Southwest Early Bird and MCO

Discussion in 'Transportation' started by mmouse50, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. mmouse50

    mmouse50 DIS Veteran

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    I just flew home yesterday and had purchased EBCI for the return trip - I ended up with A54-A56. Since I was so close to the end of the A's and they were boarding the families (and there were a lot of them) between A and B would I have had any recourse if I had done early bird and received a B and still had to board after all the families that I am assuming hadn't done early bird?
     
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  3. DebbieB

    DebbieB DIS Veteran

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    No, there is no guarantee of an A with early bird. You were still ahead of the position you would have got if you didn't do early bird.
     
  4. mmouse50

    mmouse50 DIS Veteran

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    yes - I am aware of that but if I have close to 15 or more complete families in front of me - why did I pay for early bird? I realize it is only 10.00 dollars but they didn't have to pay anything to get a better seat than me.
     
  5. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon DIS Veteran

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    It's the chance you take.

    Yes, you can complain to SW, but since there's no guarantee of EBCI getting you a specific boarding position, they don't have to do anything.

    ETA: 15 "complete families" would be 60 people (15x4)... that's nearly half the plane.
     
  6. LilyWDW

    LilyWDW Going to My Happy Place

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    As was said, you are not guaranteed an A boarding pass. You are simply checked in ahead of time. You take that into account when you decide to pay the extra money for Early Bird. If you don't want to risk paying and getting a B, then don't pay. However, it IS possible.
     
  7. goofy4tink

    goofy4tink No tags...not needed! Transportation moderator Moderator

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    'If' there were to be 15 families wanting to board between the A and B groups, the gate agents would most likely suspend family boarding.
    Paying for EBCI does not get you an A group boarding spot. It gets you checked in prior to the passengers checking in at the 24 hr window. Now, if you have paid for EBCI, and there are a ton of people boarding in between the two groups? Yes, you might be able to say something.
    With SW now raising the price of EBCI, we may see fewer people buying it. I buy it only when I won't be near a computer at the 24 hr window...and that's usually just for my return flight.
     
  8. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

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    Don't families board first regardless of their boarding position? In other words, if you received A54, its not because the families had A1-54. Wouldn't it go families, then A1-15(business select) and then 16 on? Also, EBCI is (supposedly) completed in order by which it was purchased. If you bought it with your tickets last summer, you'll likely be in the lower A numbers. If you added it last week, you'd be at the end.
     
  9. DebbieB

    DebbieB DIS Veteran

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    No, families are now between A and B.

    Supposedly fare plays a part in the order of EBCI's.
     
  10. lost*in*cyberspace

    lost*in*cyberspace DIS Veteran

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    WN's rule for family boarding is one family member may board with one child age 4 or younger between the A and B group, not the whole family. Is this enforced? I don't know; I haven't flown WN in several years.
     
  11. tjmw2727

    tjmw2727 DIS Veteran

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    Families - one adult with each child 4 and under board between the A and B groups unless they have an A boarding pass.

    EBCI - the way it was explained to me is:
    Business Select gets A1-A16, A listers (frequent fliers) get first priority after that, then Anytime Fares by EBCI purchase date at T36, then Wanna Get Away fares by EBCI purchase date at T36.

    There is no guarantee of an A boarding position with EBCI; you are simply checked in automaticly and at T36 vs T24.
     
  12. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

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    Then that makes sense. Yes, I have heard fare as well with the "Wanna Get Away" fares being last in the pecking order. But, when it's the same fares, time of purchase factors in from what I have read.
     
  13. DebbieB

    DebbieB DIS Veteran

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    I think it is up to the gate agent. I have usually seen both parents and all children in the family board. I can't say I've ever heard "one parent, one child". I have heard them say no grandparents, aunts, etc. Not that it really matters because SW doesn't seem to enforce no seat saving.
     
  14. mmouse50

    mmouse50 DIS Veteran

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    Not trying to confrontational but the families trying to board our plane went from the check in podium all the way out to the lobby area (past the entire waiting area) it was entire families - one small one with both parents along with others that were way over 5 - I was just wondering what could be done - I realize that I am not guaranteed anything but I just figured that because I paid the ebci and have children over the cut off age that we may not be sitting together even if southwest checks us in esrly
     
  15. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon DIS Veteran

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    I think what we're trying to tell you is you can complain. What's the worst that can happen? BUT, we don't expect you to get anything.
     
