kith
Posts: 313
Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2004 1:26 pm

WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Fri Oct 29, 2004 11:43 am

I just saw on the news from NYC (WB11) for those in the area, during the business report section that WN will start to assign seats in the near future. "Southwest feels that they can do this without adding any time to the boarding process, and many passengers see the unassigned seating as a hassle." Just another TV news rumor?
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Fri Oct 29, 2004 12:08 pm

>>>Just another TV news rumor?

No, just a TV station's mangling of the story...

Check this out...

http://yahoo.reuters.com/financeQuoteCompanyNewsArticle.jhtml?duid=mtfh43265_2004-10-28_18-00-08_n28472928_newsml

It says SWA is considering it. That's a long way from being a done deal...
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
ltbewr
Posts: 12425
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2004 1:24 pm

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Fri Oct 29, 2004 12:14 pm

It would probably be a good idea for WN for the growing number of longer/transcon flights they operate. For a short flight (up to 2 hours), it probably isn't a big deal, but on longer flights, it makes it too difficult to have families and groups to seat together, to prevent hassles over who got to check in or gate first. It would be nice to do this via electronic check in.
 
qwerty
Posts: 382
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2001 7:31 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Fri Oct 29, 2004 12:24 pm

it probably isn't a big deal, but on longer flights, it makes it too difficult to have families and groups to seat together,

Most families line up together. Unless they are assigned in boarding group C, they usually end up together, otherwise seperation is no more than a row or an aisle.

For young kids, where families really need to get together, assigned seating is called preboarding.
 
ordflyer
Posts: 498
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 2:08 pm

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Fri Oct 29, 2004 12:25 pm

I think for now its just another rumor...this topic came up a few months ago and I believe the consensus was that WN has been considering this for some time now, but no firm plans are in place.
 
GuitrThree
Posts: 1940
Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2004 12:54 pm

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Fri Oct 29, 2004 1:34 pm

The problem I see with WN's non assigned seats is in the connection, if you have one. I fly from BNA, where it's great to fly to Las Vegas or Chicago, many non-stops. However, if you are flying to a location that requires a connection, you might be SOL if your first flight is delayed for any reason. Shoot, you could show up 4 HOURS early for your first leg, get an "A" ticket, but then the first flight gets delayed, and you and your wife get off, have to deal with one of those quick check-in kiosks, and get a "C" ticket, then be sitting rows away from your wife or other family members. That's not right. Why can't they just assign seats? I've flown SWA 3 times this year (5 flights total) and 3 of the 5 flights we were waiting on people to give up (move) their seats so some family could sit together. In September when I boarded a UA ETOPS 757 at Lihue, Hawaii, they boarded it just as fast as a WN 737 and there was no "seat shuffling." I don't get it. BUT.. that being said, WN brings me $99 flights to LAS & LAX, and $38 to MID. I'm going to fly them every time. And, not only that, the competition reduces all airline prices out of BNA, which lets me fly Delta cheaper. AND now that Frontier is flying to Cancun from BNA.. look out!! I love competition!
As Seen On FlightRadar24! Radar ==> F-KBNA5
 
flyer737sw
Posts: 138
Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2004 12:04 pm

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Fri Oct 29, 2004 1:48 pm

As far as I know...The whole reason why Southwest dosen't use assigned seating is because thats what the passengers wanted...It's hard for me to believe that it wont take more time if there were assigned seating...Just more BS in my book...
The average ground time for our planes is 26 minutes...It's already hard enough to turn a plane in that time frame, let alone full pax on and off...
So say, because of all this it did happen, and that average time currently moved to say 35 mintues of ground time...
For Example, Aircraft N334SW has 12 routes scheduled in a particular day with an average ground time of 26 mintues...Now all of a sudden that time increases to 35 minutes...Thats 9 more mintues of ground time at each city for the entire day...Times that by 12 legs and you get 108 minutes...Thats 108 minutes of less flying time, which would equal to one less flight per day for that aircraft...Let alone the 400+ in our fleet...
Just something to look at...

I doubt it will happen

Kevin
 
GuitrThree
Posts: 1940
Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2004 12:54 pm

