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Old 12-17-2012, 07:49 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by lost*in*cyberspace View Post
Y
So much angst all the time over Southwest's crazy unassigned seat policy! It seems a simple solution for those who agonize so much over seats is to fly a different airline. I do.
I SWA and all their laissez-faire non-rules but those who don't should just fly a different airline. Less angst all around.
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Old 12-17-2012, 08:22 PM   #47
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It seems a simple solution for those who agonize so much over seats is to fly a different airline. I do.
I don't agonize over SWA policies, but they are the only carrier operating non stops out of St. Louis (maybe AirTran still has one per day, who knows) so if I did I still wouldn't have a choice other than connecting flights that add a few hours to travel each way.
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Old 12-17-2012, 08:43 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by elfbo View Post
With family boarding, is that something you select with your ticket beforehand or something you just line up for at the gate?

My sister is handicapped with a 4 year old son, so I want to make sure to do my research to give them the best chance of sitting together. The DH is A list, and my other sis and I can fend for ourselves. But we wanna make sure the nephew isnt trying to get out of his sit to get near his mum.
No worries - your sister will qualify for pre-boarding if she is handicapped and her son will board with her so she will have no issues.

Otherwise - families with children 4 and under automatically qualify for family boarding - they line up separately, first come first serve, for boarding between the A and B boarding groups.
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Old 12-18-2012, 06:09 AM   #49
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Why doesn't SW just have people pick their seats when they purchase tickets like every other airline? There we go...eliminates the argument of who boards when because everyone will know exactly where they are going to sit before they even step on the plane.
Probably because it's not as much a problem as what it sounds like on here. From what I understand, the unassigned seats helps "turn" planes quicker. I agree with others... if not having a seat assignment bothers you, fly another airline.

I don't fly SW for the main reason they're not at my home airport. If they were, then I'd look at cost. Of course, my children are now old enough they could survive if they needed to sit away from us.
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Old 12-18-2012, 06:10 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by elfbo View Post
With family boarding, is that something you select with your ticket beforehand or something you just line up for at the gate?

My sister is handicapped with a 4 year old son, so I want to make sure to do my research to give them the best chance of sitting together. The DH is A list, and my other sis and I can fend for ourselves. But we wanna make sure the nephew isnt trying to get out of his sit to get near his mum.
In this case you have so many chances to get them together that its not even worth EBCI.

1) Depending on sisters handicap she may be able to preboard
2) If not then DH will have early boarding. If he takes an aisle toward the middle of the plane (not exit row) the chances of someone having him move to have the middle seat before family boarding happens is slim to none. Sister and her son then do family boarding and sit with them. You and other sis fall in wherever your boarding is. (Or if you want a good chance to all sit together Sis and Son take the row behind or in front of DH and unless you and Sis are WAY back in boarding you can probably fill in the rest of that row)

As I said before I have flown SW this year almost enough to have A list and have never had a problem with sitting near anyone I wanted to, coworkers or DH, and I have never bought EBCI. I have also never had a C boarding pass even when:
1) Flying non stop to orlando with no EBCI
2) Forgetting to check in for the return flight of a business trip until 6 hours or so before the flight took off
3) Flying out of BWI for a connection (so there were many other connections that could have gotten passes before me since my flight into BWI was so short)
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Old 12-18-2012, 06:39 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by Princess on the Run View Post
That's not all that different than what I said. All of the people who bought EBCI did get all of this whether or not they allow families, handicapped people or A-listers to "cut" in line. Without EBCI they might have been C instead of B (and had even less overhead bin room left). So many people get angry with family boarding but you never hear the BS and A-listers complaining about pre-boarders who don't have to pay the BS fare or buy EBCI to get on first. At least I don't hear it. But for some reason people want to think EBCI is some kind of magic golden ticket.




Could not agree more!
Well of course they aren't complaining...they are boarding long before the family groups!!! There are probably about 40 people boarding after the BS and A-listers. But I have to tell you that if I have paid for EBCI, for my family, and I get B slots for all of us, and then a bunch of families are allowed to board all together, making it hard for us to find three seats together?? Yes, I'm going to be peeved.
But when I've flown full fare, it wasn't an issue. I had A1, 2, and 3!!

