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Check in boarding assignment

davidjamesz
New Arrival

I believe the check in process is compromised. I purchased 4 tickets from OMA to LA. The tickets were purchased separately in pairs of 2. Upon checking in the first set, for myself and my companion traveller via the Southwest app, we were assigned seats in the B50s. This did not give me pause as I am used to getting this or similar boarding positions as I am not yet an A Lister. I waited for 5 minutes to check in the second pair of tickets for my other travel companions. Instead of using my app or my SW account, I went online and checked them in separately. The second pair of tickets, are for passengers who fly WAY less frequently than I do. Upon checking them in, they were given boarding positions in the B20s! How is it that possible? This makes me think the check In process is not what Southwest says it is. The second pair of tickets were not purchased first OR checked in first and still received better boarding positions... Now I travel VERY frequently for work and rely on a decent boarding position. I CAN NOT risk checking my bags for work trips because the materials inside are needed for business and can not get lost in baggage claim. I am mainly upset and feel lied to. It also takes creedence away from early bird check in, as I have had similar issues where I purchased the early bird and was given a later position than someone who didn’t purchase it and who doesn’t need fly as frequently. 

5 REPLIES 5

Re: Check in boarding assignment

davidjamesz
New Arrival

After talking to customer service, I was informed that a person who checks in later can get a better boarding number this way if someone booked on the same flight cancels a their ticket, forfeiting their boarding position. This still seems fishy to me. That means that this person who cancelled their ticket would have had to CHECK IN to their flight and THEN cancel. Meaning in all actuality, someone could even purchase a flight the day of travel and still be given a better boarding posititon than someone who checked in ON TIME or even using the early bird check in. This just makes both checking in on time, and the early bird check in, unfair to those who either pay for the “convenience” or those who are diligent because they are forced to be. If you’re not an A Lister you don’t matter? 

Re: Check in boarding assignment

dfwskier
Rising Star

@davidjamesz wrote:

After talking to customer service, I was informed that a person who checks in later can get a better boarding number this way if someone booked on the same flight cancels a their ticket, forfeiting their boarding position. This still seems fishy to me. That means that this person who cancelled their ticket would have had to CHECK IN to their flight and THEN cancel. Meaning in all actuality, someone could even purchase a flight the day of travel and still be given a better boarding posititon than someone who checked in ON TIME or even using the early bird check in. This just makes both checking in on time, and the early bird check in, unfair to those who either pay for the “convenience” or those who are diligent because they are forced to be. If you’re not an A Lister you don’t matter? 



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Hi David.

 

Actually the explanatin you received is plausible because both A List travellers and EBCI holders are assigned boarding positons 36 hours in advance of flight time. They just don't see those positions until they do check in.

 

So if someone in those those two groups of people  has been assigned position A26 cancels the reservtion 10 hours before flight time, then the first person who checks in (who does not already have an assigned boarding position) after that happens gets boarding posiiton A26.

 

So theortically, someone checking in 45 minutes before flight time could get spot A16    if the holder of A16 cancels 46 minutes before flight time.

 

It's no different than the situation on an airline with assigned seats. Someone checking in  late without an assigned seat could get a prime seat, if the holder of that prime seat cancels the reservation shortly before flight time - -even tough there were no "prime" seats avaialble the day before

Re: Check in boarding assignment

DancingDavidE
Top Contributor

@davidjamesz wrote:

... This still seems fishy to me. That means that this person who cancelled their ticket would have had to CHECK IN to their flight and THEN cancel. Meaning in all actuality, someone could even purchase a flight the day of travel and still be given a better boarding posititon than someone who checked in ON TIME or even using the early bird check in. This just makes both checking in on time, and the early bird check in, unfair to those who either pay for the “convenience” or those who are diligent because they are forced to be. If you’re not an A Lister you don’t matter? 


Not "could" - I'm sure this happens daily. The A-list and EBCI assignments work as advertised, checking in T-36 hours. What's the concern if a later check-in gets an unexpected bonus due to someone else's change?

 

One of the technical issues is that Southwest's boarding system has a limited number of positions - sometimes A1-A15, and A16 to C60. If enough people drop out of the front and are replaced by new ticket holders at the back of the line, eventually there wouldn't be enough combinations.

 

For example there are 175 seats on the 737-800 aircraft, so assuming all the business select fares sold, there are 180 positions available. So you can see right away that the boarding positions have to be "recycled" - I'm not even sure what they do if they don't sell enough Business Select fares for those flights. Count on through passengers? Issue passes to the C70's and C80's? I'm honestly not sure.

 

You can't re-order the boarding passes once they are given out since people will have printed them already, so that's not an option.

 

Southwest also emphasizes the "quick change" - so filling in the boarding positions keeps the passengers bunched together in line which is desirable, as opposed to adding an additional later boarding group.

 

Anyway - the summary of the post being, you may disagree with the approach that they use but I believe it to be according to the rules and numerous posts on this community have discussed it previously, so I personally wouldn't count this as a fishy behavior. Southwest will be able to address this if they ever move to add a fourth and/or fifth boarding group, then there would be enough positions remaining not to re-assign but it seems like this would have been an obvious option and must have been discarded from consideration long ago for reasons of simplicity and consistency.

 

Now the one part of that was strange to me was that someone must have had their boarding pass, let everyone check in at T-24, and then shortly after made a change to their flight. So that's an odd scenario, but most likely someone got their reminder and realized "oops I need to cancel" - I wouldn't count on that happening regularly. 

 

As far as I know, if the person had changed their flight before T-24, then the first check-ins would have had their chance at that early position.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.

Re: Check in boarding assignment

bec102896
Rising Star

As @DancingDavidE if they didn't reuse the boarding numbers from people who cancelled or no showed or even miss connected because of say a delay then you could end up with more boarding groups and that would confuse people so to keep it simple they just keep it to ABC plus family and preboard. Oh and @DancingDavidE i have actually seen a C63 boarding pass myself back when they had the A List glitch on the monitor it just says C 31+ as I asked a gate agent once as I was curious 

 

on another note I have known people to call and ask to be unchecked in wait a few seconds to re check in to see if they get a better boarding position only thing is someone could check in and take your boarding spot and you in turn have a worse position so that is a at your own risk kind of thing. 

 

Also If you don't like your boarding position you can always upgrade at the gate for $30-$50 if available 

 

Hope this helps 

Blake

Re: Check in boarding assignment

DancingDavidE
Top Contributor

@bec102896 wrote:

As @DancingDavidE if they didn't reuse the boarding numbers from people who cancelled or no showed or even miss connected because of say a delay then you could end up with more boarding groups and that would confuse people so to keep it simple they just keep it to ABC plus family and preboard. Oh and @DancingDavidE i have actually seen a C63 boarding pass myself back when they had the A List glitch on the monitor it just says C 31+ as I asked a gate agent once as I was curious 

 

on another note I have known people to call and ask to be unchecked in wait a few seconds to re check in to see if they get a better boarding position only thing is someone could check in and take your boarding spot and you in turn have a worse position so that is a at your own risk kind of thing. 

 



That makes sense - so the monitors can show "+" and the boarding passes will actually show higher numbers in the C group?

 

That's a funny trick for those people unchecking and then re-checking - if you were already C15 then what's the harm to give it a try! I wouldn't do this with an A or B boarding pass though.

 

 

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.