b777a340fan
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Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Fri Feb 22, 2019 9:37 pm

I have just boarded my WN flight and can’t help but notice how pleasant the experience is. There are no confusion, people trying to cut lines or pretending they don’t know where they’re going, or people in group 5 trying to board in group 1. Why can’t other airlines follow suit? With boarding passes now on smart phones, i see so many people trying to Board first with group 2 when their boarding pass clearly says group 5. Moreover, gate agents don’t do anything. Those people should be denied boarding and told to wait. On the other hand, WN passengers are really respectful of the boarding system, only boarding when their group is called and lining up like it’s second nature. What’s the difference? I don’t get it.
 
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BWIAirport
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Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Fri Feb 22, 2019 9:46 pm

I think a lot of it is the personal accountability required in Southwest's process that is nonexistent in the normal "group" system. When I have my boarding position, I see something like A43. Now, I'm walking up and down the queue asking people what their position is so I can place myself appropriately. Most people show their boarding passes as a courtesy (like "see, here's my position"). Thus, it is near impossible to lie about your position without becoming public enemy #1. In the group system, no one is checking anyone. An AA flyer in Group 8 can get in the Group 6 line and no one will bat an eye.
Another thing to consider is WN's free bag policy. I'd almost guarantee more people check their bags on WN than an airline that charges for such a service. Thus, overhead bin space is more available and people feel less rushed to board.
Funnily enough, it seems it should be the opposite. When you're guaranteed a certain seat, you'd think people would be more relaxed.
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StormRider
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Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:43 pm

BWIAirport wrote:
..
Funnily enough, it seems it should be the opposite. When you're guaranteed a certain seat, you'd think people would be more relaxed.


Isn't seat guaranteed or finalized when you are actually boarding anyway? (irrespective of airline)

I never understand the rush to board (especially people sitting in aisle seats) and then they have to get up twice for their seat-mates who arrive later. This is what delays everybody.
ALso the person sitting in 31E goes in last rather than somebody in rows 10-15 whatever. Should be using a FILO queue which would minimize the standing/waiting in the aisles.
 
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BWIAirport
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Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 12:24 am

StormRider wrote:
BWIAirport wrote:
..
Funnily enough, it seems it should be the opposite. When you're guaranteed a certain seat, you'd think people would be more relaxed.


Isn't seat guaranteed or finalized when you are actually boarding anyway? (irrespective of airline)

I never understand the rush to board (especially people sitting in aisle seats) and then they have to get up twice for their seat-mates who arrive later. This is what delays everybody.
ALso the person sitting in 31E goes in last rather than somebody in rows 10-15 whatever. Should be using a FILO queue which would minimize the standing/waiting in the aisles.

There is no advanced seating on Southwest, even after check-in. You are only guaranteed (usually) a spot on the flight, not a specific seat. Hence why you would think people would want to rush to get on. The last people on the flight would almost always be stuck with a middle seat unless they luck out.
Next flight: October 17 DL2641 BWI-ATL B739
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KentB27
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Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 3:28 pm

That's entirely your opinion. If you ask me, Southwest has one of the worst boarding processes in the business. It's nice if you're in the A group and you can pick just about whatever seat you want, but if you're anywhere past the middle of the B group it sucks. I hate the stress of not knowing what seat I'll be sitting in beforehand. I much prefer assigned seating and being able to pick the seat I want in advance. Early Bird Check In does not guarantee you a favorable boarding position either because the whole flight could buy that if they wanted to.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 5:38 pm

I agree assigned seating is better so at least you know upfront where you'll be sitting.

Years ago Ryanair and Wizzair had unassigned seating just like Southwest. It didn't work, it actually slowed down the boarding process. This was fixed when they changed to assigned seating, which was another money maker as they could charge people for picking their seat instead of getting a random assigned one.

On a Ryanair boarding pass it even says if you should board through the front or the rear door, which also helps in getting the boarding done faster. People don't have to go through the whole plane anymore to find their seat.
 
