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Priority Boarding

Southwest Airlines is now offering priority boarding for $10. If you pay that, you get to board just after their big shot passengers but before the riff-raff.

While not technically related to Europe, the airline is copying the policy of a couple of our favorite European lines.

Posted by
9363 posts

And just like the European airlines, it's probably not worth the expense, particularly for a solo traveler. The flights are relatively short and all of the seats get there at the same time, anyway. :)

Posted by
1357 posts

Man, I fly standby. I get on AFTER the riff-raff. Occasionally I get my boarding passes early and I get the honor of being part of the riff-raff.

Posted by
11260 posts

It may be worth it some flights as Southwest has quite a few that last over 4 hours....

And Maureen, paying this fee doesn't mean you're no longer riff-raff, it just means you're elevated to riff-raff royalty.

Posted by
11450 posts

I would never pay extra to sit on a plane a second longer then I had to.. even when our kids were small and they would call for those wanting preboarding we would never take them up on it.

I would pay to get off the plane sooner though,, although now I tend to pick aisle seats close to front so I can do that anyways.

Posted by
809 posts

The big advantage I see in boarding early is that you'll have a better chance of stowing your carryon near your seat. A couple of times recently flying across the country I was in the last group boarding and had to gate-check my bag. Fortunately I was heading home both times; I'd have been a lot more stressed if I were beginning a trip. [And of course the bag arrived safely each time... but I still worry.] I used my United Visa points to get a year's membership in their Economy Plus, which allows earlier boarding plus extra legroom for me and a companion. Much appreciated on our recent trip to the UK!

Posted by
881 posts

As a big guy, I do this often, to get as comfortable a seat as possible, (And I think it's only courteous to the other passengers as well.)

Great news. Thanks, Frank!

Posted by
2193 posts

Generally, I think early check-in is great for a number of reasons, but I’m not convinced of the passenger benefit here. While this $20 RT option may place you ahead of those that are part of the general boarding group, there’s no guarantee you’ll be in the A group. And, “regular” passengers can still check-in online 24 hours prior to the flight and have a decent shot at an A slot. Even if you are placed in the B group, you can still get to the gate early and queue up before anyone else in B. Now, if you’re in C, you’re hosed regardless. I’m not sure it’s worth an extra $40 for two people.

Posted by
70 posts

The B group lines up in numerical order just like the A group does. In the past, they took the groups in random order, but they use a strict numbering order now.

Six flights on Southwest in the last 2 weeks, and they did that each time.

Em

Posted by
3580 posts

Ignorant and lucky seem to go together for me. I used SW several times and was always among the last to board. I couldn't figure out how people got into the A line. Well, I finally figured out that SW favored those who got their boarding passes online (I've been slow to fully embrace the "internet age.") Anyway, I always got a decent seat. I like aisle seats and there was always one of those left. Now, I'm so slick that I print my international boarding pass before heading for the airport, not that it makes much difference. The machines for printing boarding passes at the airport are so simple that even I have no trouble with them.

Posted by
2193 posts

So, it sounds like you might be able to secure an A35 (possibly better), B1, or B5 position instead of a B20, for example, by paying the extra $20 RT for priority boarding. I still think I would save the money and just take my chances checking in is a regular person 24 hours ahead of time. I guess I wouldn’t benefit by getting to the gate early, but I should still have a good shot at a decent seat using the 24 hour strategy. $20 is dinner! This assumes I’ll arrive safely on one of their planes. They’ve had some issues as of late…fuselage cracks, hole ripped open during flight, and unauthorized parts on the wings. Thanks for sharing this info!

I completely missed the news from a month or so ago that SWA and WestJet have entered into a codeshare arrangement for cross-border flights. SWA’s model is truly becoming more and more like that of a major airline.

Posted by
11260 posts

If you pay for Priority Boarding with Southwest, you board just after the pre-boards (high mileage FF, families, disabled, etc) and unless much of the plane pays for this service, you should get "A" position.

Posted by
23 posts

Interesting. I am hoping that by checking in online, as soon as I am able, to either be able to get a nice exit row seating for myself and the person I am flying with. (more for him, as he is quite tall and broad shouldered.)

But, then I have another question. I have a handicap sticker for my car, would taking that with to the airport, offer me the chance to get some of the handicapped seating, which from my understanding are also seats with a touch more room. This is if we are unable to get the "roomier" seats when we check in online. I'd prefer not to take the seat of someone who needs oxegyn, or is in a wheel chair... but at the same time, my dr gave me the sign for my car for a reason...why not use it if it will help me have a more comfortable 8 hour flight.

/sigh.

Only a few more days til we leave. I cannot wait!!

Posted by
70 posts

If you ask for preboarding with a handicapped pass, they will not allow you to try to get an exit row seat.

They want agile people in those seats, and you have defined yourself as handicapped by asking for special early boarding.

Posted by
23 posts

right, which is why I would prefer not to use that, if I can avoid it. But, if I am unable to get exit row seating, perhaps I could use to get one of the other seats they reserve for those who need a little extra room or what have you. I am perfectly mobile, I'd be able to fulfill the duties of exit row seating that way... just can't run down the block without being winded for an hour after-- and funny shades of gray to go with the running. :) But I know what you mean--- I think I fall into that: gray area category.

Guess i'll have to see what happens. Just know my 6'4.5 travel companion would be a much happier man if we can happen to get seating with a little extra legroom. :)

Posted by
1 posts

To Gwen in MKE....talk about gaming the system. You want, perhaps need, to park close to the door of the airport because, by your own admission, you get winded when you exert yourself. So...you want to HIDE your handicapped status, until you don't get an exit row seat, at which point, it seems, you want to whip out your status as disabled in order to gain a bulkhead or other roomy seat. You DO NOT belong in an exit row seat, period.

Posted by
8293 posts

Well, Gwen of Milwaukee has probably returned from her trip by now and I, for one, hope she did NOT get the seats she wanted by hook or by crook and even if it meant acing out someone with an oxygen tank or in a wheelchair. Such an air of entitlement to her post, as if she is the only person ever to have been on an 8 hour flight. 8 Hours! I hope she has no plans to fly to Hong Kong or Australia any time soon.

Posted by
1568 posts

8 hours is nothing compared to 17.50 hours to Tel Aviv within 23.50 hour trip. I would have loved to have had a one of those seats in First Class that lays down. LOL.

I am only 5'1-1/2 - 124 lbs and would love to have had some extra room to stretch out. On one of the flights a lady took up all of her seat and wanted the arm rest down to use 1/2 of my seat...."since I did not need all of that room".

People should not abuse the disabled policies like the people in the electric carts in Wally Mart do. As there are some that are actually disabled.

Posted by
11450 posts

Jb,, I hope you kept that armrest down,, how creepy of that lady to ask you to put it up so she could "ooze" onto your seat. Have people no shame.

Posted by
1568 posts

LOL. She put the arm rest down BEFORE she sat down. Otherwise she would not have been able to sit down. It was so rude. Needless to say, it did not last but a few minutes.

Posted by
808 posts

Frank II...
Thanks for giving me a chuckle! I really enjoyed the comment "you get to board just after their big shot passengers but before the rif-faff."!!!
I'll be thinking of that during boarding no doubt...hehehe!

Cheers,

F/A