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Old 09-22-2012, 05:41 PM   #16
HockeyMomNH
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My DH and I flew to Orlando a few weeks ago. We paid for early bird check in because we wanted to make sure that we sat together. For the flight down, we ended up with boarding passes in the B section, even with EB. between A and family boarding there were close to 80 people on the plane before us! It seems like more and more people are paying for priority seating.

Last year, we didn't pay the extra we just checked in at the 24 hour mark. We got C boarding and there were only single seats when we boarded. My DD ended up sitting in the row ahead of me and my DH was all the way in the back of the plane. That was a flight out of Orlando.

I suggest paying for EB if you want to make sure that you sit together.
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Old 10-08-2012, 04:45 PM   #17
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I agree with hockeymom. I fly SWA often and I used to be able to check in at exactly the 24 hour mark and get a decent flight. Not so anymore. Even with paying for Early Boarding I was at the end of the A group. If you want everyone to sit together the only way to ensure that is to pay for early boarding. and the earlier you pay for the early boarding the earlier you will board the plane
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:37 PM   #18
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I agree with hockeymom. I fly SWA often and I used to be able to check in at exactly the 24 hour mark and get a decent flight. Not so anymore. Even with paying for Early Boarding I was at the end of the A group. If you want everyone to sit together the only way to ensure that is to pay for early boarding. and the earlier you pay for the early boarding the earlier you will board the plane
^^This!

I have flown out of PHL to MCO on SWA many times. I always get EBCI for my flights as soon as I book. While I have always gotten A boarding passes, there have been times when they have been towards the end of the A group. SWA allows family boarding between A and B for families with children 4 & under but only one adult gets to accompany the child. The rest of the family boards whenever their boarding pass says they get to board.

The strategy to get one EBCI for an adult and the lap baby would probably work. I know that I would not voluntarily choose to share a row with a toddler sitting in Mommy's lap. Those seats are crowded enough without a fourth person sitting in your row!

However, I will also point out that if I paid for EBCI, I would not be inclined to change my seat so that your family can sit together. If you chose to not spend the money to better your chances of being able to be near each other, I should not be asked to forfeit the seat that I spent extra money to guarantee.
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Old 10-09-2012, 02:49 PM   #19
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We just flew Southwest last week and they let our entire family board during Family Boarding. No one ever even mentioned that only one adult can board with the small children. On both our flights, the entire family boarded as well as the other families with small children.
We were able to board as a family (all 7 of us) together between A and B.
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Old 10-09-2012, 03:57 PM   #20
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When we flew SWA (first and last time I'll ever fly that airline!) we got B passes that were half way into the grouping, and I checked in right at the 24 hour mark. Families larger than 4 total were split up for family boarding. This was back in July though.
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Old 10-09-2012, 04:42 PM   #21
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We were able to board as a family (all 7 of us) together between A and B.
This can not be counted on though. It is always better to plan for the worse and hope for the best. There have even been reports from flyers of SW not doing ANY family boarding depending on numbers. They have the right to change the boarding procedure at the time of the flight if the situation warrents it.
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Old 10-09-2012, 05:02 PM   #22
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Yes, they are being more strict in family boarding requirements. We're lucky because my DH is always allowed to board in this group anyway with their current policies (active duty military can board at the same time as families with young children.) And I don't know if this is a case of flight attendants finally being more vocal or not but I've (thankfully) noted fewer cases of people in early boarding groups saving seats on recent flights. It always annoyed me when one person would board early and then save six seats in the front for family. So rude!
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Old 10-09-2012, 05:11 PM   #23
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We were able to board as a family (all 7 of us) together between A and B.
And this is why they are cracking down!! 7 people for 1 three year old.
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:09 PM   #24
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We just checked in this morning, no early boarding payment, we got a's....
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:16 PM   #25
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If I have 2 kids under 4 (3yo & 1yo), can both me and my husband board during family boarding?

Should I bring the birth certificate for my 3 year old? Many people think she's 5 or so because of her height (if you talk to her, you can tell she's 3 by her language skills).
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:49 PM   #26
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I've never flown with children, but I have switched seats so that one terrified and sobbing 7 year old could sit with her father. She was sandwiched between two overweight men. I know your 3 year old could easily sit with you, your husband, or your 20 year old, but how would your 9 & 7 year olds do? If it's not a big deal and they think it would be an adventure to sit by themselves, and you are confident they will behave, then don't worry about it. If you think one of them will freak out and you know that it's possibly you could be on opposite ends of the plane, then you should go ahead and pay the extra money.
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:23 AM   #27
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We just flew Southwest last week. They allow families with small children to board first.. just make sure you arrive EARLY for your flight. IF you aren't in line the first time they call for families, then you have to wait and board with everyone else. The flight home, that happened. The family ended up separated as they showed up JUST at take off.
Just FYI, SW doesn't always do family boarding for families with small children. The last time we flew to Orlando, the entire flight was full of small children, and if they did family boarding, that would have been half the plane. When there are a LOT of children, they skip it.
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:58 AM   #28
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If I have 2 kids under 4 (3yo & 1yo), can both me and my husband board during family boarding?

Should I bring the birth certificate for my 3 year old? Many people think she's 5 or so because of her height (if you talk to her, you can tell she's 3 by her language skills).
Yes, you can all board together and no, you don't need a birth certificate.
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:26 AM   #29
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I wanted to clarify something yoshi said earlier. Family boarding is not first, it is between groups A and B and at the discretion of the gate attendants. To Orlando, most of the people on the plane are families, so in those instances, there is no family boarding.

I wouldn't count on family boarding to end up with seats together.

If sitting together is truly important to you, buy EBCI.
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:43 AM   #30
Marionnette
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I wanted to clarify something yoshi said earlier. Family boarding is not first, it is between groups A and B and at the discretion of the gate attendants. To Orlando, most of the people on the plane are families, so in those instances, there is no family boarding.

I wouldn't count on family boarding to end up with seats together.

If sitting together is truly important to you, buy EBCI.
Exactly! The age limit and the option to not do family boarding at all is at the discretion of the gate agents. However, I have never been on a SWA flight out of PHL (where the OP is departing from) and heading to MCO when they have not done some sort of family boarding between A & B.

As more and more people opt to pay for EBCI, I think that you will see family boarding (if offered) will be pushed back even further as those who are paying to board first should not have to wait while people who chose not to pay for it get to choose their seats.
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