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Bruce
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A Suggestion For Southwest

Sun Sep 28, 2003 4:45 am

Here's something that i hope Southwest employees can pass on to management as a serious suggestion from a passenger, having flown on several of their flights & several of their airports (and as of this morning, another one coming up this week)

I'd like to see check-in for ALL segments of the trip at once, instead of checking in at each airport when sometimes you only have less than an hour connecting time and that may lead to you getting on at the back of the line (a bad seat). My luggage is checked at the Origination all the way thru, so why can't I?

Connecting passengers should be issued a boarding card in the same order as local pax for the connecting flight. So lets say you check in at 9am for a 10am originating flight and a 12n connecting flight, and someone else is on that 12n flight but they check in at 8am, then of course they are ahead of you but you are still ahead of the bulk of the local pax for that 12n flight. The way it is now, if I am on the 10am flight which arrives at 11am, by the time I get to the new gate and check in it might be 11:10 (hopefully) and 75% of the people have already checked in and i am S.O.L. so I have to go to the back of the "C" line.

I think a person connecting to another flight should be entitled to preferred boarding as this is simply a continuation of their trip.

bruce
Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
 
goingboeing
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RE: A Suggestion For Southwest

Sun Sep 28, 2003 4:47 am

Guess what...later this fall they will be doing just that.
 
a340pilot
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RE: A Suggestion For Southwest

Sun Sep 28, 2003 4:53 am

See how well the aviation forum works? You post the message........Someone reads it.........Suggests it to southwest........And lo and behold your prayers are answered! All in a span of 1minute and 36 seconds!  Big grin

Big thumbs up to the forum!  Big thumbs up  Big thumbs up

Best regards,
a340pilot
Go! Canucks Go!
 
SWAFA30
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RE: A Suggestion For Southwest

Sun Sep 28, 2003 5:13 am

Bruce,

I agree with you assessment. You will be pleased to know that this change is already in the works. It is my understanding that Implementation on this should be rolled out systemwide within the next few months.

The only drawback is that some flights are made up of quite a few inbound transfers. If you begin a longhaul from LAX to BWI with a connection to BDL you are starting your trip 7 or 8 hours before check in for you connecting flight. If enough travelers are in your same situation and we issue them all the premium "A" and "B" boarding cards at their originating station, the local BWI to BDL passengers who can only check in 4 hours prior to departure are stuck with the "C" boarding cards....kind of the same situation you are in now as an inbound transfer customer. The question is which group of passengers do you least want to anger, locals or inbound transfers? Currently, there are 45 "A" cards, 45 "B" cards and 47 "C" cards. To keep things at least halfway equitable I assume the system will allow only a certain portion of the "A" and "B" cards to be issued at upline outstations. In a perfect world the system would monitor the number of inbound transfer vs. locals and adjust which boarding cards are distributed accordingly. The rest would ideally be reserved for the local self check-in kiosks and gate agents. The only way to truly make things fair would be to assign seats and upper management firmly believes that seat assignments would destroy our ability to turn aircraft.

Hope this answers your question. Customer Relations may be better able to explain the new system and provide you with a more accurate timeline for when you can expect to see this in your local airport. Customer Relations can be reached at the following address:


Southwest Airlines
Customer Relations
P.O. Box 36647 - 1CR
Dallas, Texas 75235-1647







[Edited 2003-09-27 22:15:30]

[Edited 2003-09-27 22:17:44]
 
elwood64151
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RE: A Suggestion For Southwest

Sun Sep 28, 2003 8:42 am

It's ironic that this has come about because the TSA wants WN in compliance with "ticketed passengers only through the gate". Before, you just gave 'em a boarding card. Now they actually have to have a printed paper boarding pass.