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Fri Oct 29, 2004 2:45 pm

From what I understand, the unassigned seats only saves time in bookings. That way, WN doesn't have to pay the operators to look for "4 seats behind the wing," "in front of the wing," "closest to the bathroom," "isn't the exit row open?" etc, etc. Just think of all the time you would save by not moving families around the plane so all the little trolls could sit with mommy and daddy. You could keep your 26 minute turn around time boarding by zone. And, respectfully, I disagree with the idea of WN having unassigned seats because the passengers want it. If that's the case, (1) Why are they considering even thinking about changing it, and (2) why haven't all other carriers done this? If I, along with many other travelers, KNOW they have a SEAT BY NUMBER, they would simply feel better. True, this might lead to passengers sitting in the bar for one more beer because they have a "seat," but there is an equal amount of WN flyers who sit there and drink another beer because they can board any time, especially business travelers flying alone. And finally, and most importantly, (3) If you ask ANYONE, what would you rather do, sit in a seat (at the terminal) and wait for the boarding to start, or stand in a line for an hour so you can get a good seat and/or sit with your traveling group? There is NO ONE at SWA that can convince me that passengers would rather stand in line just to sit with family. NO ONE. They stand in line for an hour just SO they can sit with their companions, not because they prefer standing. If the reason given by WN for unassigned seats is "because passengers prefer it," I simply can't believe that.
Again, I continue to fly WN because of price, but if Frontier in Nashville could offer the same flights to Las Vegas, Chicago, etc, and keep the same price, you better think I wouldn't hesitate to fly them or anyone who offers the same price over WN, even if it's on an Airbus!!
The UA flight I took to Lihue in September arrived in SFO and sat on the runway, gate 88, for about an hour and a half before boarding started. I noticed a large number of UA planes just sitting there. Their boarding problems aren't with the passengers, it's the fact that the scheduling doesn't keep them flying.
As Seen On FlightRadar24! Radar ==> F-KBNA5
 
flyer737sw
Posts: 138
Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2004 12:04 pm

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Fri Oct 29, 2004 3:50 pm

That is the main reason why Southwest does the online boarding pass...Its an easy way to get in group A or B without having to show up at the airport 2 hours ahead of time...And Its convienent...

Kevin
 
GuitrThree
Posts: 1940
Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2004 12:54 pm

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Fri Oct 29, 2004 3:54 pm

Sure, you can use the online check in, but you still have to stand in line to and wait when you get to the airport. Stand for sometimes and hour. That's not customer service, in my mind. And, besides that, I tried the online check-in. It doesn't work if you have multipule passengers (meaning more than one) made under the same reservation. That does me no good if I'm not alone. And even if it did, again, I'd arrive at the airport early just to still have to stand in the "A" line. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate SWA, but the unassigned seats is not and never will be because the passengers requested it.

[Edited 2004-10-29 08:59:53]
As Seen On FlightRadar24! Radar ==> F-KBNA5
 
flyer737sw
Posts: 138
Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2004 12:04 pm

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Fri Oct 29, 2004 4:02 pm

Maybe there was a glitch in the computer system...If you are in group A why would you want to stand in line for an hour anyway...Group A is the first 45 passengers on the plane...Just sit and wait till the first 44 get on then you go...Everybody is different I guess...

Kevin
 
NIKV69
Posts: 10893
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 4:27 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Fri Oct 29, 2004 8:56 pm

I think WN's seating policy now is one of their only negatives. It is confusing and does make connecting a pain in the ass. It is also one of the major reasons I avoid WN if I can. I would gladly pay an extra $10 a trip to have an assigned seat.
Hey that guy with the private jet can bail us out! Why? HE CAN AFFORD IT!
 
broke
Posts: 1299
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2002 8:04 pm

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Fri Oct 29, 2004 9:26 pm

With many airlines matching Southwest's fares on many segments and many of their routings requiring a change of planes, the lack of preassigned seating is something that keeps me from flying them. In addition, with the TSA being able to pull you out of line anytime they want, being at the front of the line for a Southwest flight doesn't help either.
Unless I can get a much better fare on Southwest, I don't even consider them when planning a trip.
 
zrb2
Posts: 847
Joined: Sat May 20, 2000 10:07 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Fri Oct 29, 2004 9:48 pm

The stampede for the boarding line is the most annoying thing. There is something to be said for just sitting and relaxing until your row is called. If my wife and I are traveling, I now have learned to book under two separate reservations, therefore we can check in on-line. That has been a great help and "eased the pressure" of having to get their early to grab the precious A boarding card.
I definitely support Assigned seating if they choose to implement it.
 
Bicoastal
Posts: 2446
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 1999 5:56 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Fri Oct 29, 2004 9:59 pm

As many forum users know, I'm not a Southwest fan. One of the reasons has been the fact that they seemingly have ignored customer preferences in favor of doing it "their way or (literally) the highway." It's good to see that with increased competition from other low cost carriers with assigned seating and entertainment options, that Southwest is doing what it takes to remain competitive. This involves being a bit more sensitive to customer preferences.
Airliners.net has many forums. It has spell check and search functions. Use them before posting!
 
