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Child Companion Pass Boarding

New Arrival

I really wish Southwest would give more flexibility to companion passengers traveling with a child. My daughter is 8, thus too old for Family Boarding. And too young to stand alone to wait and board with other "C" boarders. I have been fortunate to have many gate agents let her board with me, but recently in Houston, the agent was a stickler. Because of this possibility, I do buy $20-$25 Earlybird for her so if I have to wait, then at least we have a decent position. In this case was A58 (I was A16).

 

I am A-List Preferred as well and often get A16. So is it really the idea that achieving Companion and Preferred status, that I possibly have to board at the end of the flight which risks not even sitting with my daughter. I think not.

 

Incidentally, I once had an agent so pre-occupied with not allowing my daughter to board with my Bus Select position, that when I agreed to board and leave her to board later with my wife, the agent forgot to scan my boarding pass and had to track me down on the flight to scan such. I gladly welcomed her to walk all the way to the back of the plane to come and get it from my hand.

 

I don't have the nerve to play the pre-board game where I routinely see college-age students jumping over chairs to get to their pre-board area. But a simple acknowledgment of the bigger picture and letting children between Family Boarding age and Under Age Minor status the ability to board with the parent. it should be automatic for any age as it's pretty unlikely the person won't have their seat saved, but its an annoyance that can be entirely avoided.

5 REPLIES 5

Re: Child Companion Pass Boarding

Rising Star

I can totally relate.  I am in your same boat, mostly.  ALP with CP.  My wife is my companion, and when we travel together, I always have to save a seat for her.  When we travel with our kids, I board in my spot with our baby (lap child), and she boards in family boarding with our oldest.  Once our kids are too old for family boarding, it will all be much more difficult.

 

At the same time, I struggle with the solution.  For all the pros of SW's boarding process, there are some cons.  I also image there are some logistical challenges with the booking and check in process with families.  For example, we usually buy my ticket, add my wife as companion, and then purchase our oldest's with points.  Technically, we are all on separate reservations, even though they are linked.  As much as I wish they could board with me when we travel together, I (as ALP) would also NOT love the fact that there might be entire families boarding together ahead of me when I am travelling solo.

 

So it's tough!  I just know we make it work, and for the value that SW brings for us, it is worth the tradeoff.

-A List Preferred, Companion Pass holder, Community Champion.

Re: Child Companion Pass Boarding

Rising Star
@HK, I love your post! Is your ideal solution to allow children ages 7 to 11 (too old for family boarding but young enough where they would travel alone as an unaccompanied minor) to board with their parent in their parent's boarding position?

Thanks!

Customer | Home airport DCA

Re: Child Companion Pass Boarding

Top Contributor

Back in 2017, Southwest tested allowing Companions to board with the Companion Pass holder. But while the idea was reportedly well received, it has never actually been implemented.

 

To me, this change seemed like a no-brainer. It's simple and positively impacts many, at the detriment of few. Southwest allows seat saving, so a CP holder is probably just going to hold a seat for their Companion (when able to board by themselves). And it's very likely that one of the two seats used will be a middle seat anyway. The only reason I can think of for not implementing it would be if Southwest predicted too large of a reduction in EarlyBird Check-In sales. Which is possible but seems unlikely, as I suspect CP holders who buy EBCI for their Companion represent a drop in the bucket of the $400+ million EBCI generates annually.

 

Well, that and the usual Southwest IT challenges. (The test just required the Companion to show their CP card, which seems a simple, although maybe not perfect, solution.)

 

At the time I wondered if the change was being held to be incorporated as part of a larger boarding system update. It's inevitable that significant changes are coming, someday.

 

Another fear was that timing of the new policy announcement might be planned to offset a Rapid Rewards devaluation, or ancillary fee increase. (Southwest has previously managed policy change announcements this way.) But the change wasn't included as part of the 2018 devaluation announcement or EBCI fee increase.

 

There has been no announced devaluation yet in 2019. At the moment I suspect Southwest is holding off on any planned program or fee changes. Presumably they realize that customer goodwill has taken a significant hit following the operational challenges of the past few months, and it's best not to exacerbate the situation. And pragmatically they have their hands full right now.

 

Optimistically, though, something like this is probably the perfect thing Southwest could do right now. So perhaps it's still coming soon.

 

At any rate, we can hope. 😉

 

Re: Child Companion Pass Boarding

New Arrival

I'm having the same insane issues too.
My 12yr old daughter is my designated companion and b/c champion pass tickets do not receive the same ticketed confirmation number, and b/c companions are likely never to achieve the same status that is frequent/business travels earn (otherwise they'd be able to earn their own companion status), it makes no sense that companions cannot board together with their statused partners.
It's not much of a loyalty rewards program when you squeeze your most loyal customers for more money to buy preferential boarding for their companions, or to pass the buck onto other customers and hope for someone to be understanding and compassionate enough to agree to switch seats to allow companions to sit with their partners... What's most unnerving is gate agents suggestions that their statused travels board with their companions at the back of the line (C boarding) all but guarentteeing no chance of sitting together on fully booked flights unless another passenger is open to giving up their preferred window/aisle seat for a middle seat.
My 12yr old was spot on when she questioned, "Why do they even call it a 'companion pass' when you can't sit together?". Yeah, we're technically on the same plane, but we might as well be flying on different airlines... which may be the smart solution where other airlines offer more tangible rewards for their loyal customers like upgrades and lounge access.
Why SWA doesn't implement the simple solution of providing companions boarding positions with their rewards partners is utterly asinine.

Re: Child Companion Pass Boarding

Top Contributor

@surflesssoul wrote:

I'm having the same insane issues too.
My 12yr old daughter is my designated companion and b/c champion pass tickets do not receive the same ticketed confirmation number, and b/c companions are likely never to achieve the same status that is frequent/business travels earn (otherwise they'd be able to earn their own companion status), it makes no sense that companions cannot board together with their statused partners.
It's not much of a loyalty rewards program when you squeeze your most loyal customers for more money to buy preferential boarding for their companions, or to pass the buck onto other customers and hope for someone to be understanding and compassionate enough to agree to switch seats to allow companions to sit with their partners... What's most unnerving is gate agents suggestions that their statused travels board with their companions at the back of the line (C boarding) all but guarentteeing no chance of sitting together on fully booked flights unless another passenger is open to giving up their preferred window/aisle seat for a middle seat.
My 12yr old was spot on when she questioned, "Why do they even call it a 'companion pass' when you can't sit together?". Yeah, we're technically on the same plane, but we might as well be flying on different airlines... which may be the smart solution where other airlines offer more tangible rewards for their loyal customers like upgrades and lounge access.
Why SWA doesn't implement the simple solution of providing companions boarding positions with their rewards partners is utterly asinine.


Since this is a customer to customer forum, it is possible that your suggestion will not be resolved here. I'd suggest sending an e-mail to the airline. To do so click on "contact ys" at the bottom of this page and then pick e-mail from the contact options listed on the top left of the ensuing page.

 

In the meantime, you could pick early bird check in for your daughter, and then you could board with her as a a likely high A or low B postition. ALterntively she could buy an A1-A15 spot at the gate. Yeah, it'll cost you some  money.

 

Is a free $200 or $300 ticket coupled with $25 spent still a good enough deal?