It will, however, be quite an improvement. I remember trying to check in at MDW for a flight to IND after coming from MCI. It was rather annoying that I ended up boarding last and getting a middle seat...
Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
 
COEWRfa
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RE: A Suggestion For Southwest

Sun Sep 28, 2003 8:49 am

Of course we all know the one true way of fixing this situation, start assigning seats to passengers at boarding, and stop the cattle heards at the gate fixing to get a good seat, and forget about hassling passengers trying to check in for a connecting flight
 
SWAFA30
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RE: A Suggestion For Southwest

Sun Sep 28, 2003 9:22 am

Of course we all know the one true way of fixing this situation, start assigning seats to passengers at boarding, and stop the cattle heards at the gate fixing to get a good seat, and forget about hassling passengers trying to check in for a connecting flight

When WN first started, the 10 minute turn was crucial to maintaining optimum aircraft utilization and open seating was an integral part of the 10 minute turn. Though our average turn time has increased to almost 30 minutes, management still believes that open seating is necessary to get our aircraft off the gate as quickly as possible. Open seating is just too deeply ingrained in our corporate culture. Fortunately there are enough people who either prefer open seating or are willing to put up with it to get where they need to go. Until that changes and that change is reflected in our ability to generate revenue, it will be head em up and moooove em out.
 
MCIB757
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RE: A Suggestion For Southwest

Sun Sep 28, 2003 11:15 am

Goingboeing: How soon is "later this fall." And I agree, WN should go to assign seating, it would be so much nicer.

Thanks

Tom
"God bless catastrophe..."
 
txagkuwait
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RE: A Suggestion For Southwest

Sun Sep 28, 2003 12:02 pm

Once upon a time, there was no assigned seating on domestic flights.

You saw assigned seating start, not as a way too "pamper" passengers, but as a way to 'weight and balance' aircraft that were notoriously difficult. The DC9-10 comes to mind.

Assigned seating sounds good in theory...but it is not all that great in practice.

What happens if the seat you are assigned has a really really heavy person in it. That happened to me on a Delta Connection RJ last week. Had happened before on a Mesa/HP RJ from SAn to PHX too. The Delta Connection was worse, though.....1:40 flight next to someone who CAN'T get the armrest down......and he was only charged for one seat although he took up a good chunk of mine. Miserable!

Do you assign center seats to last minute passengers? Those are all the high dollar business fares. They are gonna love that! Or do you assign the center seats to your early booking el cheapo discount fares? If I am booking 9 months out, I am gonna be real suspicious if I am in seat 39B.

Open seating does one thing for you that assigned seating doesn't. It gets people off their rear ends and onto the plane. If you KNOW you have seat 8A, then you can take your sweet time about getting up from the lounge area and sauntering on to the plane after the crowd has died down. Of course, if everyone feels that way, there is no crowd.

Assigned seats generate just as much congestion in the jetway and the aisles as open seating. So the "cattle call" argument doesn't really mean anything. You are gonna be in a congested jetway whether you are in 8A or a mystery seat.

Open seating does allow you to look for folks that you might like to sit near (a good looking woman) and avoid someone who might not make a great seat partner (the family with squalling kids, the gentleman who spends all his spare time and money at Krispy Kreme and has the baggage to show for it) etc etc.

My question is not why is Southwest still allowing open seating. My question is why other carriers haven;t junked their silly practice of assigning seats.

If you are old enough to travel on an airplane you ought to be able to wisely choose your seat. if you need to have it dictated where you sit...maybe you shouldn't be out alone in public.

Just my $.02
 
Guest

RE: A Suggestion For Southwest

Sun Sep 28, 2003 12:11 pm

As someone who is not all that hot looking the assigned seating has led to me sitting next to more attractive members of the opposite sex than open seating would allow.. With Southwests plan they can get up and move. With the assigned seating shes stuck next to me for a couple hours and she can figure out I have a personality.. And I can even squeeze a phone number that works out of her.
 
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Goose
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RE: A Suggestion For Southwest

Sun Sep 28, 2003 12:25 pm

Assigned seating would have a security advantage - being able to tell which pax are sitting where instantly, and so on. Just a thought.
"Talk to me, Goose..."
 
atrude777
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RE: A Suggestion For Southwest

Sun Sep 28, 2003 12:31 pm

I like open seating!!! I also am allowed to pre-baord because I am deaf, so I use that to my advantage!!!! I remember before 9/11 when I was flying by myself for the first time to PHX out of STL on Southwest Airlines, I was given a green boarding card in plastic and the number on it was 19. I was so proud that I was holding an official Southwest Boarding card that everyone talks about, that my mom took a picture of me holding it lol

Alex.
Good things come to those who wait, better things come to those who go AFTER it!
 
txagkuwait
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RE: A Suggestion For Southwest

Sun Sep 28, 2003 3:33 pm

Startvalve: With the money you save by flying WN, you could afford a good plastic surgeon. A little tuck here and snip there, and the babes would be lining up to try and sit next to you. You would probably have to ask the flight attendants to issue numbered cards to the girls lining up in the aisle, fighting for the seat adjacent to yours.