SWAFA30
Posts: 436
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2003 1:57 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Fri Oct 29, 2004 10:27 pm

I think when Colleen et al, talk about Customers "wanting" Open Seating they don't mean people are writing passionate letters begging the company to keep Open Seating. Rather, Customers aren't writing passionate letters threatening to never fly Southwest again if they don't start assigning seats. I think the vast majority of our passengers feel about Open Seating like SWA feels about the Wright Ammendment...."passionately neutral". If Assigned Seating were really of utmost importance to the majority of Customers, they would simply fly someone else. It has been pointed out repeatedly that the other major carriers...all of whom will happily assign you a seat... match or beat SWA fares on competing routes. Most Customers only fly a trip or two per year if that and it's just not a big deal. It's an annoyance(in some cases) but an annoyance they have learned to adapt to and live with. If the change comes about, it will simply be a response to pressure(real or imagined) from v2.0 LCCs. The "Canyon Blue" paint is getting slapped on as fast as they can mix it. The leather seating retrofit is 75% complete, the snazzy new uniforms for the frontline are rolling out and now seat assignments may be in the offing. All SWA needs now are PTVs and the transformation to "jetBlue with Boeings" will be complete. Blue Potato Chips anyone?

[Edited 2004-10-29 15:32:25]
 
ATLhomeCMH
Posts: 751
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2003 3:25 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Fri Oct 29, 2004 10:52 pm

Giving assigned seats would, IMO, do WN some good.

I remember watching an episode of Airline and hearing the MDW CSA Supervisor respond to an agitated customer's criticism of their lack of assigned seating by saying, "We don't assign seats b/c it streamlines the boarding process."

I laughed out loud and said "Are you f@%#ing kidding me?!?!"

Every WN flight I've ever been on has been delayed for the simple reason that people would not take their seats b/c nobody wants the middle seat.

Arguments broke out b/w pax. The f/a's had to make several anouncements...each one increasing in agitation...of, "In order for an ontime departure, we ask that you find an open seat at this time." This is why, for me personally, I won't fly WN unless its an absolutely unavoidable last resort.

Maybe its just CMH. Maybe its just my own dumb luck. But, I'm willing to bet that if WN is having these types of consistent problems here at CMH, they're having it across the country.

And I know that WN is (somehow) one of the most on-time carriers, but if you're always striving to be better than what you are, then WN should introduce it on selected segments and see how it goes. They've got the cash reserves to afford to try new things which might enhance their business.
"The most terrifying words in the Engligh language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"-Ronald Reagan
 
steveswa737
Posts: 120
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2002 1:41 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sat Oct 30, 2004 12:54 am

Every WN flight I've ever been on has been delayed for the simple reason that people would not take their seats b/c nobody wants the middle seat.

If you think delays happen at WN because of our open seating policy, just wait to see what happens if we start assigning seats. We will have to train employees and passengers to change the way they have been doing things for the past 33 years. This will cause numerous delays throughout our system for quite a wile. I have witnessed on several occasions turning around a plane with 137 off and 137 on in 25 minutes. If it aint broken, dont fix it.

Here's how I see it:

Group A are usually people who are so adamant about getting a good seat that they get to the airport super early or print out their boarding card online the day of departure at 12:01am. They are usually people who fly us a lot and are very aware of our system.

Group B are usually people who want a good seat but for some reason or another just couldn't get there earlier than those over achieving A people. The B group people are also somewhat aware of our system and probably flies with us from time to time.

Group C are usually people who will never get to the airport early and could care less where they sit. They don't know and they don't care what type of aircraft they are on. They only want to get from point A to Point B on-time and safely. They will usually fly any airline that will get them where the want to go for the cheapest fare.

I understand that most people on this forum would have their world collapse if they had to sit in a middle seat, but there are people out there who really don't care. Besides, someone has to sit in the middle seat. If its not the people in the C group at WN, it will be someone who is assigned that middle seat on another airline.

I realize that I am generalizing our boarding groups and not every situation will be the same. So save your stories about how you got to the airport 12 hours early and ended up in the C group with a middle seat. It's just an observation form someone who works on a WN 737 8-10 hours a day 3-4 days a week. Just my 2 cents.

Steve
 
UA744KSFO
Posts: 411
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2003 5:55 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sat Oct 30, 2004 1:14 am

I have no problem flying LCC's. In Australia, I'll fly DJ anytime. In Canada, I'll fly WS anytime, and in the US, I'll fly on B6, HP, or F9 anytime.

That being said, I try to avoid WN as much as possible because I simply can't stand the cattle call. Although I can check in on-line on the outbound trip (and get an A boarding card), I can't always do so on the return trip, especially if I'm at a hotel or a relative's house where they have no Internet (this is usually the case with older relatives). Then I'm having to worry about getting to the airport in time to at least get in the B group, and even that rarely happens. In addition, the whole boarding crowd has to jump up and scramble as soon as the first boarding announcement is made. I'd rather wait over by the window looking at airplanes until the anxious people are onboard, and then when the line has died down a bit, get on the plane.

