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A MESSAGE FROM OUR CEO - OPEN SEASON ON ASSIGNED SEATING

gkelly1
Not applicable

I’m new to this whole blogosphere thing but I have really enjoyed reading all of the comments and am humbled that so many people are as enthusiastic and nuts about Southwest as we are.

I wanted to address some of the recent comments about Southwest’s seating policy. There’s been quite a bit of buzz both in the media and on this blog about our current open seating policy and my recent comments (at Shareholder’s Day on May 17) about our consideration of changing to assigned seating in the future. So, as the saying goes, here’s the scoop “straight from the horse’s mouth.”

At Southwest, quick, efficient operations and our desire to give the Customer what they want have been the keys to our 35 years of success. Everything we do at Southwest takes into account maintaining the delicate balance between operational efficiency and providing the Positively Outrageous Service that our Customers have come to expect from Southwest. One of the most common requests for change from our Customers is to add assigned seating. Obviously, many of our current Customers enjoy the open seating, so it’s not a unanimous request. However, we do listen intently to our Customers and do our best to give them what they want so it only makes sense to extensively research and evaluate this possibility.

Open seating has allowed us to build a highly efficient operation by keeping the time our aircraft are sitting at our gate to a minimum. Aircraft on the ground don’t make money! But it’s no secret that all airlines – even Southwest – are facing extensive cost pressures due to the rising price of fuel and we have to find ways to generate additional revenue.

Our Customer Service technology has evolved to the point that assigning seats may prove to be an efficient way for Southwest to board the aircraft. Our computer reservation system is undergoing an upgrade and, while we are in the “remodeling” effort, we are adding the technical capability to assign seats. This does not mean we will; rather, it means we will be prepared to assign seats, if we so choose.

We are currently conducting extensive research and if our research and testing (which some of you may be involved with) proves that we can bring in more Customers (without alienating our existing Customers) and increase overall Customer satisfaction, but at the same time not increase our boarding times or our costs, then I don’t see a reason not to do it. I haven’t given any time frame – just that it won’t happen next year.

I know that several of you have commented that you don’t want the current seating policy to go away because you see it as a part of what makes Southwest “Southwest,” but I’ll remind you that many people felt the same way when we transitioned from plastic boarding cards to electronic boarding cards. Things change and we can’t ignore that fact. One thing that will never change, however, is our dedication to you – our Customer – and we will always make decisions with your best interests in mind.

So, stay tuned…we promise to keep you informed of this and all of the changes at Southwest. And keep telling us what you want, we LUV hearing from you and we appreciate your business!

655 Comments
FriendofBlogBoy
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Gary, Welcome to the world of blogging! I'm sure you'll catch on quickly, but if not, the very experienced Colleen will no doubt be able to give you a hand! ha ha Wow, this would be a huge change and is much bigger than giving up the plastic boarding cards. I was in therapy for months and months after that one... Seriously, you are well aware of "our" concerns that SWA retain its unique atmosphere, and our fears that our favorite airline might evolve into something we don't recognize. Darrell Royal was famous for saying, and in fact, titled a book with the phrase, 'Dance with who brung ya', suggesting that you need to stick with what made you what you are. We all know the expression, 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it', although we need to check from time to time to see if "it" is broken or not. We all want what is best for SWA, and as shareholders and passengers, we have to trust you to constantly seek that out. We would ask you to not rush headlong into something too scary for us to adapt to, though, since you know that one of the scariest words in the English language is "change"! We're proud that SWA has always led the way as an innovator, and we don't want our favorite airline becoming an "us too" set of folks. Remember that just because everyone else is doing something, it isn't necessarily the best way to do it. So, if you must implement assigned seating (gasp!), let's borrow an idea from the recent compromise. How about a scheduled phase-in over time. Say 75 years? Please keep us posted, but above all, keep up the fantastic job you're doing! I LUV y'all, Kim
Mike8
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I am a business traveler and donÃ
David_Ross2
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Boo! Hiss! NO! NO! NO! No reserved seating. There's a big difference between plastic boarding cards and electronic ones. They basically do the same thing. Reserved seating will destroy the one of the things I like about Southwest, namely, the open seating. When I would say "everyone is doing it" as a kid, I remember my mom would say "if everyone is jumping off a bridge, would you do it, too?" Don't become like the other airlines by offering reserved seating like the other airlines. The system works; don't fix it!