Chemist
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Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 8:12 pm

Clearly people differ on WN's boarding process.
I generally love it. It's orderly, there are not hordes of jamming or gate lice crowding the gate. It also randomizes seating choices while on the plane so it goes faster.
I can see it being more stressful especially if you have a family with kids and need to sit together. For me, even when I'm not A-list status, I just check in EXACTLY 24 hrs before the flight and I'm almost always at least <B30 which means I'm not going to sit in a center seat.
Those who say it's stressful because you might get a center seat - well you also sometimes get ASSIGNED a center seat on reserved-seat airlines. Is that less stressful?
Another advantage of having status on Southwest - if you are A-list and say you arrive early and can get on an earlier flight, you board at the end of the A group even if your boarding pass says C20. So you still get a good seat selection. In the same scenario, say on Delta/United/American, let's say on my original flight I have a boarding pass for 23C (aisle). I get on an earlier flight, but because seats are all assigned already, I'm going to get assigned a center seat. On Southwest with status, I can change flights last minute and still get a good seat regardless of how full the plane is.
 
Wednesdayite
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Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:03 pm

As a rule of thumb, I book my flights at least a month or two in advance.

Given that, I have never been “assigned” a center seat by any airline.

I have however had a center seat on Southwest by virtue of all window and aisle seats being taken by the time my position boarded.

Given that I’d booked a couple of months in advance, that wouldn’t have happened on another airline.

I like most other aspects of Southwest and Denver is my local airport. If they went to assigned seating I’d fly with them virtually all the time.

But as it stands I avoid them where possible.
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 10:00 pm

Chemist wrote:
Those who say it's stressful because you might get a center seat - well you also sometimes get ASSIGNED a center seat on reserved-seat airlines. Is that less stressful?


Yes, that is less stressful. And yes, you may get assigned a center seat, it happened to me several times, but at least you know it up front. And if you want, you can always change it for a fee. Even if you've already been checked in and you've already been assigned a random seat, you can still login to your booking, pay the fee and change your seat. Personally I never did this. If I get a center seat, then so be it. I can prepare myself for it. But without assigned seating I can't prepare myself for anything.
 
smallmj
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Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 11:44 pm

The earlier poster nailed it when they talked about bin space/checked luggage. Most airlines charge a big fee for checked luggage nowadays so there is a big incentive to get on early to ensure adequate bin space, especially since only the newest airliners have enough bin space for everyone to have room for a full sized roll-aboard.

I've heard that some ULCC's that charge for carry-on (but not a personal item) also have much better boarding. There is no incentive to beat the rush.
 
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stl07
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Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Sun Feb 24, 2019 12:13 am

Its the worst, not the best. So much induced stress and fights that break out that don't need to occur
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Chemist
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Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Sun Feb 24, 2019 5:37 am

stl07 wrote:
Its the worst, not the best. So much induced stress and fights that break out that don't need to occur


Tell us about all those fights. Somehow i've not read of them nor seen them on my over a hundred WN flights.
 
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stl07
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Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Sun Feb 24, 2019 5:43 am

Chemist wrote:
stl07 wrote:
Its the worst, not the best. So much induced stress and fights that break out that don't need to occur


Tell us about all those fights. Somehow i've not read of them nor seen them on my over a hundred WN flights.

Fair point, personal experience is only a small sample that may have been an abnormality. But regardless of the fights, I find the need to be at the gate right at boarding time and lining up and rushing for a seat to be stressful so I choose not to fly them, and this is the opinion thread so that's my opinion.
Interesting how every thread is spammed with "bring back paid membership, there are too many spammers"
 
Chemist
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Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Sun Feb 24, 2019 7:03 am

stl07 wrote:
Chemist wrote:
stl07 wrote:
Its the worst, not the best. So much induced stress and fights that break out that don't need to occur


Tell us about all those fights. Somehow i've not read of them nor seen them on my over a hundred WN flights.

Fair point, personal experience is only a small sample that may have been an abnormality. But regardless of the fights, I find the need to be at the gate right at boarding time and lining up and rushing for a seat to be stressful so I choose not to fly them, and this is the opinion thread so that's my opinion.