You can be an LCC and have assigned seating. If WN had that, I probably wouldn't try to avoid them. However, my preference is for being able to get an assigned seat, and I book travel accordingly.
 
ATLhomeCMH
Posts: 751
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2003 3:25 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sat Oct 30, 2004 1:34 am

If its not the people in the C group at WN, it will be someone who is assigned that middle seat on another airline.

That's not the point. I agree that we all have to suck it up and take the middle from time to time.

But, the point is that when a CMH-MDW flight is delayed 25 mins ONLY b/c Grandma Jones and College Student Joe argue that they want to sit next to their family members in the same row, there is a problem. And as I said, if it happens here at CMH, it surely happens elsewhere.

Plus, your line of thinking is supported by the incorrect assumption that you don't have a choice on the majors. With most major carriers, if you book far enough in advance you'll get to pick your seat, assuming you're not flying during a peak season.

If you're flying last minute, well...as they say..."Them's the breaks."

If you think delays happen at WN because of our open seating policy, just wait to see what happens if we start assigning seats.

It's easy to say that, sure. That's the knee-jerk reaction. But how will you know? Major carriers are delayed b/c of high traffic volume at hub cities that they have to transit through (evidenced by recent efforts in ORD and ATL to change that), or other issues (pilot scheduling, maintenance, idiots who don't get to the airport on time, etc), not necessarily b/c of boarding delays.

WN doesn't rely as much on a hub system, which is a big contributing factor to why they have a good on-time rate...not b/c their boarding process is efficient!

"The most terrifying words in the Engligh language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"-Ronald Reagan
 
Smalbany
Posts: 255
Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2004 2:29 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sat Oct 30, 2004 1:42 am


I have to agree with UA744KSFO. I think that WN going to assigned seating will be a large improvement. The long lines for boarding are the only part of flying WN that I dislike.
 
SWAFA30
Posts: 436
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2003 1:57 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sat Oct 30, 2004 1:53 am

WN doesn't rely as much on a hub system, which is a big contributing factor to why they have a good on-time rate...not b/c their boarding process is efficient!

SWA's devotion to efficiency and "looking for a better way" is slavish if not obsessive. If assigning seats got aircraft of the gate sooner and could be done so in a cost effective manner, we would have been doing it for decades... period. If assigned seating is implemented it will be done so in an effort to retain or lure back Customers who have been siphoned away to other carriers.






 
airgeek12
Posts: 725
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2004 8:02 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sat Oct 30, 2004 2:01 am

I don't like unassigned seating, like on Southwest. I like having assigned seating- or else people are fighting over seats. ...and sometimes familys aren't able to sit together.

I also think (because of the reason listed above), that planes would get off the ground quicker with assigned boarding/seating.
 
aeronuts
Posts: 110
Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2004 10:47 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sat Oct 30, 2004 2:22 am

I am no fan of SWA. But here's a case and point where unassigned seating works.

Monday this week, my team and I had a last minute meeting in the LA area. We all made our last minute reservations late Saturday last week. Being a loyal UA, Exec Premier flyer, I of course made my reservation on the UAL flight out of SFO, while my team made theirs on SWA out of SJC. Here's how it went, being a last minute reservation, I had a ticket issued, but no seat assignment. At the airport check-in on Monday, still had no seat assignment. Finally after everyone boarded, I got the last middle seat, on the last row on the B737-200 (never sat there before, didn't even know that the last row seats doesn't recline). Meanwhile, my team utilized the SWA on-line check-in Monday morning, all got Group A boarding pass, and sat where they wanted.

Another observation, when ever we travel to the east coast, all of us fly AA/UAL, with assigned seating on connecting flights. Go figure!
 
7e72004
Posts: 3440
Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2004 12:15 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sat Oct 30, 2004 2:23 am

I like the "cattle call" process; i just check in early enough to get an A pass, then i just get to the A line at the gate. NOt bad at all  Big thumbs up
The next generation of aircraft is just around the corner!
 
prosa
Posts: 5389
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2001 3:24 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sat Oct 30, 2004 2:31 am

Monday this week, my team and I had a last minute meeting in the LA area. We all made our last minute reservations late Saturday last week. Being a loyal UA, Exec Premier flyer, I of course made my reservation on the UAL flight out of SFO, while my team made theirs on SWA out of SJC. Here's how it went, being a last minute reservation, I had a ticket issued, but no seat assignment. At the airport check-in on Monday, still had no seat assignment. Finally after everyone boarded, I got the last middle seat, on the last row on the B737-200 (never sat there before, didn't even know that the last row seats doesn't recline). Meanwhile, my team utilized the SWA on-line check-in Monday morning, all got Group A boarding pass, and sat where they wanted.

