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Osubuckeyes
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Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Fri Jan 05, 2007 4:00 pm

I just took a trip on Southwest PHX-BWI-PHX for my holiday vacation and the flight PHX-BWI was all fine and dandy, but on the return leg me being screwed out of a seat caused me to be convinced that Southwest NEEDS to get assigned seating. I was a very firm supporter of open seating until this incident and even though this was a terrible experience it will not deter me from flying Southwest if they are the best choice for me.
I get to the airport my flight is BWI-PHX flt 394 leaves at 8:10 was delayed till 8:30 because late inbound not a problem because hey it happens. Me and my mom have A group and we board in our group and take row 22 A and C hoping to have the middle seat open luckily we did or so we thought. After about 5 minutes there is a mechanic in back of the plane fixing the restroom and the pilot came on and told us that it would be a while. After waiting about an hour and half or so we were informed that they were bringing another plane over to the gate across the hall as soon as that plane departed. We waited 30 more minutes to finally deplane and before we deplanes the flight attendant specifically explained to sit in your same seats so everything would go smoothly. So we waited to board in a line for about 15 minutes and we walk back to our row and there is 3 people sitting in our row. I said uhhh you guys took our seats and they just claimed that someone told them to because someone in the front of the plane was moved. So the flight attendants pull us aside not allowing us to just go in the next row like other people had been doing. So then they bring us up to the front of the plane and put me in a middle seat and being 6'3 200 middle seats are not fun especially when i previously had an aisle with an open seat in the middle. My mom was put rows ahead in an aisle seat next to to kids 7 or 8 I would say and she was furious that she was pushed out of her seat because turned out that these were the most annoying kids in the universe wanted to make her 5 hours flight a living hell and ontop of that she didnt get a window with an open middle seat.
This situation could have been easily avoided but was not. The people that originally moved went to the other side of the plane which messed everything up and the flight attendants did nothing and decided that we were to be moved like cattle against our will. Southwest needs to get with the game and get assigned seating for situations like these for people who get screwed out of their choice and are pawns moved without thought or consideration. I was royally upset when i was moved and ontop of that being 3 and a half hours late. Southwest needs assigned seating and until they get it theres a good chance i will elect to fly other airlines unless they provide a considerably better deal. I may sound whiny or over dramatic but put yourself in my position and how would you feel about it.
 
tys777
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RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Fri Jan 05, 2007 4:08 pm

You know before hand that you don't have assigned seating and sometimes things like this happen. Next time don't fly them then.

Not having assigned seating is one of the reasons Southwest has the success that they do.

Not every airline is perfect, every airline has a bad day. odds are you will have a bad situation on another airline sometime in the future, it happens to all of us.
 
PlanesNTrains
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RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Fri Jan 05, 2007 4:14 pm

That certainly is an example of how unassigned seating can be a negative. Fortunately I am sure that your circumstance was part of a very tiny minority of such events. Nonetheless, that doesn't help you at the time - you did everything you could to take care of you and your mom and in the end it was a miserable experience.

I wouldn't object if WN chose to implement assigned seating, but as it is, I know what to expect and prefer to fly Alaska if the price is in the ballpark. Just my choice, but I certainly respect people who find the WN system to their liking.

-Dave
-Dave


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SJC-Alien
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RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Fri Jan 05, 2007 4:20 pm

Good Ole K-Mart airlines............
I flew them one time from SEA - SJC in 2003 and I was there 4 hours early so I could snap a few pics from the terminal. I had an A boarding pass. I was 1st in line, and wanted a seat 2-3 windows in front of the #1 engine, so I could get photos on the take-off of the engine cowling and the city in the background at take-off.

Once they called the flight, all people needing assistance, traveling with children etc,,up front 1st - no big. There were very few at 1st - then the BS started. Just as the prior specials loaded, another famly walks up with a stroller and baby - followed by 4 men over 20yrs old- all holding Starbucks coffee cups, looking all sleepy like thay just showed up, one hand in their pockets-slightly slouched over..the lady was doing all of the work - getting the tickets, making sure they were all handed to the men in correct order-all the while trying to hold her purse over her shoulder, as it kept slipping down(you girls know what I mean) - all of the men just stood there like they were 'special'..they load,,and this happened with similar various scenarios in rapid succession 3 more times, each time "just" before they were going to let me board..more fools would walk up at the last second to load 'with children'....!!!! I protested to the girl loading the plane - 'how come these people are standing around holding coffee cups and doing nothing that needs special assistance getting priority seating ahead of me..they aren't even helping?? She looked stunned and had no answer,,,other than duh!!!!!!!! I WON"T fly them again unless they get assigned seating. Next time it's Alaska Airlines or I'll drive to Seattle!

SJC Alien
 
PlanesNTrains
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RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Fri Jan 05, 2007 4:31 pm

Quoting SJC-Alien (Reply 3):
Good Ole K-Mart airlines............

I think that's a cheap shot at WN. Have you been in a K-Mart? At least WN knows how to run a business.  Smile

Quoting SJC-Alien (Reply 3):
I WON"T fly them again unless they get assigned seating. Next time it's Alaska Airlines or I'll drive to Seattle!

I will say this: My worst experiences with boarding have been on airlines with seat assignments - specifically Continental. I love Continental, but I think I'll pass on flying them to Alaska again. The groundstaff there were in disarray both times we visited, and when most people have seat assignments and your family doesn't - well, let's just say they didn't see a problem with splitting a family of four into three separate areas of a plane. Hmmm, no, I don't think I'm gonna put a 5 year old 10 rows away from me.

