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Early boarding policy

New Arrival

There isn’t teally a policy, only a suggestion.  While standing at A19, as I do a few days a week I listen to the “you can board with the later of your group but you can not board early” announcement, I watch A13 board and save the entire exit row, the same one the flight attendant is standing next to.  Over and over, she announces that “this row is saved” to other A group passengers, again right next to the flight attendant.  When C group boards, two of the C Group get the prime exit row seats saved by this passenger, all while at least 12 people ask if they can sit there. The flight attendant totally allows this.  I hate that the rule is not a rule, but a suggestion.  I rely on Southwest to treat the boarding process seriously.  I don’t fly AList Preferred so that passengers and flight attendants can ignore, change and totally devalue the policies I value with this airline.  

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Re: Early boarding policy

Rising Star

I am right there with you (literally ALP), and I get it. When I travel alone, I share the exact same perspective!  I want that exit row, but I have to admit that I have never exerienced anyone saving anything more that the middle seat in the exit row for their travel partner (often their Companion), which I don't want.  Which brings me to when I don't travel alone...

 

My wife is my Companion [Pass], and I do indeed often save the middle seat only in the exit row for her.  Furthermore, I often sit around others doing the same (typically saving only one seat).  You mentioned the devalued policy; if I were to hang back to her spot in line, MY benefits get devalued.  Either way, someone has to lose.

 

So I am mostly on the fence.  While I totally get your perspective, I have learned to appreciate the SW boarding process.  Furthermore, I do believe that making a hard rule would lead to a more frustrating boarding process for all passengers and would drive up the turn around time for planes at the airport.

 

I think it is worth noting that SW does strictly enforce the early (pre) boarding policy!  I recently witnessed two pre-boarders all but run to the exit rows, and the flight attendant assertively handled the enforcement of no pre-boarders in the exit rows.  Which I very much appreciate.

 

Thanks for sharing!  I'm just thinking out loud here...

-A List Preferred, Companion Pass holder, Community Champion.
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Re: Early boarding policy

New Arrival

My wife too is my companion pass and I never save the seat for her.  99% of the time it is still vacant when she boards and if we need to be apart for 4 hours, so be it.   This “saving of stats” example was the remainder of the entire row by spreading stuff all over those seats to sent a message.   The flight attendant is an employee of SW.  it’s like people bringing on three bags.  It’s either a rule or a suggestion.  An unenforced policy is just a suggestion 

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Re: Early boarding policy

Top Contributor

@Messmertc wrote:

My wife too is my companion pass and I never save the seat for her.  99% of the time it is still vacant when she boards and if we need to be apart for 4 hours, so be it.   This “saving of stats” example was the remainder of the entire row by spreading stuff all over those seats to sent a message.   The flight attendant is an employee of SW.  it’s like people bringing on three bags.  It’s either a rule or a suggestion.  An unenforced policy is just a suggestion 


You are exactly right - and nowhere on the site will you find a reference to seat saving, it is a suggestion and not a policy.

 

Personally I have no problem saving a middle seat for my wife. It's more complicated now that our daughter is no longer a lap child, so we usually take family boarding and whatever we can get at that time but sometimes I'm pressured to board with my A-number and hold spots for the ladies.

 

 

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.
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Re: Early boarding policy

Top Contributor

@Messmertc

As has been noted before, the other half of the policy, or lack of policy, is that you could have gone ahead and sat down in the "reserved" seat. As the seat was not occupied, it is available for someone to sit in. Definitely not an ideal way to handle it and it certainly creates a bit of an uncomfortable situation, but it is an option.

 

--TheMiddleSeat

 

 

 

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Re: Early boarding policy

Top Contributor

@TheMiddleSeat wrote:

@Messmertc

As has been noted before, the other half of the policy, or lack of policy, is that you could have gone ahead and sat down in the "reserved" seat. As the seat was not occupied, it is available for someone to sit in. Definitely not an ideal way to handle it and it certainly creates a bit of an uncomfortable situation, but it is an option.

 

--TheMiddleSeat

 

 

 


This also has the possibility to make for a long flight with your neighbor, just pointing out another of the potential downsides. 

 

On the other hand it might be a fun ice-breaker..."hey, you really have some chuztpah, no one ever called me on the seat saving before..." ...or "oh yeah, we get bounced on our seat saving plan once or twice a month, no big deal. Bob can sit in back."

 

 

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.