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Stand-by Priority Queueing

cdness99
Explorer C

I absolutely LOVE the new ability of anyone to join a flight's stand-by list, at NO COST, and see the # of available seats in real-time.  However, I have used it a few times now and have some ponderings.  I understand the explanations that I have found, and been told, about the prioritization of passengers on this list and that not every SW passenger is created equal (i.e. A-List, Military, Fare Class, etc.) when it comes to getting a spot (priority) in the queue.  And I am ok with that.  Where I am struggling is how this list seems to change, even up to the last minute of boarding.  Allow me to explain my experiences.  In two instances I was the first person to join the stand-by list for a flight, many hours before the flight (I know that does not matter, just wait).  In two instances, folks joined behind me and in front of me (assumably due to their status).  For my first flight I remained in the #1 spot until 30 mins before departure and for the second flight I had been bumped down the list a few spots throughout the day (again, I thought due to status).  What transpired next is what has me baffled and the gate agents could not make heads nor tails of it either.  In both instances, folks who were behind me the entire time suddenly jumped over me in the queue.  Going back to my first example, I was in the #1 spot (for 10 hours) until 30 mins before departure and suddenly the party directly behind me jumped me.  Then, 10 mins later I fell to 15th in the queue.  After explaining to the gate agent and showing screen shots I had taken he spoke to a supervisor and got me on the flight.  In my other example a similar thing happened, I had started out 1st in the queue in the morning and throughout the day fell to 5th.  Suddenly, right before they were about to assign seats for stand-by folks who had been behind me for hours jumped over me and I fell to 11th and did not get on the flight.  I (as well as the gate agents) am just thoroughly baffled at how and when the prioritization is supposed to work on this stand-by list.  Can someone from SW please way in and not only explain the overall stand-by process/algorithm and maybe also lend some insight into my situations?  In both my cases I arrived at the airport hours in advance of my original flight based on the hopes of getting on the stand-by flight based on my position in the queue vs. the number of available seats.  I certainly would not show up if I am 20th and only see a couple of seats available throughout the time I am monitoring it.  But, when your #1 in the queue until 30 mins before take-off and you suddenly drop to 15th, there seems to be a glitch somewhere.  

6 REPLIES 6

Re: Stand-by Priority Queueing

SoCalFlyer97
Aviator C

@cdness99 wrote:

I absolutely LOVE the new ability of anyone to join a flight's stand-by list, at NO COST, and see the # of available seats in real-time.  However, I have used it a few times now and have some ponderings.  I understand the explanations that I have found, and been told, about the prioritization of passengers on this list and that not every SW passenger is created equal (i.e. A-List, Military, Fare Class, etc.) when it comes to getting a spot (priority) in the queue.  And I am ok with that.  Where I am struggling is how this list seems to change, even up to the last minute of boarding.  Allow me to explain my experiences.  In two instances I was the first person to join the stand-by list for a flight, many hours before the flight (I know that does not matter, just wait).  In two instances, folks joined behind me and in front of me (assumably due to their status).  For my first flight I remained in the #1 spot until 30 mins before departure and for the second flight I had been bumped down the list a few spots throughout the day (again, I thought due to status).  What transpired next is what has me baffled and the gate agents could not make heads nor tails of it either.  In both instances, folks who were behind me the entire time suddenly jumped over me in the queue.  Going back to my first example, I was in the #1 spot (for 10 hours) until 30 mins before departure and suddenly the party directly behind me jumped me.  Then, 10 mins later I fell to 15th in the queue.  After explaining to the gate agent and showing screen shots I had taken he spoke to a supervisor and got me on the flight.  In my other example a similar thing happened, I had started out 1st in the queue in the morning and throughout the day fell to 5th.  Suddenly, right before they were about to assign seats for stand-by folks who had been behind me for hours jumped over me and I fell to 11th and did not get on the flight.  I (as well as the gate agents) am just thoroughly baffled at how and when the prioritization is supposed to work on this stand-by list.  Can someone from SW please way in and not only explain the overall stand-by process/algorithm and maybe also lend some insight into my situations?  In both my cases I arrived at the airport hours in advance of my original flight based on the hopes of getting on the stand-by flight based on my position in the queue vs. the number of available seats.  I certainly would not show up if I am 20th and only see a couple of seats available throughout the time I am monitoring it.  But, when your #1 in the queue until 30 mins before take-off and you suddenly drop to 15th, there seems to be a glitch somewhere.  


Greetings:

 

Southwest defines the priority order on this page:

https://www.southwest.com/airfare-types-benefits/sameday-standby-change/

 

See the last FAQ toward the bottom of the page. 

 

Priority Order:

  1. Customers who are re-accommodated following flight disruptions
  2. A-List Preferred and A-List Rapid Reward Members prioritized based on fare (Business Select, Anytime, Wanna Get Away Plus, Wanna Get Away)
  3. All other Customers prioritized by the same fare order

 

It's possible for both instances the group who came up during the last 30 minutes may have been those who were re-accommodated from a disruption such as a missed connection or cancellation. Also possible that there were some A-List/ALP's in the mix too.

 

Given the volume of people who were prioritized before you at the 30-minute mark, it appears a disruption of some sort generated a last-minute surge in prioritized standby's ahead of you but I could be wrong...It wouldn't hurt to follow up with Southwest Customer Service just to confirm there wasn't a glitch involved in your case but if I had to guess, I would predict that these surges were due to passengers being re-accommodated as they get first priority by rule.