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Originally Posted by Keegansmommy View Post
Why doesn't SW just have people pick their seats when they purchase tickets like every other airline? There we go...eliminates the argument of who boards when because everyone will know exactly where they are going to sit before they even step on the plane.
Because it's much more efficient to fly the way SW flies. Planes turn around much more quickly. I flew JB last week, from MCO to Boston. I had a seat in row 13..it took forever to get on that plane. People standing there, looking to see where there seats were. A huge crowd standing around the gate area, ready to jump as soon as their zone was called. The gate attendants sending passengers out of line because they figured they could board with any group rather than wait their turn. Yeah, it was terrific. I actually turned to my friend and said...'I'm flying SW from now on. Boarding like this is for the birds. Takes way too long to get to your seat!!!'' I didn't notice the poor FA standing there!!! She didn't look too happy with that comment!!!
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Old 12-18-2012, 07:23 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by lost*in*cyberspace View Post
So much angst all the time over Southwest's crazy unassigned seat policy! It seems a simple solution for those who agonize so much over seats is to fly a different airline. I do.
People who fly Southwest don't generally have a problem with open seating. They actually like it. Southwest experimented with assigned seating and found passengers prefer open seating. The angst is found on internet boards.

Open seating gets passengers to the gate early. Leads to faster turnaround.

Assigned seating isn't as simple as you'd think. You can't have the "good" seats going passengers who book early, at low fares and the "bad" seats going to business passengers who pay full fare. That means Southwest would have to decide how many seats to block out of the system. As soon as seats aren't available together some passengers might book another flight or airline. Under the current system passengers who book late still have an opportunity for a good seat.

I took a Mediterranean cruise last summer. British Air wanted $90 per passenger for an advanced seat assignment on the transatlantic leg. Advanced seat assignments weren't available for the European segment. I checked in at T-24. BA already assigned me a seat next to my wife. I could have changed my seat at that time. They gave me an option to change to any available seat.

It worked fine. Assigned seats on legacy airlines can be a service nightmare. Schedule and equipment changes cancels assigned seats. Customer service has to try and accommodate unhappy customers.

I wonder what the reaction would be if the lowest fare class didn't allow passengers to get assigned seats until you get to the airport, the SW equivalent would be you get your BP at the airport. You'd pay the lowest fare. You understand getting middle seats, at least on a full flight, is part of the "deal".
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:46 AM   #53
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No, families are now between A and B.

Supposedly fare plays a part in the order of EBCI's.
I don;t think that's true,since my flights were free and we got EBCI in the A 30's....
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:44 AM   #54
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I don;t think that's true,since my flights were free and we got EBCI in the A 30's....
We know fare is one factor. Southwest has said on their website priority is given to passengers who booked a fully refundable fare, regardless of when they purchased EBCI. Some posters on FT think the "fare bucket" you book is also a factor.
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Old 12-18-2012, 11:01 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by sam_gordon View Post
Probably because it's not as much a problem as what it sounds like on here. From what I understand, the unassigned seats helps "turn" planes quicker. I agree with others... if not having a seat assignment bothers you, fly another airline.
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Originally Posted by Lewisc View Post
People who fly Southwest don't generally have a problem with open seating. They actually like it. Southwest experimented with assigned seating and found passengers prefer open seating. The angst is found on internet boards.
So true! I fly SWA a lot. I was pretty close to A-listing this year but won't make it -- maybe next year! In real life, in the airports, it works out just fine with very little stress. It wasn't until I came to DIS and found this forum that I learned about all the angst and drama it supposedly causes. I feel like people who don't fly that often are more stressed out about it than those who fly regularly (or at least once/twice a year). But it really is no different than going to the movies and finding seats. Once you get it, most people like it. Like a PP said, it's actually easier than everyone trying to scoot around people getting to their assigned seats (or getting to your seat and finding an unfavorable travel companion next to you). And if you don't like it, don't fly SWA.