That's fine, but you didn't answer my question. You asserted that the WN boarding process creates lots of fights. Do you have data for that, or are you making it up?
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Sun Feb 24, 2019 10:03 am

Chemist wrote:
That's fine, but you didn't answer my question. You asserted that the WN boarding process creates lots of fights. Do you have data for that, or are you making it up?


I've never flown Southwest, but I have flown Ryanair both before and after they introduced assigned seating.

Before they introduced assigned seating, there were "fights" as people were picking seats so that other people who belonged together couldn't sit together. I've experienced a couple, the woman was already sitting in the window seat while her husband was a bit behind her. However two guys standing between them found two empty seats next to the woman and decided to sit there. Of course that was not the intention of the couple who wanted to sit together, but so did those guys. As the initially friendly conversation got on, the plane was filling up and less empty seats became available. The crew did nothing, I doubt they even noticed. It ended up in the man and his wife sitting in opposite ends of the plane.

This would not have happened with assigned seating. At least, after they introduced assigned seating I've never seen anything like that happening.
 
FlyHappy
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Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Mon Feb 25, 2019 12:48 pm

Chemist wrote:
stl07 wrote:
Chemist wrote:

Tell us about all those fights. Somehow i've not read of them nor seen them on my over a hundred WN flights.

Fair point, personal experience is only a small sample that may have been an abnormality. But regardless of the fights, I find the need to be at the gate right at boarding time and lining up and rushing for a seat to be stressful so I choose not to fly them, and this is the opinion thread so that's my opinion.


That's fine, but you didn't answer my question. You asserted that the WN boarding process creates lots of fights. Do you have data for that, or are you making it up?


you like WN's boarding & seating, we get it. no need to to take others to the mat for either mis-speaking or unwilling to prove to your satisfaction.
I believe the use of the "fight" is meant to convey conflict, argument and social discomfort, and not literal fist-to-cuffs; things I have also observed on WN flights, and I do not care for.

I'll accept WN flying, if they get me there non-stop, and I am flying alone. The are a no go for me with children (which is often) ; so this means I don't fly them often. As a few others have mentioned, I'd fly them more if assigned seating were offered. I'd also do so if they had a J cabin. And yes - I'm aware they are the largest (by some metrics) in the US, that millions love them, that they are consistently profitable, etc, etc, etc.
 
afcjets
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Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Mon Feb 25, 2019 1:16 pm

FlyHappy wrote:
I'll accept WN flying, if they get me there non-stop, and I am flying alone. The are a no go for me with children (which is often) ; so this means I don't fly them often. As a few others have mentioned, I'd fly them more if assigned seating were offered. I'd also do so if they had a J cabin. And yes - I'm aware they are the largest (by some metrics) in the US, that millions love them, that they are consistently profitable, etc, etc, etc.


Does Southwest not let families with small children pre-board?
 
nws2002
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Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Mon Feb 25, 2019 3:44 pm

afcjets wrote:
Does Southwest not let families with small children pre-board?


No, they let them board after the A group and before the B group. That way they can grab seats together. I've also seen one parent purchase a business select upgrade and go on ahead to "reserve" seats for the family.
 
mtnwest1979
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Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Mon Feb 25, 2019 5:49 pm

I prefer unassingned, only due to as I am usually a late boarder, I can at least choose which center seat I can get between two smaller people lol. Plus, can find spot further away from "youngin's"
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StormRider
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Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Mon Feb 25, 2019 6:04 pm

BWIAirport wrote:
There is no advanced seating on Southwest, even after check-in. You are only guaranteed (usually) a spot on the flight, not a specific seat. Hence why you would think people would want to rush to get on. The last people on the flight would almost always be stuck with a middle seat unless they luck out.

Interesting indeed. People keep asking me why I don't fly WN, maybe one day soon I will and see this phenomenon first hand.

^ lol about finding that middle seat between 2 thin people (as I have been squished recently in the middle a few times I can totally relate)
 
Cubsrule
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Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Mon Feb 25, 2019 10:18 pm

nws2002 wrote:
afcjets wrote:
Does Southwest not let families with small children pre-board?


No, they let them board after the A group and before the B group. That way they can grab seats together. I've also seen one parent purchase a business select upgrade and go on ahead to "reserve" seats for the family.