How did your fare on UA compare to theirs on WN?
"Let me think about it" = the coward's way of saying "no"
 
aeronuts
Posts: 110
Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2004 10:47 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sat Oct 30, 2004 3:44 am

UAL was $100 more, not enough to stop my aging heart.
 
ckfred
Posts: 4734
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2001 12:50 pm

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sat Oct 30, 2004 3:55 am

I'm surprised that the FAA and NTSB haven't tried to get rid of open seating on WN. I've read that since airlines have gone to computerized boarding passes, it allows airlines to identify passengers simply by looking at the manifest.

How many times have you seen on "Airline" a gate agent having to get on the PA and ask a passenger to pull a call button, prior to his being taken off the aircraft? With seat assignments, this doesn't happen.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't ValuJet have open seating? I seem to recall that the NTSB had some problems with the investigation of the Everglades crash, because it didn't know the seat assignments for all of the passengers.

 
goingboeing
Posts: 4727
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 1999 1:58 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sat Oct 30, 2004 3:58 am

Maybe one reason SWA hasn't gone to assigned seats is because they sell more "full fare" tickets than any other carrier. "Full fare" implies last minute buyer. Why should a businessman who finds that he has to leave this afternoon be the one who gets a center seat? Unassigned seating is a benefit for those folks. As far as connections....for some time now, Southwest has issued a boarding card for the connecting flight when you check in for the first leg.

I like the "cattle call" process; i just check in early enough to get an A pass, then i just get to the A line at the gate. NOt bad at all Big thumbs up

Please shed some light for me...why on earth would you stand in line if you are in the A boarding group? I check in online and usually have an A card. I just sit reading a paper until the last of the A group approaches the the gate, then I get up and stroll on, never having to stand in any line.

But, the point is that when a CMH-MDW flight is delayed 25 mins ONLY b/c Grandma Jones and College Student Joe argue that they want to sit next to their family members in the same row, there is a problem. And as I said, if it happens here at CMH, it surely happens elsewhere.

Sorry...the flights I have been on that were booked full and a family couldn't sit together, the FA politely told them to sit where they could and they can try to switch once they are airborne. A family with their kids got separated. The mom sat accross the aisle from the daughter, and the husband a couple of rows up. Once we were airborne and before they tried to switch, their daughter and my daughter struck up a conversation, and the little girl didn't WANT to move.

Every WN flight I've ever been on has been delayed for the simple reason that people would not take their seats b/c nobody wants the middle seat.
Arguments broke out b/w pax.


Hmmm...I've been on a LOT of SWA flights and never had delays because "nobody wanted the center seat"....and I have seen zero "near fights". That might say more about the folks in your city than Southwest airlines.
 
ATLhomeCMH
Posts: 751
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2003 3:25 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sat Oct 30, 2004 4:24 am

SWA's devotion to efficiency and "looking for a better way" is slavish if not obsessive. If assigning seats got aircraft of the gate sooner and could be done so in a cost effective manner, we would have been doing it for decades... period.

This is what I was getting at. If WN is this "bastion of efficiency" (supposedly)in the industry, then they should be able to implement assigned seating and make it work. This is all a non-issue.

If assigned seating is implemented it will be done so in an effort to retain or lure back Customers who have been siphoned away to other carriers.

I actually agree with you here. I might even consider flying WN more regularly if this occurred. The inefficient boarding process has always been one of my biggest criticisms on the airline.

That might say more about the folks in your city than Southwest airlines.

So, you subscribe to the belief that this sort of thing is solely isolated to Concourse C at Port Columbus International Airport?




[Edited 2004-10-29 21:31:44]
"The most terrifying words in the Engligh language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"-Ronald Reagan
 
ultrapig
Posts: 570
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2003 11:38 pm

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sat Oct 30, 2004 4:37 am

Ok here is my very simple answer-When I'm flying for business in a suit I'm generally paying a full fair which even on SW is higher than the discount fair. I don't want to get to the airport an hour before the flight and I don't want to sit in a middle seat yada yada yada-

Suppose they assigned seats in the first let's say five rows to people with those fares- and boarded them LAST-let the cattle do what they do now-

My anecdotal evidence says that one slow up on SW is that the first people on genrally want the up front seats and then block the ailse putting up bagge and getting settled. The Ultrapig solution would get business traveler's a virtual first class and still loan da plane quickly.
 
steveswa737
Posts: 120
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2002 1:41 am

RE: WAN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sat Oct 30, 2004 4:43 am

Every WN flight I've ever been on has been delayed for the simple reason that people would not take their seats b/c nobody wants the middle seat.
Arguments broke out b/w pax.


I guess its either due to bad luck or extreme exaggeration. I can only go by my 10 years with WN. I have never witnessed an argument break out due to someone not wanting to sit in a middle seat.

