View Full Version : Southwest airlines questions

12-14-2001, 10:30 AM
I was considering using Southwest this November from Albany, NY to Orlando.
My main concern is not sitting with my husband.
I have tried to figure out how they do seating but I'm still not clear.
Can anyone help me out? I'm trying to figure out what line to be in to get a good boarding number.

12-14-2001, 10:33 AM
With SW it is first come first serve with the boarding passes. The earlier you get there the closer to being the first to board you will be. I wouldn't worry too much about not sitting with your husband. You will probably be fine and if there are not two seats together chances are you will find someone to switch seats so you can sit together. If you are really worried just get there early. Good luck

12-14-2001, 01:48 PM
They start passing out the boarding passes 1 hour prior to the flight time. You should be at the desk 1 1/2 hour prior to be at the front of the line in Albany. They are numbered 1 to "whatever the plane seats". After folks with children under 5 get on, they board in groups of 30. Ex: 1-30, 31-60 and so on. If you are in the first two groups, there will be no problem getting seats together. There are four of us that travel out of Albany on Southwest. We sit 2 & 2.

In Orlando on the way back, you may want to get in line earlier. We got to the desk 1 hour prior and the line was about 50 long at that time. We were in the second (31-60) to board.

12-14-2001, 02:36 PM
We've flown them quite a few times with children over the early board age. I have had boarding passes in all three aisles 1-30, 31-60. 61-?. We have always managed to sit together without any problems.

12-14-2001, 03:05 PM
in orlando ....outbound it is under 4 for pre boarding ....or at least that is what a family was told when we were coming back to buffalo last week......of course in buffalo they got the 5 pre board with the whole gang of 7 one of the peculiarities of southwest's pre boarding policy....only one person in the group has to be under 5 or 4 what ever the case maybe

with the price of the flights ....there is a lil extra planning you have to do if you want to be among the first to board and thus be assured of seating next to each other.....

Ted and Holly
12-14-2001, 03:43 PM
The moral of the story is check in for your flight VERY early. We got to the airport 2 HOURS before departure and STILL were not in the first 30. We almost didn't make the first 60. We still had plenty of seat choices together. Unless you are in the very last group 91+ you shouldn't have trouble finding a seat together.

Once you check in at the desk and go through security, head IMMEDIATELY to the gate you are flying from. There will be a line at the desk in front of the flight # and time. THOSE people are waiting for their boarding numbers. I saw some people sit and wait, thinking we were in line for another flight! They were VERY upset to learn that the line was already 80 people long just to get their numbers!

Its sounds tough, but its really not that bad. You can always take turns standing in the line. It makes the time go by quickly.


Alison Wonderland
12-14-2001, 08:49 PM
I hated it! THey wouldn't let me preboard with a 5 year old (just him and me) and then I was in the second group and had to beg to get a seat by him. Yes those people jump in line early and it's a hassle so i won't do southwest again.

12-15-2001, 07:45 PM
I just wanted to say thanks for the info----I think we will give it a try for our flight 11/02.
The prices are great!

12-15-2001, 08:22 PM
Hi Erin..I'm from Sch'dy also. We fly SW all the time. We are usually in the middle to end, and all four of us (when grands go) have always sat two and two, together. I have allegies, (I'll never understand why so many people slap on the perfume and after shave so early in the morning..please think of others and don't if you are reading this), and always hope for a window seat, with hubby in the middle to sort of "protect" me from the smelly people (perfume). I've not had a problem yet.
You do have to get there early..they used to not let you line up til 45 min before, but now they line up as soon as the airport opens LOL! We check in, and while the others are working with carryons, I scoot ahead and up the escalator and get in line. Once they checked in, while I waited in line, then I went down and checked in, because I spotted how long the line was. You actually have two lines to wait in..one to get your number, and another to actually get on the plane within your group. We fly Jan 3, and only paid $39 each way, so I don't mind standing in line.

12-15-2001, 08:56 PM
wow $40 each way, I'd fly with the smelly suitcases for that :)

12-15-2001, 09:36 PM
Yes, the $39 meant we got to go begining of September and now Jan 3..sure wish I had booked one more in between. Sept we stayed at All Stars for $49 a night, Jan we will be staying for $59 a night. Can't visit Buffalo as cheaply!

12-16-2001, 01:19 PM
We were lucky enough to fly SWA at $36 each way in November '01. One of the main things I saw that irked me was that although they gave out boarding passes with the numbers very few actually followed them. We had passes in the low 60's and some with passes in the high ninety's got on before we did. The crew didn't say anything so I let it go. But it was disappointing. If they are going to give out numbered boarding passes the least they can do is enforce it.

We had passes in the 90's on our way out of Tampa. We were there an hour before but the line was so long that we still ended up in the 90's. But we got lucky and were randomly searched before entering the plane so we ended up being one of the first group getting on. Definately allow more time due to the security issues. I saw several people almost miss flights do to this. They may ease off of this by next November though. We have already purchased our RT tickets to Orlando for early June through SWA. An incredible $72 each way. That brings our tickets under $1000 for the six of us. I could have gotten our tickets for only $612 if I wanted awful flight times into Tampa. But with four children I prefer not having to change planes. That was worth the extra $300 more to fly NS and directly into MCO with great flight times. Last time in was it was better to use Tampa.

12-16-2001, 01:42 PM
<<We had passes in the low 60's and some with passes in the high ninety's got on before we did. >>

In Albany, they are fussy about which group you get into. I can't remember the cut offs, but if you have a number (for instance) in the 30-60 (or whatever the actual group is), although you don't get to go first if you are number 30, you do have to be in the correct line..if you are number 90..you have to be in the line that covers the 90 numuber..otherwise they tell you to go get into the next line, which would now be a very long line!

