b777a340fan
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Legacy And/or LC Carriers Give Up Assigned Seats?

Thu May 17, 2007 5:25 am

I thought that this topic would've been discussed before, but I didn't see it after doing a search. I recently flew WN and thought the boarding process was rather good. I mean, I would've thought that it'd be chaotic and people would be punching each other to get the aisle/window seat, but it was one of the best boarding processes that I've witnessed. How likely would it be that other carriers and/or LCCs adopt such method as well? I understand that legacies make a lot of revenues with first class/business class and I'm not suggesting that they eliminate that, but simply specific assigned seatings. I checked-in online exactly 24 hours beforehand and was able to get an "A" boarding pass, so I felt like I had more power as to choosing my seat, rather than getting the usual response: "Please check-in at the airport".

[Edited 2007-05-16 22:25:55]
 
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SLCUT2777
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RE: Legacy And/or LC Carriers Give Up Assigned Seats?

Thu May 17, 2007 5:32 am

Quoting B777A340Fan (Thread starter):
I thought that this topic would've been discussed before, but I didn't see it after doing a search. I recently flew WN and thought the boarding process was rather good. I mean, I would've thought that it'd be chaotic and people would be punching each other to get the aisle/window seat, but it was one of the best boarding processes that I've witnessed. How likely would it be that other carriers and/or LCCs adopt such method as well? I understand that legacies make a lot of revenues with first class/business class and I'm not suggesting that they eliminate that, but simply specific assigned seating's. I checked-in online exactly 24 hours beforehand and was able to get an "A" boarding pass, so I felt like I had more power as to choosing my seat, rather than getting the usual response: "Please check-in at the airport".

I highly doubt we'll see any legacy carriers or other LCCs go to the WN "cattle-herd" method of A-B-C. Many analysts point out that this is what holds WN back from gaining more customers in markets they are already in and established. Fliers reluctant to try such a seaming draconian method. While I don't think WN will change any time soon, with new computer technology they are implementing on their website, many who purchase far enough out will likely be able to choose an assigned seat, and will board in a pre-board group prior to the A-B-C crowd in the future. Seating at WN and other carriers isn't an exact science, it is something that will be ever evolving.
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Rivet42
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RE: Legacy And/or LC Carriers Give Up Assigned Seats?

Thu May 17, 2007 7:22 am

Quoting SLCUT2777 (Reply 1):
I highly doubt we'll see any legacy carriers or other LCCs go to the WN "cattle-herd" method of A-B-C.

Oh? EasyJet in Europe have always done it this way, as far as I can remember, and other European 'no-frills' carriers have priority boarding system of one kind or another (usually based on the check-in sequence). What's not so standard is the application of that priority system at the gate, which can vary widely depending on the gate staff - on an Easyget flight from LGW recently, the gate attendant announced boarding for families with infants follwed by those who had booked pre-boarding online, and everyone just stood up and moved forwrd - no-one made any attempt to control the sequence. I was quite surprised - usually at LGW the U2 boarding systsem has been quite strictly enforced. Same with FR, 4U - what might be a strict priority system at one airport (4U were very strict at STN) might be a free-for-all at another. FR usually attempt manage the boarding by sequence number, but the gate staff don't always seeem to have their hearts in it.
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sparklehorse12
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RE: Legacy And/or LC Carriers Give Up Assigned Seats?

Thu May 17, 2007 7:29 am

JQ launched services with un allocated seating due to passenger annoyance they changed it to allocaed seating.
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lincoln
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RE: Legacy And/or LC Carriers Give Up Assigned Seats?

Thu May 17, 2007 7:51 am

Quoting B777A340Fan (Thread starter):
How likely would it be that other carriers and/or LCCs adopt such method as well? I understand that legacies make a lot of revenues with first class/business class and I'm not suggesting that they eliminate that, but simply specific assigned seatings. I checked-in online exactly 24 hours beforehand and was able to get an "A" boarding pass, so I felt like I had more power as to choosing my seat, rather than getting the usual response: "Please check-in at the airport".

I think it's unlikely. It's possible that one or two may make the change but I don't think a large number of carriers will. For every one person that likes the cattle call boarding there are 4 (just pulling a random number out of my head) that can't stand it. The biggest reason I don't fly WN is because I can't get an assigned seat & I have to check in 24h in advance to get my boarding priority.

