yes, please allow us to use some drink tickets for this service - I do not drink, yet have years and years of earned drink tickets that are useless to me, and I don't feel responsible just giving away alcohol to fellow passengers or crew when I have no idea of their backgrounds. Let us send this in and trade for something we can actually use if we don't drink alcohol or want to drink monster energy drinks.
Another idea would be to make it free for A-list or allow us to use some rapid reward awards to purchase a number of hours to use it
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I'm one of the most frequent fliers on SWA and am very excited to hear about this so that I don't have to sit there and keep my place in line. Some of us do have our favorite locations to sit, and love the ability to change if we don't like a rowdy or noisy group sitting right behind us. You have no choice to move on most other airlines. The only thing I think is lacking here is that if your itinerary is changed by the airline itself due to delays or missed connections, they should give you an A regardless of what you had on your original boarding pass just to be fair. I've had an A in the past and my flight was canceled or late which made me miss a connection, only to get a C on a full long flight where I had to have a middle seat even though I was in the lowest numbers of the A group on the flight I was supposed to take.
Kudos to SWA for solving the REAL problem (the long line-up and hold process) and not caving into the people begging for assigned seats who just want the airline to be the same as all the rest for the sake of being the same. I can't tell you how many times I've flown the rest and am always in the last boarding group no matter how much I paid for my seat or its location, and how rarely I can select a window or aisle seat when I purchase tickets on those other airlines. Quite often the rest of the other airlines don't let you choose a seat anyway - just 2 weeks ago I was unable to choose seats on one of the larger carriers online, and they said I'd have to wait until checkin to do so. With an early boarding group at SWA I can almost always pick a seat I want and sit with (or away from) who I want.
Way to go SWA! You really came thru on this one
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PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE keep the unassigned seating. Years ago I hated it but now that we have the ability to checkin from a phone or PC 24 hours before a flight (including the connecting flights) we are rewarded with the ability to choose which seat we want based on our needs that day, including who we want to sit with and where we want to sit on the plane. No matter how frequently I fly on other airlines I seem to never get into an early boarding group, and I've even been bumped from my seat selection (if I was able to make one) by more "important" flyers the day of the flight or by the airline changing the plane they were flying to the last open seat which NO ONE wanted. Even when I make a reservation well in advance of a flight on another airline I often can't choose a window or aisle seat, but with Southwest if I make a reservation a day or two before a flight I can still usually get the seat I want, and I travel several times a week on Southwest for both business and pleasure.
I suggest simply improving the process and ambiguity of lining up prior to boarding- that seems to be the main annoying point for many of us loyal Southwest passengers that has led to anxiety and argument. Now that we don't have to line up just to get the boarding pass itself, we would prefer to fix such issues such as those of us who arrive early and stay in line and then have to fend off the late-comers sneaking in front of an "implied" line of people sitting down or in a different aisle of seats or leaving their bags sitting there while they roam around the airport.
In additoin it seems boarding would go faster if you would make 2 changes. First, if the flight is in fact very full and/or there are a significant number of pre-boarders with wheelchairs every effort should be made to start boarding them much earlier and have enough roaming staff available to board multiple wheelchair-bound people as early as possible, even to take them down to the jetway as soon as most passengers have disembarked, even if the plane isn't quite ready to be boarded yet. I've seen many times where the gate agent was the only one available to take them down the jetway and they had to do it one at a time even 10-15 minutes prior to the scheduled departure for an incoming flight that arrived on time. Second, if the slower people such as those with children or other issues were allowed to board last it would make it more efficient since the first people in regular boarding almost always get down to the plane and then stand around waiting for a while for the "pre-" boarders to get settled since they only pre-board a minute or two before the standard boarding groups.
If you must go to pre-assigned seats I think you need to reward your most frequent flyers with some way to get the best seats as other airlines do, or you'll risk losing many loyal frequent flyers.
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