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mirrodie
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WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Wed Aug 27, 2003 7:05 am

We will soon be traveling on WN across the country.

But now here;s the thing. I got my itinerary faxed to me.

We (for the first time) WILL be checkin in luggage.

How can I insure getting into group A and perhaps nailing an exit row seat?

the last time I flew WN from ISP-BWI, I printed out my boarding pass the NIGHT BEFORE online and I got group B.

Yet when we got to the airport the next day, the doctors we were traveling with had to get their boarding pass/group at the counter... and they was in group A.

So how exactly can I increase my chances of getting in Group A especially when checkin in luggage?

Thanks so much. mirrodie
Forum moderator 2001-2010; He's a pedantic, pontificating, pretentious bastard, a belligerent old fart, a worthless st
 
bluemeatball
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Wed Aug 27, 2003 7:09 am

What few flights that I have had with WN the means of getting a group A selection is getting to the gate counter as soon as it opens for the flight (1 hour before departure). A problem also to be encountered is that you might receive a group A tag but if the flight is a through flight originating in another city, the window seats may already be occupied although some were usually available just not where you want one.
 
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Bruce
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Wed Aug 27, 2003 7:12 am

I dont know why you got into the "B" group the night before......from my experience it is based on first come first served. Really the only sure-fire way to get a "A" is to get there EARLY and check in EARLY.

When i flew BNA - MCI I got to the airport at least 1 hour prior to the flight and I ended up with a "C"!!!!!!

But even if you get the "A" card you still have one more hurdle: the dreaded line. If you are at the back of the "A" line, you have the continuing-thru pax, the pre-board pax, and all the "A"s in front of you, so the seat you want may be taken when you get on. And the people begin lining up long before the plane even arrives from its previous flight! Go up near the doorway where the line would start, and sit down - on the floor. That way when people begin lining up they will be behind you.


bruce
Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
 
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Wed Aug 27, 2003 7:28 am

A month ago, I flew WN MCO-ORF and back. On the outbound leg, I arrived at the MCO kiosk at 6:30PM for a 8:15PM departure and I STILL got the "B" group. But I was still able to get a window seat. I just looked at the ISP schedule. They don't fly anywhere north of ISP to ISP. So your flight will probably not have any continuing pax. If you get in the "A" group, even if you are the LAST person in the "A" group, you should be fine.
"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
 
Guest

RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Wed Aug 27, 2003 7:47 am

They don't let online check-ins get A cards to be fair to those getting to the airport. Otherwise, few at the airport would have the opportunity to get an A. You get a group B card in exchange for the convenience of not having to queue up 90 minutes before flight time for a boarding card. Sounds fair to me.
 
N766UA
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Wed Aug 27, 2003 9:39 am

I just flew CLE-BWI-CLE. On the BWI segment I got a 'B' card, despite being there an hour and a half early. On the way back, I got an 'A' card. I arrived at BWI around 6:15 and my flight left just after 8. Both times I got a window seat, though. The latter was just farther forward.
 
goingboeing
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Wed Aug 27, 2003 10:56 am

Southwest doesn't have online check in. You can print your security document 24 hours in advance, and that will allow you thru security, but you can't print your boarding card. They are two separate items. I believe that check in is now allowed up to 4 hours in advance - but you have to be at the airport. I flew about 3 weeks ago and got to the airport 1 hour in advance and got the A group, then on the connection in HOU with 1 hour, also got the A group, but one in our party had the B group. Going back was the same thing.
 
FLAIRPORT
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Wed Aug 27, 2003 11:29 am

i have 2 questions:
if you check in as a family, will you all get the same group?
if someone in your party is in a different group, can you board with them?
NEXT FLIGHT: FLL-ATL-HPN on FL
 
tekelberry
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Wed Aug 27, 2003 12:42 pm

Another WN business practice which is flawed.

The way the system should be designed is this.

Group A - Set up an "elite" system for their mileage program. If it already exists, fine. The people who are "elites" go here. In other words, give priority to those who fly WN often. If different tiers are set up, put the top pier in A, second best, B, and worst C, and then continue the lettering from there.

Group B-X (variable) - The computer randomly selects passengers and pre-selects their group before they get their boarding pass. Of course it wouldn't be sorted by each individual passenger, but by reservation. Depending on the aircraft type, max passengers per group should be about 20-30.

Of course if I was running the airline, I would have pre-assigned seating. Makes for a much more efficient boarding process.