With CO, for example, I know what seats are available on any given flight and I can pick my preferred seats (or walk up to the counter 20 minutes before departure, buy a ticket and at least know that I'll have a window, as I've done a couple times). As an Elite I know that I can board quickly, but even if I weren't an elite I can position my seat assignment in the aircraft for my preferred boarding (further in back = quicker boarding) and it's not dependent on 75 people happened to check in before I did.

It is a matter of personal preference -- WN's customers like the way WN does things...

Lincoln
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b777a340fan
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RE: Legacy And/or LC Carriers Give Up Assigned Seats?

Thu May 17, 2007 9:02 am

Quoting Lincoln (Reply 4):
I know what seats are available on any given flight and I can pick my preferred seats (or walk up to the counter 20 minutes before departure, buy a ticket and at least know that I'll have a window, as I've done a couple times)

I think that's a pretty optimistic view and to me, it's less sure than the WN boarding system. With WN, I can be at the computer exactly 24h00 beforehand and assure that I get a priority seating. With the legacy carriers, there were many times when I was asked to check-in at the airport before I get a seating assignment or my seat was released to "someone more important". You have to remember that even though you have an "assigned seating" with a legacy carrier, it may be bump you down couple rows in the middle seats anytime it wants.
 
lincoln
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RE: Legacy And/or LC Carriers Give Up Assigned Seats?

Thu May 17, 2007 9:26 am

Quoting B777A340Fan (Reply 5):
I think that's a pretty optimistic view and to me, it's less sure than the WN boarding system. With WN, I can be at the computer exactly 24h00 beforehand and assure that I get a priority seating. With the legacy carriers, there were many times when I was asked to check-in at the airport before I get a seating assignment or my seat was released to "someone more important". You have to remember that even though you have an "assigned seating" with a legacy carrier, it may be bump you down couple rows in the middle seats anytime it wants.

I guess it depends on the airline. I've never not been able to get a seat assignment, and my seat assignment has only inexplicably changed on one reservation* --- even when I've bought a walk-up ticket literally 20 minutes prior to departure on a nearly-sold out flight I've been able to get a window seat. On reservations made further in advance, it means I don't have to spend time worrying about when 24h prior to my flight is, or being in front of a computer at that time... I can check in at my leasure without affecting my boarding priority.

While I realize that seat assignments are not gaurnteed, I've never had a problem with mine (except for always being upgraded into an asile for some reason)

*- And I think it was my fault on that one reservation -- it was an interline itinerary and with a somewhat bizare routing. On standard reservations I've never had a problem.
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Rivet42
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RE: Legacy And/or LC Carriers Give Up Assigned Sea

Thu May 17, 2007 12:43 pm

Quoting Lincoln (Reply 6):
While I realize that seat assignments are not gaurnteed, I've never had a problem with mine (except for always being upgraded into an asile for some reason)

I've often wondered about that, and can only assume the rationale is that an aisle seat is preferable because you can get off the plane quicker at the other end...
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AY104
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RE: Legacy And/or LC Carriers Give Up Assigned Seats?

Thu May 17, 2007 1:04 pm

Have to agree with you: I like the way Southwest does things. On the other hand, I just booked my flights YVR-YUL-YVR for July, and was able to pick my seat already. The funny thing is, the couple of times I flew Southwest, I actually liked the fact that I could do web check-in 24 hours ahead, then get onboard near the beginning. I knew the flights were full, so when I boarded I made sure that I got an aisle seat beside a couple who had no kids. There were other aisles available, with mom at the window and the kid in the middle seat, both of the kids were already squirming in their seats and complaining. I thought to myself, that if I had a prebooked seat I would not have the luxury of picking and choosing my seat companions at boarding time. I still have no idea who I will sit beside in July even though I booked a seat already. I would probably have more peace of mind if I knew that I could get my boarding pass 24 hours ahead, and still have open seating. Just my personal opinion, but to my mind as long as you can check in on the web 24 hours ahead, the open seating actually has advantages that assigned seating does not.
I will always be a loyal fan of Southwest, because they keep in simple and treat everyone the same.
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Charles79
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RE: Legacy And/or LC Carriers Give Up Assigned Seats?

Thu May 17, 2007 1:11 pm

Quoting Lincoln (Reply 4):
think it's unlikely. It's possible that one or two may make the change but I don't think a large number of carriers will. For every one person that likes the cattle call boarding there are 4 (just pulling a random number out of my head) that can't stand it. The biggest reason I don't fly WN is because I can't get an assigned seat & I have to check in 24h in advance to get my boarding priority.