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Originally Posted by goofy4tink View Post
Well of course they aren't complaining...they are boarding long before the family groups!!! There are probably about 40 people boarding after the BS and A-listers. But I have to tell you that if I have paid for EBCI, for my family, and I get B slots for all of us, and then a bunch of families are allowed to board all together, making it hard for us to find three seats together?? Yes, I'm going to be peeved.
But when I've flown full fare, it wasn't an issue. I had A1, 2, and 3!!
But knowing that this may in fact happen (and is very likely to happen) you can decide not to buy EBCI. Or, if it's that important to get on first, pay BS fares and you won't have to worry. The benefit of the cheaper flight comes with the cost of open seating. I think it's a great trade but if others don't, they have other options.
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Old 12-18-2012, 11:24 AM   #56
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There's a whole other set of frustrations with airlines that assign seats, especially the legacies. How many times do you read "Delta changed our reservation and our new seats are scattered all over the plane". Or "I did online check-in and found our seats were moved". A couple of times on Delta I had my boarding pass with my assigned seat and when the agent scanned it, a slip of paper popped out with a new seat. One time I was moved back several rows, another time I was moved up to a bulkhead, which I don't like because there's no seat in front of you to put your purse under.
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Old 12-18-2012, 11:25 AM   #57
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We know fare is one factor. Southwest has said on their website priority is given to passengers who booked a fully refundable fare, regardless of when they purchased EBCI. Some posters on FT think the "fare bucket" you book is also a factor.
interesting.... i have flown for free for a couple of years,and the lowest we had was an early 'b' assignment....usually it's an 'a'....guess we just got lucky.....but again,I'm one of those who doesn't worry too much about it,the plane's going to the same place for all of us.....(I'd probably worry more if I had little kids,at least one adult should be near them) FWIW,if someone on my flight was desperate to sit near their young child, I'd try to help them out......
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Old 12-18-2012, 11:43 AM   #58
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There's a whole other set of frustrations with airlines that assign seats, especially the legacies. How many times do you read "Delta changed our reservation and our new seats are scattered all over the plane". Or "I did online check-in and found our seats were moved". A couple of times on Delta I had my boarding pass with my assigned seat and when the agent scanned it, a slip of paper popped out with a new seat. One time I was moved back several rows, another time I was moved up to a bulkhead, which I don't like because there's no seat in front of you to put your purse under.
You are right. However, on legacy airlines, if you have high enough frequent flyer status it usually earns you better seat selection and more ability to change your seats to a more desirable location if they are moved, as well as upgrade chances. My husband is a million miler on UA, and he gets upgrades for free quite frequently, as well as enjoys many perks which you would never get on WN, even if you fly every week.

Obviously WN's boarding policy works for them.
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Old 12-18-2012, 11:58 AM   #59
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I don;t think that's true,since my flights were free and we got EBCI in the A 30's....
What do you mean by "free"? Some people say "free" when they really mean they paid with points or used a travel Award. The worst EBCI boarding position we ever got was when we used a travel Award. We bought EBCI very early but ended up in the B group. The people behind us in the queue had not purchased EBCI so we were at the end of the EBCI line, despite buying it very early.

This is from Southwest's EBCI FAQs page:

Quote:
Is there an order in which EarlyBird Check-In Boarding Passes are reserved?

Yes. Customers who have purchased Anytime Fares will receive priority over other fare types that are assigned their position based on the time stamp of the EarlyBird Check-In purchase.
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Old 12-19-2012, 04:14 PM   #60
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We flew SW for the first time in April and I didn't really think it was any faster to board than any other airline.

On our trip TO Orlando, my husband and one son had A boarding passes and my other son and I had B boarding passes. I asked the SW employee at the gate if my other son and I could board during family boarding and she told us just to get on in the A group with my husband and younger son (kids were 4 and 2). That could be part of the problem too....seems like the employees make up their own rules part of the time.
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