Recently travelled on Southwest for the first time. Just 2 short flights
, which were full in both directions.
It was truly refreshing to see how smoothly a boarding procedure goes without advanced seat assignment! Seems like the plane was boarded in no time, no fussing with seat dupes and trying to re-seat people together. No lineups at the gate with people who already had advanced seating wanting to change. No collection of boarding passes by the gate agent to try to accomodate last minute seat changes by people who already had seats. My point obviously is all that advanced seating does is duplicate tasks to the point where it seems like on full flights nearly 50% are re-seated anyway.
On the same trip I also travelled YVR
. Both flights again were full, but what a chaotic boarding process, not to mention lengthy and complicated announcements about preboards and numerous frequent flyer levels. Another fine example where, as a society, we have become ridiculous! The AS
flight from SFO
actually was supposed to start boarding at 6:30pm for a 7:05pm departure, and they actually started 10 minutes earlier at 6:30pm, I suppose because the aircraft had been towed to the gate much earlier and the crew was ready to board. Even at that, we were almost late departing! All thanks to advanced seating! 45 minutes to board a 737! It seemed as though nobody on board was happy with their seating, families split up etc. etc. I could go on and on about what, as far as I am concerned, about the disruption advanced and pre-assigned seating, the totally unnecessary evil of having a first class section on such short flights, and the ridiculous and compicated boarding announcements. It only took 2 short flights on Southwest to make me realize what I should have realized for years! As I say, the flights on Southwest were full, never heard one complaint. The service on the flights was at a par with other major carriers, they do their best to do a beverage service. The big pleasure is the simplicity of their procedures and how no waste of time and manpower is spent on seating and upgrades. Not to mention the fact that they offer an excellent amount of legroom at every seat in a very comfortable cabin with up-to-date equipment.
Although I only took 2 flights, I am sure Southwest has it's problems, too, but they still get my vote. I am sure that I have pissed off a number of you who value the upgrades, preboarding, and blocking the aisles at the front of the plane to hold up the boarding, but I'm entitled to my opinion. By the way, I would take an aisle seat on Southwest any day over any Seat in the cramped and dingy f-class cabin on AS
. I don't mean to knock AS
, their service overall is really good, and I realize they are only doing what competition demands. I would still choose Southwest, though, but they don't fly from Canada. That's another reason for their sucess, though, keeping it simple. They don't have all the hassles of Transborder Customs and Immigration to deal with. They do what they do very well, and let's hope that they don't adopt pre-assigned seating and the chaos that it causes!