Jim_Rotondi
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the current seating process works well..in fact i think it benefits the "regular traveler" quite well..flying fairly often I always have a reminder in place to check in on line...those who get a C are usually those In- frequent flyers. as a regular I book maybe max 2 weeks in advance...and i would hate to get a bad seat becasue mommy daddy and 3 kids all over 10 years old ..and grandma and grandpa are booking six months in advance for their one trip in ten years...and BTW they fake a limp and pre-board anyway .... so as a very regular business and personal customer .. I like it the way it is.. suspect those who want assigned seats are not the biggest contributors to your revenue..
Dave_Ingalls
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I have flown SW since it's inception. I have also flown every major carrier in the US and several abroad. SW is the best and don't mess with such a success. I can only imagine it is a few cry babies that want assigned seating.
normpress
New Arrival
When I've fling for business and dressed accordingly and paying full fare I want assigned seats because I may arrive latee and don't want to sit next to kids etc. When I'm on vacation its different. Please consider something like this-Make the front let's say five rows a virtual first class cabin 1. Full fare passengers get assigned seats in the virtual first class cabin and board first. 2. Remainign passengers board in exisitng groups. 3. If all seatsin rows behind row six are filled other passengers can take front seats. I'm sure you guys could simplfy this and it would encourage business flying while not getting rid of the unassgned seating
Eva_Erskine
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I am on an airplane about 10 times each month. I can tell you from first hand experience that your current boarding system is faster than any other airline I fly. The zone system doesn't work - and loading from back to front wasn't that efficient when implemented. The only way to really get passengers in and seated quickly is not to allow wheel luggage. That is what takes forever. I realize that this is only anecdotal evidence - but I have seen it over and over again. If you could assure passengers that luggage will not be lost, you would have less time loading passangers. United Express doesn't allow luggage - because there is no room. Check out that system at O'Hare. Your seating system is the best; on a full load I can be in the C group and still sit in the front of the plane in a middle seat. I am one of the first ones off - which is terrific for me. I luv to fly with you - keep up the good work and good luck with your test. Eva Erskine Chicago, IL
Drew1
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Norm, assigned seating can never guarantee that you will not "sit next to kids etc." My vote is also, "it ain't broke; don't fix it."
Marie
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No assigned seating. As others mentioned my travel is usually booked last minute and having assigned seats would require me get the short end of the stick. If it were assigned I'd think it is best for connecting flights to vacation hot spots that are usually booked.
Scott34
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Apparently it is time for those who like the open seating policy to speak up. So count this as one more vote from a Rapid Rewards member for no assigned seating. That is one of the worst parts of flying with other airlines. Waiting for boarding group 5 or whatever and then getting back to window seat to mind that the aisle and middle seats are already full so two people have to get up for me. Plus the overhead bin is already full of coats, etc. I much prefer SWA where I can get my A or B boarding pass and go straight to a window seat near the back of the plane and get out of the way of everyone else boarding.
David_Ross2
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Norm: Your idea would cost more than all-reserved seating! To paraphrase a campaign of SWA: SET SEATING FREE!
Stephen
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I've been flying Southwest for many years and one of the best things that I've liked about Southwest is open seating. I fly quite frequently for business as well as pleasure. Because of business needs, I have to book flights most of the time in less than 7 days. By having assigned seats, I would most likely be forced to sit in the "back of the bus". Assigned seating would not be any different from other airlines, that's one of the unique things about Southwest is that they are different by offering open seating. Because Southwest doesn't fly to a lot of desinations that other airlines (ie, Continental) service, I have still flown with Southwest and then taken a rental car to get to my original desination. Airlines pricing are very competitive and I can fly other airlines for the same price, by having assigned seating, I would most likely use other airlines. Please listen to your faithful customers. Thank You, Stephen
seanyoda
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The lack of assigned seating *IS* the major factor that makes Southwest stand out from the rest of the major airlines. One time, some friends and I indepently booked flights to Phoenix. None of us knew we all were on the same flight until we were at the airport. With Southwest's open seating, we were able to sit together. On more than one occaision, I've had to book travel the night before a meeting. When flying Southwest, I will, at worst, get a "C" card; Even if I was the 137th person to check-in, I still can arrive early enough at the airport to get near the front of the "C" line and still end up with a decent seat. The bonus is that if I'm not on a non-stop flight, I can change seats at the first stop before other passengers board. Or, consider flights out of MCO, which tend to have a higher number of early boarding passengers with small children. Currently my wife and I can choose seats that are some distance from fussier passengers. With assigned seating, all of those options go away.
