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Old 03-24-2013, 04:07 PM   #1
mickeymom69
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First time flying Southwest

This June will be my first time flying out of Buffalo. I am flying Southwest and have never flown with them before. I cannot seem to understand the boarding process for Southwest. I have always pre-booked my seats when flying, and my kids are worried about sitting alone. Can someone please explain the boarding process for me? How early should I get to the Buffalo airport so we can be seated together?
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Old 03-24-2013, 04:43 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by mickeymom69 View Post
This June will be my first time flying out of Buffalo. I am flying Southwest and have never flown with them before. I cannot seem to understand the boarding process for Southwest. I have always pre-booked my seats when flying, and my kids are worried about sitting alone. Can someone please explain the boarding process for me? How early should I get to the Buffalo airport so we can be seated together?
There is a video on the SW website that will walk you through it. Basically checking opens 24 hrs before the flight. You check in online at that point to get your boarding number and Group. Group A boards first in order of the your boarding number. All of it is based upon when you check in. It's open seating so the earlier you check in the better. If you are really concerned then spend the $10 and get the early check in. As long as you are in the A group or the first part of B you won't have an issue sitting together. If you wait till the airport to check in your chance of getting an A are pretty low.

You didn't mention how old the kids were. If 4 or younger you can board between the A and B group as a family. We have used this our trips. Our youngest is about to turn 5 after which we will spend the $10 pp on the early check in for piece of mind. Still a lot cheaper and easier than flying from TO.
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Old 03-24-2013, 05:50 PM   #3
mickeymom69
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Thanks! I am so used to pre-booking our seats that I think I may just go ahead and pay for the option to be in the earlier seating groups. My kids are 16 and 12, but DD12 is bringing a friends who is a nervous traveller and I want to ensure they sit together.
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Old 03-24-2013, 05:54 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by mickeymom69 View Post
This June will be my first time flying out of Buffalo. I am flying Southwest and have never flown with them before. I cannot seem to understand the boarding process for Southwest. I have always pre-booked my seats when flying, and my kids are worried about sitting alone. Can someone please explain the boarding process for me? How early should I get to the Buffalo airport so we can be seated together?
I agree with poster. spend the extra $10.00 you can confirm your seats up to three days in advance and sit in the A group. sitting all together is nice. flying out of buffalo is not bad. great airport and easy to get to your gates.
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Old 03-24-2013, 06:15 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by darwinsrule View Post
There is a video on the SW website that will walk you through it. Basically checking opens 24 hrs before the flight. You check in online at that point to get your boarding number and Group. Group A boards first in order of the your boarding number. All of it is based upon when you check in. It's open seating so the earlier you check in the better. If you are really concerned then spend the $10 and get the early check in. As long as you are in the A group or the first part of B you won't have an issue sitting together. If you wait till the airport to check in your chance of getting an A are pretty low.

You didn't mention how old the kids were. If 4 or younger you can board between the A and B group as a family. We have used this our trips. Our youngest is about to turn 5 after which we will spend the $10 pp on the early check in for piece of mind. Still a lot cheaper and easier than flying from TO.
Great info, thanks! We have always flown Air Tran from Portland ME, and with the change over to be completed soon I am a little hesitant with SW's boarding process as we have 3 children - though none under 8.

I don't know if anyone recalls 'Greyhound Air' that flew some 727's in Canada in the late 90's - flew them once from Edmonton to Hamilton, I recall their boarding process being similar to SW - wait for your boarding group then scramble for a seat.
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Old 03-24-2013, 06:57 PM   #6
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We flew them once, and did early bird check in. It worked out fine. It's especially important if for example your flight home is mid day, so 24 hr check in you will probably be in a park, not sitting in your hotel room with your computer having to do the 24 hr check in. Nice to have it done for you.
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Old 03-27-2013, 07:00 AM   #7
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I would definitely spend the extra $10. In Oct we were B 1, 2 & 3 and were not able to sit together. I was able to sit with my DD but my DH had to sit really far away from us.

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Old 03-27-2013, 07:07 AM   #8
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I would definitely spend the extra $10. In Oct we were B 1, 2 & 3 and were not able to sit together. I was able to sit with my DD but my DH had to sit really far away from us.

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Really? Was this a flight out of an airport that would have alot of through passengers still on the plane from before (Chicago or BWI for example?) or were there alot of people doing family boarding?

I ask because I fly southwest only and fly alot (I have boarded a southwest flight 16 times since January and will another 8 in april) and I have never gotten on in the early Bs (even B20 or so) and not had there be plenty of open rows still in the back of the plane.

I guess the other way that could happen is if almost everyone with an A pass was flying alone and they all choose to sit in a separate row. But since some people like aisles and some windows most of the time I have seen that when you get on as a B the front of the plane is full except the middles and the back is practically empty.
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:44 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by kamik86 View Post

Really? Was this a flight out of an airport that would have alot of through passengers still on the plane from before (Chicago or BWI for example?) or were there alot of people doing family boarding?

I ask because I fly southwest only and fly alot (I have boarded a southwest flight 16 times since January and will another 8 in april) and I have never gotten on in the early Bs (even B20 or so) and not had there be plenty of open rows still in the back of the plane.

