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Old 06-04-2015, 08:35 PM
 
14,260 posts, read 23,987,654 times
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On Southwest, everybody gets in line when asked to and enters the plane, in order, and sits down very quickly.

On the legacy carriers, everyone seems to crowd the gate even when they know their group will be called last. Then once they get to their assigned seats, they fight over who gets what portion of the overheads as no one seems to check bags so that they can avoid all of the extra fees ... It takes longer to board and longer to get off the plane at the end.

I really never knew how smooth flying on Southwest was until I had recent flights on AA and UA.
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Old 06-04-2015, 10:03 PM
 
Location: Miami-Jax
6,312 posts, read 6,969,122 times
Reputation: 3503
Southwest has its reasons. They save money simply by not having a seat management system.
And it's pretty interesting...the other airlines hire physicists and engineers to model the best formula for efficient boarding and they often come to different conclusions. I read that one of the legacies (United or Delta perhaps) is experimenting with luggage valet that they hope will speed up the boarding process (and maybe generate revenue too) by having flight attendants stow your luggage above your seat for you ahead of general boarding.
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Old 06-05-2015, 02:14 AM
 
Location: California
30,699 posts, read 33,467,623 times
Reputation: 26117
I love SW way myself. I always check in online as soon as possible and usually get into group A boarding position, so seating is never a problem
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Old 06-05-2015, 07:48 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,590,084 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
I luv SWA 'get-on-and-go' even tho I have priority on legacy carriers. SWA has much less 'turn time'.. (more time flying (profit) than waiting for people to find their seat and jam their life's treasures into carry-on (cooler / tools / baggage flies free on SWA).

As mentioned... you need only ONE of you to pay earlybird, and take all the kids backpacks and fill up the row, (not nice, but many do it)
And many have gotten burned with this theory because anyone can sit in any unoccupied seat, and people can and do move items "holding" a seat they want to sit in.
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Old 06-05-2015, 07:57 AM
 
Location: MMU->ABE->ATL->ASH
9,126 posts, read 17,137,876 times
Reputation: 9980
OT: More then once I've Been a row in front/back of my son (But he was 10+) few times a half a plane apart on SW. (Got to love them Middle seats)
When getting in with late arriving connection, had A group, but most of C was already boarding when we got to the gate.

Not that he likes it but sometimes I get upgraded and he does not. AirTran did upgrade him once when I was upgraded. And have used his points to get a seat upfront (he seems like seats up front). But a few flights I popped my self down in 2A and he was back in 23A...

Also once he was in his mid teens, many times I did NOT want to sit next to him...
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Old 06-05-2015, 08:44 AM
 
Location: SDL/PDX/RDU
4,810 posts, read 2,570,588 times
Reputation: 5594
Quote:
Originally Posted by IShootNikon View Post
I have only flown SWA a handful of times and I guess they know what they're doing in regards to their open seating system but I find it a bit annoying when I travel with my family and end up being one of the last groups to seat.

Usually there are many single passengers so they all take up the window and/or aisle seat leaving the middle open. Now we're stuck and have to split up including splitting up with my young daughter. Of course we could always ask some people to move but it's annoying.

TLDR: I prefer assigned seats on airplanes
Ahhh, not to be rude but to state the obvious, maybe Southwest isn't the airline for you.
(I'm just happy SWA has WiFi on most of the their flights now so they can give up doing the dumba$$ singalongs and dollar bill serial number poker games)
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Old 06-05-2015, 09:00 AM
 
Location: Henderson, NV
887 posts, read 585,193 times
Reputation: 2334
SW is a cattle car. If you choose your carrier because they line you up and offer free bag check, then go for it. Personally, I don't see how the pre-boarding experience would ever replace the actual transportation experience. The same people who push the limits of carry-on size and quantity to save $50 RT on a legacy carrier do it on SW--the bag charge does not eliminate the carry-on-only traveler. Do your own experiment the next time you fly on a full SW flight...please tell me there is overhead space open when boarding is complete...NOT. I have the same inconsiderate people brushing me with their overstuffed bags whether it is UA or SW or AA.

Their early bird check in is wonderful if you are boarding an empty plane. If you are boarding at a waypoint, you just paid $25 to sit in the rear or middle...a complete rip-off. As stated by others on here, the onboard passengers don't have to disembark. I avoid that airline unless I cannot find a reasonable fare elsewhere, which is rare.

Don't fall for the hype of low fares--they will ride their legacy as long as they can, but not what it used to be at their birth. If you shop fares, you can beat them, get an assigned seat, and still get where you are going. I will say that they have some nonstops that I cannot get through my primary carrier, but 3 hours in a middle seat is not better because of free wifi. For the same price, I pick my seat, compete for upgrades to first, and sacrifice 90 minutes between flights, but ultimately, SW has a loyal customer base, but so do the legacy carriers.

All the anecdotes about crowding the gate are true of legacy carriers, but that is not the gate agent or the airline's fault; it is the idiotic, rude folks that think when zone 1 is called they might miss zone 3 being called. Some of the gate agents are politely forceful in keeping the gate area clear, others don't bother. Heck, in ATL, the passengers will crowd out into the walkway blocking pedestrian traffic and just smirk at you as you try to pass through the human wall to get to your connection.

BTW, if you cannot lift your bag into the overhead, you should have checked it.
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Old 06-05-2015, 09:04 AM
 
51 posts, read 123,261 times
Reputation: 50
If you are boarding at the end in the C group or late B's, that is only your own fault. I've flown Southwest at least 10 times in the last few years and have always checked-in at 24 hour mark and have never been higher than B30, which always gives you your choice of seats.

Having recently flown United and American, I can say that Southwest is my favorite airline. The prices can't be beat, and you get 2 free checked bags with that. Plus, they still actually serve snacks on board and I find the flight attendants are much more pleasant than other airlines.
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Old 06-05-2015, 09:19 AM
 
5,574 posts, read 5,834,325 times
Reputation: 16489
Quote:
Originally Posted by beakers91 View Post
Having recently flown United and American, I can say that Southwest is my favorite airline. The prices can't be beat, and you get 2 free checked bags with that. Plus, they still actually serve snacks on board and I find the flight attendants are much more pleasant than other airlines.
Sure they can, and frequently are.
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Old 06-05-2015, 09:25 AM
 
Location: Maryland not Murlin
8,193 posts, read 22,327,450 times
Reputation: 6158
I always check in online 24-hours prior to boarding on the dot, which usually gives me an A assignment with the occasional B. Many travelers do this, which is why you got to be ready to hit the check-in button the second the big hand strikes what-ever hour is exactly 24 hours prior to boarding. It helps that my flights are typically first of the day; not everyone is up and at their computers at 6 am...
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