At least on WN, my family would have had a chance to work it out without the flight attendants having to pull people from their prevously chosen and assigned seats (like you would choose) to make room for us. It was horrible.

Again, though, I would prefer assigned seats in most instances. I just think there are going to be bad situations (and good opportunities) in both systems.

-Dave
-Dave


MAX’d out on MAX threads. If you are starting a thread, and it’s about the MAX - stop. There’s already a thread that covers it.
 
SJC-Alien
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RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Fri Jan 05, 2007 4:49 pm

I had a real run-in with WN employees and terminal staff' and SJC Airport Police in Dec 1995 when I was waiting for the wife and son to return from PHX and that is where 'K-Mart Airlines' got it's name. Yup - I started it.

I won't go into it all- other than to say I was innocently waiting on the top floor of the parking garage, pre-9-11- but I sure wish I had a videotape of the event, it would be hilarious now. I even drew laughs from people waiting in line going toe-toe with the 19yr old K-Mart staff people at SJC at the gate.

I've flown Alaska many times from SJC-SEA and back - and have never had a seating problem, though various mechanicals and delays - but never a seating problem.

SJC Alien
 
SaturnVRocket
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RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Fri Jan 05, 2007 4:53 pm

It's rather interesting how many people bash WN. I fly them soooo often and I have gotten the seat I want every single time! Just lucky I guess.
 
PlanesNTrains
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RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Fri Jan 05, 2007 5:05 pm

Quoting SJC-Alien" class=quote target=_blank>SJC-Alien (Reply 5):
I've flown Alaska many times from SJC-SEA and back - and have never had a seating problem, though various mechanicals and delays - but never a seating problem.

Alaska is a [mostly] great airline with [mostly] great people. My primary complaint with them has always revolved around the SEA check-in process. We've nearly missed several flights over the years due to ENORMOUS lines and DISINTERESTED staff. Nonetheless, I think they're great.

-Dave
-Dave


MAX’d out on MAX threads. If you are starting a thread, and it’s about the MAX - stop. There’s already a thread that covers it.
 
baron95
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RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Fri Jan 05, 2007 5:48 pm

First off, you choose to leave PHX in the winter to spend your vacation in Baltimore - Strike One.

Second, you fail to understand that posession is 9/10th of the law. If you found someone on your row, take the next row, and SIT DOWN, BUCKLE UP. If F/A then asks you to move, explain that you'll move back to your original seat or not at all. Strick Two.

Third, you let a slightly-more-than-minimum-wage-F/A-in-short-sleeves move you and your Mom all over the plane, where others continue to take better seats. Stricke Three.

Come-on buddy. Once boarding reverted back to the WN free-for-all, take charge of your destiny, don't go "ask"-issing" an F/A about what to do.

Having said that, write WN a nice letter explaining the situation and you will get a voucher out of it and be dandy happy.

Good luck next time.

[Edited 2007-01-05 09:49:56]
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aviatortj
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RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Fri Jan 05, 2007 6:02 pm

You get what you pay for. I'm sure you got a deal on the ticket. If you want reserved seats, I'm sure another carrier would be happy to rob you for it.

Secondly, paragraphs can be your friend.  Smile
 
Osubuckeyes
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RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Sat Jan 06, 2007 2:26 am

First off I went to Washington DC from BWI because I was visiting my brother.

Secondly If we had taken the next row the people behind us would have complain and been in the same situation because everyone was seated and this was the last row. Also the flight attendant told me and my mom to step aside. We contested but they asked for cooperation since we were 3 hours late anyway.

Thirdly others werent boarding the plane because it was a single file line from gate to gate and we were in the back so we were second to last to board the next plane. Also I didnt ask what to do they told us and i did write a letter to Southwest.
 
MEACEDAR
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RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Sat Jan 06, 2007 2:49 am

Quoting Baron95 (Reply 8):
First off, you choose to leave PHX in the winter to spend your vacation in Baltimore - Strike One.

Second, you fail to understand that posession is 9/10th of the law. If you found someone on your row, take the next row, and SIT DOWN, BUCKLE UP. If F/A then asks you to move, explain that you'll move back to your original seat or not at all. Strick Two.

Third, you let a slightly-more-than-minimum-wage-F/A-in-short-sleeves move you and your Mom all over the plane, where others continue to take better seats. Stricke Three.

Come-on buddy. Once boarding reverted back to the WN free-for-all, take charge of your destiny, don't go "ask"-issing" an F/A about what to do.

Having said that, write WN a nice letter explaining the situation and you will get a voucher out of it and be dandy happy.

Good luck next time.

Look, it is easy for you to say....but seriously think about it. Youv'e been waiting at 3 hours for your flight to leave, your tired, your mom is with you (not to say your mom is annoying, but it is a responsibility if she is an older person), children horsing around, and on top of that, your getting transfered from one A/C to another after getting on board, you are worrying if your bags will get transfered from the original plane.

Sure....a letter might do it...but next time don't fly them. Also, get the flight attentands names before you deplane.
 
incitatus
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RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Sat Jan 06, 2007 3:19 am

Quoting Osubuckeyes (Thread starter):
Me and my mom have A group and we board in our group and take row 22 A and C hoping to have the middle seat open luckily we did or so we thought.

That is the reason why Southwest needs assigned seating. All rude pairs of travelers will take a window and aisle seat, jam the middle seat with junk so nobody ever thinks of asking to sit there.
I do not consume Murdoch products including the Wall Street Journal
 
JayDub
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RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Sat Jan 06, 2007 3:35 am

You know what you're getting when you fly WN. They're convenient and often times inexpensive (although lately, they're rarely the least expensive option), but you have to go into it knowing there's a give and take. For what you get in convenience and a low fare, you lose in unassigned seating.