12-16-2001, 01:53 PM
They should really make it that you board in number order. Example in the 30 - 60 row, let them board numerically, otherwise whats the point of getting there early unless you want to stand on lines for 1 hours. If you're not there when your number goes through, then you have to wait. Just my opinion.

12-16-2001, 02:51 PM
an administrative nightmare i would say pluto.....

all you have to do is plan......even if you are number 30 you can still be first in that group of 1 -30 if you seat your self strategically.....

of course once ....ONE person moves there is a "mass" line up....no one seems to want to be the first one ....but they sure do move when "someone" does make the "break"

btw, pluto......just got our first "award" coupon.....look forward to using it soon.....

shud have another one by the end of january ....going to los angeles ( as a companion to mother in law ) then on to las vegas for the consumer electronics show.....

may try to slip in a flight to san diego too, since i will have a couple of days once the show is finished to "waste" until i have to pick the mother in law up in oxnard.......

southwest does make it "affordable" to travel as long as you do not mind their procedures.....

Ted and Holly
12-16-2001, 02:52 PM
I think boarding in actual numbers would take way too much time. Southwest only allows for a 30 minutes turnover between flights. They literally begin boarding when the previous passengers have finished getting off the plane. Sorting out by individual numbers would be too confusing and time-wasting. That's why SWA does it the way they do it, as stated on their website. Quicker turnover means more flights, means more passengers, and lower prices.


12-16-2001, 05:00 PM
ok, ok, ok - I got it. I am just a little more anal than the average Joe I guess and would like a little order. I can live with it.

Sir Lawgs, I'm flying my first freebie in January for a 7 night magic cruise, then after our March trip, all 4 of us will have freebies. Between the double points for online booking and the SW Visa card, you're right, they do make it easy.

I just wish they would add another r/t flight from ISP to mco. One each way per day, is a little light. Not bad leaving ISP at 7, but the mco flies out at 11:35, no time for the last day.

Oh well, enough :o

12-16-2001, 08:10 PM
Are the points similar to skymiles?

12-16-2001, 09:31 PM
Check out the Rapid Rewards page at the Southwest site. You need 16 credits for a RT voucher. You get 2 credits per online booking, or 1 credit per 800# booking. You get 1/2 credit for booking a participating rental car. You get 1 credit per leg on travel. (ex: 1 credit to Orlando, 1 credit back to Albany) If you have a Southwest Visa card, you get 1 credit per $1000 charged. My ticket in January is on a Rapid Rewards voucher. Plus I have 8 credits in my account towards another. You do not have to keep track of credits, although you can through the SW site. When you get your 16 credits, they send you a voucher. Last summer we did a DVC add-on of points. I charged it to my SW card, got 5 credits and paid off the bill in two payments.

12-16-2001, 10:18 PM
...and with the Visa it only takes $16000 for a free ticket instead of $25000 like other cards...

SW Visa link (http://bestfare.com/rapid_rewards/visa.html)

12-17-2001, 02:02 AM
pluto, wish we could get a card like that here....in canada....oh well....have to stick with my visa gold card and points for "merchandise"

just to clarify about online booking......if you do an online booking and ......fly round trip.......it would be 4 credits ( with double credits ).....so you just need 4 roundtrips to get an award voucher.....essentially 2 credits for every "one way trip" if booked on the net

12-17-2001, 08:33 AM
Just another word of advise with Southwest.
Try to get Non-stop flights. Otherwise you have to get
in line again at your Layover airport.
I to hate the lines, this past trip someone started a line 2 hours
before the plane arrived, before you know it thier were so many
people in line. Then he went right to the gate with his number 1
card. If I have a card with 30 and under I will not wait in line till they start
boarding. :)


12-17-2001, 09:10 AM
Thanks for all this info......I did check the rapid rewards info on the Southwest sight. Seems pretty good---my concern was that the points have to be accumulated in 12 months.

I applied for the credit card, so that might help----maybe I will just HAVE to purchase an add-on at the BCV with that credit card!!!!

I would only use Southwest for a NS flight to avoid the waiting again.

Thanks again!!!!

12-17-2001, 02:19 PM
starting 2/04 - SW just added another flight from MCO - ISP nonstop - leaves at 6pm.


12-17-2001, 03:53 PM
You must have gotten one of ours. There is now only one nonstop to Orlando from Albany. There are still two nonstops on the way back.

12-17-2001, 06:27 PM
You must have gotten one of ours. There is now only one nonstop to Orlando from Albany. There are still two nonstops on the way back.

It depends on if they are full on a certain day..for instance, Jan 6 - begiing of Feb from Albany to Orlando aren't full, so they still show the two N/S. Once they fill up, they will pull them from the on line booking. It sometimes takes them a few days. At this time, they are still flying two nonstops..you just might not see it if they are full.

12-19-2001, 11:28 PM
I have not had problems with seats out of Orlando since I think a lot of their flights start from there. Some of the flights out of Nashville do have lots of people on them already when you board, but the price is right.

You could try the method I saw last time I was in Orlando (which I actually laughed at!) Mother stands at the counter (she got there more than 90 min before the plane was suppose to leave and was #1) Dad stands at the boarding area (first in line!) Of course since the plane was empty when I got on (I was one of the last of the first boarding group) I thought they had wasted a LOT of effort! Also, this won't work if another plane is going out of your gate.

I have never seen SW let people board ahead of their group and I would complain if I did. However, that does NOT seem to stop the person with boarding pass 189 standing directly in front of the boarding area so that everyone has to push by him!

12-20-2001, 08:07 AM
Usually you can't get through security without your pre-checked itinerary though???