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WN New Boarding Procedure.  
User currently offlineNIKV69 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (6 years 4 months 14 hours ago) and read 7013 times:

Ok, this may have been discussed to death but wtf? I flew WN for the first time since they changed their boarding procedure to BWI for a day shoot and for the life of me can't understand what they are trying to accomplish. Now the logical thing is that they are trying to avoid the line up system where people camp out in line to get on first but those poles with the numbers are God awful. I mean I applaud printing the boarding pass with a numerical sequence to board but why not have the gate agent just call out for 1-10, 2-20 etc to board. Wouldn't that be easier? I mean it is nice to be able to sit in the gate area instead of lining up but when they call for everyone to line up according to those poles it just leads to confusion. If you have everyone sitting in the gate already why make them line up right before to board. I mean both legs of the trip there was a half and half ratio of people who actually understood where to stand. I think announcing each group in thirds would flow a little easier and get rid of those columns or whatever you call them. What does the WN faithful here think?

61 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineDrerx7 From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 5189 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (6 years 4 months 14 hours ago) and read 6992 times:

I actually like the boarding procedure compared to the previous mess - WN boarding policies are what drove me away from them for a while - but I'm back now. I think they have the poles as sort of a pavlovs dog way to get people out of their old Southwest habits.


Third Coast born, means I'm Texas raised
User currently offlineRFields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 31
Reply 2, posted (6 years 4 months 14 hours ago) and read 6948 times:

I sit in my seat - watch for the people with near my number - walk directly to the front when the line is near my number - making sure everyone can see my number.

Those who line up only want to be standing around.


User currently offlinePITops From United States of America, joined May 2007, 1442 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (6 years 4 months 13 hours ago) and read 6864 times:

It works very efficiently. Everyone will have their opinions, but this system works. Planes can be boarded in no time.


Ground Ops, Southwest Airlines, CMH
User currently offlineNws2002 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 897 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (6 years 4 months 13 hours ago) and read 6788 times:

Well you don't want everyone sitting there waiting for their group to be called. It would slow the boarding process down. By having everyone in line, in order, ready to go it keeps most people happy. The travelers that want to pick their seat, but don't want to camp out can check in early online and get it. Southwest gets to keep their turn times down, and their is still no assigned seating.

User currently offlineTbird From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 851 posts, RR: 19
Reply 5, posted (6 years 4 months 12 hours ago) and read 6658 times:

The new procedure is terrible...I can see the boarding in groups but there is no need to line up under those poles. I don't know why they just don't do away with the line all together and just call out the groups??? This changed combined with their lack luster A List program has driven me away from WN. All my biz travel is now done on AA.

User currently offlineSJC4Me From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 373 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (6 years 4 months 11 hours ago) and read 6603 times:

I never stand. I sit patiently until most of the A's board and then I get up, hand the gate agent my A boarding pass and walk directly on board. Even as the last A to board, I'm still guaranteed a window seat. So why add aggravation to your trip if you don't have to?


Unable.
User currently offlineJGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (6 years 4 months 11 hours ago) and read 6595 times:

...or they could just get over it and assign seats like normal airlines.  Yeah sure

User currently offlineAWACSooner From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 1913 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (6 years 4 months 11 hours ago) and read 6541 times:

...and be delayed due to slow boarding like normal airlines!

User currently offlineGlbltrvlr From United States of America, joined Oct 2007, 729 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (6 years 4 months 11 hours ago) and read 6520 times:



Quoting Tbird (Reply 5):
there is no need to line up under those poles

Yes, there is. By getting most of the passengers in line, boarding goes as fast as the old mass scramble system. If you just called groups, it would take longer for people to find their things, get off their seats and walk up to the agent.


User currently offlineSilver1SWA From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 4811 posts, RR: 25
Reply 10, posted (6 years 4 months 10 hours ago) and read 6428 times:
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Quoting NIKV69 (Thread starter):
What does the WN faithful here think?

Hi Nick,

The new process is actually very efficient and works very well. The problem with it at first is there is a sort of learning curve associated with it as some passengers don't quite understand what the new procedure is actually trying to accomplish. I think a lot of it has to do with how well the gate agent explains the process in the gate announcements. Some are better than others at explaining the process. However, many passengers don't listen to anything said over a PA anyway so there will always be folks that are lost causing more confusion.

Quoting Tbird (Reply 5):
The new procedure is terrible...I can see the boarding in groups but there is no need to line up under those poles. I don't know why they just don't do away with the line all together and just call out the groups???

