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Old 09-22-2012, 10:55 AM   #1
3 Little Princesses
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Southwest Early Check in question

We have our flights booked with SW for our December trip. It will be my husband, our 4 girls (20, 9, 7 & 3) and my self. I did not pay for the early bird check in. I figured I would be able to check us all in at once 24 hours before and it wouldn't be too bad-we are flying out of PHL on 12/28. I also thought if we didn't get A boarding we have our youngest and would be able to board early anyway. Should I just pay for the early bird and not worry or should I take my chances and check in 24 hours before and take my chances?
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Old 09-22-2012, 11:19 AM   #2
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FYI, family boarding, between the A & B groups, is for one family member and a child 4 or under, not the whole family.

Personally, I think paying for EBCI would be a waste of money for you. Just check in at 24 hours and you'll be fine.
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Old 09-22-2012, 11:24 AM   #3
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Thanks! That is what I figured.
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Old 09-22-2012, 11:25 AM   #4
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You will get a lot of opinions so do what works for you. I never ever pay for EBCI whether I fly alone, with another adult or with my whole family. And I've never had a problem getting seats. But I'm not high maintenance when it comes to my seat. I don't care if I get aisle or window or even the dreaded center (which I've only gotten once in all my flights).

If it will make or break your trip to get a certain seating arrangement, pay for it. If you can kind of roll with whatever happens, save the money. Most people will move to accommodate a parent sitting with a younger child if it becomes needed. Don't go in expecting it, but you probably will be fine. Unless the plane is completely full, you'll find seats.
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Old 09-22-2012, 11:47 AM   #5
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I figured we would be ok. I just want us to sit together, I really don't care where. My three little ones have never flown before, not to mention electronics they will have to share during the flight.

I think I will just check in 24 hours before and see what happens.
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Old 09-22-2012, 11:55 AM   #6
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I figured we would be ok. I just want us to sit together, I really don't care where. My three little ones have never flown before, not to mention electronics they will have to share during the flight.

I think I will just check in 24 hours before and see what happens.
If you will be upset if your whole family doesn't sit together, it is best if you pay for EBCI. There is no way to know ahead of time how many people will pay for it, but those that do will all be ahead of you.

I guess you have to decide if your family will be ok if they end up sitting a little apart or not. How much is that extra money worth to you? Will you really be fine if you don't pay and then up having to split up? Or would you rather pay it just to be sure?
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Old 09-22-2012, 12:00 PM   #7
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I did EBCI for myself and hope that I can get dh checked in 24 hours in advance and hopefully will get an A. I am going to carry on ds almost 2 at the time and hopefully no one will want to sit with us. So by the time dh gets on the plane there will still be a seat by us.
I belive they used to let families with small children preboard but now they get to come on before B.
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Old 09-22-2012, 12:37 PM   #8
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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.
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Old 09-22-2012, 01:47 PM   #9
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Yoshi that makes me feel better. I knew at I would at least get to board with our 3 yr old in between A&B. I plan on being at the airport at least 2 hours before if not sooner. Did they let your entire family board together b/c of the small children? Do you think I could board with my three youngest and let my husband and oldest wait if we weren't A? As a pp said if I have two girls on one side and one on the other with me who would want to sit next to them

I never actually thought of only paying for some of us to have early bird check in. With that in mind if I paid for EBCI for my oldest and my husband and went on with the families with small children with the other 3 do you think that would work? I know its only $10 each way but $120 for all of us seems like so much! I keep thinking I could get so many Mickey Bars or Dole Whips for that much $$$!

I am going to talk to my husband about it and see what he thinks. I really appreciate all of the input. Like I said the biggest thing for me is that we all sit together.
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Old 09-22-2012, 02:12 PM   #10
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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.
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Old 09-22-2012, 02:19 PM   #11
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You have 3 adults, I seriously doubt they will let 3 adults board with one 3 yr old -nor should they. Even if they let you and your DH and the little kids I don't think they will let another adult your older child board, she is an adult and they don't let Grandparents or aunts, etc.

If it is going to Orlando they have also been known to not have family boarding.

Since you have so many adults I wouldn't pay since you have an adult with each child and sets of 2 seats are usually available. If you really want to all be close then I would pay for ECB. You need to pay for what is important to you. My family doesn't care if we are together or even close so we don't pay but you do so you should pay.

Split up the electronics between the kids, because even with family boarding there is no guarantee you will all be together.

If they leave your DH and you and the younger ones board you should all board and sit with a seat in between 2 of you for your older DD for when she gets on. I don't get why you would leave your DH off if he is able to get on with the little kids.
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Old 09-22-2012, 02:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3 Little Princesses View Post
I never actually thought of only paying for some of us to have early bird check in. With that in mind if I paid for EBCI for my oldest and my husband and went on with the families with small children with the other 3 do you think that would work? I know its only $10 each way but $120 for all of us seems like so much! I keep thinking I could get so many Mickey Bars or Dole Whips for that much $$$!
Exactly why I never pay for it. It just seems like a total waste of money. I check in at the 24hr mark from my phone and I always get decent enough boarding with that. The only time I ever ended up with a C was when I totally flaked and forgot to check in until something like 12 hr before. I figure the people who get late C's and D's must just never fly and not know to check in or something?
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Old 09-22-2012, 03:43 PM   #13
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I'm going to suggest you go read this thread:http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2994899

It has a lot of information you should be aware of. Part of which is that family boarding can either be eliminated entirely, or the age adjusted down to as young as 2 and under.

You really need to get as much information on this as possible, as it seems sitting together is very important to you. I wouldn't want you to end up disappointed.
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Old 09-22-2012, 03:56 PM   #14
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Southwest has changed the rules on the family boarding, fairly recently. My youngest is 6, and when we "family boarded" because of him, we all got to go. But now, they've changed the rules. It's one adult with the under-4, that's it.

We deal with this by paying for the Early Check-In. Yeah, it adds up, but it's worth it for me personally. YMMD, of course. Another other possiblity would be checking in right at the 24-hour mark (via smart phone or computer--I would set an alarm to remind myself). Another thought is, have a back-up plan in your head--if you had to split up, who would sit with whom? We've done this, as well--my teens (DD17, DS15) could possibly sit away form the rest of us. Then, DH and I split up with the little guys (DD9, DS6) if necessary. We've never had to do this, but I think at least having a game plan in your head, just in case, might make you feel better. You might encounter kindly strangers who will move seats to accommodate you, you might not.

On our upcoming trip, it'll be just me with the two younger kids. I paid for Early Check-In--I don't want to risk being separated from them.
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Old 09-22-2012, 04:08 PM   #15
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What others have said is true - If it is going to ruin your vacation if you don't ALL sit together - then pay for it. If it's just something that would be nice but not a huge deal either way - then don't.

One adult will be able to sit with the 3 year old. But for the rest - it's iffy. Yes - they allow family boarding after A group boards - but especially to Orlando - sometimes there are so many family boarding groups that they cancel it. Plus - to be 'first in line' for family boarding it means getting there so much earlier than necessary (not fun usually with a 3 year old) and then STAND in line at the door for the entire time - yuck. With early bird check-in - you will have your boarding passes in hand and sit and relax - do bathroom visits- or hang out at a nearby eatery until they call the A group.

That said - we rarely/never pay for it (have once or twice for the return trip bacause I didn't want to worry about finding a computer at exactly the 24 hour mark). But I go into it realizing and telling my 8 and 9 year olds that there is a small chance we won't get seats next to each other - but that we will be close. And I never expect anyone to change seats for me - because if it was that important to inconvenience someone else - I would have paid the $$.
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