they want happy A-listers and people to keep paying EBCI, so I think it might be mentioned mainly when someone is saving exit row for instance and then someone else comes and asks for it. But if no one asks and involves the FA they wouldn't even be able to decide that someone was saving a spot that another passenger wanted.

 

 


I disagree. On boarding, FAs are stationed at the front of the plane (near the bulkhead rows) and near the exit rows. The FA near the exit rows is already tasked with policing those seats with regards to age and ability qualification. An FA could intervene when there is a seat-saving conflict relatively easily -- if there was a policy to enforce.

 

The problem now is that there is no policy.

 

My suggestion: Enact a simple policy, that allows a passenger to save a single, adjacent seat only, and no saving of seats in the bulkhead or exit rows. This would protect the intent of the current "non-policy" by allowing passengers to save a seat for a traveling companion, but stop the egregious cases of multiple seat saving and preserve "premium" seats for those who get there first. Simply adding an announcement of the policy to the boarding announcements would help. In practice, I suspect FAs would have less enforcement issues over time than they have now, and especially if nothing is done since reports of seat saving altercations are increasing.

 

 

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Re: Can SW please help the boarding 'pain'

Top Contributor

@chgoflyer wrote:

@DancingDavidE wrote:

@dfwskier wrote:

Southwest allows seat saving because, unlike firms that allow reserved seats, Southwest does not assign seats and it is one way of giving family members a chance to sit next to one another.

 

My advice to you would be to join the crowd  one buys EBCI and saves a seat for the other.

 

 



There also isn't a mechanism for them to police the entire aircraft, and there would be too much judgement involved in deciding when saving one middle seat was okay compared to someone saving a "premium" seat - which I think is discouraged or at leat not encouraged - so from a practical sense all except the most egregious seat saving instances would be difficult to stop.

 

The trade-off being that they want happy A-listers and people to keep paying EBCI, so I think it might be mentioned mainly when someone is saving exit row for instance and then someone else comes and asks for it. But if no one asks and involves the FA they wouldn't even be able to decide that someone was saving a spot that another passenger wanted.

 

 


I disagree. On boarding, FAs are stationed at the front of the plane (near the bulkhead rows) and near the exit rows. The FA near the exit rows is already tasked with policing those seats with regards to age and ability qualification. An FA could intervene when there is a seat-saving conflict relatively easily -- if there was a policy to enforce.

 

The problem now is that there is no policy.

 

My suggestion: Enact a simple policy, that allows a passenger to save a single, adjacent seat only, and no saving of seats in the bulkhead or exit rows. This would protect the intent of the current "non-policy" by allowing passengers to save a seat for a traveling companion, but stop the egregious cases of multiple seat saving and preserve "premium" seats for those who get there first. Simply adding an announcement of the policy to the boarding announcements would help. In practice, I suspect FAs would have less enforcement issues over time than they have now, and especially if nothing is done since reports of seat saving altercations are increasing.

 

 


Totally support this proposal for a policy.

 

 

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.
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Re: Can SW please help the boarding 'pain'

New Arrival

We travelled to Chicago in August and another trip last month.  For each leg of the trip people were saving seats.  We paid for both of us for the early boarding and felt like it's unfair to let people save seats.  All they have to do is mention in pre-boarding that saving seats is not polite.  That way you have cover to sit in a seat that is being "saved" for someone who is not even on the plane.  Next time I'm just taking the seat.  Let the saver call the flight attendent and self identify.  SouthWest could easily rectify this, I'm totally not clear why they don't

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Re: Can SW please help the boarding 'pain'

Active Member

I had a guy trying to save a bulkhead row seat for his "brother" who was in the C group (we were in the A1-15 group).  I told him that if his brother is not on board then should take his phone off the middle seat because we were going to sit there.  The FA heard him arguing and told him we could sit in any seat that was open.

 

He stormed off to row 4 and started another argument when his friend got there and asked why he didnt save the bulkhead.