Anonymous777
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Please, please keep open seating. One pilot of yours told me that open seating saves you all a lot of money. I laso ike being able to pick my seat. Please, please keep open seating.
david_trantham
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I fly alot!!! I hate assigned seating. First come first seated has worked for years and you shouldn't change it. Its one of the main reasons i fly SWA and not AA. I carry on all the time and don't want to see that go away either. If its not broke don't fix it.
Jim13
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Wow - this is obviously a hot-button item for many. You've gotten 13 responses in just three hours, I think that is a record (so far) for this blog. The best choice would be for ME to have an assigned seat, and everybody else gets open boarding But since that probably won't happen . . . Don't forget, SWA is more than just airplanes, and great people, and great prices (BTW, right now ELP to LAS costs more on SWA than ORD to LAS on AA), and SetLoveFree - SWA is also about being just a little quirky. Keep the quirk of open seating, it sets you just that much further apart than those other guys. Southwest isn't just an airline for us passengers, it's a culture! And if you clicked on the link in Gary Kelly's post, it takes you to a USA Today article. Be sure to read the very last paragraph - SWA is #6, headed towards #5, and already carries more domestic passengers than any other U.S. carrier.
Leah3
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Please keep the opening seating! I LUV it, but still want to work for this airline even if you assign seats. Southwest will always be my favorite airline!
Toni_B
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WOW...twice...WOW First, thank you Gary for taking the time to communicate directly with our Blogging Customers on this issue. Hearing it "straight from the horses mouth" allows more of our Customers to gain a better understanding of the what, why and how of Southwest Airlines recent exploration about changing our seating policy. Second, for all the times we have heard about the drawbacks and Customer complaints about our Open Seating policy, this was an real eye opener! I hadn't realized that a strategy had been born by our late booking Business Customers that really worked to their advantage when it came to Open Seating. You folks are very clever!! To help calm the unrest I am hearing from these comments, I would only add...rest easy my friends, we at Southwest Airlines, should we learn that Assigned Seating is our destiny, will find a unique and more egalitarian approach to it than those other guys!
Dave511
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The only assigned seats on a Southwest plane should be the pilots' and the flight attendants' seats.
Roger_Howard
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A frequent business & pleasure traveller, I continue to be impressed by Southwest. There is no better or more helpful flying organization. Yes the Wall Street Journal makes silly comments about your seating policy but then...... ! Your seating policy/methods are fine ; they work well for me and apparently for many of your other passengers as well. If they also work well for you too then leave well alone and look for some more of your clever ideas to stay ahead of the look-alike pack. For example: that brilliant master stroke of hedging your fuel purchases!!l
Francisco_Delga1
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This is a tough one. The one problem that i have with open seating is when i arrive at the airport an hour and a half earl, get checked in within ten minutes, head to the gate there is already a line of people in all sections. So to get a good seat I have to wait in the line for over an hour. If you did assigned seating you could board just like you did in the past. The first group of thirty. I am flying home in July from San Diego to ABQ, so hopefully i can see how it would work. I wish you guys the best of luck.
John_W1
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Thanks for the explanation and discussion! There are two reasons why I love open seating on SWA--and they're a big part of why I always book SWA whenever I can. First is, I'm tired of all the levels you see with other airlines and in other situations: Diamond Platinum Preferred, Mega-Titanium Gold Crest, or whatever. I really appreciate the fact that with Southwest, we're all people who are trying to fly somewhere, and everyone else's need to get somewhere is just about as important as mine. I just love Southwest. Second is that I'm someone who far more prefers to know who I'm sitting by rather than where I'm sitting--I actually prefer boarding later and getting to pick a seat that isn't in front of a restless child (though I otherwise love children), or beside The Guy With The Broadest Shoulders In North America. I can take a nice middle seat between two folks knowing that we can all sit comfortably; I can sit beside someone who looks like they want to quietly read (I'm a librarian, after all) or I can pick someone who smiles and makes eye contact and wants to chat. Not only do I love Southwest, I really enjoy so many of our fellow fliers. I'll understand if SWA ends up changing the seating policy--the fares are also fantastic and I would understand the "bottom line" decision--but as it stands now, I'm an evangelist for Southwest. I'm positive that a seating policy change will definitely change that feeling.
