I'm a frequent flyer, traveling twice a week minimum by SWA. I had the pleasure of traveling to San Antonio right before the program was launched nationwide, and was incredibly surprised how well the process worked. Since then, I've experienced the new method of boarding in several cities, and am not surprised that the training SWA boarding agents receivd is spot-on to coin Gordon Ramsey's favorite saying. Each airport is consistant, and I hope SWA continues to re-affirm the boarding procedure with their employees.
Customers are much more relaxed and most of the fights I've witnessed between passangers are a thing of the past. The only complaint I heard after a couple months came from the wife of a frequent flyer passanger. He is a number 15 under the new program, and she got the dreaded Boarding Group B pass (I saved her a seat next to her spouse). She was concerned about traveling with her kids and being seperated from her husband. Something to consider in the future re-tooling.
Last but not least, at the Seattle Airport, SWA Gate 14, its fun to watch the competetor airline use their older boarding process (1st class goes first, followed by back of the plane to the front). It looks like a heard of cattle jockying for position. Kind of like the old SWA method.
Congratulations SWA on this excellent quality improvement change. I'll miss when I don't have to travel frequently and loose my boarding number in the A group, but I will sure appreciate the organized manner you board your planes.
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I'm hoping the new sceme works; anything is worth a try. I enjoy SWA, and think it is the best commuter airline out there. Its safe, reliable and has great employees!
The only negative with the airline is the dreaded "cattle call". I fly at least twice a week and usually end up near the front of the line anyway. What is really frustrating are those inconsiderate passangers that ignore the people waiting in the seats near the front of the line, and cut in front of them anyway without asking "are you in line" (by the way, I agree with the comment about squatters too...you just want to grab a TSA agent and remove the bags!). The airports I fly in and out of have poor seating arrangements near the boarding gate. The seats sometime line up with the three boarding rows, but they are set back far enough so that people automatically cut in front of those already sitting in place.
I think ticket numbering can be successful if SWA streamlines the boarding areas and makes it clear the numbering sequence is place. Either that, or load the plane from the back first! There is nothing more frustrating than missing a connecting flight because several passangers significanlty delayed the flight during the boarding process by trying to figure out why their oversized carry-on luggage doesn't fit.
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