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Rash
11-13-2009, 09:15 AM
(Would have searched for this info, but the search areas are gone :confused3)

I know that SW allows one parent with a child 4 yo or younger to board between the A and B groups. My questions:

- Do they allow the rest of the immediate family on as well, or is it strictly one parent? We are a family of 4 - two adults, 9 yo and 4 yo.
- Do we need to remind the gate agent that we need family boarding, or are they consistent with remembering to do it after the A group boards?
- Do we just stand to the side somewhere when everyone else lines up?

I am asking because I am trying to decide whether to do Early Bird Check-In for our return flight. We will be in the parks (Universal) at the 24 hour mark. If family boarding is consistent and guaranteed for at least one adult and the 4 yo, I will do EBCI for the other adult and our 9 yo. If family boarding usually allow all 4 of us to board, I won't even bother with EBCI.

TIA

agnes!
11-13-2009, 09:38 AM
A couple of thoughts...

When are you traveling? If it's during a high-volume time of year or a high-traffic time of the week, your return flight might be full or even sold-out, so the earlier you can get on the plane the better.

I liked doing EBCI on the way back on our last trip...I didn't have to find Guest Services and stand in line and be anxious about getting that boarding pass exactly at T-24 or I know some folks use their IPhones/Blackberries to check-in. I could just get it printed out at my leisure.

The size of the family-boarding parties seems to be at the gate agent's discretion. I think getting EBCI for half of your party makes sense to me, but if you do that you'll still have to check-in and get Boarding Passes for the other two at some point. But you can get their BPs at almost any time before (I think up until one hour before scheduled departure?) because if the two that use the Family Boarding get B's or C's, it won't matter... they'll still be actually boarding in the Family Boarding Group.

SW has a place for the A/B/C lines to form. They are clearly marked poles with signage usually off to one side of the waiting area with monitors that change as the different groups are called up. When the boarding groups are first called, the monitor on the left as you stand in line will have A 1-30, the one on the right will have A 31-60. The Family-Boarding Groups usually stand off to the side but generally in front of the Gate-door, kind of perpendicular to the called boarding group area. Maybe when your party arrives at the gate, you can check-in with the gate Agent or available Southwest personnel and ask where you should wait as a Family-Boarding Group. Btw, the first group allowed on the plane are Southwest Business Select (which will have the A 1-15), then A-Listers(frequent flyers) with the succeeding A numbers, then the EBCI's in order of purchase, then other passengers who checked in on-line. The Family-Groups get on between the A Group and the B Group.

agnes!

Rash
11-13-2009, 10:01 AM
A couple of thoughts...

When are you traveling? If it's during a high-volume time of year or a high-traffic time of the week, your return flight might be full or even sold-out, so the earlier you can get on the plane the better.

I liked doing EBCI on the way back on our last trip...I didn't have to find Guest Services and stand in line and be anxious about getting that boarding pass exactly at T-24 or I know some folks use their IPhones/Blackberries to check-in. I could just get it printed out at my leisure.

The size of the family-boarding parties seems to be at the gate agent's discretion. I think getting EBCI for half of your party makes sense to me, but if you do that you'll still have to check-in and get Boarding Passes for the other two at some point. But you can get their BPs at almost any time before (I think up until one hour before scheduled departure?) because if the two that use the Family Boarding get B's or C's, it won't matter... they'll still be actually boarding in the Family Boarding Group.

SW has a place for the A/B/C lines to form. They are clearly marked poles with signage usually off to one side of the waiting area with monitors that change as the different groups are called up. When the boarding groups are first called, the monitor on the left as you stand in line will have A 1-30, the one on the right will have A 31-60. The Family-Boarding Groups usually stand off to the side but generally in front of the Gate-door, kind of perpendicular to the called boarding group area. Maybe when your party arrives at the gate, you can check-in with the gate Agent or available Southwest personnel and ask where you should wait as a Family-Boarding Group. Btw, the first group allowed on the plane are Southwest Business Select (which will have the A 1-15), then A-Listers(frequent flyers) with the succeeding A numbers, then the EBCI's in order of purchase, then other passengers who checked in on-line. The Family-Groups get on between the A Group and the B Group.

agnes!

Thanks for the info. Our return flight is the Monday before Thanksgiving at 4:30 pm, so I'm not expecting it to be a full flight, but you never know.

I was considering using my smartphine to check us in at the 24 hour mark, but I just don't want to be bothered to have to stop what i'm doing and do it. Considering my luck with technology, my phone will die or the network will be down, etc. $20 seems like a decent amount to pay for check-in insurance so to speak. I'll rely on family boarding for the other two travelers. I'll try using my smartphone to check in the non ECBI travelers if i'm so inclined - at least I won't feel like I HAVE to do it.