Video

Flying Southwest to Blogworld

By:

A lot of us on the Blog Team are here in Las Vegas to attend BlogWorld.  We have our own booth, and we have had a steady stream of folks stopping by to chat.  Many of them flew Southwest to the expo, and they experienced our new boarding procedures yesterday.  The  doors are about to open and we will be asking our visitors their thoughts about their trips, and if you have flown with the new procedures, tell us how it went.

Brian and Paula at Blogworld

50 Comments

  1. The new Freedom Award scheme is a travesty. Southwest has finally done what I thought they would never do. Now it takes 2X as many credits to get a flight from Austin to Reno in 45 days? You feel just like Continental Airlines. I used to love you, but now it feels like a bad hangover. I’ll still have to fly you from time to time, but only because I have to, not because I want to.

  2. Hi,
    Could anyone asist me on how to contact corporate person who works at southwest that I can somehow contact for help on lost baggage and how to do a claim and find out any information regarding this subject would be greatly appreciated and thanks for anyones time.
    Renee

  3. I’ve been a loyal SWA customer for years, but with the new boarding and pricing structure its coming to an end. I used 4 one-way passes last week and paid way too much for return tickets this week. Even when I got online just seconds after the 24 hour check-in time, I still got numbers 22, 24, 31, 36. This new system stinks. Either go back to the old “fair to everyone” system or go with reserved seats. Also the 3-tier pricing structure makes your ticket pricing much less competitive. It will be much easier to look for flights on other airlines.

  4. Combine the seating changes with all the RR changes and its even better – NOT!

    I found out today I can’t even fly stand by on a flight that is sold out of reward seats when I’m traveling on a reward ticket.

    I could understand being pushed to the end of the standby list. But I’m told I can’t standby at all! So the 3:40 one stop flight will go out with empty seats and land in my destination at 6:25. I’ll sit around for 3 more hours, fly through 2 intermediate stops and get home at 11pm – assuming nothing goes wrong during the extra 5 hours and extra cities worth of traveling.

    I’m a companion pass holder, so I guess you would consider me a pretty good customer – this is sure a great way to treat me!

  5. I am packing my bags as well. From my point of view, this new boarding procedure sucks for the following reasons:

    I am one of the loyal customers for over 15 years who helped all those “on time departures” by showing up early and waiting in line. Before, I was rewarded for that by getting first pick at seats. Now, it does not matter that I show up early because all the first spots in line have been sold or given away and there I stand waiting for all the Johnny come lately’s come strolling in an hour later with higher boarding passes than me! From what I see this Slows down the boarding process.

    Are there really people out there who can not stand for 1 hour at most for something they want? You are going to be sitting for hours on end and it would kill you to stand for 45 minutes to an hour? What’s next, SWA going to carry these people from their cars to the gate?

    Fine, I bought my ticket month’s ago, got my boarding pass on line, am at the airport hours ahead of time and still, I am at the end of the A list. Why am I here? Why don’t I now fly any other airline that actually rewards “first come first serve”?

    Now I am on the plane, 5 flights and still can not get any of my favorite seats. By the way I too, would always brag that flying SWA was the best because of it “fair” first come first serve policy. Now, I am cozy. Then comes the kids, babies and their baggage. Then comes the musical chairs. “Can you move?” “Do you mind giving up that aisle seat to I can seat next to my child?” “There is a lovely middle seat I can offer you”

    Before, when I boarded, it was great. I knew exactly where the kids were and if I was not in the mood to seat next to them, I simply wouldn’t. Simple.

    Now, SWA has gone backwards! What is the big deal? Let the families board first. This way everybody knows were they are, they can sit together, no musical seats and everyone is happy. Are there really that many jerks that can not stand the fact that kids board first? I don’t have kids and all I know that traveling with them looks hard enough. Why make it even more difficult? No one wins this way.

    All I know is that SWA has popped my traveling balloon. I was alway excited to travel. Now I hate it. It is stressful, uncomfortable and I can not give away my rapid reward tickets and change my new year’s itinerary fast enough.

    Why would anyone buy a Business Ticket costing almost as much as first class on nother airlines when there are no special seats, no special sections, no food, movies, or perks. Just what I used to get when I showed up early and waited my turn!

    So… Good bye old friend, SWA. We have been though alot, weddings, funerals, births, holidays, gem shows, sking lots if wonderful trips. I will return if you return to the simple boarding procedure that made you the best airline ever.

    If you need money because of higher fuel costs, I would gladly pay a little extra for each ticket.