Because your spot in line is reserved. The idea here is that passengers line up and board in numerical order. That's why those poles are there. Passengers can quickly identify where there spot in line is by looking at the range of numbers posted on the poles.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 7):
...or they could just get over it and assign seats like normal airlines.

Southwest experimented twice with assigned seating as well as other boarding methods. This new process resulted from those trials along with customer feedback.



ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
User currently offlineNIKV69 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (6 years 4 months 6 hours ago) and read 6220 times:



Quoting Drerx7 (Reply 1):
I actually like the boarding procedure compared to the previous mess

Why was it a mess? I mean the gate area may have looked like a campout but once boarding started it went much faster than the new system.

Quoting RFields5421 (Reply 2):
I sit in my seat - watch for the people with near my number - walk directly to the front when the line is near my number - making sure everyone can see my number.

Are they all holding their boarding passes out for you to see? I mean as much as it is terrible to say 2/3rds of people are dumb. Both legs of my trip had confusion and the time it takes for the gate agent to coordinate everything is just making the boarding process take longer. I have flown WN a good number of times in the last two years to know that even though the new process may lead to a better looking gate area it takes longer to get people on.

Quoting Nws2002 (Reply 4):
Well you don't want everyone sitting there waiting for their group to be called

What about the time it takes to line up all three groups and explain to them where to stand? Wouldn't just making an announcement and having them get up and board be better?

Quoting Nws2002 (Reply 4):
By having everyone in line, in order, ready to go it keeps most people happy

Funny but the people on my flights looked more confused than happy.

Quoting Nws2002 (Reply 4):
The travelers that want to pick their seat, but don't want to camp out can check in early online and get it

They were able to do that before and you still have to check in early to get a better number to board first.  confused 

Quoting Tbird (Reply 5):
The new procedure is terrible...I can see the boarding in groups but there is no need to line up under those poles. I don't know why they just don't do away with the line all together and just call out the groups??? This changed combined with their lack luster A List program has driven me away from WN. All my biz travel is now done on AA.

Yes terrible is a good way to describe it, and many would also be bailing to AA as well as you Tommy if it wasn't for the fact ISP is so convienant. I have to fly WN twice more this year and I may just fly biz select.

Quoting SJC4Me (Reply 6):
I never stand. I sit patiently until most of the A's board and then I get up, hand the gate agent my A boarding pass and walk directly on board. Even as the last A to board, I'm still guaranteed a window seat. So why add aggravation to your trip if you don't have to?

Well part of my problem is that all my trips to BWI are day trips and WN won't let me check in online for my return trip till my first leg is complete, so when I land at BWI and get to a kiosk I still can only get B.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 7):
or they could just get over it and assign seats like normal airlines

Cost too much.

Quoting AWACSooner (Reply 8):
and be delayed due to slow boarding like normal airlines!

BS! If they had a gate full of people with assigned seats and good CSAs they could get that plane boarded just as fast.

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 10):
Because your spot in line is reserved. The idea here is that passengers line up and board in numerical order. That's why those poles are there. Passengers can quickly identify where there spot in line is by looking at the range of numbers posted on the poles

This is where I think the system breaks down. First of all the spaces between poles is to small and the time it takes to explain it and get everyone in place could be better served just having the groups broken down into thirds and called up over the PA.


User currently offlineONTFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 380 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (6 years 4 months 5 hours ago) and read 6169 times:



Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 11):
Well part of my problem is that all my trips to BWI are day trips and WN won't let me check in online for my return trip till my first leg is complete, so when I land at BWI and get to a kiosk I still can only get B.

That's really strange. I've done about 15 day trips to SJC, OAK, and LAS since they implemented the new procedure and I've never had a problem checking in for my return segment 24 hours prior? Not saying it doesn't happen, just weird...

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 10):
The new process is actually very efficient and works very well. The problem with it at first is there is a sort of learning curve associated with it as some passengers don't quite understand what the new procedure is actually trying to accomplish. I think a lot of it has to do with how well the gate agent explains the process in the gate announcements. Some are better than others at explaining the process.

Ryan, you hit the nail on the head! There are those that are going to bash WN for sake of bashing. But those that say the process is horrible and will take their business elsewhere, probably haven't taken the time to stop and see what's actually going on. It's no different than Airline ABC having 6 boarding group "zones" only to not have the policy enforced. Then you get people from group 6 boarding with those in 1-5. What's the point in that? Really all it comes down to is people are set in their ways and won't try new things. If they took 30 seconds to learn how WN's system works, they'd see that its very easy to understand and very efficient while getting rid of the need to stand around an hour before the flight to save a spot in line.

