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Old 05-08-2017, 07:08 PM   #21
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With SW, if you and a traveling companion have widely separated numbers, say A33 and C10, can A33 save a seat for C30? Or will an attempt to do that get you lynched by the scrambling mob?

Does SW have the same problems with carry-ons as other airlines? Namely, too many people trying to haul on too much crap?

I flew frequently for MegaCorp back in the day but haven't been on an airplane for a decade. Now we're looking at a second home in a warmer climate but need to plan for frequent back and forth trips due to family issues. I'm starting to educate myself on all the new procedures........
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Old 05-08-2017, 07:13 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by youbet View Post
With SW, if you and a traveling companion have widely separated numbers, say A33 and C10, can A33 save a seat for C30? Or will an attempt to do that get you lynched by the scrambling mob?

Does SW have the same problems with carry-ons as other airlines? Namely, too many people trying to haul on too much crap?

I flew frequently for MegaCorp back in the day but haven't been on an airplane for a decade. Now we're looking at a second home in a warmer climate but need to plan for frequent back and forth trips due to family issues. I'm starting to educate myself on all the new procedures........
DW and I have had separated numbers and have saved the middle seat. This isn't supposed to be done, buy rarely will anyone contest the fact that you are saving a middle seat - they'll just take the next available seat.

SW does have a problem with too much carry on baggage. They really try to convince passengers to store their stuff under the seat in front of them if possible - to make room in the bins for the many carry-on.
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Old 05-08-2017, 07:49 PM   #23
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With SW, if you and a traveling companion have widely separated numbers, say A33 and C10, can A33 save a seat for C30? Or will an attempt to do that get you lynched by the scrambling mob?

Does SW have the same problems with carry-ons as other airlines? Namely, too many people trying to haul on too much crap?

I flew frequently for MegaCorp back in the day but haven't been on an airplane for a decade. Now we're looking at a second home in a warmer climate but need to plan for frequent back and forth trips due to family issues. I'm starting to educate myself on all the new procedures........
A man on my SW flight last month saved two rows of seats for his family. Sort of annoying considering the kids were young adults and even they were embarrassed about it.

If you don't otherwise have the TSA credentials, getting checked in ASAP at the 24 hour deadline supposedly increases the chances of getting TSA approved--I believe a limited number of people get it outside the verified folks and the sooner you check in, the better your chances, if that matters.

We paid for early-bird checkin just once, can't remember why--and learned you can't find out your boarding position until the 24 hr checkin time.

I'm resigned to SW and like it okay, but it's sort of interesting that other airlines haven't copied its boarding system.
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Old 05-08-2017, 08:07 PM   #24
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Usually the saved seat culprits have one customer get the early bird and sit in an middle exit row seat. Most couples will walk by, then the person moves for their non early bird companion.
I fly to Napa quite a bit on SW, and I'm 6'5". I am always on the hunt for an exit row seat.
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Old 05-08-2017, 08:21 PM   #25
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Southwest is my preferred carrier because they don't charge for checked bags (up to two) and they don't charge for changing your flight plans. Their "Business Class" gets you into the very first folks boarding which is key to getting one of the best seats i.e. exit row with more leg room. You also get significantly more frequent flier points for the same flight than regular fare which isn't a lot cheaper anyway. I only bother with Early Bird boarding if it's a long flight e.g. Phoenix to Buffalo because it increases my chances of getting exit row seating. On a short flight, I don't bother. Re saving seats: I hate when people do that - it's unfair and IMHO a form of cheating especially when it's precious exit row seating involved. I've made my thoughts known to those I've encountered doing that although I have never pressed the issue.
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Old 05-08-2017, 09:09 PM   #26
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SW is my go to airline for leisure travel. I have never bothered paying for earlybird, I just check in at 23 - 24 hours before and usually get an upper B group position.

Traveling alone - I just grab the first seat that I can put my behind into that has a place to throw my larger bag in the overhead, whether it is a middle seat or not - I am not very particular. If we are traveling as a family then we usually end up between 1/2 and 3/4 of the way back in order to get a whole empty row together. Last time DH flew though he had a cane/limp and got a preboard card. He sat toward the front in a window and my son wanted a window too so we did not sit next to him. Not a big deal for a 2 hour flight.