Southwest is likely never going to change the seating policy. Assigned seating adds lots of precious ground time (especially when you run into people sitting in their unassigned seats and the insane arguments pax get into over a middle seat in the front of the plane as opposed to a middle in the back of the plane) and is the reason they can turn a 737 in 17 minutes.

Don't like the way it turned out? Fly someone else. US / HP has a couple a day to/from BWI-PHX.
"Travel is only glamorous in retrospect." - Paul Theroux
 
baron95
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RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Sat Jan 06, 2007 3:35 am

Quoting Osubuckeyes (Thread starter):
I said uhhh you guys took our seats and they just claimed that someone told them to because someone in the front of the plane was moved. So the flight attendants pull us aside not allowing us to just go in the next row like other people had been doing.



Quoting Osubuckeyes (Reply 10):
Also the flight attendant told me and my mom to step aside.

As I said, you have suffered from the "child passenger" syndrome. For some reason, perfectly capable adults, believe they need to behave like school children and have an F/A tell them where 16J is, how to store their bags, how to buckle their seat belts, and where to seat on a free seating situation.

Read what you are saying dude. You are saying that everyone got on board, grabbed a seat and sat down. You, on the other hand, for some reason, got "pulled aside". I have flown over 4M miles, and I have NEVER been "pulled aside" by an F/A. And I can guarantee you that I never will be. Many, many times, I have boarded a plane and found someone on my seat, even on first class. I immediately sit down on the best seat I can find in the vicinity. Then I ask the person to check if they are in the right seat. A few times they were - duplicate seat assignments (happens much less frequently now, but does happen when people get incorrectly upgraded to first at the last minute). Now, we are in a situation where I'll only leave "my" seat if I'm guaranteed another one equaly as good. For me to leave that seat under any other circumstance would require the Pilot to come out and ordered me to relinquish the seat or a very nice request from the chief F/A and CSR with a good compensantion. All of that while remaining calm, polite, and helpful. It is just a simple business transaction.

You would not accept being cheated out of seats at a ballpark, restaurant, concert, whatever. Why people accept that on airplanes is beyond me.
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FlyDeltaJets87
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RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Sat Jan 06, 2007 3:40 am

Quoting Osubuckeyes (Thread starter):

Equally annoying is when there is a gate change. This happened to me both at Southwest and Aloha Airlines (also open seating). I had been waiting in the front of the A Line for quite some time at RDU when they announced a gate change. Fortunately I still got the seat I wanted (The right side exit row seat). The gate agents announced there would soon be a gate change, so the family in front of me sent one person to each gate to wait there and they said I could get right behind them in the line at the new gate (which was where I was in the first place). Same thing happened in HNL with Aloha. Slight delay for the flight to Hilo resulted in a gate change. I was up near the front of the general boarding line and had been waiting there for quite some time. It pisses me off that the gate agents don't try to control the crowd when there is a gate change and just allow those that were in the back of the line to take advantage of the situation and get a spot in the front of the line.  mad 

Other than that, I did enjoy the Southwest experience and didn't have any other problems on the trip.
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baron95
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RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Sat Jan 06, 2007 4:09 am

Quoting FlyDeltaJets87 (Reply 15):
It pisses me off that the gate agents don't try to control the crowd when there is a gate change and just allow those that were in the back of the line to take advantage of the situation and get a spot in the front of the line.

What would you suggest they do? Tackle people to the ground? Shoot them?

I have said this many times, and I'll repeat it here. Southwest and all other open seat airlines, should just allow the free market to work. They need to sell $10 priority boarding cards. You ponny up $10 and get a card that lets that goup board ahead of the others. After test marketing there may need to be a 2 tier system. A$20 card and a $10 card or whatever. We need to have the same process to go through security lines. In a hurry? Lines too big? Buy a TSA $10 card and wiz to the front of the line like the air crews.
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SLCUT2777
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RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Sat Jan 06, 2007 4:18 am

Quoting Osubuckeyes (Thread starter):
I just took a trip on Southwest PHX-BWI-PHX for my holiday vacation and the flight PHX-BWI was all fine and dandy, but on the return leg me being screwed out of a seat caused me to be convinced that Southwest NEEDS to get assigned seating. I was a very firm supporter of open seating until this incident and even though this was a terrible experience it will not deter me from flying Southwest if they are the best choice for me.
I get to the airport my flight is BWI-PHX flt 394 leaves at 8:10 was delayed till 8:30 because late inbound not a problem because hey it happens. Me and my mom have A group and we board in our group and take row 22 A and C hoping to have the middle seat open luckily we did or so we thought. After about 5 minutes there is a mechanic in back of the plane fixing the restroom and the pilot came on and told us that it would be a while. After waiting about an hour and half or so we were informed that they were bringing another plane over to the gate across the hall as soon as that plane departed. We waited 30 more minutes to finally deplane and before we deplanes the flight attendant specifically explained to sit in your same seats so everything would go smoothly. So we waited to board in a line for about 15 minutes and we walk back to our row and there is 3 people sitting in our row. I said uhhh you guys took our seats and they just claimed that someone told them to because someone in the front of the plane was moved. So the flight attendants pull us aside not allowing us to just go in the next row like other people had been doing. So then they bring us up to the front of the plane and put me in a middle seat and being 6'3 200 middle seats are not fun especially when i previously had an aisle with an open seat in the middle. My mom was put rows ahead in an aisle seat next to to kids 7 or 8 I would say and she was furious that she was pushed out of her seat because turned out that these were the most annoying kids in the universe wanted to make her 5 hours flight a living hell and ontop of that she didnt get a window with an open middle seat.
This situation could have been easily avoided but was not. The people that originally moved went to the other side of the plane which messed everything up and the flight attendants did nothing and decided that we were to be moved like cattle against our will. Southwest needs to get with the game and get assigned seating for situations like these for people who get screwed out of their choice and are pawns moved without thought or consideration. I was royally upset when i was moved and ontop of that being 3 and a half hours late. Southwest needs assigned seating and until they get it theres a good chance i will elect to fly other airlines unless they provide a considerably better deal. I may sound whiny or over dramatic but put yourself in my position and how would you feel about it.

