I know we hear that phase quite often, I'm guilty of saying it, but I've never slowed down enough to think about. I just celebrated another birthday, and with each year that passes, you realize just how precious time really is. If we're lucky, we may get to celebrate all the Holidays only 70 or 80 times in our life. I'm not trying to sound like a downer, but when you realize this, you'll hopefully do more for YOU. I'll be the first to admit that I'm a workaholic, I luv that I am because I luv my job. I also luv to travel, spend time with my family, friends, time alone, or making a difference in the community, but I hardly do any of these. I ask each of you to slow down, each day, just long enough (it could be a few minutes or an hour) to take it in. Just take it in!! Life is currently passing us by if we don't seize the moment.
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I must say I'm very excited to see such a broad spectrum of reactions to our test. Let me give a little history on some of the tests we have done. Last year we tested different boarding methods with both assigned seats and open seating. These tests were conducted in San Diego. We tested for impact to our turn time and feedback from our traveling Customers. We took it a step further and tested in a different market, San Antonio.
Thanks for posting your comments regarding families, preboarding Customers, and paying extra. We need to and do look at all areas that surround the boarding process. We have to remember to keep it simple. Nowadays there are so many changes with the airline industry. We just want Customers to be able to conveniently get their boarding pass, via Internet, PDA, or airport, then have a pleasent and relaxed experience with the boarding. Keep your ideas coming. I've always been so proud to say we listen to our Customers!
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Over the past year and a half, I've been fortunate enough to be involved in a project that is focused on improving our Customers' experience with our boarding process. This is another great example of how Southwest Airlines truly listens and cares about our Customers. Enough to make changes for you. So what am I blabbering on about, it's the hottest craze to hit our gate area in the San Antonio airport. We are testing a new boarding method that tries to improve our Customers' experience in our gate area. I think it's great, and, no, I'm not biased. Here's how it works: you check in and get your boarding pass, just like you would today, but now, in addition to the letter A, B, or C, it also has a numeric position on it. That numeric position is your spot in line! We're, essentially, holding a place for you in line so you don't have to camp out in line before it's time to board the aircraft (Old Way: A...New Way: A6). You're now free to move about the airport...grab a coffee, a bite to eat, maybe even use the restroom with out having to leave those bags unattended. You don't have to be watching for thar first person to race to the front of the line and then hurry behind them, only to wait 30 minutes utill the plane even lands. With all the flying I do, I lUV it, and I hope you will too. Now remember, we're just testing it in the San Antonio airport. We want to make sure you, the Customers, like it and that it doesn't hurt our "turn times." So if your travel plans take you to the river walk, come say "hi." We'll be testing there for a few more weeks.
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As I was visiting family over the last holiday season, I couldn't help but watch my 2-year-old nephew play with his toys. It was so cute watching him play with his shape sorter toy. There he was, stubborn as all get out, trying to put a rectangular shape into a square hole. He was determined to get his block into the hole. It was adorable and at one point quite humorous and I couldn't help but think of all the times I have watched passengers who are determined to put their oversized bags into the overhead bins. There they are shoving, pushing, pulling, and losing their balance because their bag is too heavy or too big for the bins. Trust me, I used to be just as guilty of this anyone else. Instead of packing smarter, I crossed my fingers for a -700 aircraft (which has more overhead bin space than our -300 and -500 aircraft).
But with research I'm currently doing with a group of people tasked with improving the efficiency of our airport operations, I've seen first hand the correlation between our boarding time and the amount and size of our carry-ons. So next time you're packing for a flight, pack smarter not "fuller". Check out the latest great invention in travel bags, the space saver bags for the busy traveler. I'm a committed user and they really do work and give you the space you need so you don't have to expand your carryon bag! Southwest.com has some helpful information too. Now if only we can keep the small carryon items out of the bins, but I guess that's a different post.
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