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Southwest's Early Bird Option  
User currently offlineb777erj145 From United States of America, joined Feb 2013, 102 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 5 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 3853 times:

Hello Guys. I was just wondering if Southwest's Early bird worth it? Its for my grandparents who are traveling by themselves.

14 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePI4EVER From United States of America, joined May 2009, 679 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (1 year 5 months 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 3826 times:
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The fee has increased to $12.50 each one-way but I still say it is worth it. Unless you (or the grandparents) have the ability to access their booking AT PRECISELY the 24 OLCI mark they'll likely lose any real chance of a "A" boarding #. It also helps when someone doesn't have computer access knowing your boarding zone will be assigned at the 36 hour mark and that # will be held for you at any point thereafter when you have the ability to check-in. Also, if need be, you can print your boarding pass at the airport kiosk.
On my most recent WN flights purchasing EB I got A28 and A30 respectively, and while it cost a heck of a lot more, the one Business Select fare I had to purchase got me A1.
Keep in mind in all cases, pre-boards and thru-passengers do get to board prior to locals so it is rare you step on the plane and it is empty. In my A1 case, I boarded and about 25 people were already on the plane but still a bunch of seats to select so no issue. Oddly, in selecting a seat more up front, rows 9 and 10, no one ended up in the center seat so nice room for just 2 of us at the window and aisle. A F/A suggested always to pick seats up front as people straggle to the back and rarely go back up front looking for a better seat. The last 2 rows end up crammed.



watch what you want. you may get it.
User currently offlineB747forever From Sweden, joined May 2007, 17066 posts, RR: 10
Reply 2, posted (1 year 5 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 3809 times:

If you check in exactly at the 24hrs mark it is not worth it. It will cost your grandparents $50 for the whole trip, which I would say is still not worth it, even if you won't be able to check in at T-24.


Work Hard, Fly Right
User currently offlineb777erj145 From United States of America, joined Feb 2013, 102 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (1 year 5 months 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 3784 times:

Thanks for the advice

Quoting PI4EVER (Reply 1):
I boarded and about 25 people were already on the plane

That's the main reason i was wondering if i should by that or not. I don't know where is the plane gonna come from or how many people are going to be already boarded on the flight.

Quoting B747forever (Reply 2):

They are coming from my aunt from CHI so I don't know if she can able to check them in online but overall its not an issue where they sit or not. I just don't want them to get bad seat aka last couple of rows.


User currently offlineB747forever From Sweden, joined May 2007, 17066 posts, RR: 10
Reply 4, posted (1 year 5 months 2 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 3779 times:

Quoting b777erj145 (Reply 3):
They are coming from my aunt from CHI so I don't know if she can able to check them in online but overall its not an issue where they sit or not. I just don't want them to get bad seat aka last couple of rows.

There is no difference between the front row seats and the last couple of row seats. Actually I would say those are better as they are the last to be occupied, which means that they have a greater chance to get a whole row for themselves.



Work Hard, Fly Right
User currently offlineLAXLocal From United States of America, joined Dec 2009, 79 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (1 year 5 months 2 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 3771 times:

Can you check in online if using a senior fare?


LAXLocal
User currently offlineaklrno From United States of America, joined Dec 2010, 943 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (1 year 5 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 3736 times:

Quoting LAXLocal (Reply 5):
Can you check in online if using a senior fare?

Yes, but if this is your first time on a senior fare, or if you aren't a rapid rewards member and thus they have no memory of you then you will just get a security pass, not a real boarding pass.

When you are age verified either at the check-in counter or the gate podium you will be given a real boarding pass, but your number will be the same as on the security pass.


User currently onlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 23035 posts, RR: 20
Reply 7, posted (1 year 5 months 2 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 3720 times:

Quoting B747forever (Reply 4):
There is no difference between the front row seats and the last couple of row seats.

Correct. Both are narrower than the seats at the middle, which is where you want to be if width is an issue. It's more pronounced on -300s and -500s, but definitely noticeable on all types.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineb777erj145 From United States of America, joined Feb 2013, 102 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (1 year 5 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 3700 times:

Quoting LAXLocal (Reply 5):

I didn't buy the senior fare. I bought the "Wanna get away" fare which was more than 1/2 the fare of the "Senior Fare"

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 7):
Quoting aklrno (Reply 6):

Thanks. They just don't care where they sit, but I just want them to have good seats. Personally I have never been on Southwest but I hate their concept of free seating because of what you are travelling with few family members/friends and there are only middle seats left or there are only 2 seats left together and you are travelling in a group of 4-5 people. That's why they are last in my travel list. I only book them when I have luggage to check or their fare is substantially lower than others.