[Edited 2003-08-27 05:43:50]
 
goingboeing
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Wed Aug 27, 2003 10:20 pm

Another WN business practice which is flawed.

The way the system should be designed is this.

Group A - Set up an "elite" system for their mileage program. If it already exists, fine. The people who are "elites" go here. In other words, give priority to those who fly WN often. If different tiers are set up, put the top pier in A, second best, B, and worst C, and then continue the lettering from there.


Wrong. The lack of "we like these customers better than we like you" impression is exactly what keeps a lot of customers coming back to Southwest. Plus, the costs involved in maintaining a system like this would be unacceptably high.

Group B-X (variable) - The computer randomly selects passengers and pre-selects their group before they get their boarding pass. Of course it wouldn't be sorted by each individual passenger, but by reservation. Depending on the aircraft type, max passengers per group should be about 20-30.

Again, this defeats the whole concept of what makes Southwest so good. Why should I as a businessman who bought his ticket this morning be forced to wait for some vacationer who bought his deep discount ticket a month ago to show up before I can board. The goal is to get the plane away from the gate. "Guaranteeing" someone a "better" boarding group only encourages people to show up much closer to the departure time, and opens the door for the "I had a boarding pass A and they had boarded A and B when I got there" type of complaints.

Of course if I was running the airline, I would have pre-assigned seating. Makes for a much more efficient boarding process.

Pre assigned seating does exactly the opposite. With open seating, you find your seat, load your stuff in the overhead and sit down. With preassigned seating, you wait behind some guy who most likely boarded "out of order" to put his stuff away and take his seat, causing the "conga line" to snake down the jetway and actually slowing the boarding process.

Making changes like that might alleviate some of the pantywaist complaints about the boarding process, but it would open the door for a lot more complaints from the 75 million who found the current system perfectly acceptable.
 
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modernArt
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Wed Aug 27, 2003 10:57 pm

On top of what Goingboeing said, Southwest designed their system to avoid the First Class vs. Coach mentality of the Air Dinosaurs. Their are no Elites only happy customers

Another WN business practice which is flawed.

And yet the continue to make money...why is that?
 
zrb2
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Wed Aug 27, 2003 11:25 pm

The bottom line is that (IMO) the A, B, C, group boarding is becoming outdated. You now have low fare carriers like Airtran, Jetblue and Song that allow you to make an advance seat assignments. It proves that it can be done. Southwest should follow soon. On a recent BUF to BWI segment, we got to the counter 90 minutes early and were in the C group (around number 100). When we boarded, I realized that there were about 35-40 preboards BEFORE the A group could even begin. It's the only thing about Southwest I don't like and I chose Airtran to go to Orlando mainly so I could choose my seat.
My question to those in the know is..... if I have luggage to check for a WN flight and the queue line is long, am I better off getting my boarding pass at the kiosk and then getting in line? (in theory would I get a better boarding group than the people waiting in line) or would the ticket counter agent frown on me doing that?

[Edited 2003-08-27 16:26:45]
 
clrd2go
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Wed Aug 27, 2003 11:26 pm


Uh oh..my wife is flying WN MHT-MCO tomorrow and seems to have "lost"
her confirmation that came in the mail, so I would guess she'll have to go to
the ticket counter to get one, correct?


Jim
What a long strange trip it's been
 
Kempa
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Wed Aug 27, 2003 11:37 pm

Clrd2go,

I think that she can still go to the self-check kiosk and swipe her Frequent Flyer card, or the credit card that she used to purchase the ticket. That should work, unless she is flying on an award ticket. In that case, still try the kiosk, and it will tell her to go to an agent. If there is an agent near the kiosks, go there, bypassing the long luggage check-in line. I did that two weeks ago when flying BWI-MSY.
 
clrd2go
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Wed Aug 27, 2003 11:44 pm

Great, Kempa..thanks. We were discussing the WN boarding process last night
(her first time on WN) and I told her since she's not checking bags, to go
right to the gate..looking at this string reminded me that she lost the confirmation..

Thanks

Jim
What a long strange trip it's been
 
goingboeing
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Wed Aug 27, 2003 11:49 pm

I dunno Zrb2 - I am going to Atlanta in a couple of weeks and my first move was to check Airtran. I noticed that it said on that fare that my seat would be "assigned" at check in. The only occasion I had to fly Airtran, I was part of a group ticket, and our seats really were assigned in advance. What I read into that was that because the fare was good, I would be the "last" to get an "assigned" seat. Sorry, but I had to bite the bullet and book Delta, who let me pick a seat at booking. I would have booked Airtran in a heartbeat had they either allowed me to get a seat at booking, or if they had open seating so that I had a better chance of getting a "good" seat on the day of travel.