Congratulations! You just kicked over the proverbial a.net discussion mess! Unlike a few others who've already posted above, I'm one who would like to see WN go to assigned seating rather than the cattle-herd A-B-C!  gnasher   hissyfit 
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JayDub
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RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Sat Jan 06, 2007 4:35 am

Quoting SLCUT2777 (Reply 17):
Congratulations! You just kicked over the proverbial a.net discussion mess! Unlike a few others who've already posted above, I'm one who would like to see WN go to assigned seating rather than the cattle-herd A-B-C!

I'm not saying I wouldn't like the civilized nature of assigned seating at WN, but it's here to stay...so why whine about it?

Then again, I only fly WN as a non-rev...so I plan ahead and rarely get the full flights.
"Travel is only glamorous in retrospect." - Paul Theroux
 
baron95
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RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Sat Jan 06, 2007 4:51 am

Quoting JayDub (Reply 18):
I'm not saying I wouldn't like the civilized nature of assigned seating at WN

Not that assigned seating is that "civilized". I have seen fights break out because the guy that has 5C believes that the overhead space above him goes with his assigned seat and no one can dare put stuff there. Also, there is little flexibility for families to get seats together if you book late and only middle seats strung all over the plane are available. Also, unassigned seating tends to increase the chances of people talking to one another to arrive at a good accomodation. It works on a city buy and subway, right?
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ADent
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RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Sat Jan 06, 2007 5:13 am

There is a downside of assigned seating.

Booked flights for next week and there are no seats (for me) available.

So I will check in and get stuck with a middle seat. At least with SWA I would have a chance at a decent seat.

---

Even with assigned seating I have seen equipment changes with different seat layouts and duplicate seat assignments.

---

On my last flight from IAD there were a group of international passengers and that did not understand English and couldn't grasp they got screwed with 3 scattered middle seats and the flight attendant moved two other people (window/aisle) to other middle seats to accommodate the foreigners and cultural differences. BTW when the drink cart came by later they understood English.
 
ltbewr
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RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Sat Jan 06, 2007 5:29 am

While it would be ideal for WN to have assigned seating on all flights, at the least they should have it for flight segments lasting more than 2 hours. For flights less than 2 hours, as many WN flights are, then that shouldn't be an issue. Of course, mechanical or weather problems causing delays so on the a/c more than 2 hours can happen and not having assigned seating can become a hassle.
If they continue with assigned seating, WN should also make sure families with minor or handicapped family members can get group A priority to sit togeter, as well as those with special needs, including being persons of size or tall height (over 6 ft.). Non-assigned seating also has the hassle and potential risks of sitting next to some pervert, or otherwise undesirable to sit next to your child.
 
N200WN
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RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Sat Jan 06, 2007 1:30 pm

Quoting Baron95 (Reply 8):
Having said that, write WN a nice letter explaining the situation and you will get a voucher out of it and be dandy happy.

That's good advice.

I've been boarding Southwest flights for over ten years now and I've learned over the years how to make the experience more pleasant for the Customer:

Gate Change: I ask the Customer Service Agent to let me (when possible) make the gate change announcement. Before I do I tell the first five or six people in line at each boarding group which gate to move to before I send over the masses. So far it's worked at keeping complaints to a minimum.

Families with small kids (but too old to preboard) in "C" Group (especially when there are a lot of thru pax): I watch out for them in the boarding area and will usually have them board with the "A" Group. This avoids delays at push time when they would still be trying to find seats together.

Plane is already loaded, but holding for 20 inbound connection pax: I'll have the Flight Attendant block off three full rows (A-F) so that the inbound pax won't get screwed and more families split up. Inbound transfer are usually "A" Group.

Lightly booked flight: All of Southwest's 137 seaters have 92 window and aisle seats...so any flight with 90 or less checked in I will make a P/A that everyone will get good seats and that they may stay seated rather than waiting in line. Only the few diehards that have to be the first on will stand in line.

Plane is fully loaded, then goes out of service: As what happened to the OP...this is a hard one and I can understand his frustration. I haven't come up with a solution yet though. We do still use the old plastic boarding cards during irregular ops and a/c swaps, so I think it would work to have a set of these made with actual seat numbers on them. It would only take a few minutes to hand them out to everyone onboard before deplaning and moving everyone over to the new aircraft.

Personally, I prefer open seating and it makes my job a lot easier. But I can see how the benefits of assigned seating as well. Some think WN will never change, but I wouldn't be surprised if we did. As the marketplace changes and evolves Southwest will stay competitive.
 
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LAXintl
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RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Sat Jan 06, 2007 2:15 pm

From the sounds of it does not look like assigned seating will become a feature at SWA.

From a recent interview with Gary Kelly
http://www.inbusinesslasvegas.com/2006/11/17/qa.html


Southwest had a high-profile experiment with assigned seating. What happened with that?