Not just that, I happen to have one of those names that are very common...so common, in fact, that it pops up on the FBI terrorist's watch list. This means that 9 times out of 10 I can't do online check-in, I have to do at the airport, which by then would be too late to get a priority boarding code. Unless they offer an alternative for those who can't check online (and it can happen for a large number of reasons) I'd stick to assigned seating. Granted, when you request a seat while making a reservation it is just that, a request (it's not confirmed until you check-in). But 90% of the time the seat you requested will still be yours upon check-in. With WN's method, I'd be sitting in the middle seat way too often for my liking.

Cheers

Charles
 
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SLCUT2777
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RE: Legacy And/or LC Carriers Give Up Assigned Seats?

Thu May 17, 2007 10:00 pm

Quoting Rivet42 (Reply 2):
Oh? EasyJet in Europe have always done it this way, as far as I can remember, and other European 'no-frills' carriers have priority boarding system of one kind or another (usually based on the check-in sequence). What's not so standard is the application of that priority system at the gate, which can vary widely depending on the gate staff - on an Easyget flight from LGW recently, the gate attendant announced boarding for families with infants follwed by those who had booked pre-boarding online,

Keep in mind that the methods used by FR and U2 are much more close to the typical seating methods of UA, AA, DL, CO, NW, AC and US here in North America than it is to WN. The method used by WN dates back to the early 1970s when they were a trans-Texas start-up carrier. My point is that you'll likely see WN slowly evolve to something like FR and U2 and have a group along with the families pre-board prior to the traditional A-B-C group.
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DYflyer
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RE: Legacy And/or LC Carriers Give Up Assigned Seats?

Fri May 18, 2007 1:21 am

DY has actually gone the other way and started with assigned seating earlier this year.
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Rivet42
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RE: Legacy And/or LC Carriers Give Up Assigned Seats?

Fri May 18, 2007 5:43 am

Quoting SLCUT2777 (Reply 10):
My point is that you'll likely see WN slowly evolve to something like FR and U2 and have a group along with the families pre-board prior to the traditional A-B-C group.

So how does the 'A-B-C' method at WN work? At U2 it's based solely on the check-in sequence, unless you pre-book (and pay for) priority boarding, in which case you are 'PB', which is accepted before 'A' at the gate (in theory). You can also check-in on-line, if you have only carry-on luggage, but that does NOT put you in group 'A' - for that you have to be at the front of the queue when check-in opens.

What's the WN version of 'A-B-C'...?
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lincoln
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RE: Legacy And/or LC Carriers Give Up Assigned Seats?

Fri May 18, 2007 7:39 am

Quoting Rivet42 (Reply 12):

What's the WN version of 'A-B-C'...?

Unless something has changed since the last time I flew WN (which, admitedly, was about 5 1/2 years ago -- but my mom flys them regularly) it is strictly A-B-C based on check-in time with very limited preboarding for those with clear disabilities.

At many of WN's gates they have corrals for the A-B-C groups which doesn't do a whole lot to help break the "cattle heard stampeeding" image, IMHO.

Lincoln
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Rivet42
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RE: Legacy And/or LC Carriers Give Up Assigned Sea

Fri May 18, 2007 9:18 am

Quoting Lincoln (Reply 13):
Unless something has changed since the last time I flew WN (which, admitedly, was about 5 1/2 years ago -- but my mom flys them regularly) it is strictly A-B-C based on check-in time with very limited preboarding for those with clear disabilities.

So that's basically the same as U2 and FR, then (except that FR use check-in sequence numbers instead of letters, e.g. 'A' is 1-65, 'B' is 66-120, etc...). It still often degenates into a uncivilised scramble to get through the door if they haven't put up queue dividers. Give me an allocated seat number any day, the whole process is so much more dignified!  spin 
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CV880
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RE: Legacy And/or LC Carriers Give Up Assigned Seats?

Fri May 18, 2007 9:20 am

I can't imagine regressing back to the 'cattle herd' of the 70's for passenger boarding. The computer programmers couldn't move fast enough for many years to implement a suitable computerized seat selection system. When looking at some of the comments about not being able to select prime seats online, it's no different than when we used to pull off and hide the 'prime seats' on the old gate check in seat charts before the computer age. Our FF's always got their usual seats...  Smile