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 10):
However, many passengers don't listen to anything said over a PA anyway so there will always be folks that are lost causing more confusion.

Which is really the root of the problem. Not that the policy is bad, but people are too busy of their Crackberrys, iPhones, etc. to listen to the announcement.

ONT



Doin' just fine thanks...
User currently offlineGoAllegheny From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 340 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (6 years 4 months 5 hours ago) and read 6149 times:

What I found annoying when I boarded a WN flight from MDW to Dulles was that even though I had the biz select fare and was number 4, I had to wait for all of the people who were on the continuation of the flight to board first. So I didn't get the exit row windw that I wanted, nor the bulkhead seats. No reason to pay $25 or whatever more if I'm actually number 35 or so in line.

User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22992 posts, RR: 20
Reply 14, posted (6 years 4 months 5 hours ago) and read 6138 times:

I've just returned from a trip on WN. The new boarding process was fine-- not spectacular, but no worse than the old process. That said, both of the gate agents on my flights explained it fairly clearly, so that no doubt helped.

I think the point of the system is that there was no other way (besides adding a fourth boarding group) for WN to reward Business Select passengers with priority seating. We can debate the merits of that choice, but I think it is the driving force behind the new policy?

...1 question (for our WN friends). If the flight goes WWW-XXX-YYY-ZZZ, do XXX-ZZZ through passengers board ahead of XXX-YYY passengers at XXX?



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineSilver1SWA From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 4811 posts, RR: 25
Reply 15, posted (6 years 4 months 4 hours ago) and read 6050 times:
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Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 11):
the new process may lead to a better looking gate area it takes longer to get people on.

Actually Nick, it has shown that average boarding time is shorter with the new system. The company tried it out at both SAN and SAT for months before implementing it. The reason the current process stood out enough to make it the standard boarding process is because it proved over the course of months of trials that it was faster, and more efficient.

Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 11):
What about the time it takes to line up all three groups and explain to them where to stand? Wouldn't just making an announcement and having them get up and board be better?

Nick, did you depart out of LAS? Many of the stations, LAS included (last I checked), do not have the new gate seating/equipment. At LAS, I remember seeing temporary, portable poles used as signage and A, B and C was changed manually by rotating the pole. It looked cluttered and confusing. However, if that is still the case, it's only a temporary situation until all stations get the new gate make-over. At SAN, we have had the real, permanent poles set up since the beginning with flat screen monitors at the front displaying the current groups lining up and boarding.

It really does not take long for folks to line up. While one group is boarding, the next is asked to line up so they are ready to go next. As far as folks finding their spot in line, passengers are starting to govern themselves by ensuring fellow pax are in the right spot.

Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 11):
Yes terrible is a good way to describe it,

Honestly, I don't know why some think it's so terrible. I think it's actually quite brilliant. Your spot is saved in line so you don't have to camp out an hour early, when your group is called you note the letter and number on the boarding pass, you find the poles showing the range of numbers that your number falls between, and you board. The only place any confusion should take place is within your group of 5 people since each range of numbers on the poles are in an arrangement of 5. I don't think it's too difficult for 5 people to arrange themselves numerically and even then, the gate agent enforces it to withing a few numbers.

Quoting GoAllegheny (Reply 13):
I had to wait for all of the people who were on the continuation of the flight to board first.



Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 14):
If the flight goes WWW-XXX-YYY-ZZZ, do XXX-ZZZ through passengers board ahead of XXX-YYY passengers at XXX?

Those people should already be on the plane. They are riding through. If through pax are boarding, it means there was an aircraft swap.



ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22992 posts, RR: 20
Reply 16, posted (6 years 4 months 3 hours ago) and read 6030 times:



Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 15):
Those people should already be on the plane.

No, I'm talking about passengers who are originating in XXX... if they are going to ZZZ, do they have lower boarding numbers than the folks getting off in YYY?



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineSilver1SWA From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 4811 posts, RR: 25
Reply 17, posted (6 years 4 months 3 hours ago) and read 6015 times:
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Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 16):
No, I'm talking about passengers who are originating in XXX... if they are going to ZZZ, do they have lower boarding numbers than the folks getting off in YYY?

Took me a minute to get what you are trying say, but I believe all folks in XXX regardless of final destination are given numbers based on when they checked in.



ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22992 posts, RR: 20
Reply 18, posted (6 years 4 months 3 hours ago) and read 5983 times:



Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 17):
but I believe all folks in XXX regardless of final destination are given numbers based on when they checked in.

Interesting...must have been a ton of full-fare folks on my flight (I checked in right at 24 hours and still only got A46).