Well, it's ongoing. It wasn't so much an experiment as it was a test of the time it takes to board the aircraft. The long-standing theory is that it takes more time to board an aircraft with assigned seating and we had a theory, at least, that we wanted to explore that if the boarding was orderly --- in other words, where people were arranged in such a way based on their seat --- that it actually might be faster. So we tried a variety of methods. They weren't remarkably different than open seating. Nothing was faster, at least convincingly. They were all roughly the same or slower. We learned what we wanted to learn. We weren't too surprised with the findings, but we have hard facts now to move forward.
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
baron95
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RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Sat Jan 06, 2007 2:49 pm

Quoting N200WN (Reply 22):
I've been boarding Southwest flights for over ten years now and I've learned over the years how to make the experience more pleasant for the Customer:

Congratulations to you. You clearly have taken the time to understand how small actions on your part can have a huge customer satisfaction impact on your customers. If a lot more people think like you at WN, it is indead a great airline. I hope you also share as much info as you can on reason's for delays and give the best info on expected revised boarding times.

Congrats again.

I can tell you that at AA, where I fly the most, the agents with few exceptions, just go through the motions, without thinking on passenger impact.
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tsaord
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RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Sat Jan 06, 2007 2:56 pm

I like the open seating policy. But on this day it did not work out for you and I think you should let WN know how you feel. I honestly believe that WN is a hit with the flying public because they listen to their passengers. They are testing assigned seating I believe, or have they discontinued? WN will only do what the majority want I think.

I believe the only thing you can do is write WN about the situation and advocate assigned seating or chalk it up as a bad day and say "my life will go on" lol.

p.s. On my MDW-LAS leg last sunday I actually kind of enjoyed being cutthroat in the A line so I could get the seat I want lol

YoungORDBOI
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Electech6299
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RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Sat Jan 06, 2007 3:29 pm

Quoting LTBEWR (Reply 21):
While it would be ideal for WN to have assigned seating on all flights, at the least they should have it for flight segments...

...with A-netters on board so we don't read these kind of trip reports!!  Wink
Send not to know for whom the bell tolls...it tolls for thee
 
jetdeltamsy
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RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Sat Jan 06, 2007 3:43 pm

This needs to be a Trip Report.

Southwest does what they think works best for them. They are not going to do a thing because of your diatribe in this forum.

They've probably received 1,000,000 letters or more on the matter. They are not going to change unless they decide it is profitable for them.

Why don't you guys get it?

The airline exists to create profits, which it does quite nicely. It exists to get as much money from your wallet into their bank account as possible. It does not exist to cater to everyone. They cater to those to accept thier practices, which are enough people to make the company the most profitable airline in the world. They spend little time worrying about those who dislike how they choose to operate their company.

We live in a free country. Find an airline that suits your needs. Quit wasting your life complaining about something that you can't control.

Life is tough...suck it up.

I just noticed your 20 years old or younger. That explains your position.

Live and learn.

[Edited 2007-01-06 07:45:04]

[Edited 2007-01-06 07:48:16]

[Edited 2007-01-06 07:50:48]
Tired of airline bankruptcies....EA/PA/TW and finally DL.
 
Osubuckeyes
Topic Author
Posts: 1895
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RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Sat Jan 06, 2007 4:35 pm

I did write Southwest in fact and I am not holding it against them i understand this happens I have had other worse experiences and flown the same airline without hesitation. For those of you that think I just let it slide I didnt the flight attendant blocked the row of empty seats and ushered me back and since we were the last to board since we were in the back of the previous plane all the other people were seated and we were the last. Also I believe it would have been enormously selfish to hold up the flight any longer by saying i refuse to sit anywhere but there. It was a stupid situation and I think it is a legit reason for WN to get assigned seating i realize it is few and far between but that is just my opinion and i believe im entitled to it even though i may be less than 20 years old.
 
[email protected]
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RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Sat Jan 06, 2007 5:18 pm

Having flown aboard various discount airlines, I prefer pre-assigned seating: it substantially reduces my frustration and anxiety while increasing my relaxation through increased peace-of-mind and reassurance. It also helps to achieve a professional and civilized product. In effect, it is an important component in achieving an enjoyable, exciting and memorable experience. (If it could be combined with home check-in and printing your boarding pass at home, thereby meaning you lose one queue at the airport, then my relaxation and overall happiness would increase still further through reduced annoyance and anxiety.) flyBE, for example, enables you to pre-select your seat for a fee. Other airlines, such as easyJet and Ryanair, permit you to have priority boarding, thereby meaning you board first, for a fee. Clearly, they realise that some people, perhaps with families, would prefer to have a pre-chosen seat or to board first to choose their seats first; indeed, for the airlines it's good because it's another form of ancillary revenue. But for their customers, it does, I believe, help to illustrate that people would prefer pre-assigned seating so as to increase the enjoyment of their flight.

For the airlines, it might increase their overall complexity – simplicity is the key – while potentially increasing their costs and reducing their productivity. It might also mean that there’s the chance that something else will go wrong. Nevertheless, I believe that the negative consequences of utilizing pre-assigned seating could be reduced and controlled through innovation. Moreover, I believe that the negative consequences would be more than offset by the benefits of don't-pay-for pre-assigned seating when combined with other experience-enhancing elements, thereby resulting in happier customers who receive a more enjoyable, professional and memorable experience, and who thus buy your tickets more often and who positively refer you through word-of-mouth to their friends and family.

[Edited 2007-01-06 09:29:57]
"Everyone writing for the Telegraph knows that the way to grab eyeballs is with Ryanair and/or sex."
 
