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Southwest To Test Assigned Seating  
User currently offlineKarlB737 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 3091 posts, RR: 10
Posted (8 years 1 month 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 5969 times:

Courtesy: Associated Press

Southwest To Test Assigned Seating

http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/060620/southwest_seating.html?.v=3

60 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineGoingboeing From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4875 posts, RR: 17
Reply 1, posted (8 years 1 month 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 5877 times:

IMHO, the tests will fail. IF only because how many people check in online or at a kiosk...now the entire flight will need to check in at the gate. That's gotta have an impact. The other potential "gotcha" is the traveller who hops online a day in advance, prints their boarding card to get an A or B card because they know that they will be cutting it close getting to the airport. If that's the case, they might as well have been in the C group. And I can't imagine that he or she would be very happy.

User currently offlineCtbarnes From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3491 posts, RR: 50
Reply 2, posted (8 years 1 month 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 5836 times:

This comes as no surprise, as it has been rumoured for months. WN is responding to customer demand, and need to figure out how to make it work most effiiciently. From my experience flying WN, it may actually speed things up as many times people first fill the seats in the front of the plane and move back. Starting with assigned seats from the back forward could meen less of a logjam. as those boarding have to inevitably wait while those on board stow their stuff.

Charles, SJ

Edit: My guess is that when (if?) assigned seating gets rolled out across the system there will be a facility for obtaining an assigned seat when you make your reservation and/or when you check-in either online or at the airport. Assigning seats at the gate will most likely be the case only for the test.

[Edited 2006-06-21 00:23:09]


The customer isn't a moron, she is your wife -David Ogilvy
User currently offlineSeanp11 From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 290 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (8 years 1 month 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 5830 times:

Yeah, I'm not going to be happy if they switch to assigned seating. For my several flights home from school a year, I always go online 24 hours beforehand and get an A pass. I have had only one occasion when I have not gotten the seat I wanted (window seat on the exit row) from the A group, and even then it was still a fine seat.

User currently offlineAirWillie6475 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 2448 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (8 years 1 month 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 5754 times:

Quoting Goingboeing (Reply 1):
IMHO, the tests will fail. IF only because how many people check in online or at a kiosk...now the entire flight will need to check in at the gate. That's gotta have an impact. The other potential "gotcha" is the traveller who hops online a day in advance, prints their boarding card to get an A or B card because they know that they will be cutting it close getting to the airport. If that's the case, they might as well have been in the C group. And I can't imagine that he or she would be very happy.

It's nothing new, at the website you pick your seat and print out the reservation, that's it. Or just get to the individual computers at the airport and print out your boarding pass and wait for your flight it's very easy, no need to print out A or B or C and wait like cattle standing in line for 30 minutes. I don't think they would just give the pax their seat at the gate, that would be unfair.


User currently offlineFCYTravis From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 1191 posts, RR: 6
Reply 5, posted (8 years 1 month 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 5754 times:

The problem with the whole "online check-in A" system is that as online check-in becomes nearly universal, you basically have to check in exactly 24 hours in advance or shortly thereafter to have any hope of scoring an A boarding pass. This has created this "arms race" of online tools designed to flood Southwest's servers at the exact instant check-in opens - and if you don't pick one of these tools, you're screwed.


USAir A321 service now departing for SFO with fuel stops in CAK, COS and RNO. Enjoy your flight.
User currently offlineStarCityFlyr From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (8 years 1 month 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 5637 times:

I've flown SW many times over the past several years as well as many of the legacy carriers (US, DL, AA and NW). The A B C boarding process really doesn't strike me as being much worse than the "Zone" grouping that the other carriers use today. There have been many times that I've had to crawl over a passenger seated in the assigned aisle seat in order to get to my assigned window seat. I realize that with the priority boarding of the FF elite passengers (and I'm one of them), it is possible to have to do so.

I'm just not sure how efficient the whole process is in terms of expedient boarding of a plane. Of course, these days everyone seems to want to bring everything on board including but not limited to the kitchen sink!  biting 
That slows down the process considerably and creates it's own source of frustration when all the overhead space is full.

