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Old 02-17-2013, 05:49 AM   #1
vivianmarie244
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SW no seat assignments

I'm seriously considering flying SW in Sept since the fares seem to be lower. But it's going to be me, DH, DS (7), DD (5), and my parents. What is the likelihood of us being able to sit together. I can't imagine being separated from the kids!
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:13 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vivianmarie244
I'm seriously considering flying SW in Sept since the fares seem to be lower. But it's going to be me, DH, DS (7), DD (5), and my parents. What is the likelihood of us being able to sit together. I can't imagine being separated from the kids!
I flew once with my three DS (7,9,11 at the time) and did not realize there were no seat assignments. DS11 was on his own halfway up the plane, DS 7&9 were together and I was about three rows behind them. That was the first and last time I flew SW. The cattle call style boarding and scrambling for seats was just not worth it to me.
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:50 AM   #3
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Okay...this is how it works on SW (one of my preferred airlines by the way!!)...
You book your airfare. If sitting together is something you want to be pretty assured of doing, buy early bird checkin. This will have SW check you each in at the 36 hr window, vs you checking yourselves in at the 24 hr window. You will most likely get put in the A boarding group but possibly the low B group.
When you get to the airport, find a seat at the gate and relax. When it's time to board, and your boarding group is called, you line up according to your group. It is split into A, B and C groups. Those that are medical preboards will board first..usually aren't many. With them go any minors flying alone..again, seldom seen. Then, you will see poles with numbers on them....1-5, 6-10, 11-15, etc. within each boarding group. You find your spot and stand. You then board. As you get on the plane, you find seats that meet your needs.

You are basically looking for two completely empty rows...2 kids and a parent and grandparents and a parent. Shouldn't be very hard to do at all. At the very worst, you will be able to find three sets of two seats together...may not be right next to each other, but each child will have a parent next to them. But I truly believe you will be able to find 2 rows, perhaps not right next to each other.

I actually prefer the way SW boards to other airlines boarding call. With regular airlines, people get up and clog the jetway area....hoping to get onboard earlier than they should...based on the group that has been called to board. Yes, SW used to be a cattle call, but not anymore!! It's actually a nice way to fly.

Hope that helped.
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:53 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by vivianmarie244 View Post
I'm seriously considering flying SW in Sept since the fares seem to be lower. But it's going to be me, DH, DS (7), DD (5), and my parents. What is the likelihood of us being able to sit together. I can't imagine being separated from the kids!
Are you going to pay for EBCI (to automatically check you in 36 hours before your flight)? If so, you should be able to sit with your kids (even if it's 2 & 2). 80% chance?

If not, are you going to be able to check in right at the 24 hour mark? If so, you'll probably be able to sit with your kids, especially if you head to the back of the plane. 60% chance?

If not, are you going to check in at the airport? Your odds greatly decrease. Maybe 25% chance you sit with your kids.

Of course, there are other factors... is the flight originating from your airport or are you joining one?
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Old 02-17-2013, 08:44 AM   #5
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if flying at a busy season, look for an early morning flight. if you get first flight of day hopefully it starts at your airport. if plane is coming from another flight people already on plane will get to keep or change their seats before anyone will board even with early seating. plane could be half or more full before you board.
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Old 02-17-2013, 08:55 AM   #6
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You'll have no issues with Early Bird Check in sitting together. It's well worth it. The "cattle call" days are gone.
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Old 02-17-2013, 09:33 AM   #7
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You'll have no issues with Early Bird Check in sitting together. It's well worth it. The "cattle call" days are gone.
Good to know! Maybe I will reconsider them again some day.
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:17 AM   #8
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Good to know! Maybe I will reconsider them again some day.
Yup, the days of arriving at least 2 hrs prior to departure and then standing, in that dreaded line, for all that time, holding your spot?? Man, that was awful. And you couldn't chance getting out of line unless some nice stranger held your spot for you if you were flying solo. That was just awful. It is sooooooo much better now.
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:26 AM   #9
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I agree with the others......pay for EBCI and you shouldn't have any trouble finding seats together. We are a family of 4 and it costs us and extra $80 total R/T ($10/pp each way), but it's worth it to me to make sure we aren't scattered all over the plane.
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:31 PM   #10
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Yup, the days of arriving at least 2 hrs prior to departure and then standing, in that dreaded line, for all that time, holding your spot?? Man, that was awful. And you couldn't chance getting out of line unless some nice stranger held your spot for you if you were flying solo. That was just awful. It is sooooooo much better now.


WN used to give you numbered plastic boarding cards at the gate. You didn't need to stand in line.
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:41 PM   #11
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WN used to give you numbered plastic boarding cards at the gate. You didn't need to stand in line.
Not in Buffalo. Before the days of getting your specific boarding number at check-in, you used to just get an A, B or C grouping. Assuming we were in A Boarding Group - you would wait in line at the boarding area as soon as you go there - this is how you got your spot to enter the plane. It was horrible. I did it several times, but it definitely was not fun. Then you'd always get the groups who were 'together' but had one person waiting there for 2 hours then 10 others would show up at the last minute and get in line with that person. MUCH better now.

To the OP - buy your tickets ASAP and buy the EBCI with it (when you buy EBCI determines what number you get your boarding passes at 36 hours out). If you did it right now I would be 99% sure that you would end up with seats mostly together (maybe need to do 3 and 3 or 2 2 and 2). As it gets closer to flight time, the chances go down. But even still I would guess that you'd have a very good chance of having 2 and 2. If you decide to chance it and just check in at 24 hour mark - your chances are much lower.

I go on Southwest knowing that there is a chance we'll be split up. I've been preparing the kids for that possibility since they were about 6. It has not happened yet (but was VERY close one time - I got lucky that the guy looking for a spot with his kid - the kid he had was about 10 or 11 while mine was 7 - so I got the spot for my dd and he and his son had to separate). Now that they're 9 and 10 it would not be a huge deal - Yes, we PREFER to sit together but it wouldn't be the end of the world that some people think it might be. I would make sure they have their book, drink, snacks and itouch before takeoff and they would be fine.

Good luck.
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:44 PM   #12
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Old WN boarding passes:

http://airandspace.si.edu/exhibition...?webID=412.p10
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Old 02-17-2013, 09:07 PM   #13
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Yes, the old plastic cards had numbers on them, just to know how many people were in each group, however at no airport did I ever see anyone line up by number in the old days, it was just by group.

I flew out of a few airports with SW and the old system.
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:37 AM   #14
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WN used to give you numbered plastic boarding cards at the gate. You didn't need to stand in line.
Not in Providence RI. It was awful. If I was flying alone, I would get there no less than 2 hrs before boarding. That way, I could get into the A line and be one of the first 8-10 people. This way, I could sit on the floor and have a wall behind me. Any spot after that 10th person and you had nothing behind you..unless you got into the B or C line..and nobody wanted to do that. If you got friendly with those around you, you could trade off sitting and walking. They would watch your spot for you if you watched their spot for them.

If I was flying with my dd? One of us would stay with the bags and the other could walk about and stretch or use the rest rooms.
We were never given any type of card for boarding or waiting.
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:40 AM   #15
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I love SW's boarding system-- it's ten times faster than any other airline's boarding procedures. Why, I don't know. You think it would be faster when people have assigned seats, but no. If you buy the early bird you'll have no problem sitting together.
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