AY104
Posts: 501
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RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Sat Jan 06, 2007 5:39 pm

Topic should read: Noone who flies domestically in North America needs assigned seating.
I have witnessed even worse fiascos on airlines with assigned seating. Noone will convince me that the WN product requires assigned seating. I worked for Western/Delta for over 20 years, and the number of problems customers had: not getting the seat they wanted, the inability to sit together because all of the aisle seats on the flight were preassigned, so they could not even get full rows across, and families separated etc etc etc. were countless. The time we wasted on seat assignments/reassignments for flights that were all less than 5 hours, the labour it took = expense, was simply not worth it. Nothing will ever convince me that on the relatively short domestic flights (ie under 5 hrs) that the product WN has is not the very best solution. I only wish that other so-called "full service" carriers would wake up to this fact. On domestic flights in North America, having 2-class cabins and assigned seating are absolutely unnecessary. You might as well get used to the fact, that in this day and age, and society the way it is, you are basically travelling on a flying bus. No number of Airbus 380's, or PTV's or free upgrades is going to change that. Nobody who flies domistically in North America, or anywhere else for that matter, needs either First Class or assigned seating. The whole BS about assigned seating, elite status, upgrading, etc etc, is totally brought on by the airlines themsleves. It only inflates the egos of many who fly frequently to an absolutely intolerable level. As the brother of a good friend of mine once said about his experience on Delta Airlines: "They are ridiculous!" (The most ridiculous and pretentious policy any airline ever had was Delta assigning "Flying Colonel" status to it's most honoured Frequent Flyers). Also, the way airline staff are treated by the companies they work for, and the minimal amount they are paid, one should not even dream of customer service getting better. Well, that about sums up the total experience of every North American carrier except Southwest. Good for You, Southwest! Keep on doing exactly what you are doing.
Cheers,
AY104
The only thing a customer should expect for his/her loyalty is good service
 
bayareapilot
Posts: 62
Joined: Thu Nov 18, 2004 3:53 am

RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Sat Jan 06, 2007 6:37 pm

WN's not going to start assigning seats. Unassigned seats is integral to their business model and their business model is working. If it ain't broke...

You had an irregular operation. You can end up getting screwed by any airline in irregular ops. What if you had assigned seats in the back of an A320 and the airline swaps it out for an A319 and your seats no longer exist? Sorry, but you're going to get whatever's left.
 
JayDub
Posts: 359
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2006 4:14 am

RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Sat Jan 06, 2007 8:34 pm

Customer service folk like N200WNm who take the time to figure out what works to the benefit of all, that reignite my faith in the human race.  Smile

If only all agents were like N200WN, boarding problems like the ones that have been described would rarely exist.

Thanks N200...and you're my first respected user.
"Travel is only glamorous in retrospect." - Paul Theroux
 
jasond
Posts: 648
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 5:23 am

RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Sat Jan 06, 2007 9:08 pm

Quoting N200WN (Reply 22):
That's good advice.

I've been boarding Southwest flights for over ten years now and I've learned over the years how to make the experience more pleasant for the Customer:

Gate Change: I ask the Customer Service Agent to let me (when possible) make the gate change announcement. Before I do I tell the first five or six people in line at each boarding group which gate to move to before I send over the masses. So far it's worked at keeping complaints to a minimum.

Families with small kids (but too old to preboard) in "C" Group (especially when there are a lot of thru pax): I watch out for them in the boarding area and will usually have them board with the "A" Group. This avoids delays at push time when they would still be trying to find seats together.

Plane is already loaded, but holding for 20 inbound connection pax: I'll have the Flight Attendant block off three full rows (A-F) so that the inbound pax won't get screwed and more families split up. Inbound transfer are usually "A" Group.

Lightly booked flight: All of Southwest's 137 seaters have 92 window and aisle seats...so any flight with 90 or less checked in I will make a P/A that everyone will get good seats and that they may stay seated rather than waiting in line. Only the few diehards that have to be the first on will stand in line.

Plane is fully loaded, then goes out of service: As what happened to the OP...this is a hard one and I can understand his frustration. I haven't come up with a solution yet though. We do still use the old plastic boarding cards during irregular ops and a/c swaps, so I think it would work to have a set of these made with actual seat numbers on them. It would only take a few minutes to hand them out to everyone onboard before deplaning and moving everyone over to the new aircraft.

Personally, I prefer open seating and it makes my job a lot easier. But I can see how the benefits of assigned seating as well. Some think WN will never change, but I wouldn't be surprised if we did. As the marketplace changes and evolves Southwest will stay competitive.

It's great you do all that stuff, kudos to you  Smile but you wouldn't have to if you had assigned seating.
 
jetdeltamsy
Posts: 2688
Joined: Tue Nov 14, 2000 11:51 am

RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Sun Jan 07, 2007 4:10 am

Quoting Osubuckeyes (Reply 28):
Also I believe it would have been enormously selfish to hold up the flight any longer by saying i refuse to sit anywhere

If you had "refused" the seats you were told to sit in, you probably would have been escorted off the aircraft and had your money refunded so you could find your own way there. That is as it should be. Southwest has open seating. That means they don't guarantee anything when it comnes to where you sit. Nothing.

Quoting Osubuckeyes (Reply 28):
is just my opinion and i believe im entitled to it even though i may be less than 20 years old.