No real ideas for solutions here..just my thoughts.

 Yeah sure

Happy Flying!


User currently offlineSLCUT2777 From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 4028 posts, RR: 11
Reply 7, posted (8 years 1 month 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 5616 times:

Quoting FCYTravis (Reply 5):
The problem with the whole "online check-in A" system is that as online check-in becomes nearly universal, you basically have to check in exactly 24 hours in advance or shortly thereafter to have any hope of scoring an A boarding pass. This has created this "arms race" of online tools designed to flood Southwest's servers at the exact instant check-in opens - and if you don't pick one of these tools, you're screwed.

This is EXACTLY why I won't fly them. I think WN flyer's in SAN have a real opportunity to improve service on WN starting in July and hopefully this will work and be implemented system-wide by next year. Next up for WN; International flying to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean!



DELTA Air Lines; The Only Way To Fly from Salt Lake City; Let the Western Heritage always be with Delta!
User currently offlineSteeler83 From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 9176 posts, RR: 18
Reply 8, posted (8 years 1 month 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 5568 times:

I have checked in 2 hours before my flight and managed to get an A or B class pass... on a PIT-PHL-PIT flight at that. I prefer the unreserved coach seating; I like getting a window seat. With assigned seating, my chances of getting a window seat are 33%...


Do not bring stranger girt into your room. The stranger girt is dangerous, it will hurt your life.
User currently offlineLincoln From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 3887 posts, RR: 8
Reply 9, posted (8 years 1 month 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 5539 times:

Quoting Steeler83 (Reply 8):
With assigned seating, my chances of getting a window seat are 33%...

If the flight is 100% full... If the flight is 66% full then you have a better than 50% chance of getting a window seat...because at least a few people are going to want a middle seat (i.e. family of three, coworkers traveling together...)

Or something like that (hey, I stink at math).

Not to mention that there will be some people who don't get seats assigned. I've never had a problem in 100+ segments getting a window in Coach. (In first it's been a little bit more hairy)

I find it curious though that the story says they're going to be calling people and reminding them to check in at the gate for a seat... why not just assign the seat while they're on the phone? Or are they going to be using the old-style "sticker sheet" method for their test?

Lincoln



CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
User currently offlineGoingboeing From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4875 posts, RR: 17
Reply 10, posted (8 years 1 month 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 5535 times:

Quoting AirWillie6475 (Reply 4):
It's nothing new, at the website you pick your seat and print out the reservation, that's it. Or just get to the individual computers at the airport and print out your boarding pass and wait for your flight it's very easy, no need to print out A or B or C and wait like cattle standing in line for 30 minutes. I don't think they would just give the pax their seat at the gate, that would be unfair.

I based my comment on this quote from the article

Quote:
During the San Diego test, passengers will be called ahead of time and told to check in at the gate for an assigned seat, said Southwest spokesman Ed Stewart.


User currently offlinePar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 7042 posts, RR: 8
Reply 11, posted (8 years 1 month 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 5466 times:

I'm not sure I like this idea.
Someone mentioned that WN is responding to customer demands, which
customers are these, WN has never had assigned seating, and look at where
it has gotton them?

Another poster mentioned that the first pax tend to take the front seats, that gives the idea to change the boarding card from A,BC to F,B,M meaning Front Middle and Back, place a colour marker as the boundary.

Essentially, I think whats happening is that WN has been picking up some mainline carriers pax who tend to be "vocal" and they are the driving force behind this move. I just hope that the trend of being like the rest does not continue in principle, WN is distinguished from mainline carriers by more than just being profitable, any bets on which one is more recognizable of WN, profit or no assigned seating.


User currently offlineCentPIT From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 990 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (8 years 1 month 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 5451 times:

Quoting Steeler83 (Reply 8):
I have checked in 2 hours before my flight and managed to get an A or B class pass... on a PIT-PHL-PIT flight at that.