I can't imagine that the agent would be pissed off if you checked in at the kiosk, then got in line to check luggage. I've never done it, but I don't see what difference it would make.

Jim - It won't matter if she has the confirmation or not...her ID will suffice. If she has a Rapid Rewards card, simply sliding that into the kiosk will bring up her reservation. Also, if she leaves tomorrow, she can print off her "security document" from their website today. If she doesn't know the confirmation number, call 1-800-IFLYSWA and get the number from the res agent.
 
LoneStarMike
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Wed Aug 27, 2003 11:59 pm

Actually, she doesn't even have to have a Rapid Rewards card to swipe through the kiosk. She could also use a credit card if it's in her name. There's no "charge", the kiosk just reads the name on the credit card and pulls up the record.

LoneStarMike

 
clrd2go
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Thu Aug 28, 2003 12:08 am

Thanks everybody..now, if I can just explain this to her in a way that
she doesn't freak out  Wink/being sarcastic



Jim
What a long strange trip it's been
 
zrb2
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Thu Aug 28, 2003 12:22 am

I dunno Zrb2 - I am going to Atlanta in a couple of weeks and my first move was to check Airtran. I noticed that it said on that fare that my seat would be "assigned" at check in.

If you have your confirmation number, you can go to the AirTran website within 24 hours of your flight and get seat assignments. I know when I did it, I also had the cheapest fare ticket.

I can't imagine that the agent would be pissed off if you checked in at the kiosk, then got in line to check luggage. I've never done it, but I don't see what difference it would make.

Assuming that in a long line there might be 15 people ahead of me for the same flight,,,will getting a boarding pass at the kiosk vault me ahead of those 15 people in line even if I check my luggage after them?
 
Dazed767
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Thu Aug 28, 2003 12:53 am

I flew on them this past weekend....I just used the kiosk because the line was took long....took less than 2 minutes and I recieved A boarding pass (#26 to check in for my flight....there is a small number on the upper part of the ticket). I was about 2 1/2 hours early. I checked in again at BNA for my turn back home 3 hour prior and got A again....but I had #1 on my ticket....my 'friend' (ex gf right now) got #2.

Just get there early....it wouldn't hurt to watch planes for a few hours haha.
 
clrd2go
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Thu Aug 28, 2003 1:03 am


Well, it's my wife and 18 yr old daughter who are travelling..I'll likely must
drop them off (unless she's freaked out by the prospect of using the kiosks)
much as I'd like to hang around and watch airplanes.

Jim
What a long strange trip it's been
 
FLAIRPORT
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Thu Aug 28, 2003 8:06 am

the admin at A.net can delete this if they choose, but i really want to know:

if you check in as a family, will you all get the same group?
if someone in your party is in a different group, can you board with them?
NEXT FLIGHT: FLL-ATL-HPN on FL
 
goingboeing
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Thu Aug 28, 2003 8:46 am

Usually they don't have a problem with it. My last trip I had an A card and my wife had a B card on two segments. The first, she boarded in the B group and my daugther and I boarded in A. This was because my daughter likes the lounge seats and my wife doesn't, so she didn't plan on sitting with us. The next one we all boarded together. If you all check in about the same time, this shouldn't be an issue, and saving a seat isn't an issue unless they are one of the last of the C group to board in a fully loaded plane. Then the FA will ask you to let the person sit down so the plane can leave. That's what they did on the flight I was on that was 100% full
 
N766UA
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Thu Aug 28, 2003 8:58 am

if you check in as a family, will you all get the same group?

Yes.

if someone in your party is in a different group, can you board with them?

Unless they're pre-boards, they won't be in a seperate group. If they are pre-boards, you get the pick of the litter.
 
WNfan
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Thu Aug 28, 2003 9:02 am

If one person in a group has A, they will almost always let the whole group board with in the A passengers. I've had A while my wife has had B more than once, and it's never been a problem. I could just save a seat for her anyway.

Regarding boarding procedures, I challenge anyone to tell me what is substantially different between the following boarding methods (other than eliminating elite status and making all passengers equal in stature):

Elite/premium frequent fliers, rows 20 and higher, rows 10 and higher, rest of aircraft.