This, and families can also buy early bird, which pretty much guarantees seats together. That's functionally no different for paying for seats together on the legacies, which is pretty much required these days.
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FriscoHeavy
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Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Tue Feb 26, 2019 1:11 am

We were B44/45 this past weekend and were able to select great seats - had our pick of aisle, middle or window.

Completely full flight. It’s a very orderly procesd and those who don’t think so are delusional.
Whatever
 
FlyHappy
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Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:18 am

Cubsrule wrote:
nws2002 wrote:
afcjets wrote:
Does Southwest not let families with small children pre-board?


No, they let them board after the A group and before the B group. That way they can grab seats together. I've also seen one parent purchase a business select upgrade and go on ahead to "reserve" seats for the family.


This, and families can also buy early bird, which pretty much guarantees seats together. That's functionally no different for paying for seats together on the legacies, which is pretty much required these days.


"family boarding" does not equal assigned seating, and guarantees nothing; and this has nothing to do with paying or not. I'm totally fine with paying for seats, bags, meals - as long as the information is upfront. btw, I am not aware of DL or AS charging for standard Y seating assignment.

you know where one of my kids will be in that 3 minute window of "family boarding"? In the p-o-t-t-y, despite my best efforts... or run down the jetway to an aircraft departing for Moscow (true story). Point is, I am one adult, with 2 minors, of different ages and genders in my care. I cannot rely on a mere courtesy to seat my children; I need certainty.

BTW - previously in this thread, the idea of "fights" over open seating came up - that parent "reserving" seats for the family to follow is a perfect example of the kind of conflict/discomfort that can arise, uniquely to open seating.

another personal anecdote - I was boarding a flight with my two children (not WN, but that's irrelevant), the agent announced: "and now to board families with children, or those who need extra time" - I hustled my antsy, impatient (ie, unable to wait for 150 others to board and stand behind), but ready to go children up there, to be greeted by a harsh admonishment that my children weren't "small enough" (8 and a very immature 5) - I (accurately, I think) pointed out that their announcement was pretty specific in inviting those "needing time". We were waved thru disgustedly, as if I was "gaming the system" (on a flight with assigned seating) or something. Where any specific gate agent might draw a line, I do not know, and I have no intention of finding out, so WN is not a choice until my children can reliably sit alone without making life miserable for me or others.
 
Cubsrule
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Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Tue Feb 26, 2019 3:27 am

FlyHappy wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:
nws2002 wrote:

No, they let them board after the A group and before the B group. That way they can grab seats together. I've also seen one parent purchase a business select upgrade and go on ahead to "reserve" seats for the family.


This, and families can also buy early bird, which pretty much guarantees seats together. That's functionally no different for paying for seats together on the legacies, which is pretty much required these days.


"family boarding" does not equal assigned seating, and guarantees nothing; and this has nothing to do with paying or not. I'm totally fine with paying for seats, bags, meals - as long as the information is upfront. btw, I am not aware of DL or AS charging for standard Y seating assignment.

you know where one of my kids will be in that 3 minute window of "family boarding"? In the p-o-t-t-y, despite my best efforts... or run down the jetway to an aircraft departing for Moscow (true story). Point is, I am one adult, with 2 minors, of different ages and genders in my care. I cannot rely on a mere courtesy to seat my children; I need certainty.

BTW - previously in this thread, the idea of "fights" over open seating came up - that parent "reserving" seats for the family to follow is a perfect example of the kind of conflict/discomfort that can arise, uniquely to open seating.

another personal anecdote - I was boarding a flight with my two children (not WN, but that's irrelevant), the agent announced: "and now to board families with children, or those who need extra time" - I hustled my antsy, impatient (ie, unable to wait for 150 others to board and stand behind), but ready to go children up there, to be greeted by a harsh admonishment that my children weren't "small enough" (8 and a very immature 5) - I (accurately, I think) pointed out that their announcement was pretty specific in inviting those "needing time". We were waved thru disgustedly, as if I was "gaming the system" (on a flight with assigned seating) or something. Where any specific gate agent might draw a line, I do not know, and I have no intention of finding out, so WN is not a choice until my children can reliably sit alone without making life miserable for me or others.