FriendofBlogBoy
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Whew, and everyone thought the Wright Amendment was a sensitive subject! Methinks Gary hath just firmly grabbed the third rail!! Kim Smiley Happy
Drew1
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Francisco: check in online 24 hours before your flight to secure your "A" boarding pass. When you get to the gate, simply hop onto the end of the "A" line when it is nearly done boarding and you will get a decent seat without the hour-long wait. There is no need to wait in line when you have an "A" pass.
Laura8
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Southwest Airlines is always my first choice, unless I have to fly somewhere SWA does not fly. I prefer not to have assigned seating, I'm happy with the 24 hour before your flight Check-in. I never have a problem getting "A" boarding and always in the first 10 rows. The Southwest employees are always happy and very friendly. I hope someday to work for SWA. Laura
Jim13
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Kim's post above is the best - made me laugh - hard! Methinks Gary hath just firmly grabbed the third rail!! Thanks for the giggle Kim!
Craig11
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As an SWA weekly traveler for over 5 years the only possible reason I can imagine for changing to assigned seating would be in order to charge extra for certain seats or rows, i.e. exit rows, front of plane, but you wouldn't do that.......... would you ?
blusk
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WOW! Y'all aren't shy about sharing your opinions, and we are very grateful that you are participating in our blog and Gary's post. All of your comments will be shared with our Leaders, and I know that Gary thanks you for contributing. We also appreciate your loyalty and support as Southwest Customers and friends. It's very obvious that you are "Nuts about Southwest"! Keep in mind that we are still a couple of years away from making a firm decision on this subject, and our testing and your comments will all go into the mix of that decision. Brian
Blue
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Well, let me provide some salt in the Kool Aid being drunk here: I hate open seating. Hate it. Feels just like getting on a bus in elementary school, complete with passive aggressive oafs putting bags bags and coats on seats to "save them." I only fly Southwest when I cannot get a decent routing/price on American, my preferred carrier. I will WILLINGLY pay a premium of 20 percent or more to fly in civilized comfort. Assign seats, and I'll consider Southwest. Until then I'll avoid the cattle cars. Blue in Austin
Drew1
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You'd pay a 20% or more premium for an assigned seat? A Thomas Tusser quote springs to mind! That seems quite a price to pay to avoid the apparently daunting task of simply walking on a plane and planting your rear in any one of 137 seats.
o1ive12
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Hi! Thanks for posting about the tough decisions you have to make. I think that the open seating policy has so many perks. I booked a last minute flight for father's day and on my return ride, i got to sit in an exit row with extra leg room! If there was assigned seating, i would NEVER have that opportunity. I think that the most important issue is that open seating keeps costs low. And in turn, you pass that savings along to the passengers. Making seats assigned will probably add another layer of costs and headaches. I had to book a flight on another carrier recently (yes, i know sadly), but it was a wierd question from the agent, "what seat would you like, window or aisle?" it took me a second to realize what she was asking since it's not in my usual booking process to state what seat i want. I hope that your research goes well and that you would take the time to poll all flyers. Perhaps you could make a small survey the next time people book online. Thanks for all your hard work and for making my flying experiences so enjoyable.
cxn
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Hello, I think this is the second worst idea, the first being the dropping of the extra bonus credits. Why would Southwest want to waste my time, the GA time, the FA time with these silly seat assignments? What a waste of more time. Good Luck.
Geoff_in_New_Ha
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I avoided SWA for a long time because of the open seating but lower prices, expansion to NH, and my wife's insistence changed that and I have gotten used to the idea. I don't think assigned seating is necessary but I do think that open seating needs some adjustment. I'll point out three issues that matter to me as a customer. * competition for the A group is entirely out of control now that people can print boarding passes so far ahead of time. Something has to be done to get some balance back there for people who are traveling on a return leg of a trip and are checking in at the airport. I have better things to do on vacation or a business trip than go to a business center to print out a pass in the middle of the night. * speaking of groups. Have more than three groups... use six or seven groups so they are smaller. This seems like a way to make people less anxious about being in the front of the line for their group and might reduce the number of people camped out on the floor at the gates. * we don't have kids and like other people who have commented above, I like to pick a seat away from small children if possible. The problem is... when a family is at the end of the C group and boards late the parents have to put their children into any open seat they can find so suddenly other travelers have to deal with that kid for the entire flight while the parents are 10 rows away. That is not fair to the kid, the parent, or the other customers... especially if the kid is scared or airsick or whatever. No one wins when this happens and I have seen it happen. I'm not saying that they should just go into the A group but find a way to keep young children next to their parents. For example, two parents and two kids don't need four seats together but two pairs of seats solves the problem. That is really for the benefit of everyone else on the plane in my opinion.