Goose: Open seating has some decided security advantages too. Let's say we have a group of terrorists....let's call them Mohammed, Suleiman, Ahmed, Lucy, and Ricky.

They have a plot to board a flight and do terible things (I'm not sure what, but no doubt they are terrible or they wouldn;t be terrorists) - and the success of their diabolical plan calls for everything to be just so....right down to sitting in specific seats on board the aircraft.

If they can request a pre-reserved seat, then it is no problem for the alleged terrorists to sit where they want...or at least know where they will be seated so they can adjust the plan.

If they show up at the airport and get A&B boarding cards...but it's a thru flight, with 37 thru passengers on board...then their plans go awry because they can't sit where they had planned to. Get the picture?

Atrude - alas, the plastic boarding cards are gone, but the new paper boarding passes they give out are a reasonable substitute. Enjoy your flights, and by all means keep on pre-boarding. Delta and a few other carriers might not let you preboard - a person with deafness or other physical challenges is not nearly as important as the super-deluxe-platinum-medallion-on-a-zircon-encrusted-chain frequent flyer club member.
 
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Bruce
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RE: A Suggestion For Southwest

Sun Sep 28, 2003 4:27 pm

TXAgKuwait, why is a DC9-10 difficult to balance?

I am glad to see this improvement.

A related question: if I check in at a Kiosk will I have the same good chance of getting an "A" card as if I went to the ticket counter or gate?


bruce
Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
 
goingboeing
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RE: A Suggestion For Southwest

Sun Sep 28, 2003 7:32 pm

Odd about the good looking member of the opposite sex. I read more stories of couples who met on a Southwest flight than on the others with assigned seating. Guess they want you to fantasize about the hottie in 8A form seat 15B when you can set yourself down in 8B on Southwest and get acquainted with her. And you must be really ugly startvalve, because once someone has stowed their carryons, they are pretty reluctant to get up and move.
 
LJ
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RE: A Suggestion For Southwest

Sun Sep 28, 2003 8:01 pm

Assigned seating would have a security advantage - being able to tell which pax are sitting where instantly, and so on. Just a thought.

However when an aircraft isn't full most passengers who've been assigned a bad seat decide to move. Moreover, some people either can't read their boarding pass, can't read the seat numbers or worse don't care which seat they've been allocated. What you get is the "this seat is mine and would you please move" discussions, which can delay a flight.

 
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johnboy
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RE: A Suggestion For Southwest

Sun Sep 28, 2003 10:03 pm

The last couple of times I've flown (on WN, 'natch), I'll immediately check in using the kiosks, even if I have luggage. Then I'll stand in line to check my luggage (if any). As I tell the agent, that few minutes spent standing in line might make the difference between "B" and "C."

Of course, I can't tell you how many people rush up to tell me that I CANNOT use the kiosk if I have luggage to check.

I agree that people enroute should have the advantage over those checking in at the local station. Perhaps if that many people are connecting in the theoretical example, that should be a clue that another flight is warranted on the route.
 
Guest

RE: A Suggestion For Southwest

Sun Sep 28, 2003 11:07 pm

Across the aisle or one or two seats back to sit with a "friend" usually not moves that require moving a carry on.. That's what I get for having an eye for the most shallow girls in my age bracket
 
flyboyaz
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RE: A Suggestion For Southwest

Sun Sep 28, 2003 11:59 pm

It was bound to happen, I see more changes down the road as Southwest continues it's transformation from a nice, local, unique airline....to a major nationwide air carrier. As companies grow, they tend to lose their uniqueness and blend with everybody else. I used to think Wal Mart was "neat".....now they're like #&*@, they're everywhere!