Preboards, group A, group B, group C.
 
mirrodie
Topic Author
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Thu Aug 28, 2003 9:25 am

OK, now that I have that figured out, I was looking at southwest.com for lugage checkin info and came across the following...

in the event your baggage does not arrive with you at your destination, Southwest will not assume delivery charges to get your baggage to you.

Whoa, are they for real? I've flown WN 4 times and they were all good experiences.
The one time AA lost my luggage, I got it delivered to my door at 8am the next morning. But WN won;t foot the bill if they mis route your luggage?

Sorry, I am just a bit surprised.
Forum moderator 2001-2010; He's a pedantic, pontificating, pretentious bastard, a belligerent old fart, a worthless st
 
SWA TPA
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Thu Aug 28, 2003 9:33 am

Dont worry Mirrodie. I have been with them for 6 1/2 years worked bags for 2 of those years. Trust me, if its our fault, we WILL pay for delivery of your bags. Promise.
I believe I can fly.....
 
mirrodie
Topic Author
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Thu Aug 28, 2003 9:36 am

I knew you'd come through.

I figured it was just a contractual clause issue.

IE you land in ISP, we'll deliver it to somewhere on Long Island. But if u travel to NJ, pay up buddy! LOL
Forum moderator 2001-2010; He's a pedantic, pontificating, pretentious bastard, a belligerent old fart, a worthless st
 
Chi-town
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Thu Aug 28, 2003 11:00 am

SWA TPA.....I have been meaning to talk to you. I LUV Southwest and I want to work for the some day. I want to start off as a Customer Service agent. Possibly at MDW (I live close by). What is it like being a CSA for Southwest?Could you please e-mail or reply back? My e-mail is in my profile.

Thanks,
Steve
MDW
 
tekelberry
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Thu Aug 28, 2003 1:38 pm

Clrd2go,

You can no longer do that at US airports. You must be checked in WITH a boarding pass before passing security.
 
kevin752
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Thu Aug 28, 2003 1:43 pm

I flew this month on WN to hrom LAX-LAS-LAX and I checked in bags and I got an A group. I came to the airport early about 2 or 3 hours. It was great to have an A group.
"Keep Climbing"
 
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Bruce
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Sat Aug 30, 2003 6:17 am

I have a related question....what happens when you have a change of planes in your itinerary. Are you out of luck in getting an "A" card? If your first leg arrives 1 hour before your scheduled 2nd leg and you go to check in you probably wont get an A card for that leg, right? Is there a secret to getting a "A" card on multi segment WN flights?


bruce
Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
 
SWAFA30
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Sat Aug 30, 2003 6:41 am

Is there a secret to getting a "A" card on multi segment WN flights?

For the time being the answer is no. In the near future you will be able to check in for your originating flight and your connection at the same time then, you will be able to get an "A" for your connecting flight. The only problem is that if all the inbound transfers take all the "A"s(there are only 45), then the locals end up with all the "B"s and "C"s. In cities like BWI, PHX, and MDW a large number of our passengers are transfers. The only way to fix this is to put a cap on the number of "A"s that can be given out to upline inbound transfers. It's kind of the same situation we are in now...The ticket counter, Skycaps and Kiosks will issue you a boarding pass 4 hours before departure...but at the gate you can only get your boarding pass 1 hour before. In the old days being first in line at the gate meant obtaining the coveted #1 but now you could stand in line at the gate for 2 hours, be first in line and still get a "C". The only way to make the system truly equitable is to assign seats. For years we have said that we would never do that. But 5 years ago who would have thought we'd be flying nonstop transcon flights and painting our airplanes blue...anything can happen.
 
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Bruce
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Sat Aug 30, 2003 8:16 am

I dont know about assigned seats but I do think they should give some consideration to the connecting customers. I dont think its fair that if I just came off a southwest plane and have to get on another I will have to get on behind everyone else (potentially).


bruce
Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
 
goingboeing
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Sat Aug 30, 2003 8:25 am

Bruce - read the post just above yours. It would seem your concern is being addressed this fall.
 
Northwesta319
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Sat Aug 30, 2003 10:42 am

Actually- About Bording As A Family-

A While Ago, My Family Was Bording As A Family And My Parents Got A Cards And I Got A B. Couldent Sit By Them.
 
WNfan
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RE: WN Boarding-what Exactly Determines Groups?

Sat Aug 30, 2003 1:28 pm

Northwesta319,

Why Didn't Your Parents Just Save You A Seat?

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