Southwest announced new boarding format

Old Sep 19th, 2007, 10:54 AM
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Southwest announced new boarding format

Right now, there are 45 "A"s, 45 "B"s, and the rest "C"s; with "A", "B" and "C" lines at each gate to line up. Families with young children can board first.

New format, starting early November, will have 6 groups. "A1-30", "A31-60", "B61-90", "B91-120" and so on. Only after all "A"s have been boarded will the "B"s line up.

Another <b>major change</b> is that family with young children will board <b>between the A and B groups</b>, not before.
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Old Sep 19th, 2007, 10:54 AM
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Here's the news release:

http://www.swamedia.com/about_swa/pr..._boarding.html
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Old Sep 19th, 2007, 11:06 AM
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That's why I would never fly SW unless I have to.

Correct me if I'm wrong. If I just want to buy a ticket on a SW at the last minute, I will end up with the most expensive ticket, yet be relegated to some middle seat in the back by the time &quot;group B91-120&quot; starts boarding. Most if not all As use the 24 hour OLCI, but these passengers probably bought the tickets long time ago when the tickets were still cheap. But a last minute, walk up buyer gets punished. Something is wrong with this system. Why woiuld SW want to push away a high fare buyer?

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Old Sep 19th, 2007, 11:17 AM
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AAFF - But to be fair, if you're buying a last minute ticket for a flight within 24 hours, chances are you won't get a nice seat on the other airlines either.

For example, on Continental, all seats are open to everyone that does OLCI. The only &quot;compensation&quot; is that if an elite on a Y ticket ends up in a middle seat, he/she can get 2,500 miles. That's all.
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Old Sep 19th, 2007, 11:39 AM
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I don't know about CO, but that's why AA blocks some seats which are under airport control. The airport control takes over at 3 hours before the scheduled flight. Only then the seat map is fully opened to the TA and GA and they can assign the seats to whomever they want but in most cases they look at the situation. The TA at the check in desk will try to assign the best seat available to the last minute buyer. Not a guarantee but certainly not a done deal as with SW.

Assuming that both flights have about the same loads on any given day and lately they are full.

btw, happy to report that I needed an emergency ticket to return home from LAX Monday night. Did the booking on line at 25K miles R/T in Y (as opposed to ~$450), and no F award available Monday night, at about 3 hours before the scheduled flight. Took the free Hilton shuttle about an 1.5 hour earlier and breezed through check in and security and was able to get an exit row seat on both flights. LAX-MIA-TPA. I never use my miles on a domestic ticket in Y, a waste IMHO, but in this case it was worth it. This was an emergency and I was just happy that the seats were available for a regular award ticket at 3 hours before. This is also the first time I sat in Y on AA in years. Bought 1 bottle of wine for $5, popped 2 sleeping pills and next think I saw was the morning traffic on Miami's hwys as we were landing. Uneventful flight.

I probably won't even use the return but AA does not have one way awards.
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Old Sep 19th, 2007, 12:46 PM
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AA, if you are some elite FF or paying for a business/first class seat on any airline, of course you'll get better treatment. But if you walk up to an AA counter at the last minute and aren't gold, silver, platinum, exec. or anything else and the plane's full, you aren't going to be assigned a wonderful seat -- no different from SW.
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Old Sep 19th, 2007, 01:00 PM
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That's not the point here. AA BLOCKS about 20 seats in economy for airport control only. Even an EXP can't get assign to these seats if all others are taken until they check in att the airport. What appears to you on aa.com as a full plane and it won't let you pick a seat, then it means that you will be getting one of the BLOCKED seats, regardless if you have status or not. This is done for the high paying, last minute passenger and also to be able to keep families with children together without having to ask other passengers to move. In most cases it works perfectly. No need for status.
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Old Sep 19th, 2007, 01:16 PM
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AAFF wrote: &quot;But a last minute, walk up buyer gets punished. Something is wrong with this system. Why would SW want to push away a high fare buyer?&quot;

Because the high fare buyer is (1) LATE! and (2) not their target passenger (if by &quot;last minute-walk-up buyer&quot; you are implying &quot;expense-account business-traveler&quot. You don't wanna fly them? Don't. But people who do aren't stupid for preferring the discount prices, reward for planning, and cheerful employees.
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Old Sep 19th, 2007, 01:25 PM
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I simply prefer assigned seating, regardless of the airline.
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Old Sep 19th, 2007, 02:36 PM
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AAFF, I think you got it wrong.

If you buy a ticket last minute, yes, it will be the most expensive.

Your seat will not depend on when you make your reservation, but on when you check in. If you check in 24 hrs before the flight and get an A boarding pass, you choose your seat.

If you check in in the airport, you get a C and then most likely you're in the back in the middle seat. And there is no room for your carry-on.
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Old Sep 19th, 2007, 02:38 PM
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<b>FainaAgain</b>,

I thought that's what I said. A last minute walk up ticket buyer will get screwed although probably hold the most expensive ticket.
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Old Sep 19th, 2007, 02:41 PM
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Oh, for me &quot;last minute&quot; is 2 weeks in advance. I didn't think &quot;last minute&quot; is the same day SORRY!
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Old Sep 19th, 2007, 04:50 PM
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Back to the announcement. I think one of the most important thing is that they're going to stick with open boarding with no assigned seats.

I'm surprised they don't follow Ryanair's practice and charge people more to get the &quot;A&quot; passes...
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Old Sep 20th, 2007, 08:28 AM
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RK, don't give them any ideas!!!!!!!!!
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Old Sep 20th, 2007, 05:01 PM
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So basically, the As are going to board in numerical order, then the Bs, etc. Well, at least this way you won't worry about getting there super early hoping to get a spot at the front of the A line. I always hated that. I just wonder if I'll still be able to get in the A group when I check in online.
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Old Sep 20th, 2007, 06:02 PM
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No, even though you have a number, they're not going line up A1, A2, A3, etc...

So, even if you're A1, if you don't line up with A2-30, you can still be the 30th to get on.
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Old Sep 21st, 2007, 08:48 AM
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rkkwan,
Don't mean to argue, but that certainly isn't the way they show the new system on line. It looks like you line up in numerical order, 1-30.
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Old Sep 21st, 2007, 08:53 AM
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I don't read it that way. We'll find out soon. But it'll look absolutely ridiculous if they have to line up 30 people - like a Police lineup...

Or why not just call each person. &quot;A1 - please board&quot;. &quot;A2 - your turn&quot;. &quot;A3 - A3, come hurry. Or else we'll call A4 then&quot;...

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Old Sep 21st, 2007, 09:27 AM
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I agree with <b>rkkwan</b>. All SW did is break up a large &quot;group A&quot; into smaller &quot;groups&quot; i.e. A1-30, A31-60 and so on, but in no way will they expect passengers to line up according to their number within their group.
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Old Sep 21st, 2007, 09:36 AM
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According to what I'm reading (the SWA article as well as Bill Owen's blog), they will board passengers in groups of five. so it sounds like A1-A5 will board first, then A6-A10 will board, and so on.
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