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineJetJeanes From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 1431 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (6 years 4 months 3 hours ago) and read 5972 times:

It makes more sense to board the back of the plane first and come forward


i can see for 80 miles
User currently offlineLeothedog From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 155 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (6 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 5567 times:

I like the system.
I think it works well.



I've got things to see and people to do.
User currently offlineGQ From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 83 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (6 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 5419 times:



Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 14):
1 question (for our WN friends). If the flight goes WWW-XXX-YYY-ZZZ, do XXX-ZZZ through passengers board ahead of XXX-YYY passengers at XXX?

From what I can recall, sequencing is done based on originating airport so regardless of destination all passengers starting their journey at XXX will get their A, B, or C group based on time of check-in/fare class. XXX-ZZZ passengers can switch seats during the stopover at YYY though.

Once I flew ISP-BWI and when the agent called the A group there was only one person up front a huge gap then 15 of us at the caboose...quite funny



Traveling somewhere, could be anywhere...there's a strangeness in the air but I don't care
User currently offlineBeefstew25 From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 675 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (6 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 4689 times:

I did SLC-STL-MCO last night, and we were at the gate in STL for maybe 25 minutes. Maybe. Unbelievable.

I have no problems with the new boarding process. Everyone with that airline is so dang positive and upbeat. It is all about presentation.



MLB: Where you are always number one for takeoff.....
User currently offlineRFields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 31
Reply 23, posted (6 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 4461 times:



Quoting GQ (Reply 21):
Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 14):
1 question (for our WN friends). If the flight goes WWW-XXX-YYY-ZZZ, do XXX-ZZZ through passengers board ahead of XXX-YYY passengers at XXX?

From what I can recall, sequencing is done based on originating airport so regardless of destination all passengers starting their journey at XXX will get their A, B, or C group based on time of check-in/fare class. XXX-ZZZ passengers can switch seats during the stopover at YYY though.

As stated on many threads on this forum - spots A1-A25 in the boarding line are reserved for Business Select customers - though on some flights it appears to be only A1-A15.

After those spots - as stated above - all passengers boarding at XXX get their boarding group/ number regardless of destination.

One other thing - multi-flight passengers have an advantage in boarding numbers for their second and subsequent legs.

My most frequent trip is DAL-STL-SDF and return. Change planes at STL. When I check in and get my boarding numbers near 24 hours before the first leg - it's usually 26-27 hours before the second leg. So I almost always get # A26 or A27 for the second leg.

Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 11):
Quoting RFields5421 (Reply 2):
I sit in my seat - watch for the people with near my number - walk directly to the front when the line is near my number - making sure everyone can see my number.

Are they all holding their boarding passes out for you to see? I mean as much as it is terrible to say 2/3rds of people are dumb. Both legs of my trip had confusion and the time it takes for the gate agent to coordinate everything is just making the boarding process take longer.

I can see the numbers on the poles - recognize where and with whom I would be standing in line and join near them at the gate entrance.

SWA ran many tests and continues to run tests today. Boarding is slightly faster with the new method.

Yes there is a learning curve and if people don't look and listen there will be a longer time at the gate agent checking boarding passes.

The sad truth is that it really does not matter what method is used for more than the first 20 or so passengers - assigned seats, pick your seat, the old cattle call or the new format.

After the first 20 go down the jetway, everyone else is backed up waiting on the people ahead of them. So the only improvement in boarding time is getting that first 20 down the jetway a little faster.

Because once they hit the aircraft door - people are a log jam no matter what the boarding or seat assignment process. A recent trip DFW-FLL on American - our seats on one leg were near the rear, on the other near the front - a substantial percentage of the first people on the plane are going to stop and use the overhead bins near the front - even if their seats are near the back of the plane.


User currently offlineTockeyhockey From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 950 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (6 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 4442 times:

only one thing would get me back on WN. assigned seats. until that day, forget about it. i gave them the bird as i deplaned the last time i flew them back in 2006, vowing i'd never go back. it will take a lot to woo me.

but, that being said, it doesn't seem as though my opinion is the majority opinion.