I hope WN does keep some sense of uniqueness to them though, it would be a shame for them to become like everyone else. It seems their labor relations aren't as great as they used to be either...another sign of a company growing too large....they had those flight attendants doing informational picketing...the "Where has all the luv gone" or something like that. At my station, I went over to get a pass and there was about 6 agents at the counter complaining about their new contract. I was shocked when they thought they weren't getting paid enough....they top out at around $25 an hour!!! How could that not be enough money for working as a ticket agent?? Our agents top out at about half that and work just as hard, if not harder. WN treats them very well and it's sad to see people complain like that!
Catch a ride on a smile!
 
Guest

RE: A Suggestion For Southwest

Thu Oct 02, 2003 1:56 pm

People could get paid $100 an hour and still think they were getting screwed. If they think the well is deep they will keep digging until something comes their way
 
SWAFA30
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RE: A Suggestion For Southwest

Thu Oct 02, 2003 2:13 pm

Our agents top out at about half that and work just as hard, if not harder. WN treats them very well and it's sad to see people complain like that!

The grass always looks greener from the other side of the fence...walk a mile in a man's shoe before you judge him.

People could get paid $100 an hour and still think they were getting screwed. If they think the well is deep they will keep digging until something comes their way.

If your company is breathtakingly profitable and pay raises have barely kept pace with inflation, it is entirely possible to be paid $100 an hour and still be getting screwed. The well is indeed deep and it was not just the management who carried the buckets of water up the hill...once the well is full is it not fair for everyone to have a chance to drink from it?
 
Guest

RE: A Suggestion For Southwest

Thu Oct 02, 2003 2:32 pm

Is a ticket agent position really worth that much money? They are the front line of interaction with your customers in an industry that is or should be very service oriented. But if you want to make $100 an hour it may be time to find a position somewhere other than behind a ticket counter. I am guessing Ticket agent is a position that does not require a college degree of any type.. So why should these people be surprised when their wages top out.. Almost every other industry treats non-degreed people the same way. I have to be honest, I HATE SCHOOL, but it is the only way that I stand a decent chance of making real money in life. So if you reach the top of your companies pay scale for your position because you are not qualified for another job in say management or operations or something quit whining or go to another company... $25 an hour is great money given what they do and the qualifications for the job.
 
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johnboy
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RE: A Suggestion For Southwest

Thu Oct 02, 2003 6:48 pm

I guess it would depend on where you work.

25 bucks an hour in Jackson, Mississippi is unbelievable.

In Oakland, it's a different story!

Are pay scales tweaked according to Cost of Living in different cities?
 
JayDavis
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TxAgKuwait Please Read!

Fri Oct 03, 2003 8:00 am

Can you contact me privately via e-mail?

[email protected]

BTW, Go Tech, beat the ags !!


Thanks!


Jay
 
SunValley
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RE: A Suggestion For Southwest

Fri Oct 03, 2003 8:21 am

My personal feeling is that Southwest is very generous with their Rapid Rewards Programs, and everything else, such as the pass card for a designated friend once you attain 50 roundtrips in one year. HOWEVER,
thier most frequent of flyers are penalized in the boarding process if they happen to get in a "c" boarding group, especially on a thru flight. Their best customers end up sitting in a center seat. It looks to me as though they could issue a Priortiy Pass for their most frequent travelers to board in any group they choose, regardless of the A, B or C boarding card, and this would be very easy to implement by using their Rapid Rewards CArd upon check in, and labeling their boarding group somethign like X-meaning any group you choose.
 
goingboeing
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Joined: Sat Dec 04, 1999 1:58 am

RE: A Suggestion For Southwest

Fri Oct 03, 2003 8:29 am

No, the beauty of Southwest is that all people are treated equally. Their really frequent flyers are well aware of the C group issue. It must not be a problem for them. I'd maintain that the "Best" customers on the other airlines, if defined by those paying full fare for their last minute tickets, are ASSIGNED a middle seat, which they can't change, even if they ARE allowed to board early.
 