    Simply put your new boarding procedure SUCKS, is a slap in the face to all of us who made you great and I will only return when you return to the fair and simple boarding procedure and let the kids on first.

    Signed, Not afraid to stand in line for what I want.

  6. I have had a companion pass for probably 5 or so years Ã

  7. My family and I are no longer using Southwest. We flew this weekend with the new seating plan you have going on and it sucked. My husband and I were not able to sit together so my two year old and son and i sat at the back of the plane while my husband sat at the front. My husband flies regular(every week) with Southwest but have changed over to another airline because of your new system!

  8. You guys really suck!!…No….REALLY….every time I think it can’t get any worse…it proves me wrong and does so…in Spades.

    The boarding method sucks even worse than it did before….I just wonder how long it will take to comprehend that travelers like to buy SEATS. If we don’t like the seat, we buy a better one…Your approach is humorous and provides insight to the idea that the airline must be filled with a bunch of yes-men types and flow all the stupid ideas downstream to the masses.

    We ….the traveller…we like our seats being ours…when we travel as couples or in pairs or groups…we like to sit together…it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to witness the new boarding idea failing…you get a high number and then board…and you see pretty much every single traveler, sitting a seat away from the next traveler. Everyone skips a seat, sorta like the line for the urinals in the mens room…until the lowly B50 and up crowd get to wiggle and worm their way into the remaining few seats, not not having enough places to stow their goodies in the overhead baggage and resorting to having our feet on our brief cases, and our carry on’s being placed 6 rows away…FURTHER holding up the de-boarding process…

    In truth….you guys are a joke…you might make a lot of money…but you’re a joke. You don’t get the concept of listening to your customer…and what we want and need….you just come up with a way to increase shareholder value and call it good….

    Well….sayonara my compadres…I won’t be back, my employees won’t be back…we’re done. I’d rather take extra flight legs than to continue putting up with being treated like a cow.

    You’re just not listening…and each rendition gets worse….

    Steve.

  9. If I were management I would be a bit concerned after reading comments to this and to Kevin’s blog. Looks like they are going to lose some loyal SWA customers. We’ll see if the statement “you talk, we listen” holds true. I don’t think they thought about us flyers who are loyal, but don’t fly as often for one reason or another. I have been very loyal flying out of MCO. The only non SWA flights has been when I had to go to ATL. But now I admit, I’ll look at other airlines for other flights. I fly to IND for Christmas and on the return trip have to connect in MDY due to the Rapid Rewards unfariness. With this new procedure it will be a headache. I have always preached SWA fairness and ease of boarding,etc to my friends. Can’t do that any more. I guess we can all rant and rave, but what this comes down to is this is a business and they do what upper management says. They spoiled us in the past and we all hate changes.

  10. I was able to experience the new boarding procedures twice on Friday. I was flying PVD-PHX-LAX. I checked in almost 24 hours in advance and ended up with A-46 for the PVD-PHX leg and A-19 for the PHX-LAX leg. I was kind of concerned as I found out that my flight to PHX was arriving at gate C-17 at 8:05 PM and my flight to LAX was departing from D-1 at 8:50 PM. Under the old process, I would have gotten to PVD early to ensure a seat near the front (in case the flight arrived PHX behind schedule.)

    In PVD, they called for A 1-30 and A 31-60 to line up a bit early (our plane had yet to arrive). The early line-up made sense when one of the gate agents started checking to see that everyone was in the right spot. I was a bit surprised that almost none of the A 1-30s had lined up; either they missed the announcement, or they didn’t understand how it worked. When they called A 1-30 to board, 17 folks boarded before they called B 1-30 to line up and A 31-60 to board. (I later found out that most of them didn’t line up.) I ended up with a seat near the front.

    When I got off of the plane (which arrived early) in PHX, I found that my connecting flight was delayed, and as such, I didn’t need to dash. It was here that the new procedures shined. I already had my place in line, so I settled in at the Starbucks near the D pier, got some coffee and a snack, and fired up my laptop to check my e-mail and check the flight’s progress on FlightAware. When my flight was in range, I shut down my laptop and walked over to the gate. When the call to line up was made, it was bizarre to see one person in the A 1-5 spot and nobody in A 6-10 or 11-15. I found out that the guy holding card A-1 had purchased a business select fare. I asked the gate agent about the absence of folks in line and he explained that A 1-15 were reserved for business select passengers. I also found that some folks didn’t understand that they were supposed to stand in the section corresponding to their numbers. It would have been nice if a gate agent had checked passengers’ boarding passes like they had done in PVD. Still, the process was pretty smooth, and i had no problems getting the seat I wanted.