Drew1
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Geoff: With regard to needing "to print out a pass in the middle of the night," you can now check in 24 hours prior to your flight time, even using your cell phone's web browser! You need not actually print the boarding pass you receive (impossible to do via mobile check-in). You can get a reprint in your respective boarding group from an agent or kiosk at the airport.
Andree_Kless
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...as long as I can get my row 9/10 emergency exit seat complete with extra leg room from BWI to PHX, I'm fine. But... don't mess with the best.
Lisa_S
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As a frequent business traveler, I really enjoy the open seating. I often have to book my travel within a 2 week time frame and I like that everyone, has the same chance at a good seat no matter when they bought their ticket. Generally booking later I pay a higher price for my ticket and with more traditional airlines, I end up with the worst seats. I switched and remained totally commited to your airline because off the open seating policy. I strongly suggest that you allow people to continue to pick their seat on the plane. It's the reason I keep coming back to your airline.
FriendofBlogBoy
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Too bad that Gary couldn't find a topic to discuss that would stir people's passions! To "Blue in Austin", and to others who complain about open seating, pre-printing boarding passes via Internet access and kids scattered throughout the plane, I would suggest the old warning, "caveat emptor" -- let the buyer beware. In any transaction, you should know what you are getting yourself into. Also known as "making an informed decision". SWA is well-known for its open seating policy, and yet for years and years, I hear people walking down the jetways complaining. "Well, here we are going down the cattle chute" and "they herd us in like sheep" and "stuffed in like sardines in a small plane" and the common sound made by the class clown now a bit older and playing to a different audience, "Mooooooo". However, these people who are complaining are ones who made the choice to fly on SWA, even though other airlines offer staggered seating calls to reduce jetway congestion, no pushing and shoving for that coveted aisle or window seat (or to avoid the center seat), larger planes than 737s offering more seat pitch (airline-speak for legroom and knee room), and even a first-class cabin for those wanting to be pampered even more. Why do people consistently gripe about some of the attributes about SWA and yet return again and again? Maybe they are masochists, or maybe, they are willing to put up with certain inconvenience to save some money and/or time. Most (not all) of SWA's flights are short-haul and rarely exceed 90 minutes. Believe me, I've spent my share of time in the center seat between two large people. But, for what I am paying and for the relatively short time period, I can handle it. People choose strange things to gripe about because it is some people's nature to gripe. I've heard people on airlines that serve what they refer to as a "meal" saying things like, "well, my meat is tough", "my sandwich is...", "this serving of fruit..." Folks need to remember that they are paying for transportation from point A to point B. If you want a good meal, go to a restaurant. If you want a great meal, go to a great restaurant. Either way, stay OFF of an airplane. Airlines do not exist to provide a superb culinary experience, just like restaurants do not exist to get you from Dallas Love to Houston Hobby. People complain about having to be near kids on a plane for sixty minutes, but they don't demand to be isolated away from anyone below the age of 12 in a restaurant for an hour. If people would adjust their expectations to what the service will deliver, they wouldn't be so disappointed or irritated so often. You know what the SWA experience is like when you buy your ticket (unless you've been living in a cave for 35 years), and if the anticipated experience is not satisfactory to you, then choose another airline! Spend your money to fly first-class in a large seat with lots of pitch and better food in an environment where few parents of small kids can afford to park their youngsters and have a great time. I'd prefer to save the money and peacefully co-exist with my fellow cattle...oops, I mean passengers. I'll also leave the mooooooing to the cows that work for Chick-fil-A... Kim Smiley Happy P. S. -- Jim, thanks for the kind words! ("KimÃ
Terry_Lessig
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Gary, Where are the comments from those customers asking for change? I doubt that among your fan base they are legion. From what I see here, your loyal customers are passionate to keep things as they always have been...simple, easy, and with the freedom to move about the cabin as well as the country. I'll add my voice to theirs for all the reasons previously listed. Sometimes I want a window, sometimes an aisle. Front? Back? Middle? I never know until I board the aircraft and look down that long, beautiful expanse of comfy leather seats before me. Hey...there's a really cute girl. I'll sit here!