None of the legacies charges for a standard Y seating assignment, but as seat monetization increases, we are getting closer to a point where families will have to pay to get the blocks of seats together that we want. If every free/unpaid seat is a middle, then there's no free block of seats.

WN's child boarding policy is objective: family boarding is for kids 6 and under and their immediate families.

Maybe you've had bad luck on WN, but my kids (9 and 6) have between 50 and 100 WN segments each and we've never been unable to secure the seating configuration we wanted, even with bathroom stops at inopportunte times.
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FlyHappy
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Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Tue Feb 26, 2019 3:50 am

Cubsrule wrote:
FlyHappy wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:

This, and families can also buy early bird, which pretty much guarantees seats together. That's functionally no different for paying for seats together on the legacies, which is pretty much required these days.


"family boarding" does not equal assigned seating, and guarantees nothing; and this has nothing to do with paying or not. I'm totally fine with paying for seats, bags, meals - as long as the information is upfront. btw, I am not aware of DL or AS charging for standard Y seating assignment.

you know where one of my kids will be in that 3 minute window of "family boarding"? In the p-o-t-t-y, despite my best efforts... or run down the jetway to an aircraft departing for Moscow (true story). Point is, I am one adult, with 2 minors, of different ages and genders in my care. I cannot rely on a mere courtesy to seat my children; I need certainty.

BTW - previously in this thread, the idea of "fights" over open seating came up - that parent "reserving" seats for the family to follow is a perfect example of the kind of conflict/discomfort that can arise, uniquely to open seating.

another personal anecdote - I was boarding a flight with my two children (not WN, but that's irrelevant), the agent announced: "and now to board families with children, or those who need extra time" - I hustled my antsy, impatient (ie, unable to wait for 150 others to board and stand behind), but ready to go children up there, to be greeted by a harsh admonishment that my children weren't "small enough" (8 and a very immature 5) - I (accurately, I think) pointed out that their announcement was pretty specific in inviting those "needing time". We were waved thru disgustedly, as if I was "gaming the system" (on a flight with assigned seating) or something. Where any specific gate agent might draw a line, I do not know, and I have no intention of finding out, so WN is not a choice until my children can reliably sit alone without making life miserable for me or others.


None of the legacies charges for a standard Y seating assignment, but as seat monetization increases, we are getting closer to a point where families will have to pay to get the blocks of seats together that we want. If every free/unpaid seat is a middle, then there's no free block of seats.

WN's child boarding policy is objective: family boarding is for kids 6 and under and their immediate families.

Maybe you've had bad luck on WN, but my kids (9 and 6) have between 50 and 100 WN segments each and we've never been unable to secure the seating configuration we wanted, even with bathroom stops at inopportunte times.


I flew AA for business barely 2 weeks ago, and an assigned seat (meaning I choose in advance) was an additional fee on 2 of 3 narrowbody legs, but free on a 787 and in the rear of an RJ. Just sayin'
I'm well aware of the 6 and under boarding policy, but all kids are different, as I'm sure you know - my air travels with them since infancy have enough to keep me very busy; as a single parent, I cannot add extra uncertainty. Don't get me started on food and entertainment.

more power to you that WN works for your family- it does not for me... and I say this as someone who does fly WN occasionally for the few city pairs relevant to my work. I am not speaking of the experience in the abstract.
 
invertalon
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Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Tue Feb 26, 2019 12:50 pm

Absolutely love WN’s boarding process. My last flight from CLE to SAN (connecting through LAS) we decided to skip early bird check-in and just check-in normally 24hrs before departure. Got like B29 and B30. Once on the plane, got two front row seats together which is incredible (I am 6’6” and appreciate the leg room!) for the long leg. Mid-B boarding for the second leg, we got exit row. Win win!

Coming back home, same deal. Had A59/60 for the first leg, mid-B for the second. Got exit row and front, yet again. Lucked out for sure, but this isn’t the first time in the “B” boarding position I had plenty of choices of good seats. I mean, they are all the same aside from the front and exit rows, but we never have had to fill in seats or anything like that. All four flights were close to or completely full.