25 Post contains links JAAlbert : With Southwest passengers, it's all about knowing the boarding rules! I recall a recent trip from San Diego, a passenger tried to cut into a section
26 Glbltrvlr : Under the old system, more than once I had someone "guarding" their place in line from a nearby seat and blocking me as I walked up to the line. The
27 Glbltrvlr : That used to be an intentional limitation of WN's boarding pass system, but it has long since been eliminated. However, you can't get your return pas
28 Glbltrvlr : Not exactly... A1-A15 are reserved for Business Select. Those are the people willing to pay a premium over the standard fare to get extra FF credit,
29 Swacmh : I will admit, I was first skeptical of this new boarding procedure when it was first revealed. Now after enforcing it since October, I have found it v
30 NIKV69 : Just more reason that biz select thing is crap. If you are getting on a flight where some are contuining wtf? If I get that fare I better be sure I a
31 Md94 : My only complaint with the process is when I have purchased business select fares, been A-2 in line, and end up with a less than perfect seat because
32 B777A340Fan : Why bother standing? Those who stand are the ones that are impatient. I'm not... when the line moves, I just cut like RFields5421 said. It's your per
33 Glbltrvlr : I can see that happening on flights with a lot of through passengers. You still get to board first from your city, but that may be 1/3 back or more o
34 Gsosbee : All WN propaganda. They are making money because of their fuel hedges, not because of overly efficient operations. Using boarding passes does not sig
35 Glbltrvlr : The only thing I found confusing is that you need to reprint your outbound pass to get your return pass. The return does not show up as a separate fl
36 Modena : Since Airtran pulled out of the PHL - BOS market I recently took a Southwest flight to MHT due to pricing reasons. The commute from the aiport to my f
37 AirWillie6475 : The system works well if you actually take the time to see what's required of you. If you have a B or C ticket, you're required to remain seated. If y
38 N702ML : One thing to remember (and someone from Ground Ops please correct me if I am wrong)....Everyone can check in 24 hours before departure from their ORI
39 Post contains images Silver1SWA : I will admit, I was first skeptical of this new boarding procedure when it was first revealed. I think every single employee was skeptical at first.
40 Cubsrule : It's an interesting rule from a carrier that purports to encourage folks not to connect. Yup... it would be pointless.
41 N702ML : I am not sure I follow you... Southwest's timetable has always been full of online connecting flights. Southwest has always sold online connecting fl
42 Cubsrule : I think more more than anything, you're highlighting a certain amount of hypocrisy/confusion present within WN. They sure do sell online connections.
43 Iwok : Yes I agree. I've gone through it a couple of times and no one seems to know what to do. This new system still blows away assigned seating. Out of my
44 Tsaord : I hated the new boarding system and liked the old one because I never had a problem with it. The new system drove me and some other people crazy tryin
45 Tsaord : The poles plus chairs took up a lot of room at MDW. That added to the confusion.
46 N702ML : With all due respect, Cubsrule, what is your opinion? How does Southwest encourage folks NOT to connect yet, at the same time, sell online connection
47 Silver1SWA : Well, the thing is, many did have a problem with the old system. The reason WN started to look into the possibility of changing the procedure in the
48 NorthstarBoy : I have to say, having just tried the new system, it does work very well, the gate agents i had were very good about explaining the system, how it work
49 IAirAllie : It's an improvement but I still hate it.
50 Cubsrule : When at least a handful of people would rather pay for 2 WN tickets than pay AA $700 o/w to fly them, why not sell the connection? We all know that W
51 Glbltrvlr : WN has recently started offering checkin by mobile phone... You obviously can't print the card until you arrive at the airport, but it does preserve
52 Lexy : All of that MONEY MAKING growth at DEN!! God forbid.
53 SW733 : Put me down for loving the new setup. I fly Southwest for work and pleasure quite a bit, as recently as Wednesday LAX-MCI, and I really enjoy the new
54 Glbltrvlr : I think that's really where the difference lies... On one hand you have people who fly frequently, and especially those who fly SWA frequently, who s
55 PHLBOS : Glad to hear that I'm not the only one that resorted to this. I think I might know which agent you're referring to. Were you stationed at Gate D2? I
56 Cloudy : Nobody from Southwest says that connecting is an evil thing and you are being a bad customer by doing it. They just don't plan their network around c
57 Tsaord : So they gave you a letter, a number, added polls, added polls with letters and numbers, added polls to a crowded gate area, well they should have jus
58 Tsaord : On both trips we did not line up in numerical order. If we had the same letter with numbers between this and this we lined up. But no one was in line
59 Silver1SWA : But they tried! They tested it for months at SAN and then again at SAT for another few months! It didn't work out, or at least was not enough of an o
60 Cubsrule : Perhaps not, but they boast about the large number of local passengers they carry. To my knowledge, no other carrier does that. Certainly, NW would n
61 Silver1SWA : I flew LAS-SAN this morning, and I can confirm that WN's gates at LAS do not have the new permanent "poles". I can see how the temporary poles used ri
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