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Family Travel

Everything from checking bags to boarding
the plane is a little different when you’re doing
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Family sitting together

Neverever
New Arrival

My wife, son and I recently vacationed in Cancun using Southwest for our air travel. Our trip began in San Francisco with a brief stop in Denver to change planes before going to Cancun. Upon ticketing in San Francisco I asked the agent if we could have 3 seats together. The agent said Southwest has an open seat policy you can sit anywhere you want. I thought Wow! That is really cool. After boarding the plane I found it is really cool only if you are in Goup A or B. We were in Group C and my wife and son were in the front of the plane and I was in the back. Boarding in Dever was even worse, my son who is 12 was seated in the front of the plane, my wife in the middle and I was seated in the back.

To me this is really sad! You don't go to a restaurant to have your son seated at a table with a group of people, your wife seated on the patio and you seated at the bar. You don't go to a movie and your wife seated in the front, you in the middle and your son in the back. The only other thing I can think of where a family would be seaperated like that is if a family tried to come into the United Sates illegally. Our return flight took us from Cancun to Chicago, we lucked out on this flight and got 3 seats together. Flying out of Chicago back to San Francisco I was not going to take a chance and asked if our Group could be changed from C to A. The ever so nice Southwest agent said oh sure, no problem we can do that and it will only be $120.00 to make that change. Wonderful!! There are many choices when it comes to air travel and Southwest will never be one of ours. 

 

Sincerely disappointed 

 

Mike

8 REPLIES 8
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Re: Family sitting together

dfwskier
Rising Star

Sorry to hear that you are disappointed, There are pros and cons to every ariline. Only you can decide what is important to you.

 

BTW customer satisfaction sureys consistently show passengers think that Southwest is the best of the airlines. Maybe that's why over 160,000,000 flew SW last year -- far more than any other north american airline.

 

Best of luck to you in your future travels on whatever airline you choose.

Re: Family sitting together

Neverever
New Arrival

Are you really sorry???  We paid a boat load of money for the 3 tickets then more money just to sit together. No one at that airline cares about familes unless it's thier own family. My son reminds me of me when I was his age and flying the most important thing to me is to be with him. 

Re: Family sitting together

chgoflyer
Top Contributer

@Neverever wrote:

Are you really sorry???  We paid a boat load of money for the 3 tickets then more money just to sit together. No one at that airline cares about familes unless it's thier own family. My son reminds me of me when I was his age and flying the most important thing to me is to be with him. 


 

Please keep in mind that we're all just Southwest customers here. As mentioned earlier, if you'd like to vent your frustrations in an official way you'll need to contact Southwest directly.

 

Southwest does things differently than other carriers, and that sometimes trips up customers who aren't aware of or don't understand the differences. With open seating, your boarding position is important since those that board earlier have the best seating choices available to them. I strongly suspect that if you had checked in at 24-hours prior to departure you would have garnered boarding positions that would have allowed your family to all sit together without any additional expense.

Re: Family sitting together

dfwskier
Rising Star

@Neverever wrote:

Are you really sorry???  We paid a boat load of money for the 3 tickets then more money just to sit together. No one at that airline cares about familes unless it's thier own family. My son reminds me of me when I was his age and flying the most important thing to me is to be with him. 


Yes, I am sorry that you dd not have a good experience.

 

Southwest allocates seats in a different manner than other airlines. It does not keep that process a secret. It is up to the consumer to understand what he or she is buying - be that a car, can opener or airline ticket. 

 

Open seating is not a deal breaker for most people. For some it is. As was stated by others earlier in the thread, there are ways for people to compensate for the downside to it.

 

Many people think the trade off of open seating vs seat fees, change fees, baggage fees at other airlines is a good one.

 

Now that you understand how SW operates, I hope your next flight on it will be better. If you choose another airline, I wish you good travels, too.

Re: Family sitting together

bec102896
Rising Star
Solution

Sorry to hear your disappointed in Southwest's boarding process. 

 

There are a couple ways people can try to avoid being stuck in the C group where you will most likely all be in middle seats separated. 

 

1. You could buy Early Bird check in (for 1 or all 3 of you) this will check you in automatically 36 hours before your flight increasing your chances of all of you being together. If you buy 1 EB then that 1 person saves seats for the rest of you. 

 

2. Check in at exactly 24 hours before your flight for the best chance of an A or B boarding pass.

 

If you would like to discuss your experience with Southwest directly you can do so by clicking on the “contact us” link at the bottom of this page and you can call or email customer relations and someone from Southwest will respond as soon as possible. 

 

Keep in mind the other airlines now sell a fare called basic economy which won’t guarantee seats together so you may all end up separated and in middle seats as well and you will pay $30 for 1st checked bag per person. Some of those basic economy fares don’t even include a carry on. 

 

-Blake 

Re: Family sitting together

Neverever
New Arrival

As you can tell I do not travel that often, I thought it would be no big deal to ask for seats together upon tickiting. I don't want any else blindsided like I was. If you are in group C the chances of you sitting with the people you are flying with are not good. You can pay more money for seats you already brought and they will be happy move you. 

 

In the future I will be most certain to make sure I have pre assigned seats. 

Re: Family sitting together

dfwskier
Rising Star

May your future flights be fun and uneventful

Re: Family sitting together

Lindsey Employee
Employee

@Neverever, I wanted to reach out and say I'm sorry you were disappointed by the boarding situation. I know it can be a bit of a surprise for people flying us the first time when they learn seating is first-come, first-served. The other folks on this thread have weighed in with some good advice and tips for next time - and I sincerely hope there will be a next time. I think you'll find we care very much about making sure you and your son are able to make some great flying memories together. 

 

 

 

Lindsey
Community Manager
The Southwest Airlines Community