You are entitled to your opinion. But as you maturel, you realize which battles are worth fighting and whch ones aren't. This is a ridicilous response to a very minor situation. You just lack the maturity to know when to fight and when to setttle....everyone does at your age.
Tired of airline bankruptcies....EA/PA/TW and finally DL.
 
terryb99
Posts: 163
Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 3:35 am

RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Sun Jan 07, 2007 4:21 am

I have tremendous respect for Southwest as a corporation. For how they treat their employees, their safety record, etc. BUT, I will not fly them, because of their lack of assigned seating. My choice to pay more if I must, and don't hold anything against Southwest.
I fly 100K miles a year, and I see the lines at the Southwest gates, even before they are open. They sit on the floor, read books, talk among themselves, all for that coveted A boarding pass. More power to them, lol.
 
We're Nuts
Posts: 4723
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RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Sun Jan 07, 2007 6:16 am

Open seating will board a plane several minutes faster than assigned seating. For quick turns, it's a superior system. The end.
Dear moderators: No.
 
deltairlines
Posts: 7228
Joined: Mon May 24, 1999 4:47 am

RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Sun Jan 07, 2007 6:49 am

With me, it's simple. I'm not a big fan of open seating (I can tolerate it on a short DL Shuttle flight, where about 83% of the seats are window or aisle). Thus, I simply choose not to go to southwest.com when needing to book travel for myself, and thus choose an airline that has it. No need to argue about it or anything - I just vote with my wallet, and the issue becomes moot. If you don't like assigned seating, don't fly WN. Choose other airlines if necessary - there is no one airport that is only WN.

Quoting AY104 (Reply 30):
he whole BS about assigned seating, elite status, upgrading, etc etc, is totally brought on by the airlines themsleves. It only inflates the egos of many who fly frequently to an absolutely intolerable level. As the brother of a good friend of mine once said about his experience on Delta Airlines: "They are ridiculous!" (The most ridiculous and pretentious policy any airline ever had was Delta assigning "Flying Colonel" status to it's most honoured Frequent Flyers).

If you're advocating getting rid of elite status, no airline will (nor should they) do that. It's what keeps those of us who fly on a weekly basis loyal to one airline, and throwing extra money at DL (in my case) when I could easily take a cheaper airline. It's not an ego thing - it makes travel a heck of a lot more tolerable for me. I can bypass lines at security and check-in, and I can get on board earlier to get overhead space. All that makes me more efficient - less time at the airport, can get my bags immediately after getting off, etc.

As for Flying Colonel being pretentious, I'm clearly missing something here.

As for getting rid of F, people do (gasp!) pay for it. It's a lot nicer to do work on a trans-con from an F seat (where there's a PowerPort for my laptop, so I can work, and more room to spread out, which normally means spreading out papers so I can have my laptop and papers out at the same time without having to juggle). There is a market for F.
 
tsaord
Posts: 1267
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2005 2:46 pm

RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Sun Jan 07, 2007 10:52 am

I cant stand how people talk about how people act at the WN gates. Here at ORD I see these "higher fare" paying passengers act the same way! Sitting all on the floors, sleeping and taking up 4 seats, they rush the gate when they hear "now boarding" and can't hear "first class only" just like "cattle". I have failed to see some higher "standard" of flying from passengers on the Legacies than people on WN. I saw a woman in T3 changing her daughters diaper on the floor at the gate while I was walking past like there was not a bathroom down the hall. I'll go sit at L8 and watch Iberia board and sometimes Delta and some how some fool ends up in the first class boarding when they only called zone 1 or "first class/elite only".

Ridiculous
there are icons, then there are legends, then there is rick flair
 
jetdeltamsy
Posts: 2688
Joined: Tue Nov 14, 2000 11:51 am

RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Sun Jan 07, 2007 5:49 pm

Quoting DeltAirlines (Reply 37):
If you're advocating getting rid of elite status, no airline will (nor should they) do that.

Don't be so sure. As flights are operating at capacity every day, the "power" rests with the airlines.

I think it entirely possible that airlines will begin to trim and trim and trim the freqeunt flyer clubs. I think they will continue to lavishly reward those who spend a lot of money with the airline every year. The perks for the two vacation a year traveler just don't deserve the level of rewards they receive.
Tired of airline bankruptcies....EA/PA/TW and finally DL.
 
lemonkitty
Posts: 113
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 2004 6:16 pm

RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Sun Jan 07, 2007 6:46 pm

Quoting Baron95 (Reply 8):
Third, you let a slightly-more-than-minimum-wage-F/A-in-short-sleeves move you and your Mom all over the plane, where others continue to take better seats. Stricke Three.

Baron95 gets another couple of "strikes" for this one...It does not matter how much money the Flight Attendant makes...Strike one Baron...And these folks did as they should and followed crew members instructions...Strike two Baron....And lets add another strike for good measure because I am a Flight Attendant and made close to 100K for 2006...

LK
I met my wife on Airliners.Net!!!!
 
MMEPHX
Posts: 143
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2004 10:54 am

RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Mon Jan 08, 2007 3:31 am

Quoting Baron95 (Reply 19):
Not that assigned seating is that "civilized". I have seen fights break out because the guy that has 5C believes that the overhead space above him goes with his assigned seat and no one can dare put stuff there.

Except if you are the guy in 5C and one of the hoards who pre-boarded (how do you pre-board, surely the only thing you can do is board?) and sitting in 27F puts his bags in the overhead above 5C...that is annoying.

Interesting comment from Gary Keller that assigned seating vs open boarding showed no difference in loading time. When I fly SWA, I usually head to the back of plane and often find a window or aisle easily available. It can be hassle if your trying to sit a group/family together though.

The one practice, assigned seat or not, that is completely useless is the boarding by zone or row. So many pre-board for every conceivable excuse that when you do board by zone there is invariably someone sitting in the aisle seat that has to get up once or twice to let others in. 3 ways to improve the boarding process..