So now when you go to the airport and borad, you can get whatever seat you want? I am flying PIT-PHL-RDU next week with WN and I really want window seats. If I get into the A or B then are my chances pretty good?



Pittsburgh International: US Airways---160 daily departures! (52 destinations)
User currently offlineSW733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6297 posts, RR: 9
Reply 13, posted (8 years 1 month 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 5437 times:

Any reason why WN would choose San Diego of all their cities to test this on, and not a hub like Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Las Vegas, etc.?

User currently offlineSllevin From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 3376 posts, RR: 6
Reply 14, posted (8 years 1 month 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 5418 times:

Ugh. I hope they don't do this. One of the features of flying Southwest is that a semi-last minute flight doesn't always assure you of a middle seat.

Steve


User currently offlineSteeler83 From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 9176 posts, RR: 18
Reply 15, posted (8 years 1 month 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 5418 times:

Quoting Par13del (Reply 11):
Essentially, I think whats happening is that WN has been picking up some mainline carriers pax who tend to be "vocal" and they are the driving force behind this move. I just hope that the trend of being like the rest does not continue in principle, WN is distinguished from mainline carriers by more than just being profitable, any bets on which one is more recognizable of WN, profit or no assigned seating.

Another thing I like about WN, and you took the words right out of my mouth... Unreserved coach seating makes WN more unique and distinguishes them from the rest of the pack, or the flock in this case  Wink

Heh, I guess these folks have been flying the legacies for so long that they are under the hypnotic spell that has them convinced that assigned seating is better. Then again, I should be so vocal about WN... I was an amtrak/PA Turnpike customer until WN offered PIT-PHL service. It would be nice if they came to MDT or LNS, but that ain't happenin anytime soon, with the exception of charters from LNS-MCO...



Do not bring stranger girt into your room. The stranger girt is dangerous, it will hurt your life.
User currently offlineGoingboeing From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4875 posts, RR: 17
Reply 16, posted (8 years 1 month 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 5418 times:

Quoting SW733 (Reply 13):
Any reason why WN would choose San Diego of all their cities to test this on, and not a hub like Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Las Vegas, etc.?

In the article they mention that it's because SAN has a mix of short, medium and long haul flights. The test flights will have to be originating flights...can't assign seats if someone on a thru flight and boarded with open seating is on the plane.


User currently offlineSW733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6297 posts, RR: 9
Reply 17, posted (8 years 1 month 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 5404 times:

Quoting Goingboeing (Reply 16):
In the article they mention that it's because SAN has a mix of short, medium and long haul flights. The test flights will have to be originating flights...can't assign seats if someone on a thru flight and boarded with open seating is on the plane.

Makes sense...guess I should read a bit further! Thanks.


User currently onlineSilver1SWA From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 4763 posts, RR: 26
Reply 18, posted (8 years 1 month 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 5221 times:
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Quoting SW733 (Reply 13):
Any reason why WN would choose San Diego of all their cities to test this on, and not a hub like Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Las Vegas, etc.?

In addition to the mixture of short, medium, and long haul flights, SAN also has a fair balance of business and leasure travellers. Also, SAN's unique layout of the facility allows these tests to be isolated. I believe the tests will be conducted at gates 1 and 2.



ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
User currently offlineSCCutler From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 5486 posts, RR: 28
Reply 19, posted (8 years 1 month 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 5189 times:

Unless something really remarkable pops up, I am against it. The current system works well, and (notwithstanding the derisive comments one so frequently reads here), "cattle boarding" is the universal mode for all carriers.

Difference is, on Southwest, I am not doomed to a crappy seat if I have to make a last-minute trip.



...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
User currently offlineVegasplanes From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 778 posts, RR: 2
Reply 20, posted (8 years 1 month 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 5088 times:

I don't see how this would make WN any more efficeint, seems to me it will take longer to board the aircraft therefore increasing turn-around times. I'm all for keeping the existing system of open seating, quick and easy just like their flights. I have a bunch of flights to/from SAN in July and August, will have to see if any of them are going to be an assigned seating test flight.

