RedFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4376 posts, RR: 27 Posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 3854 times:
I don't want to start an "I hate Southwest Airlines and will never fly them because of this" string...
However, the last three times I've been booked on them and tried to get my boarding pass on line, after entering my confirmation number and name, I got the screen with the baggage handler icon (with the crossed flags indicating 'stop') and a message that said due to Southwest policy, restrictions, or fare rules the boarding pass could not be issued on line. And, I was forced to go to the airport earlier than planned to get my boarding pass.
Now, after this happend the 2nd time, I called them and was told that they issue only so many passes on line and that for those passengers that could not get a pass on line, they had to show up at the ticket counter with an ID and get the pass from the agent. When I got to the airport for that particular flight, the line was long so I tried the kiosk. It spit out an "A" boarding pass and I was on to my gate. Now, as most of you know, "A" is issued to the first 45(?) passengers so I can't believe they allow on line checking for less than 45 passengers.
When it happened the third time just yesterday, I called them again and explained that, due to their open seating policy, on line check-in was more important to me with them than any other airline because I could check in on line early assuring myself of an "A" boarding pass and still take my time getting to the airport. The agent was very courteous and kept researching the issue and even tried to re-enter my confirmation number in her system because she was told by her supervisor to do so would alleviate the problem. It didn't work and she told me the same story: that they issue only so many on line boarding passes and that I would have to check in at the airport. And again I left for the airport earlier than planned and again got an "A" boarding pass at the kiosk.
My question is, I've never experienced this issue with any other airline. Why does Southwest do this or, more importantly, why don't they try to alleviate the problem? Since I can get a pass at the kiosk, it is no different than getting the pass on line. And getting a pass on line reduces their costs because ultimately they won't need as many kiosks.
Now, I have noticed the only pattern with these three flights was that all three were to the San Francisco bay area -- San Jose and Oakland.
I like Southwest in general and don't even mind the open seating policy. However, being able to get a boarding pass on line is very important to me because I am typically working on something up to the last minute. These three incidences have shaken my confidence and unless I can figure out why it happens I will try to avoid them as leaving for the airport 2 to 3 hours early just to ensure I get an "A" boarding is getting to be a big inconvenience for me.
RedFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4376 posts, RR: 27
Reply 2, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 3755 times:
I've printed out "C" boarding passes on southwest.com in the past (PHX-SAN). That's my whole point. I don't buy the story that they only issue so many on line.
I think I will wait until I fly somewhere other than San Francisco bay area and try it again. If it prints my pass then I'll go back to using Southwest on my next trip to the bay area. And if it doesn't work on that try then I'll know it has something to do with the bay area.
Goingboeing From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4875 posts, RR: 16
Reply 3, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 3736 times:
Were you on a one way ticket? YOu can't do online check iin on a one way ticket. Also, it's my understanding that if you were travelling as part of a group reservation (more than just you), you couldn't check in online either.
WA727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 174 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 3696 times:
Greetings fellow Phoenician:
We always use the kiosks, always get there about 90 minutes prior, and always seem to end up in group B. I loathe hanging out in the airport as well, especially early in the morning, but 'tis the nature of the beast these days. Online passes are great and wish they'd allow it a full day in advance like HP to avoid this task right before an early flight. Also, kiosks are good when coming home and no access to a computer/printer. When everybody catches on to online check in, we'll be all sitting at our computers at 12:01am the day of, just to get in group A.
RedFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4376 posts, RR: 27
Reply 8, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 3646 times:
Nothing unusual about my itineraries -- traveling alone and the tickets that were purchased were for roundtrip. Also, my confirmation numbers were accurate. Nevertheless, I went back and looked at my calendar and I noticed one other coincidence about those trips up to the Bay Area, and that is that they were all booked on short notice, e.g., not more than 24 - 36 hours prior to departure.
Could that be what's causing the problem?
I have to figure out what the issue is because, inasmuch as I don't mind traveling WN and it's one of three preferred carriers I use for domestic travel, hanging out at the airport for a few hours just to make sure I get an "A" boarding is not going to cut it. And since PHX terminals don't have wi-fi, I'm effectively down production wise.