Any delay caused by people not sitting down is NOT caused by someone not wanting a middle seat. Its usually caused by a family traveling with small children who shows up late or missed pre-boarding. If a family with small children boards last and we have a few minutes, we will attempt to get them seats together by making an announcement to see if someone will move for them. You'd be surprised what people will do for a free cocktail. Not to mention, there are a lot of really nice people out there that will move from an isle seat to a middle to help out a family and want nothing in return.

If nobody moves and its departure time, we ask them to take the available seats and then we will try again once we are airborne. I've never heard of a 25 minute delay caused by people not wanting to sit in a middle seat.

Steve


 
goingboeing
Posts: 4727
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 1999 1:58 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sat Oct 30, 2004 4:47 am


So, you subscribe to the belief that this sort of thing is solely isolated to Concourse C at Port Columbus International Airport?


I guess I am. Since I haven't seen it in Concourse B at MCI, or OKC, or OAK, or MDW, or STL, or FLL, or TPA, or HOU, or MSY, or DAL, or TUL, or BNA, or SAN, or MCO, to name a few of the cities I've been in and out of on Southwest.

The only "near riot" I experienced was on AA out of DFW...caused by some a-hole who didn't want to check his amp. After delaying the flight for 20 minutes, the FA told him he could either check his amp and pick it up in Kansas City, or stay with his amp at the gate in DFW...his choice.
 
ATLhomeCMH
Posts: 751
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2003 3:25 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sat Oct 30, 2004 6:03 am

I guess I am. Since I haven't seen it in Concourse B at MCI, or OKC, or OAK, or MDW, or STL, or FLL, or TPA, or HOU, or MSY, or DAL, or TUL, or BNA, or SAN, or MCO, to name a few of the cities I've been in and out of on Southwest.

And I've seen it in every WN city I've been to....that means, PHX, STL, MCO, MDW and CMH. BTW, I never said "near fights" or "near riots." Only arguments...just enough to highlight the problem.

However, I've NEVER seen it on DL, FL, UA, US, TW, NW or AA in ORD, ATL, CMH, DAY, DFW, LGA, CVG, MKE, STL, BUF, SAN, MSP, MCO, PHX...shall I continue?

Why? They have assigned seats. They have a boarding pass that tells them, "go directly here," instead of trying to pick their seats aimlessly.

Doesn't that tell you anything? Ever heard of, "Where there's smoke, there's fire"? Apparently not.

The only time I've ever had a delay on a major carrier b/c of a seating issue was due to the following reasons:
(a)some idiot got to airport late and came running onto the plane
(b)some other idiot got onboard late and tried to fit his/her jumbo, rolling bag into an already overfilled storage bin...which then had to be checked.
(c)as Steveswa737 said, a frazzled family with little kids arrived late
(d)the rare time on a major carrier when two people had the same seat printed on their boarding pass...and that was handled in time for departure.

Steveswa737:

Why would I exaggerate? I find it interesting that the conversation had moved from, "What do you think about WN doing away with unassigned seating?" to whether people critical of WN are exaggerating their criticisms.

Is that b/c we've reached the heart of the issue--that there really IS a problem w/ WN's boarding practices?

"The most terrifying words in the Engligh language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"-Ronald Reagan
 
steveswa737
Posts: 120
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2002 1:41 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sat Oct 30, 2004 6:46 am

ATLhomeCMH:

Its Ok to be critical of WN. I have my own issues with the way we do some things at WN. I just find it hard to believe that you are experiencing delays every time you fly WN because people wont sit down. As you even stated, every airline experiences small delays leaving the gate from time to time due to last minute situations. My point is that switching to assigned seating wont eliminate those last minute delays.

Who knows, maybe it's just dumb luck that all your flights are delayed due to people standing in the isle. All I can say is that its not a problem for the 9-12 flights I work 3 days a week all over our system. Then again, it has been a while since I've been through CMH.

Steve
 
ScottB
Posts: 5454
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2000 1:25 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sat Oct 30, 2004 6:57 am

"Is that b/c we've reached the heart of the issue--that there really IS a problem w/ WN's boarding practices?"

Actually, I'd say that the heart of the issue is that some people feel "that there really IS a problem w/ WN's boarding practices." A lot of people don't care, or they don't care enough to choose another airline. If it mattered that much, Southwest wouldn't have been able to kick Metrojet out of BWI, they wouldn't have kicked United Shuttle out of the California market, they wouldn't have greater market share in PHX than HP, and they wouldn't dominate as many markets as they do.
 
goingboeing
Posts: 4727
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 1999 1:58 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sat Oct 30, 2004 6:58 am

Why? They have assigned seats. They have a boarding pass that tells them, "go directly here," instead of trying to pick their seats aimlessly.

