I fly Southwest at least 4-5 times a year. I love the convenience and accessability of ISP. Going to JFK or LAG is almost always a nightmare. However, I must say that the open seating policy is getting tiresome. The jockeying for position and getting on line early is no fun at all. On my most recent flight (from Orlando to ISP) I had to suffer two people getting into a shouting argument on where the A line was and where it wasn't, and who was cutting ahead of who. Ridiculous! And no one from Southwest ever makes an attempt to clarify or control in any way the often haphazard way in which the lines form!
At ISP, I could arrive no more than 45 minutes before any flight if it weren't for open seating. Given the always high number of pre-boarders, I just don't want to limit my seating choices by getting on the plane after 60 people or more have already boarded. As a result, my wife and I always get there at least 1 1/2 hours before a flight, and we hate sitting, or worse yet, standing on line to make sure that getting an "A" was worth it.
Earlier this year I used JetBlue for a direct flight to San Diego. Going to JFK was, as usual, someting of a hassle. OTOH, I had booked early, and KNEW that we had seats, both ways, in the emergency exit row. We loved not having to worry about getting there super early, making sure we had an "A", waiting on line, etc.
Finally, I'll add that the last number of times I flew Southwest, all I heard in the terminals was grumbling about the open seating. That seems counter to much of what has been posted here, but that's what my experience has been.
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