Unless you check in at the airport and end up in “C”, never any issue…

Flying with Delta for work, absolutely hated the boarding process. People conjugate all over, it’s more hectic for sure. Even though I have a seat, the entire process is more unpleasant.

Among other things, the boarding process is just one of the many reason we fly Southwest exclusively domestically at all possible chances we get.
 
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ricport
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Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:00 pm

To each, his/her own, but I avoid WN like the plague. I don't think going up to total strangers and playing the bothersome boarding bingo ("Are you A22? I'm A21!") is all that enticing. And Early Bird is one of the biggest rip-offs in the industry. No guaranteed seat, no priority boarding... just a cut in the cattle line. If you're boarding a flight that has a lot of through pax, you've paid a lot for virtually nothing.

More importantly, if there's a delay/xcl due to maintenance, your only options are to get a refund, find some other alternate transportation, or wait for the next WN flying city bus, as there's no interlining. Add this to no upgrades, FAs using the PA as amateur hour, and the general chaotic atmosphere that is WN, and I'll pass, thanks.

I'm also getting ready to book my free F ticket on SQ to SIN & SYD. I'll be sure to think about those diehard WN pax earning their free cattle-class ticket to fabulous AMA while I'm in the air.
 
buzzard302
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Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Tue Feb 26, 2019 3:44 pm

Count me in for someone who does not care for WN's boarding. It seems like a budgetary decision for them. Less complexity and agents required, so save operating cost. All disguised with marketing like "It's fun", "Choose your own seat!" etc. How about being an unfortunate late boarder and asking to sit in the center seat between two schmucks who react by sighing at you and acting like you are intruding on their space. Nice way to enjoy the next two hours. WN's boarding process is amateur hour.
 
IAHWorldflyer
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Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Tue Feb 26, 2019 4:45 pm

Regarding WN not assigning seats, it's helpful to remember that they do not have to most complex or up to date computer reservation system either. Having your res system keep up with the seat assignments of 100's of thousands of passengers weekly is a major undertaking. I think it's very possible WN just doesn't have that kind of capability. Heck, they can't even do Mexican POS without a US credit card for their limited international flight schedule.
The flip side of this that gets my goat is that legacy US carriers ( I'm looking at you UA) charge extra, and sometimes lots extra for Y+ seat near the front of Y up until the minute of boarding, but give these seats away to Mabel from Minnetonka who's flown once in the last decade, so didn't pick out a seat assignment when she bought her ticket. Then, when she checks in at the counter, all the regular Y seats are assigned, and the computer throws her into the vacant 8A, since that's what's left. It's a way that ignorance can game a system.
 
evank516
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Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Tue Feb 26, 2019 5:04 pm

Cubsrule wrote:
FlyHappy wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:

This, and families can also buy early bird, which pretty much guarantees seats together. That's functionally no different for paying for seats together on the legacies, which is pretty much required these days.


"family boarding" does not equal assigned seating, and guarantees nothing; and this has nothing to do with paying or not. I'm totally fine with paying for seats, bags, meals - as long as the information is upfront. btw, I am not aware of DL or AS charging for standard Y seating assignment.

you know where one of my kids will be in that 3 minute window of "family boarding"? In the p-o-t-t-y, despite my best efforts... or run down the jetway to an aircraft departing for Moscow (true story). Point is, I am one adult, with 2 minors, of different ages and genders in my care. I cannot rely on a mere courtesy to seat my children; I need certainty.

BTW - previously in this thread, the idea of "fights" over open seating came up - that parent "reserving" seats for the family to follow is a perfect example of the kind of conflict/discomfort that can arise, uniquely to open seating.

another personal anecdote - I was boarding a flight with my two children (not WN, but that's irrelevant), the agent announced: "and now to board families with children, or those who need extra time" - I hustled my antsy, impatient (ie, unable to wait for 150 others to board and stand behind), but ready to go children up there, to be greeted by a harsh admonishment that my children weren't "small enough" (8 and a very immature 5) - I (accurately, I think) pointed out that their announcement was pretty specific in inviting those "needing time". We were waved thru disgustedly, as if I was "gaming the system" (on a flight with assigned seating) or something. Where any specific gate agent might draw a line, I do not know, and I have no intention of finding out, so WN is not a choice until my children can reliably sit alone without making life miserable for me or others.