  16. bumbershoot

    bumbershoot DIS Veteran

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    They allowed a line like that to form even before A had boarded? That's pretty unusual. When I've flown SW in the last couple years, they will sternly tell people to sit back down until it's their time, if they try to form a line other than the line at the poles.

    And since you did board before those people, you *probably* have no true idea what happened with them after you got on board.
     
  17. Princess on the Run

    Princess on the Run Sprinkling Pixie Dust!!!

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    What sort of recourse would you expect? You paid to be checked in at 36 hrs and they did that. You got what you paid for so what else would you expect them to offer? EBCI doesn't promise a great seat or A boarding, just a check in at 36 hrs.
     
  18. Tink3815

    Tink3815 Mouseketeer

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    I also flew out of MCO on Sat 10/15. The family line was at least 20 families deep with all ages of children and both set of parents. They all boarded together after the A's. If I had paid the 10.00 extra and had to board after all of them I would be calling Southwest to find ask what the policy is about this and making a complaint if it was not followed.
     
  19. Jestocost

    Jestocost DIS Veteran

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    The issue is that the gate agents have significant discretion with regard to the application of and any flexibility around the policy, so you are going to find significant variation in what happens. GAs can choose to completely suspend family boarding if there are a large number of families with small children at one end of the spectrum but a different GA in exactly the same situation could not only have family boarding but also could allow entire families--not just the one child with one adult the policy would let them limit it to--to board.

    This thread so far reflects the opinions of people who would be upset if family boarding was applied too broadly and those who purchased EBCI and received B boarding numbers. While I agree that allowing a large number of full families to board before the Bs isn't a good idea, the EBCI passengers in the B group are still technically getting what they paid for.

    However, you can find other threads where there are families incensed that family boarding was suspended or that the policy limiting boarding to one qualfiying adult and one child was applied to the letter. I don't believe that they have much to complain about as technically SWA is within their rights to suspend family boarding or to conform the procedure to the limits within their published policy.

    For all of its pluses, this highlights a few areas where SWA has its minuses. Another example is their lack of a clear policy regarding seat saving. Their policy is that you can take any open seat once on the plane, but they don't specifically define what constitutes an open seat. As a result, it winds up being up the the FAs discretion; and some are of a mind that any seat without a person in it is "open" and others won't require a single person in a row of six seats who has placed a small item on the five other seats to remove those items to allow others to sit there,
     
  20. conniehar90

    conniehar90 DIS Veteran

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    I can't stand the family boarding policy - I think they should board after the B's. I have not seen them stick to the one adult/one child rule. Last Spring break, there were a ton of full families boarding between A&B. We paid for EBCI and were right at the beginning of the B's so we were ok but others weren't. My DH sat next to a guy with a B that was upset that he had to split up his family because his daughter was 7 and they couldn't board early. We then had a family of 3 that had to completely split up and the 8 year old child had to sit by themselves. The crew begged (offering free drinks) for someone to move and allow the Mother to sit by her son but no one would.
     
  21. kamik86

    kamik86 DIS Veteran

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    I understand why the gate agents have discretion to apply the rules liberally, but it does seem that some gate agents don't really want to rock the boat so they just let whatever go.

    Some bend to 1 adult 1 child makes sense.
    Examples:
    1 Adult with a 2 year old and 6 year old. With the above rule this would leave a 6 year old alone to try to board at his boarding position.

    2 adults and 1 child, well lets be honest here they are going to end up being one full row, so what does it really hurt to have the third person join them now? Plus now its easier for them to get all their stuff and settle down and move everyone along.

    The plan to Orlando I was on had many families but I was ok in the low B's and it was starting to get a bit crowded when DH joined me (high B's but he just wanted the middle seat next to me anyway) a bit after that though had lots of issues with parents being upset that they weren't next to their children, including one mom that kept bugging the FA being they weren't next to each other, her 7 year old was in front of her, it wasn't like they were on opposite ends of the plane. FA didn't even try to get people to volunteer although a few people did. Which made for a fun time getting everyone to sit down so we could leave and fun with people trying to move all over to get their bags at the end.
     

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