LTBEWR From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13250 posts, RR: 16
Reply 10, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 3597 times:
Perhaps there are several reasons for your problem.
No Shows. If the flight is fully booked or even overbooked, then it may not be good for WN to allocate too many on-line 'A' bording order passes as there can be a resonably expected number - perhaps 3-4 or more seats - be no-shows. If the person checks in at the airport, there is probably a 99.9% chance that person will be on that flight. Why issue on line too many A bording order passes that may not be used?
On-line limit of 45 "A" seating order requests. If my math is right, 45 is about 30% of the capacity of their a/c, which makes sense when you have 3 groups. This also leaves a cushion for certain people that have special needs (handicapped, elderly, children) whom may be allowed to board before the 'A' group.
Transfering pax. Although I am not sure how it works at WN, could be WN transferring pax, especially special needs transferring pax may have 'A' priority of boarding.
AADC10 From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2103 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 3580 times:
Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 11): Well, if I'm tagged by TSA then I assume I would encounter the same issue with other airlines. Also, it's only happened when I fly to the Bay Area on WN, not when I fly to other destinations on WN.
Not necessarily. Flights to Washington DC and NYC are checked more carefully. My 62 year old father flys to DC at least six time per year but was flagged searches on JetBlue once because he had only the one way flight on his record. He was actually going from IAD to SEA to LAX on a different airline to complete the trip, but apparently TSA could not connect the dots. The bridges in San Francisco bay are considered to be potential targets so the TSA probably takes a closer look at those flights as well.
TSA does not do many secondary searches anymore, but they may want to force you to check in to prevent swapping of boarding passes.
Airgeek12 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 3496 times:
Quoting AADC10 (Reply 9): Could you have been flagged by TSA? If that is the reason, the reservations agent or anyone else at Southwest would not be allowed to tell you.
Yea, that's what I was thinking too. You could have been tagged so they had to issue you your boarding pass with the special thingys (I think XXX - not sure) on it, so you could be searched or whatever they want to do to you lol. And I don't think the agents are allowed to release the info of if you've been tagged or not.
NWAFA From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1893 posts, RR: 15
Reply 14, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 3436 times:
I never have a problem checking in with them. The only time I have is when it was just before midnight the day before my flight. The one time I came up as a selectee I was still issued my "B" boarding pass on line. Quite easy to do.
THANK YOU FOR FLYING NORTHWEST AIRLINES, WE TRULY APPRECIATE YOUR BUSINESS!
Jeffinbwi From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 152 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 3335 times:
The reason you could not get a boarding pass is because you were a selectee. Like the Security documents we used before online check-in, will only print non-selectee passengers boarding passes because the printout from home could be manipulated before arriving to the airport to hide the selectee status. It's also possible your name is somehow similar to a name on the no-fly list the government puts out. Those customers cannot even use the kiosks, an agent has to review their name against the list. Im guessing you were a selectee. Try to book at least 48 hours in advance, round trip if possible and make sure you put in a frequent flyer number. Frequent flyer numbers over six months old usually prevent selectee status.
As for the answers you got on the phone, agents are not allowed to talk about the selectee program and usually come up with an "I'm not really sure why" kind of answer.
There are no limits that I am aware of on online boarding passes. On busy days we see online boarding passes with "C". The first 45 get an "A" second 45 "B" last 47 "C" for a total of 137 seats. I had heard when it first came out that we would limit online boarding passes to 120 people but I never heard if they actually decided to go with the limit.
Good luck next time and also keep in mind your strong desire for an "A" is common but even most Customers in the "C" group get the pick of isle or window seat. Only the very last people on a completely full flight are stuck with a choice of middle seats only. With a 68% load factor its pretty rare. These are the same people who would of checked in last at the airport on any airline and would have been assigned a middle seat with no chance to at least try to get there favorite seat. Personally, as an employee fly standby and usually board dead last and I always get my favorite seat which is a window towards the back.
Most of our frequent flyers know that the vast majority of our flight are about an hour and it really doesn't matter where you sit. ITS NOT THAT BIG OF A DEAL! So with that said "grab a seat, relax and enjoy the flight".