If you are at the very end of C boarding on a full flight you may end up gate-checking your roller bag. Most flights though seem to have enough room for everyone to stow their stuff. I usually just check in my roller bag anyway since there is no charge for luggage check-in.

I find that if we pay for tickets booked together, all three of us are on the same itinerary. If I do reward (free) flights, then the itinerary is always separated and each of us has to check-in separately.

Two of the 3 of us have a know traveler number and we store it in our profile of our rapid rewards account so we don't have to enter it each time. For some reason DH's precheck didn't take last time when I booked his ticket using my rapid rewards points - we talked to the airline and they said I should have gone ahead and typed the number in because it did not pick up from his account even though his RR # showed on the reservation. I had bought the ticket while logged into my account. (Just a little tip if you have trouble getting the spouse's precheck to take.) On a weird note, on Hawaiian Air my adult son and I were on the same itinerary and they gave him precheck too even though he has never signed up for it. I really was not expecting him to even get it. I guess they do give it to some people that don't sign up for it for some reason.

(I fly Frontier a lot too and it kinda sucks, but is cheap! I just take my chances on a seat assignment and consistently end up in rows 20 - 22. Those must be the cheap person seats!)
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Old 05-08-2017, 09:29 PM   #27
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You don't have to do anything. Just go to southwest.com and print your boarding pass (or open it on the mobile app on your phone) within 24 hours of departure.

With Southwest, when you board, you line up in numerical order, A1 to A60; then B1 to B60; then whatever is left in the C range. Southwest assigns boarding numbers first to A-Listers (frequent flyers with status), then early-birds, then they go in order of check-in. Leaving PHX and LAS, you will probably end up in the A30 to A60 range with early-bird since those are hubs and there tend to be a lot of A-Listers in those cities.

Any A boarding pass will let you get a window or aisle seat with your traveling companion(s). Even up to about B30 is o.k. Higher than that and you may not be able to sit together, or one of you may end up in a middle seat. On short SWA flights, when traveling alone, I often opt for a middle seat near the front over a window/aisle in the back anyway.


+1
Early bird boarding is the best! You get an assigned boarding position which for me has ranged from A-16 through B- 30 and you sit wherever you want. Well worth the nominal cost. IMO, once you get used to flying SWA, other airlines will seem sub-standard unless you buy business or first class.
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Old 05-08-2017, 09:33 PM   #28
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Thanks for all the insights. I have gathered that we do not necessarily need to 'check in' at the 24-hour mark - that EB means the airline has already assigned us a boarding "group"?


Correct- that is one advantage of Early Bird ... you don't need to check in 24 hours before your flight, you get an assigned seat automatically.
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Old 05-08-2017, 10:59 PM   #29
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OT, but another great thing about Southwest is the companion pass. (I assume they still have the offer).

Just get 2 SW Visa cards, 50K points each, that's 100K for 2. With minimum spend, that's another 4k points. 6K points more and you qualify for a companion pass for the rest of the year and the year following. I don't think there's a better travel deal out there.
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Old 05-08-2017, 11:23 PM   #30
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I would pay for Express Egress . I am amazed how people can sometime take more time getting their stuff and getting off then it did to board. The airlines don't make it any better by using only one Jetway when 2 are available at a gate.
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Old 05-09-2017, 03:14 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Ronstar
I've flown Southwest more than 200 times between Chicago and Phoenix. I've never been Business, Select, A-Lister, or Early Bird. I take my chances calling in exactly 24 hrs before departure. I've only had a middle seat a couple of times and DW and I have only been split up a couple of times.
+1. We fly SWA a lot and we just call exactly 24 hours in advance too, and almost always end up in the B group which is good enough to get a decent seat. We've never paid for Early Bird or any premium, but it's probably worth it to be in the A group. Maybe I'll splurge one day...

Once you know how it works, I don't find the SWA boarding procedure to be any more trouble than the assigned seating on other airlines. Boarding is a cattle call either way. And the SWA flight attendants announcements are usually more fun than other airlines.

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Old 05-09-2017, 05:15 AM   #32
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O God, we will have to deal with seat-savers too??