SunValley
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RE: A Suggestion For Southwest

Fri Oct 03, 2003 8:33 am

And thats the beauty of Southwest. They react to their BEST customers in ways others dont. Im' sorry, but not all are treated equally. Do you get a pass card for anyone after 50 roundtrips at any other airline? Their most frequent fliers get all kinds of perks. I should know, my wife is one of them, and I believe they lsiten and look. A full fare business passenger for Southwest creates more revenue than a 14 day advance purchase and they know it
 
goingboeing
Posts: 4727
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 1999 1:58 am

RE: A Suggestion For Southwest

Fri Oct 03, 2003 9:37 am

And they react by rewarding their best customers like others don't, with the compainion pass. One reason that they rake in the money is because, while they reward with companion passes, they don't kiss ass when it comes to the vast majority of passengers who DON'T have a companinon pass. Those that hold companion passes know very well about C group boarding. It apparently doesn't bother them...and it's the ONLY airline, where if I bought the last ticket on the day of departure, I won't be "guaranteed" a center seat....that's a mighty good trade off. Don't screw with something that works as well as it does.
 
Guest

RE: A Suggestion For Southwest

Fri Oct 03, 2003 9:53 am

Who did jaydavis want to contact him by email?

aggies suck.. go back to chasing Lassie

hook em horns
 
cloudy
Posts: 1613
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RE: A Suggestion For Southwest

Fri Oct 03, 2003 3:33 pm

I've actually been on a flight - on USair - with many good seats empty, including a couple entire 3 seat sides, while almost all the middle seats were occupied. But the flight attendants were in such a foul mood that I was the only one that had the guts to go and change seats once we were in flight and could move arround(and it was a long wait). If there is any experience that will teach one the value of open seating and of Southwest's service, it is this one. At least at Southwest, no good seats are wasted - not even when waiting to takeoff or for everyone to board.

As to giving priveleges to "Elites" and others who fly a lot - yes Southwest does that. However, Southwest will only give them priveleges (like free flights, companion passes, etc.) that costs THE AIRLINE something. They do not give them priveleges that costs OTHER PASSENGERS something (like prefered boarding, special check in lines, etc.) because they do not want to give the impression that they are treating some customers as a special caste that is over and above the rest.

If a restauraunt wants to give someone who's been there twenty times a free meal, fine. That costs ME nothing. But if you let him but in line ahead of me to get a seat I have been waiting half an hour for, that costs me something. And you will never see me go back to such a place if I have any choice. I will go dine at another (the "Southwest") restauraunt. And if that is the "Southwest" is the only restauraunt that treats me fairly, I will darn well dine there, even 20 times, and not go anywhere else by choice. If you go to a place that does not treat EVERYBODY with respect, when the time comes, you can bet they won't treat you with respect either. Any United frequent flier who lived through the "summer of hell" will tell you that.

[Edited 2003-10-03 08:47:15]
 
wgw2707
Posts: 1113
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RE: A Suggestion For Southwest

Fri Oct 03, 2003 4:24 pm

The annoying thing about Southwest is not the open seating-it's having to stand in a long line to check in at each airport where you are changing planes. Let's say I buy a ticket on Delta for LAX to BOS, and that this ticket requires me to change planes at CVG. I go to LAX, I check in, and they give me my boarding passes for LAX-CVG and CVG-BOS. At CVG, I get off of the plane from LAX, eat some disgusting Chili Spaghetti or get a shoeshine, and then, with five minutes to spare, show up at the gate for the Boston plane and hand them the boarding pass that was given to me at LAX. I get on, without any hassle or inconvenience. It's that simple.

Now if I made a similiar trip on WN, at the connecting airport I would not have time to get a shoeshine or eat a serving of local delicacy (whether that be chili spaghetti or roast alligator), as instead, I would have to beat a path directly to the gate for my next flight, and stand at the back of a LONG LINE, to deal with some crabby, underpaid gate agent. I would have to do this at each airport where I was changing planes. Having to stand in lines is one of the most annoying aspects of air travel, and I prefer to travel with a carrier like Delta, that has a streamlined, simple boarding process with assigned seating, than have to stand in extra lines.

-WGW2707
 
goingboeing
Posts: 4727
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 1999 1:58 am

RE: A Suggestion For Southwest

Fri Oct 03, 2003 8:28 pm

WGW - look at the first and second post of this thread. Problem solved. But even today, the self serve kiosks that SWA has means you walk right up to a kiosk (no waiting in line), slip either your RR card or credit card in, and presto - instant boarding card. You apparently haven't flown SWA in a while.

[Edited 2003-10-03 13:29:53]

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