Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Please Southwest, say it ain't so!

Assigned seating at Southwest? Say it ain't so!

"Since it began flying in 1971, the lack of assigned seating has been the No. 1 customer complaint. Though some die-hards swear by it, most travelers accept it as a trade-off for Southwest's low fares. Now, though, the industry iconoclast is the USA's No. 6 airline. And it's trying to sell tickets in new markets to customers who didn't grow up with its quirky ways." via USA Today - At 35, Southwest's strategy gets more complicated

I personally like the first come first served model at Southwest - If you want to show up early and claim squatter's rights in line A, B or C, then you should get your just rewards.

Personally, I don't care what line I get in. Here's how its been working for me...

The preboards get on first, which is usually the elderly (perfectly justified), the really sick folks that hack a lot, parents with young kids and babies. Next come the self absorbed high type A's who just want to be first in line for everything. They're the new frontier squatters in the A line. You've seen them - they'll have a B ticket and get in the A line anyway. Personally (and I do need to repent for my misplaced joy) I love it when they get busted to the back of the proper line. Take that Mr. Type A!

As for me, I rely on the 2,000 year old reality that people simply don't like sitting next to each other. Flying Southwest only entitles you to one seat, yet some people want to stake out the whole row. The old newspaper in the middle seat trick of "I'm saving a seat for my phantom friend", the arm hog on the arm rest technique, the two page newspaper spread with elbows extended... Homey don't play that game.

When I get on board, I pass by all of the preboards and set my sights on a emergency exit aisle seat. Sitting in the middle seat is still better because of the extra legroom.

Since the typical Southwest traveler wants to sit by alone, that frees up an aisle seat just for me! And better yet, when a plane makes a pit stop for example in Raleigh, NC from Nashville to Philadelphia, that's the prime time to get the emergency exit row seat with the extra legroom.

Assigned seating? Concerts yes, Southwest no.


Michael said...

You forgot the gadget freak that spreads out his techno widgets all over two of the pull down trays. Ahhh... that'd be me. :)

Suburban Turmoil said...

Here's a tip we just learned. You know how no matter how early you get to the airport, you never end up in group A? That's because you can print out your boarding pass 24 hours in advance from the comfort of your own home, thus giving you group A status!

Try it. You'll never check in the old-fashioned way again.

Kerry Woo said...

You're right, SouthWest does offer the ability to print out the boarding pass online 24 hours prior. However should I get an "A" ticket, one hour before the flight leaves, people are already in line at least twenty deep.