None of the legacies charges for a standard Y seating assignment, but as seat monetization increases, we are getting closer to a point where families will have to pay to get the blocks of seats together that we want. If every free/unpaid seat is a middle, then there's no free block of seats.

WN's child boarding policy is objective: family boarding is for kids 6 and under and their immediate families.

Maybe you've had bad luck on WN, but my kids (9 and 6) have between 50 and 100 WN segments each and we've never been unable to secure the seating configuration we wanted, even with bathroom stops at inopportunte times.


Yes they do. Delta sets aside a few regular Y seats as Preferred Seats that are complimentary for Medallion Customers, but are open for selection at check in to passengers without status. For example, Seat 16A/C/D/F on their A321 is a regular Y seat, not Comfort +, not first class, just regular coach, just closer to the front of the plane so Delta charges a small fee to assign this seat before check in. This also applies to exit rows on most flights.
 
StormRider
Posts: 97
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:12 pm

Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Tue Feb 26, 2019 5:47 pm

IAHWorldflyer wrote:
Regarding WN not assigning seats, it's helpful to remember that they do not have to most complex or up to date computer reservation system either. Having your res system keep up with the seat assignments of 100's of thousands of passengers weekly is a major undertaking. I think it's very possible WN just doesn't have that kind of capability. Heck, they can't even do Mexican POS without a US credit card for their limited international flight schedule.

One of the things that has kept me from flying on WN is maybe related....you can never check prices for their flights on Google Flights and then have to logon to their website just to check the price (which is often much more expensive than AA on the route I am flying anyway - except for those super cheap "wanna get away" or some tickets which I never seem to ever see quickly enough to utilize - if only they show up in google I might have quickly bought some)
 
Tenaja85
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:42 pm

Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:05 pm

I avoid WN as often as possible specifically because of their boarding process. The uncertainty of not having an assigned seat is an added stress for me that I do not need when traveling, and I hate feeling like I have to be in line to "claim" my seat, instead of enjoying a lounge or plane spotting. 10 years ago I flew them a lot only because they had the best prices and schedules between two city pairs that I flew a lot, and although I don't recall seeing many "fights" I did see a lot of people who would go to the back of the plane, looking for seats together, then realize there weren't any seats together so would have to go against the flow of people coming on to the plane to get back to any empty seats. I always watched this and wondered how much time their boarding process added to the time it took to load the plane. Nowadays WN is rarely the cheapest option for me (even with ancillary fees added by other carriers) so I fly them as little as possible.
 
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DocLightning
Posts: 21555
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2005 8:51 am

Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:35 pm

The issue with zone/row boarding that usually holds everything up is that multiple people are trying to use the same space at once. So here you are trying to get to your seat just behind the lady with the Winnebago that she's trying to stuff into the overhead bin. Or the confused gentleman who can't seem to find his seat and has decided that the aisle is the best place to ponder his situation.

With WN's system, you can just choose another seat. Another effective boarding method would be to board in small groups of 5-10 with all of these people seated in different parts of the cabin, again so as to avoid multiple trying to use the same space at the same time.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
PI4EVER
Posts: 817
Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 10:29 pm

Re: Why does Southwest have the best boarding process?

Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:51 pm

This an amusing incident on boarding WN. Two of us were traveling and had already boarded and seated in row 10.
The C group boarded and this lady walked up to my friend and announced he was in her seat and to "get out." When he advised her there was no assigned seating on WN, she waved her Group C10 boarding card in his face and told him to "get up and out" of 10C. She refused to budge and attempted to shove herself into his legs up against row 9 to clear the aisle until he asked her to not touch him.
We asked for a F/A to intervene who firmly asked the lady to "move along and find an empty seat."
The F/A came back and apologized and thanked us for handling it with a bit of cool. She extended her appreciation further with 2 free beer's.
This lady knew enough to board with the C group, but who booked her on WN and not knowing or informing her of the boarding policy?
watch what you want. you may get it.

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