 

https://support.southwest.com/helpcenter/s/email-us

Click on "Comment/Question" and then "Customer Service"

 

Hope this makes better sense.

 

Re: Stand-by Priority Queueing

DancingDavidE
Aviator A

@SoCalFlyer97 wrote:

@cdness99 wrote:

I absolutely LOVE the new ability of anyone to join a flight's stand-by list, at NO COST, and see the # of available seats in real-time.  However, I have used it a few times now and have some ponderings.  I understand the explanations that I have found, and been told, about the prioritization of passengers on this list and that not every SW passenger is created equal (i.e. A-List, Military, Fare Class, etc.) when it comes to getting a spot (priority) in the queue.  And I am ok with that.  Where I am struggling is how this list seems to change, even up to the last minute of boarding.  Allow me to explain my experiences.  In two instances I was the first person to join the stand-by list for a flight, many hours before the flight (I know that does not matter, just wait).  In two instances, folks joined behind me and in front of me (assumably due to their status).  For my first flight I remained in the #1 spot until 30 mins before departure and for the second flight I had been bumped down the list a few spots throughout the day (again, I thought due to status).  What transpired next is what has me baffled and the gate agents could not make heads nor tails of it either.  In both instances, folks who were behind me the entire time suddenly jumped over me in the queue.  Going back to my first example, I was in the #1 spot (for 10 hours) until 30 mins before departure and suddenly the party directly behind me jumped me.  Then, 10 mins later I fell to 15th in the queue.  After explaining to the gate agent and showing screen shots I had taken he spoke to a supervisor and got me on the flight.  In my other example a similar thing happened, I had started out 1st in the queue in the morning and throughout the day fell to 5th.  Suddenly, right before they were about to assign seats for stand-by folks who had been behind me for hours jumped over me and I fell to 11th and did not get on the flight.  I (as well as the gate agents) am just thoroughly baffled at how and when the prioritization is supposed to work on this stand-by list.  Can someone from SW please way in and not only explain the overall stand-by process/algorithm and maybe also lend some insight into my situations?  In both my cases I arrived at the airport hours in advance of my original flight based on the hopes of getting on the stand-by flight based on my position in the queue vs. the number of available seats.  I certainly would not show up if I am 20th and only see a couple of seats available throughout the time I am monitoring it.  But, when your #1 in the queue until 30 mins before take-off and you suddenly drop to 15th, there seems to be a glitch somewhere.  


Greetings:

 

Southwest defines the priority order on this page:

https://www.southwest.com/airfare-types-benefits/sameday-standby-change/

 

See the last FAQ toward the bottom of the page. 

 

Priority Order:

  1. Customers who are re-accommodated following flight disruptions
  2. A-List Preferred and A-List Rapid Reward Members prioritized based on fare (Business Select, Anytime, Wanna Get Away Plus, Wanna Get Away)
  3. All other Customers prioritized by the same fare order

 

It's possible for both instances the group who came up during the last 30 minutes may have been those who were re-accommodated from a disruption such as a missed connection or cancellation. Also possible that there were some A-List/ALP's in the mix too.

 

Given the volume of people who were prioritized before you at the 30-minute mark, it appears a disruption of some sort generated a last-minute surge in prioritized standby's ahead of you but I could be wrong...It wouldn't hurt to follow up with Southwest Customer Service just to confirm there wasn't a glitch involved in your case but if I had to guess, I would predict that these surges were due to passengers being re-accommodated as they get first priority by rule.

 

https://support.southwest.com/helpcenter/s/email-us

Click on "Comment/Question" and then "Customer Service"

 

Hope this makes better sense.

 


I'm only speculating but the list may not be ordered until the 30 minute mark. So you @cdness99  show up as first and stay that way until the sorting takes place?

 

Can anyone confirm for instance if they were A-list or ALP and joined a standby list did you immediately go to the top if there were others in line, and then went to the top at T-30 minutes?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Re: Stand-by Priority Queueing

epcot
Adventurer B

Yes this happened recently. A-List, and immediately went to the top at both ~18 hours before and just before boarding

Re: Stand-by Priority Queueing

gzimmerer
Explorer C

Assuming someone wants to fly standby, how can they be at the top of their category's priority list?

 

I am still unclear on how prioritization within the same fair class works.
For example, five people have a wana-get-away and seek standby on the same flight. Each log into the app and is listed in time order on the standby list in the app. Some paid more because they waited to purchase tickets. After AL, WG+ and better, are all confirmed/cleared, how are these five prioritized for the three remaining seats?

 

I would think they would be prioritized by the order of registering on the app.
The app added me to the list but a SWA phone customer service representative indicated I still needed to check in with with the agent at the gate to be on the list. But the app indicated I would be notified via the app. So if you are first on the app do you still need to rush down to the airport to have priority within your same classification or is it sufficent to be at the gate 30 minutes before take off?  Thanks.

Re: Stand-by Priority Queueing

epcot
Adventurer B

My suspicion for prioritization within the same fare group is that the actual underlying fare class plays a part, but time of standby listing likely does as well

Re: Stand-by Priority Queueing

gsking
Aviator C

So is there no reason to get in standby line early?  It prevents an easy same day change, which is obviously preferred.