User currently offlineLTBEWR From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13028 posts, RR: 12
Reply 21, posted (8 years 1 month 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 4836 times:

They should keep their current system with flights of less than 2 hours and go to 'reserved' seating on flights over 2 hours. Perhaps that will be the result of these tests. That would be a good balance for both WN airline and passangers. On longer flights, you are more likely to have leisure travelers in the majority, perhaps with family or a group of people that want or need to travel together. The shorter flights are more likely to have a majority of business travelers on them (like the HOU-DAL 'shuttle') who are traveling solo or maybe 1-2 others.

User currently offlineCtbarnes From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3491 posts, RR: 50
Reply 22, posted (8 years 1 month 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 4729 times:

Quoting Steeler83 (Reply 15):
Heh, I guess these folks have been flying the legacies for so long that they are under the hypnotic spell that has them convinced that assigned seating is better. Then again, I should be so vocal about WN... I was an amtrak/PA Turnpike customer until WN offered PIT-PHL service. It would be nice if they came to MDT or LNS, but that ain't happenin anytime soon, with the exception of charters from LNS-MCO...



Quoting Vegasplanes (Reply 20):
I don't see how this would make WN any more efficeint, seems to me it will take longer to board the aircraft therefore increasing turn-around times. I'm all for keeping the existing system of open seating, quick and easy just like their flights. I have a bunch of flights to/from SAN in July and August, will have to see if any of them are going to be an assigned seating test flight.

I'm not so sure it's about efficiency or about having to hold so tightly to a tradition. WN is responding to an incrasing demand by its customers that there be a way to select a seat, particularly as other LCC's have assigned seating and have been able to exploit this as a competitive advantage.

It's refreshing to see an airline do more than pay lip service to meeting the demands of their customers. WN are one of the few that realize that customer satisfaction is the real key to stable profits and that they have the freedom to let go of a piece of their perceived uniqueness and can see when such uniqueness becomes a liability are examples of a true customer-focused culture.

Charles, SJ



The customer isn't a moron, she is your wife -David Ogilvy
User currently offlineVegasplanes From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 778 posts, RR: 2
Reply 23, posted (8 years 1 month 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 4712 times:

Quoting Ctbarnes (Reply 22):
Ctbarnes

What customers are complaing about open seating other than on A.Net, all the WN flights I been on over the years, can't recall in instance where someone complained about open seating. If there are significant costs (delays) involved with assigned seating/boarding, WN will drop it.


User currently offlineCtbarnes From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3491 posts, RR: 50
Reply 24, posted (8 years 1 month 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 4697 times:

Quoting Vegasplanes (Reply 23):
What customers are complaing about open seating other than on A.Net, all the WN flights I been on over the years, can't recall in instance where someone complained about open seating. If there are significant costs (delays) involved with assigned seating/boarding, WN will drop it.

It's not a matter of complaints. It is looking at market data, surveys and conducting focus groups of frequent travelers, and truely listening to attitudes about why or why not people choose Southwest.

In other words, it is good marketing research and a desire to take findings seriously-even when the results tell you something you don't want to hear.