I can think of one thing that might cause Mr. A. to lose his temper on an airplane and cause an incident, and that's somebody acting like their straggling-in-later feeeammmleee is more important than the two of us on the spot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by youbet View Post
With SW, if you and a traveling companion have widely separated numbers, say A33 and C10, can A33 save a seat for C30? Or will an attempt to do that get you lynched by the scrambling mob?

Does SW have the same problems with carry-ons as other airlines? Namely, too many people trying to haul on too much crap?

I flew frequently for MegaCorp back in the day but haven't been on an airplane for a decade. Now we're looking at a second home in a warmer climate but need to plan for frequent back and forth trips due to family issues. I'm starting to educate myself on all the new procedures........
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Old 05-09-2017, 07:31 AM   #33
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O God, we will have to deal with seat-savers too??

I can think of one thing that might cause Mr. A. to lose his temper on an airplane and cause an incident, and that's somebody acting like their straggling-in-later feeeammmleee is more important than the two of us on the spot.
I'm sure it could happen, but I've never had it happen to me. Most couples/families would check in together and board together making sitting together easier. More likely someone might (politely) ask to trade a seat to get a couple or family together. And most people would accommodate them if possible.
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Old 05-09-2017, 08:16 AM   #34
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To be honest SW , is as good as it gets . A few years ago we went to Key West , when SW still flew into KW . The pilot announced that the landing would be rough but that they had made it many times before . The runways in KW are short . We hit the runway like we were dropped out of a 100 story building screeching brakes but no problems. Later we were talking to some flight attendants and pilots . We were told SW only hires Ex military . Our pilot used to fly off Aircraft carriers . LUV SW.
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Old 05-09-2017, 08:44 AM   #35
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Reminds me of the early days of SW when you had to walk up to the desk and ask for the check-in number (smalll piece of cardboard IIRC). I happened to be at the airport several hours early, so could have probably gotten a very low A number but I didn't know the process and just sat down and killed a few hours. By the time I sorted out how it all worked, it was 5 minutes before boarding and I ended up with one of the last C numbers on a full flight. THAT will make you remember how it works....
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Early Bird Boarding is a real crap shoot!
Old 05-09-2017, 09:35 AM   #36
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Early Bird Boarding is a real crap shoot!

The reason to buy Early Bird Boarding is to increase your chances to get the type of seat you prefer (emergency row, aisle near front, etc.).

The reason it is a crap shoot is you must know where your airplane you are flying was before your flight. If the plane originates where you are boarding- no problem, since the plane will be empty. If the plane originated in another city or cities, then there will be some unknown number of through passengers who most likely will change seats before you even board. These passengers most likely will take the seats which you also consider most preferable.

Do you feel lucky enough to buy Early Bird Boarding on a through flight?
Do your research and hope you have good luck!
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Old 05-09-2017, 10:17 AM   #37
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Thanks for all the insights. I have gathered that we do not necessarily need to 'check in' at the 24-hour mark - that EB means the airline has already assigned us a boarding "group"?
I fly SW a ton. I would say.....
- You don't necessarily NEED to by Early Bird Auto check-in but....
-You ABSOLUTELY need to check-in yourself at the 24 hour mark.

Do yourself a favor and get an "A" or early "B" boarding assignment.
Its super easy to check-in via app or website. Do it right at the 24 hour mark.
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Old 05-09-2017, 10:20 AM   #38
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O God, we will have to deal with seat-savers too??

I can think of one thing that might cause Mr. A. to lose his temper on an airplane and cause an incident, and that's somebody acting like their straggling-in-later feeeammmleee is more important than the two of us on the spot.
Haven't had problems on SW. I've saved seats and had people tell me they were saving seats. I think its SW's attitude and process that (for the most part) make flyers a bit more civil.

All the more reason to get and "A" or "B" boarding position. You'll definately be able to get two together and find over-head bin space.
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Old 05-09-2017, 10:24 AM   #39
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Thanks for the tips, everyone. I'll report on how things went.
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Old 05-09-2017, 10:30 AM   #40
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Our favorite airline is SW. The whole process just seems easier and friendlier. Because passengers can check two bags at no extra cost, you don't get as many people trying to carry on bags that are too big, or more than one bag.

It also seems that the majority of SW passengers are able to get on, stow their stuff,and be ready to fly. Maybe it's because some infrequent travelers aren't comfortable not having an assigned seat, so they avoid SW?
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