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Old 11-19-2012, 01:51 PM   #1
ccw
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Southwest boarding advice

Flight to MCO for Thanksgiving is sold out so, for a family of 2 adults and 2 children (1 yr old and 5 yr old) would it be smart to pay for Early Bird check in or is there a chance during Family Boarding that 4 people in a family (really just 3 seats since one traveler is a baby) could have seats together? Would everyone need to buy EB check in?

Thanks! Our family does not fly SWA very often and I am trying to help my son and his family figure out what to do! Any tips would be appreciated! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:15 PM   #2
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You will be allowed to board between the A and B groups since you are traveling with an infant. Make sure they know just before boarding that you are traveling with an infant or they might miss it.
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:17 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcieutat View Post
You will be allowed to board between the A and B groups since you are traveling with an infant. Make sure they know just before boarding that you are traveling with an infant or they might miss it.
This is incorrect.

Family boarding on WN is for one adult and one child age 4 or under. It is possible it will not even be offered on a flight to Orlando. This is a time when you should opt for EBCI. Seating on WN is three across, so with a lap baby, you should be able to get three seats together.
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Old 11-19-2012, 07:02 PM   #4
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Just back using SW round trip for party of 9.

I used early bird on the way down but I didn't purchase it until 4 days prior to the flight and we got B11 to B20 or so. There were still about 8 rows left on each side when we boarded so we sat 3,3,3.

They did board after the A group families with children under 4.

On the way back we skipped the earlybird and checked in about 23 1/2 hours and got C9 to C17. Only 1 fully open row in the back so we sat 3,2,2,1,1.

On the way back there were 8 wheels chairs and about 15 families with children under 4. Not many C peeps boarding.

Wasn't worth $90 for me. Like the other poster said, I think you could board after A group. Call to verify.
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Old 11-19-2012, 07:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lost*in*cyberspace View Post
This is incorrect.

Family boarding on WN is for one adult and one child age 4 or under. It is possible it will not even be offered on a flight to Orlando. This is a time when you should opt for EBCI. Seating on WN is three across, so with a lap baby, you should be able to get three seats together.
This. We have had reports where they have decided not to do any Family Boarding. We have also had reports where they did boarding but were very strict with the 1 adult and the child age 4 or under.

Quote:
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Wasn't worth $90 for me. Like the other poster said, I think you could board after A group. Call to verify.
Decisions on if they do Family Boarding and who may board is done at the gate. There is no way for the phone agent to be able to tell a passenger for sure what will happen on the day of the flight.
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:11 PM   #6
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Decisions on if they do Family Boarding and who may board is done at the gate. There is no way for the phone agent to be able to tell a passenger for sure what will happen on the day of the flight.
In that case I would base my decision (to use EB) on when I could check in and how soon to the fly date. If I knew I could check in right at 24 hours, I would skip EB.

There is also the chance that nice folks could switch seats to allow your family to sit a row. We had several people give up their seat for others.

I did hear LOTS of people complaining how they booked using early bird and got terrible boarding numbers B30+.
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:20 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lost*in*cyberspace View Post
This is incorrect.

Family boarding on WN is for one adult and one child age 4 or under. It is possible it will not even be offered on a flight to Orlando. This is a time when you should opt for EBCI. Seating on WN is three across, so with a lap baby, you should be able to get three seats together.
What is WN?
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:20 PM   #8
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What is WN?
Every airline in the world has a 2 letter code assigned to it. Some codes make sense, such as AA=American, DL=Delta, and UA=United. Some codes don't make sense, such as WN=Southwest, B6=JetBlue, and NK=Spirit.
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Old 11-27-2012, 06:31 PM   #9
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Every airline in the world has a 2 letter code assigned to it. Some codes make sense, such as AA=American, DL=Delta, and UA=United. Some codes don't make sense, such as WN=Southwest, B6=JetBlue, and NK=Spirit.
Southwest is WN because when it began there was still a Northwest Airlines with the code NW. With so many airlines, the easy codes like AA for American were gone so the powers that be decided to reverse Northwest's NW for Southwest. Why they couldn't use SW is beyond me--maybe there once was an airline using it? Swiss Airlines is LX not SW by the way.
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Old 11-20-2012, 11:13 PM   #10
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When we went from STL to MCO last month I purchased an EB for me to save seats for my other two family members. I didn't see anything on their site that said you couldn't do it and there is the fact that they allow you to buy just one EB even though there is more than one ticket on the reservation.

For the return flight I paid for EB for all three of us so I wouldn't have to check us in from the parks on our last day. When getting ready to board the staff said that if someone had an EB they couldn't save seats and would have to board with the rest of the party.

I am fine with however SW wants to manage this but it seems like they need to require us to buy EB for each person in the party.

Also, family boarding was handled differently between different flights.
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Old 11-21-2012, 07:32 AM   #11
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Okay....SW says nothing about saving seats. Well, not until they come on the PA to tell you that it is a full flight, with no empty seats. Then, you see people scrambling to sit next to family members when they had been trying to save that middle seat, that would allow them more room.
If you want to pay for one person to have EBCI, fine go for it. But, good manners should prohibit you from trying to save more than the other two seats in your row. You shouldn't feel free to take a bunch of coats and try to save 5 or 6 seats!!!

Do I pay for EBCI? Usually not for my flight to my destination. But, I do tend to pay for it for my departure flights. That way I don't have to worry about checking in at the 24 hr window...hate having to do that at WDW. I pay for EBCI merely as a convenience, not for a better boarding group.
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Old 11-22-2012, 10:12 PM   #12
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On our flight to Orlando from New Orleans last week I had A29 while the rest of my family had B1-B-4. I opted to wait and board with them. Huge mistake! Not only did SW do Family Boarding, they let entire families (including grandparents) board. I could not believe what I was witnessing. By the time we were allowed to board we had to get to the last two rows in order to sit with each other. It was my youngest child's first time flying and was surprised that with B1 boarding we would possibly have to sit apart.
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Old 11-23-2012, 07:44 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dznygurl View Post
On our flight to Orlando from New Orleans last week I had A29 while the rest of my family had B1-B-4. I opted to wait and board with them. Huge mistake! Not only did SW do Family Boarding, they let entire families (including grandparents) board. I could not believe what I was witnessing. By the time we were allowed to board we had to get to the last two rows in order to sit with each other. It was my youngest child's first time flying and was surprised that with B1 boarding we would possibly have to sit apart.
This would be a situation when I would send an email to SW. SW is supposed to have specific rulings about who gets to board within family boarding. And it is supposed to be one parent, one child. I have no issue with the whole family boarding as long as it is the immediate family and it isn't a huge family. A family of 5 shouldn't be an issue, but if you add all the other relatives??? Nope, that's not fair.
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Old 11-23-2012, 07:50 PM   #14
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When we flew in April, My husband and older son had A boarding. The SW employee at the gate told me to just board with them in the A group instead of waiting for family boarding (our younger son and I had B group). Coming back from Orlando the Family Boarding was 5 and under.
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Old 11-24-2012, 09:31 AM   #15
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Hmmm...

You did purchase Early Bird Check In and got B grade boarding passes. Then at boarding they let many additional adults and juniors board with the little children and ahead of you. And you can't find seats together.

Now it is okay to ask people if they would'nt mind switching seats so you can sit next to your wee'uns.

In favor of saving seats: Fewer situations where you end up sitting next to someone you don't want to sit next to and who does not want to sit next to you.
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