YOu mean folks are so inherently stupid that they have to be told where to sit? I don't notice folks wadering aimlessly looking for seats. I pretty much see folks take the first available seat that they find.

Oddly...I've seen on DL, AA, and others where someone showed up with seat 12A on a boarding card and someone else showed up with seat 12A on their boarding card. Happened enough to suprise me in the days I traveled 80% of my time. I've had it happen (more than once) on Delta and TWA where I had my boarding cards with my seats, only to show up at checkin to find that my seats had been reassigned...and the family wasn't sitting together anymore. And...I've had the occassion where I paid full fare on AA and ended up being assigned a center seat. Go figure.

 
MHTMDW
Posts: 138
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2004 10:17 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sat Oct 30, 2004 7:19 am

Herb, Colleen et al: KEEP UNASSIGNED SEATING!!!!!!

The best part of the currest WN boaridng process is that by preboarding all the families with small children, they sit in their own sectioon at the front of the plane. Me, I make a beeline for row 17, which is a beverage service starting point. Another benefit is if I am in a later boarding group, I can chose by who I wish to sit.
 
aeronuts
Posts: 110
Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2004 10:47 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sat Oct 30, 2004 7:55 am

Goingboeing, that's a good one. I too wonder why folks wander aimlessly looking for their seats. Every flight, I would see folks (more than one) would look up to check row 5 A/B/C while their boarding pass has 26E. To be so disoriented on a single isle plane is just not right.
 
jeffinbwi
Posts: 141
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2003 8:59 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sat Oct 30, 2004 9:59 am

Their is a trend in this thread. People want an assigned seat so they can hang out in the boarding area, board when they want to, take their time, you get the idea. With Southwest's current system they board that plane with a sense of urgency. This sense of urgency is worth its weight in gold. That sense of urgency is why Southwest can turn a full plane faster than anyone.

Okay so we assign seats, then we have to add 10 or 15 minutes to the turn times. So now the planes are flying less, the fares have to go up to make up for this inefficiency. Sales go down with higher fares. Before you know it we are just another US Airways or United. I don't think that Southwest's Customers really want that.

But I could be wrong.
 
bigb
Posts: 731
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 4:30 pm

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sat Oct 30, 2004 1:08 pm

Southwest doesn't need to assign seats in my opinion, I think asisgned seats only applies to mostly a.netters. I don't think passengers out of a.net don't give a damn.
ETSN Baber, USN
 
Cactus739
Posts: 2245
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2004 6:41 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sat Oct 30, 2004 2:10 pm

This is the same dribble we go through on every thread about Southwest! Can't we just let sleeping dogs lie?

I've been on more than my fair share of Southwest flights in the past 10 years. I qualified for 3 Rapid Rewards tickets in 6 months (and that was before the online booking bonus). I've flown in and out of Phoenix, Kansas City, Houston, Austin, Nashvile, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Burbank, Portland, Seattle...and never had any problems with people taking their seats. I've never seen near fights, and I've never had a delayed flight because someone wouldn't take the only seat that was left. Now that I think about it, the only time I've been delayed on Southwest was because of an air show in Las Vegas a couple years ago.

Basically its the same as always. If you don't like them and having a pre-assigned seat is that important to you.... then go fly someone else and stop posting the same meaningless dribble in every thread about Southwest.

You can't fix stupid.... - Ron White
 
goingboeing
Posts: 4727
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 1999 1:58 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sat Oct 30, 2004 9:46 pm

I'm surprised that the FAA and NTSB haven't tried to get rid of open seating on WN. I've read that since airlines have gone to computerized boarding passes, it allows airlines to identify passengers simply by looking at the manifest.

And when they look at the manifest that says John Doe checked in for the flight, and John Doe was assigned seat 12b, but John Doe notices the flight is only 3/4 full, so he moves from his assigned center seat over to seat 15C. When they look at the manifest, there's nobody in seat 12B, but he's checked in for the flight....what do they do. And...when I travelled 80% of the time, I'd say that about 30% of the time, I moved from my assigned seat. Will they make it a crime to do this?
 
txagkuwait
Posts: 1388
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 1999 7:39 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sun Oct 31, 2004 12:03 am

I, too, pray and hope that they keep open seating.

But for those that think assigned seats are somehow "safer."

Let's say you have a quintet of terrorists: Abdul, Ibrahim, Suleiman, Ali, and Fred.

Abdul works at Assignedseat Airlines. He tracks the tail numbers for dispatch.

Ibrahim is a cabin cleaner. He puts a box cutter, a stun gun, and a bottle of arsenic and old lace in the seat back pocket in front of 7C.

Suleiman, Ali, and Fred all book seats and request aisle seats....7C, 7D, and 8D. Fred is in 7C, gets the weapons, transfers some of them to his buddies, and they take over the plane.