User currently onlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 23035 posts, RR: 20
Reply 9, posted (1 year 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 3651 times:

Quoting b777erj145 (Reply 8):
Personally I have never been on Southwest but I hate their concept of free seating because of what you are travelling with few family members/friends and there are only middle seats left or there are only 2 seats left together and you are travelling in a group of 4-5 people.

I have boarded as late as the B40s and never had trouble sitting with my party. I'm not sure WN is any worse than the legacies in that regard, as it can be quite difficult to get blocs of 4 or 5 seats on a legacy unless booking months in advance.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlinePITingres From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 1145 posts, RR: 13
Reply 10, posted (1 year 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 3626 times:

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 9):
I have boarded as late as the B40s and never had trouble sitting with my party.

  

I've had more problems with assigned seating, in fact. Probably just bad luck on my part but I would not fear WN for reasons of seating. I enjoy WN and use them whenever I can, mostly because I have a much better chance of getting a seat I like when flying with them.

As for the original question: I agree with PI4EVER. If your folks aren't experienced flyers, and/or may not be able to check in online within an hour or so of the 24 hour mark, I'd spend the extra $25 or whatever for the Early Bird. The checkin thing depends of course on the vagaries of that flight; I've checked in 5 minutes after the 24-hour mark and gotten B15 when I expected A-somthing, and I've checked in 4 hours before the flight (tremble!) and gotten B30-something (and I recall that I still scored a window seat on that flight.)

If your folks are pretty easy with flying and have a good shot at checking in on time, you can probably do without it.



Fly, you fools! Fly!
User currently offlineb777erj145 From United States of America, joined Feb 2013, 102 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (1 year 5 months 2 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 3566 times:

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 9):
Quoting PITingres (Reply 10):

Thanks. I really appreciate everyone's input.


User currently offlinetype-rated From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 3354 times:

It must be working, a friend of mine just flew ATL-HOU and didn't want to pay the fee for advanced boarding. He and his son got on board and couldn't find two seats together. All that was left were single seats. And he had an 'A' boarding pass. He said when they called for the Early Bird boarding about half of the people in the departure lounge boarded.

User currently offlineaklrno From United States of America, joined Dec 2010, 943 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 3339 times:

Quoting type-rated (Reply 12):
It must be working, a friend of mine just flew ATL-HOU and didn't want to pay the fee for advanced boarding. He and his son got on board and couldn't find two seats together. All that was left were single seats. And he had an 'A' boarding pass. He said when they called for the Early Bird boarding about half of the people in the departure lounge boarded.

This sounds suspicious. They don't call for early bird boarding. Everyone has a number. You line up by number. The only way to know who paid and who didn't is to ask everyone in line. A-list and business select tickets also get lower numbers than early bird, but still in the A group. Handicap gets on first, along with UMs. Finally, if your segment is a continuation of an incoming fight, some people are already seated.

There are about 130 seats on the plane. There are at most 60 A's. Unless there were a lot of handicapped people and unaccompanied children getting on and a big crowd continuing its hard to see the A group getting separated unless there were people on board who insisted on getting the middle seat.


User currently offlinealggag From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 98 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 3331 times:

Quoting aklrno (Reply 13):
This sounds suspicious. They don't call for early bird boarding. Everyone has a number. You line up by number. The only way to know who paid and who didn't is to ask everyone in line. A-list and business select tickets also get lower numbers than early bird, but still in the A group. Handicap gets on first, along with UMs. Finally, if your segment is a continuation of an incoming fight, some people are already seated.

There are about 130 seats on the plane. There are at most 60 A's. Unless there were a lot of handicapped people and unaccompanied children getting on and a big crowd continuing its hard to see the A group getting separated unless there were people on board who insisted on getting the middle seat.

I agree. Unfortunately though, some WN GAs have been known to basically do their own thing and not follow the proper boarding rules so it's possible that things did in fact happen as described.


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