I guess the other way that could happen is if almost everyone with an A pass was flying alone and they all choose to sit in a separate row. But since some people like aisles and some windows most of the time I have seen that when you get on as a B the front of the plane is full except the middles and the back is practically empty.
We fly out of Buffalo & it was around noon. It could've been though cause it was an old small plane. There did seem to be a lot of families as well, it was like they were all going to the World.

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Old 03-27-2013, 08:59 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by kamik86 View Post
Really? Was this a flight out of an airport that would have alot of through passengers still on the plane from before (Chicago or BWI for example?) or were there alot of people doing family boarding?

I ask because I fly southwest only and fly alot (I have boarded a southwest flight 16 times since January and will another 8 in april) and I have never gotten on in the early Bs (even B20 or so) and not had there be plenty of open rows still in the back of the plane.

I guess the other way that could happen is if almost everyone with an A pass was flying alone and they all choose to sit in a separate row. But since some people like aisles and some windows most of the time I have seen that when you get on as a B the front of the plane is full except the middles and the back is practically empty.
Quote:
Originally Posted by KNovacovschi View Post
We fly out of Buffalo & it was around noon. It could've been though cause it was an old small plane. There did seem to be a lot of families as well, it was like they were all going to the World.

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This happened to my DH and myself flying out of PVD as well. It seemed a lot of people were purchasing EBCI for only one member of their party and saving entire rows. It really held up the boarding process. In addition, there were a lot of families that seemed to qualify for the family boarding. We were closer to the B20 boarding numbers.
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Old 03-27-2013, 10:46 AM   #11
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This happened to my DH and myself flying out of PVD as well. It seemed a lot of people were purchasing EBCI for only one member of their party and saving entire rows. It really held up the boarding process. In addition, there were a lot of families that seemed to qualify for the family boarding. We were closer to the B20 boarding numbers.
Oh, that's what I was wondering. So it'd be $10 per person, not per party. I can see people trying to "save"; that would make me really cranky.

It's been a couple of years since I flew SW, the EBCI was new then and not widely used. I've done the 24 hr checkin and never had a problem with our family of four, but as I said, that's a couple of years now.
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Old 03-27-2013, 12:12 PM   #12
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We fly Southwest out of Buffalo (unless we drive) at least once a year and we've never been apart from each other, across the isle maybe, but that's it!

You can do an online check-in to get your boarding number, but really it's very simple and the only ones I ever see split from family is when they are the last to get on the plane or are teens and they chose it that way!

Don't worry, have a great vacation!!
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Old 03-27-2013, 12:21 PM   #13
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For the seat saving I think they really need to make a clear policy on this one. I think saving one seat or maybe even the other two in a row isn't so bad but I have seen one or two try to save 3 or 4 rows.

The only time I have saved a seat is when my DH and I had lower numbers and my mom was about 30 people behind. But we just took an aisle and window and I moved over when my mom came, no one cares if you save the middle seats. I'll do a similar thing on our next trip since I am now A list and will board earlier then my DH. But again I am only saving the middle seat next to me.
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Old 03-27-2013, 01:52 PM   #14
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For the seat saving I think they really need to make a clear policy on this one. I think saving one seat or maybe even the other two in a row isn't so bad but I have seen one or two try to save 3 or 4 rows.

The only time I have saved a seat is when my DH and I had lower numbers and my mom was about 30 people behind. But we just took an aisle and window and I moved over when my mom came, no one cares if you save the middle seats. I'll do a similar thing on our next trip since I am now A list and will board earlier then my DH. But again I am only saving the middle seat next to me.
Because it was holding up boarding so much, the flight attendant finally made an announcement for everyone to remove bags from seats and that if a body was not in the seat, it was unoccupied and available for anyone to sit in.

I really think they should make it mandatory for an entire party to purchase the EBCI instead of just one member.
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Old 03-31-2013, 12:30 PM   #15
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We just returned from our first experience with Southwest out of Manchester. We purchased EBC for all of us and both legs of the trip.

On our way down we were assigned boarding sections B24+ (there were six of us). We purchased our tickets and EBC within minutes of the seats going on sale. We ended up 3 and 3 across from each other which worked out fine. We were on their new 737 800 aircraft which is HUGE. Even being given the B section, when we boarded the back half of the plane was empty.

On our way back we were give A49+. This was a 737 700 series. When we boarded we sat on the wing, again 3 and 3 but behind each other rather than across.

The last of the passengers were a family of 4 which initially had to all sit separately however after the little boy started crying and telling his father he wanted to sit with him, a fellow passenger offered to move. I also looked back and saw someone had also offered so the mom and daughter could also be seated together.

That being said, there were adults that were separated as there were no seats left together.

The only reason I would fly Southwest again is we enjoyed leaving out of Manchester and flying direct to FLL for our cruise. Other than that I probably wouldn't fly with them again...I found it added extra stress not knowing if we would be together. I have a terrible fear of flying so being seated next to DD (10) and DH helps calm my nerves...that and ativan
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