If they are on WN, however, all they can do is get group A and hope. And that's not a sure bet, since their flight came in from Hobby enroute to Providence and there were 46 thru passengers on it.....and Clara was in 7C, Lance was in 7D, and Bertha was in 8D.

Our three terrorists end up in aisle seats back in row 16 and 18 but there are no weapons. Oh well.

I would say that open seatng introudces and element of uncertainty that potential hijackers do not wish to deal with when planning a nefarious crime.

 
atrude777
Posts: 4258
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2003 11:23 pm

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sun Oct 31, 2004 12:58 am

ATLCMH-

I find this hard to believe about ur saying about AA at the airports not having seating problems.

you said...(d)the rare time on a major carrier when two people had the same seat printed on their boarding pass...and that was handled in time for departure.

To be honest, I had the EXACT same problem and it was NOT handeled in time for departure, we ended up being delayed 20 minutes because of other problems as well including my own problem which I will say in a minute.

I boarded an AA flight OKC-DFW to continue onward to STL. I had seat 25F, the seat I had booked online. I boarded in group 3. Then this guy and his daughter came up to my row, and the guy said to me "you are in my seat". I said, "No I am not" and showed him my boarding pass. He showed me mine and it showed my seat number. Odd....I asked if he booked the seat online or did the gate agent give him the seat? he said the gate agent gave him this seat. Well...I sure as hell wasn't giving up my seat. I called the f/a told him our problems. He called the gate agent and asked who had checked in first? they said I had checked in first. So I got to pick my seat. and i chose 25F, the guy and his daughter sat in my row, sitting in the aisle and midde seat. this took a total of 15 minutes. trying to determine who sits where. apprantly there was a computer glitch and didnt' read my seat and showed the gate agent my seat was open. now..had I flown Southwest all I had to do was just sit, there would be no guy telling me to get up and move, he woulda just plopped in the seat next to me. and it woulda taken 5 minutes. as opposed to the 15 min AA wasted with the assigned seating trying to figure out who sits where.

So you see, other airlines have problem with seating stuff. with Southwest all you gotta do is find a seat u want and sit there. and if udont like it, wait till the flight is airborne and move around, THATS A BLESSING!! on AA I couldnt move around to sit where I wanted to sit. id have to stay in my seat.

Alex
Good things come to those who wait, better things come to those who go AFTER it!
 
ntspelich
Posts: 740
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2003 2:35 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sun Oct 31, 2004 1:04 am

Last night we had a flight delayed by something like 25 minutes because I passenger was demanding a complaint form before the plane took off because he was upset that he read in USA Today that we were getting rid of unassigned seating. I guess he thought that filling it out in-flight would be the best way to spend his time on board. It was in an upline station, so I didn't get all of the details, but I never knew that people were so adaminent about open seating that they'd force an a/c to be late.
United 717 heavy, you're facing the wrong way. Any chance you can powerback to get off of my deice pad?
 
User avatar
fanoftristars
Posts: 1544
Joined: Mon Jul 17, 2000 9:03 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sun Oct 31, 2004 1:20 am

All I can say after reading this is thank god for my gold medallion status...lol

preferred seating, free unlimited upgrades, preferred boarding, and the fast line through security! Looks like I'll never be a SWA FF... Sure is nice to show up at the airport 30min before departure and walk to the gate where I hear, "We'd like to invite those passengers seated in Zone 1 to board at this time. Zone 1, which includes the first class cabin, may now board at this time..." Music to my ears! lol
"FLY DELTA JETS"
 
UAL-Fan
Posts: 342
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 1999 1:36 pm

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sun Oct 31, 2004 2:28 am

Boarding "Zone1" 20 past departure time while Southwest makes another on time departure.
 
Bubbinski
Posts: 157
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2004 3:48 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sun Oct 31, 2004 5:08 am

Call me strange, but I happen to like the current SWA boarding process, that is because I'm used to it and I make it to the airport at least 90 minutes before departure, and I can pick a window seat or an aisle seat. If I were one of those who always got the C cards I might feel differently.

Bubbinski (will be flying WN to Phoenix again this week)
"Simplify" - Thoreau
 
jerion
Posts: 230
Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2004 12:59 am

RE: WN To Do Away With Unassigned Seating?

Sun Oct 31, 2004 9:15 am

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't ValuJet have open seating? I seem to recall that the NTSB had some problems with the investigation of the Everglades crash, because it didn't know the seat assignments for all of the passengers.

CKFred:

Yes, ValuJet had open seating. You were a given a numbered boarding card at the gate, but once onboard the aircraft you were free to pick whatever seat you liked.

Jerion
L10/D9S/D10/M80/M88/732/733/734/735/73G/738/72S/757/762/763/320/319/318/ERJ