Charles, SJ



The customer isn't a moron, she is your wife -David Ogilvy
25 Vegasplanes : So where is your market data, surveys, focus groups, and other useless BS that academics love yet rarely yields valid results. From the press release
26 SeeTheWorld : Unfortunately, that is unlikely to happen and doesn't really make sense. There are too many people that take 1- and 2-stop flights of varying trip le
27 Post contains images Ctbarnes : Why not phone up Colleen Barrett and ask her.   Just because you haven't experienced something does not necessarily make it false. Edit: Michael Boy
28 ORDagent : Trust me on this one. Many of my business traveler clients avoid WN like the plague as they want those assigned seats as they can't kill a lot of time
29 Silver1SWA : WN is in fact responding to an increasing demand from customers for assigned seating. Exactly. This is a test. This test does not mean WN has decided
30 Luvfa : I personally don't like the idea of assigned seating. However I don't work at the GO and don't know if it is a big source of complaints! With that bei
31 Vegasplanes : Seemsrnto me like WN is viewing this as an experiment to see if assignedrnseating is worthwhile or not. Nowhere in the press release does it sayrnWN
32 Ssides : I think this is a good move by WN (testing the option first before implementing it system-wide), but I don't think it's a good idea by testing the pro
33 JetBlueGuy2006 : Whats' that mean?
34 Silver1SWA : It's not about testing before implementing. It's about testing before even deciding to move forward with implementing assigned seating. Right now the
35 WNCrew : I know this comes out of left field....but --What about enforcing carryons? As a FA what holds up my flights 95% of the time is HUGE checked size lugg
36 Silver1SWA : Definitely. And I thought rules were set in place regarding checked luggage, but clearly they are not being enforced. There is nothing more frustrati
37 CWFan : No offense to Southwest's hardworking employees, but I was a loyal WN traveler as a college student (pre-1999), and since then I've refused to ever fl
38 Goingboeing : I'll take the extra legroom and no IFE. Especially on a long flight.
39 Ctbarnes : Go back and read ORDagent's post. He's a travel agent and ought to know a thing or two about customer demand. What are you basing your conclusions on
40 737tanker : You definitely haven't flown WN in a long time. The way it works now if you have a connecting flight you get the boarding card for that flight when y
41 OOer : With Southwest probably expanding to Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, and the Carribean I can see WN installing some form of IFE on those longer flights!
42 Silver1SWA : There something we should know about?
43 SeeTheWorld : Carry-ons are probably the single biggest problem with getting a flight out quickly, but strictly enforcing a policy that is more stringent than the
44 FantasticFlyer : In My Honest Opinion
45 JetBlueGuy2006 : Thanks a lot
46 OOer : I made an educated guess in regards to WN expanding to those markets! I think in 2-3 years we will hear something from Southwest in regards to lookin
47 SkyHarborsHome : For those of us who fly out of SAN quite often, any chance we will get a heads-up on which flights are part of the test?
48 Silver1SWA : Give me the flight number and I can try to find out for you. From what I have been told, the tests will take place at gates 1 and 2. If you give me t
49 Jeffinbwi : Thank you! I don't have anything to quote but word is that we did studies that told us what A-Netters have been saying all along. There is an entire
50 SkyHarborsHome : I thought WN was only flying to California destinations from those gates since you have to go through the separate security checkpoint. I would agree
51 Argonaut : Yes. The reasoning goes as follows: Since: --One third of the seats are window, one third are aisles, and one third are middles --Almost nobody choos
52 Post contains images CentPIT : Hey, thanks dude! It sounds good, because my flight is tomorrow!!!
53 Silver1SWA : Until a few months ago, almost all flights out of 1 and 2 were SAN-SMF flights. Because of an increase in transfers passing through SAN to get to SMF
54 Bond007 : That's it right there! I'm a frequent business traveller (2-4 flights/week), and I do "avoid WN like the plague" because of no assigned seating...as
55 WNCrew : I can't imagine being so busy that I couldn't even afford to stand in line for 30 mins. This is not a bash on business travellers....I just cannot ima
56 Bond007 : Once or twice a year on vacation I'll do it.....but not every week when I know on US Airways I'll be Zone 1 whatever time I check-in or arrive at the
57 Post contains links and images Nonrevman : As brought up on other threads, this about one thing: how to avoid the middle seat. If there was not a chance of getting stuck in the middle, there wo
58 Tsaord : I only flew WN once and I plan to again this September. I didnt have a problem with with boarding. It was efficient and there were no problems. Everyo
59 WNCrew : Yes, I understand if you travel a lot, especially if you go long distances. Heck, even if it was me, I'd like knowing that not only would I have a goo
60 Bond007 : ...and I agree with you after everything I said about non-assigned seating and the business traveller. There is no need to defend an airline as succe
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