1) open the door and let everyone get on together (KLM do that)
2) actually enforce the carry on size rules.
3) F/A's quit blocking the aisle by trying to serve the First Class passengers a drink before take-off. Surely they can wait 30 minutes? I always decline the offer at least on the odd occassion I am in FC.
 
SWALoveField
Posts: 151
Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2005 2:49 pm

RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Mon Jan 08, 2007 5:11 am

Quoting Osubuckeyes (Thread starter):
but on the return leg me being screwed out of a seat caused me to be convinced that Southwest NEEDS

OK, let me get this straight: You know that WN does not have assigned seating. There was a mechanical prob with your plane and between the time they realized it and the time you got on a substitute aircraft you wanted them to adopt an assigned seating policy?

How dare they not change their policy the instant you want them to.

 Wink

Robb
Dallas, TX
 
kstateinALB
Posts: 547
Joined: Tue Dec 12, 2006 10:22 am

RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Mon Jan 08, 2007 6:43 am

I have to say that having unassigned seating is great for a passenger flying nonstop from one city to the other. The only thing I hate is standing in the specific A,B,C line for an hour before boarding. It's just one thing I don't like about WN, because everything else is great.
 
DIA
Posts: 3053
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2001 2:24 pm

RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Mon Jan 08, 2007 9:13 am

W/o reading every single post on this thread, I get the point of what happened and what the common opinions are.

Now, I'm a supporter of F9, but it just so happened that I had to purchase SWA tickets just a couple days ago for "travel time & convienience" purposes (nutshell version of why I must cross "enemy" lines).

This Thursday will be my first-ever experience on SWA...I figured it would happen sometime in my life, just didn't know when, but here I go.

My question is this; I am flying between DEN and OAK with a stopover in SLC both ways. On my return trip back to Denver, I see tht I have 20-minute layover... eh-hmmm...a 20-MINUTE LAYOVER...my eyes popped out of my head realizing that I will be one of those "unfortunates" who must choose from the last few middle seats on the plane. Is there a way around this, or am I correct in saying that I am just going to swallow my window-pride on this one and stuff myself inbetween two other folks?

BTW, one of the legs is a 737-700...another 1st for me...at least something good out of all this.
Ding! You are now free to keep supporting Frontier.
 
luvfa
Posts: 342
Joined: Wed May 25, 2005 10:05 pm

RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Mon Jan 08, 2007 9:30 am

Quoting N200WN (Reply 22):
Families with small kids (but too old to preboard) in "C" Group (especially when there are a lot of thru pax): I watch out for them in the boarding area and will usually have them board with the "A" Group. This avoids delays at push time when they would still be trying to find seats together

Likewise when I am working a flight and I notice a family in the "C" group, I discreetly block off the last row, (when I fly B (back) which is usual. I can spot this by coming up to the gate area prior to boarding. I usually help push a Wheelchair or 2 down when we have a lot of them.

Kudos to you N200WN, your pro-actions help us FAs tremendously thank you!
 
N200WN
Posts: 696
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2005 7:09 am

RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Mon Jan 08, 2007 11:06 am

Quoting Luvfa (Reply 45):
Likewise when I am working a flight and I notice a family in the "C" group, I discreetly block off the last row, (when I fly B (back) which is usual. I can spot this by coming up to the gate area prior to boarding. I usually help push a Wheelchair or 2 down when we have a lot of them.

Proactive Flight Attendants like yourself make all the difference in the world in trying to turn a flight ontime. Thanks for your help with the w/c's!

Quoting JayDub (Reply 32):
If only all agents were like N200WN, boarding problems like the ones that have been described would rarely exist.

Thanks for the kind words. The items I listed are things that almost all of the Ops Agents at my station (SAT) do on a regular basis. But we are a very senior station with a lot of experience.
 
AY104
Posts: 501
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2005 8:35 am

RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Mon Jan 08, 2007 12:24 pm

Again, if there are any Southwest employees who are listening: Thank You for doing such a great job, and supporting an airline who dares to do something differently than the rest of the so-called "full service" carriers. I have always been an admirer of Southwest, as a Canadian living in Canada, unfortunately I don't have occasion to fly with you often. As a matter of fact, only 2 short flights OAK-RNO-OAK. Keep up the great work! I worked for airlines for over 25 years, and I am now by choice in another profession. I would never go to work for the airlines again, except if I had the chance to work for Southwest!
Cheers,
Carl (AY104)
The only thing a customer should expect for his/her loyalty is good service
 
luvfa
Posts: 342
Joined: Wed May 25, 2005 10:05 pm

RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Mon Jan 08, 2007 1:42 pm

SAT, shoulda guessed. We always get the best Ops Agents there. Most of you have been here forever! LOL
 
iflyswa
Posts: 99
Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2006 3:09 am

RE: Why Southwest Needs Assigned Seating

Wed Jan 10, 2007 1:54 pm

Quoting Baron95 (Reply 24):
You clearly have taken the time to understand how small actions on your part can have a huge customer satisfaction impact on your customers. If a lot more people think like you at WN, it is indead a great airline.



Quoting JayDub (Reply 32):
Customer service folks like N200WN who take the time to figure out what works to the benefit of all reignite my faith in the human race.

This is truly what it means to be the Spirit of Southwest Airlines, and to give America the Freedom to fly.

N200WN, thanks for giving our customers such outstanding service!

iflyswa
Opinions expressed by "iflyswa" are not those of Southwest Airlines Officers, Directors, or Employees.

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