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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.

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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 11-19-2012, 08:50 PM   #7
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We have done the EBCI on all the flights we have taken SW and have always been in the high As. We also purchased the EBCI on the day the flights opened so not sure if that makes a difference. On the few flights we have taken to MCO there were people asking about the family boarding and were told there would be none since basically everyone on the plane was a family. For me the EBCI is a no brainer since I don't want to have to be on the computer at 24 hrs. before my flight - either way.
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:27 PM   #8
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OP you can purchase EBCI for just one of the adults. Have that adult board with the infant. Then that person can save seats for the other two seat.
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:30 PM   #9
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I never purchase EBCI for any reason as I feel it is a waste of money.
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Old 11-20-2012, 02:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
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I never purchase EBCI for any reason as I feel it is a waste of money.
I agree this is usually true. However, if you are flying during one of the busiest times of the year with young children, I think it would help relieve some travel stress purchasing EBCI for at least one adult in the OP's family.
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Old 11-20-2012, 02:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lost*in*cyberspace View Post
I agree this is usually true. However, if you are flying during one of the busiest times of the year with young children, I think it would help relieve some travel stress purchasing EBCI for at least one adult in the OP's family.
You better be careful, the transportation hall monitors are going to be all over you if you even THINK about suggesting someone save seats.
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Old 11-20-2012, 03:06 PM   #12
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When we boarded a SWA flight from San Antonio to Orlando last month, a group of 5 adults and three kids (only one looked 4 yrs old, but I suspect even she was older) did the family boarding thing. i wasn't the only passenger perturbed at that, but didn't figure it was worth making a stink about it.
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Old 11-20-2012, 03:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by denman007 View Post
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.



I think the people recommending seat-saving would feel different about it if *they* got on board a flight with their family members, only to find umpteen people saving seats for their families. If we put ourselves into that position, we wouldn't recommend it for others as often.
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Old 11-20-2012, 10:26 PM   #14
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Quote:
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I think the people recommending seat-saving would feel different about it if *they* got on board a flight with their family members, only to find umpteen people saving seats for their families. If we put ourselves into that position, we wouldn't recommend it for others as often.
Not really. If I need a whole row because I want to sit with my kids, I would pass by a row with someone sitting in it whether or not they were saving the other seats. If I need a whole row, I will keep moving back until I find an empty one. The person in row 7 saving the other 2 seats has no effect on me because I can't use them in that situation anyway.
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Old 11-20-2012, 11:13 PM   #15
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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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