THE COMMENTS BELOW WERE POSTED BY A SWA EMPLOYEE (WHO ADMITS THAT, BUT GOES BY "anonymous"). IF THIS PERSON WORKED FOR MY COMPANY, THEY WOULD RECEIVE A PERFORMANCE REVIEW FOR REFERRING TO CUSTOMERS AS "hysterical" AND TELLING THEM TO "simmer down". SWA - I HOPE YOU'RE READING THESE BLOG POSTING AND NOTING WHEN YOUR EMPLOYEES ARE INSULTING YOUR CUSTOMERS! YOUR MODERATOR SHOULD BE CATCHING THESE COMMENTS AND EDITING OR REFUSING SUCH POSTS. CUSTOMERS HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO EXPRESS THEIR OPINIONS AND DON'T DESERVE TO BE TOLD TO "simmer down". REMEMBER, "anonymous", THOSE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO PAY YOUR SALARY.
"Man, you people are hysterical! Automatically assuming the worst before the product has even been rolled out. Reminds me of when SWA went to A-B-C boarding, and then the numbers in between, and the internet check-in, and the move to Family Boarding, and, and, and....
And guess what? Everything turned out just fine.
By the way, I've checked in nearly 100 people today on 4 different flights, and 2 people--count 'em, that's TWO--had Early Bird. So why the drama on these posts?
I do think that eventually, if EBCI gets more popular, that we should limit the number allowed on each flight. Until then, simmer down!"
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I just tried the EarlyBird for the first time today, and frankly, I don't like it. On my outbound flight, I did the typical 24-hour advance check-in and got A22 as my boarding position. On my return flight, I paid the $10 and got A35!
I've read all the FAQs in detail and spoke with a SWA agent this morning (I couldn't figure out why I couldn't print my boarding pass 36 hours in advance - she explained that the EB option ASSIGNS the boarding position 36 hours out, but I still can't check in until 24 hours before the flight). The FAQs explain that my EB assignment is based not only on far in advance I pay the fee (as Brian Lusk noted above), but ALSO on the fare paid, with Anytime Fares getting the highest number. So, since I was smart and booked my flight a month in advance and got a great discount fare, I got a lower number.
I've read through at least 50 of the posts above mine, and it appears that most SWA customers have the same feelings I have - this is a program that Southwest needs to abandon QUICKLY. It has too many real/perceived negatives and, as far as I can see, no positives. I agree with another poster -at this point, if fares are comparable, I'd rather book on another airline and select my seat rather than pay $10 for an EarlyBird "lottery ticket" and then pray that I get an "A" position. The rub is, the more people who pay the EB fee, the worse it gets for those who don't, so this is another case of people with no spending limitations having some advantage over people on a tight budget, something I don't like.
I've been a Rapid Rewards member since 1991, and a SWA customer longer than that, and I have to say that this is the first time I've written to complain about a program or policy. I have been an ambassador for SWA for many years, singing the praises of their "flyer friendly" policies. Now, I feel like I just lost a good friend, like I've been fooled. I've heard it said that a happy customer will tell about 10 people about their positive experience, but an unhappy customer will tell 100 people about their dissatisfaction. Enough said!
Southwest, if you need additional revenues, just raise the price of every ticket by $5 or $10, but don't try to fix something that wasn't broken!
BTW - I travel primarily for business, and I don't think my company will pay for "boarding fees" since they're optional, so any EB fees would come out of my own pocket. Not a great feeling in a down economy.
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