John7
Not applicable
I fly a little. I suppose I you could say that as I do have a Companion Pass. I prefer the present method of seating. I have had to fly other airlines, and it gets very irritating. You'd think if there was going to be assigned seats, they would board back to front. Well, they board by groups (Group 1 thru 6 perhaps). It could just as easily be A thru C. Anyway, they intermix people in the front, the back etc in each group. Now that my friend, is ineffieciency. They let the frequent flyers and first class enter first, then evryone else. So they have people standing in line, in the middle of the plane so the lady or gentleman that wants row 7, seat F can get his bags situated and then get out of the isle. The same thing happens on Southwest today with unassigned seating. The difference, people are looking for an open seat, not a ROW NUMBER, and the Southwest way is faster. You will never see an AA plane boarded faster. The only thing I can think of that will help reduce boarding time is telling people they can have one carry on, and one computer, and the carry on has to fit into the container. Period !!! I can't tell you how many times I have seen people carry on a bag they know will not fit, and then have to give it up to the flight attendent in the back of the plane, and she has to wait until everyone is boarded, and then has to struggle with carrying it to the front. Yes, I have offered to carry bags for several to the front. I generally sit in the back of the plane on most flights...I like it. Now if you want to give a preference to the frequent flyers, you could allow everyone with a Companion Pass to board first. I wrote Colleen with that suggestion quite a long time ago. I have protested the Wright Amendment forever. I don't live in the Dallas area anymore, but I still protest it everytime I think about it. You see, Southwest is Southwest. American doesn't like Southwest because it is profitable, the employees are happy, flights get in and out, etc. You said yourself, a plane on the ground is not making money. You cannot speed up boarding by having assigned seats. Further to this, you would kill people like me, the frequent fliers, that book flights maybe three to seven days in advance. Again, Southwest is Southwest. I prefer it, that is why I fly it. I prefer unassigned seats. Why would you want to change to make yoursel more like the other airlines? Bad mistake. I hear people gripe about having to wait in line all the time. It seems it is always the people that fly very infrequent that complain. They complain about waiting in line. Well, guess what my friend, they wait to board the other airlines, they just wait in a "bunch," not a line. Same difference. You have to be at the airport an hour or so early whether you are flying Southwest or one of the others. What is the difference? And by the way, to those of you that can't stand flying next to a kid, or may be griping because a Mother and Child get on at the end, with one seat next to you, and one 10 rows away....shame on you for not giving up your seat and trading with the Mother!!!!!! PLEASE DO NOT CHANGE A THING! SOUTHWEST IS SOUTHWEST! YOU ARE A LEADER, NOT A FOLLOWER!!! Have a blessed day! John - Claremore, OK
Deborah_Blackwe
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I fly every week - sometimes twice a week. Southwest is my choice because I know I will get front seating. I usually print my boarding pass early enough that I get in group A. My complaint is not enforcing the two carry-ons and the size of the carry-ons. I have had to check my laptop case because there was not room overhead but there were suites that took up half of the overhead storage.
Julie111
Not applicable
I don't like the concept of assigned seating.
andrew-lark
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Hi Gary, how about making some of the seats reservable. I'd pay more for the privilege. Like the emergency exit rows and the seats around them. They are premium seats for us business travellers. All the folks trying to board early to get seats up front are kept happy - the folks that don't care that much, well, they don't care. And us snobby business travellers that want those kind few inches to work in get what we're after. And, SWA makes more money.
Stacey1
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In response to Geoff from New Hampshire. I have traveled many times with my children on Southwest and when there were not seats available for my family to sit together the Flight Attendants would always try to accommodate us by politely asking if someone would mind giving up their seat so we could sit together. Of course, this "kind passenger" who would do this for us has always be rewarded. "This is how Southwest works!" As far as assigned seating, testing and time will tell. I have a lot of LUV and faith in Southwest and believe that the external and internal customers will always be provided the BEST! I enjoyed reading this Blog, it definitely has gotten a lot of responses in a very short time.
Anonymous777
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Hopefully, Mister Kelly realizes now that many of us like open seating. That's one of the tough things about customer service is that customers don't complain until you try to take something away that they like. Perhaps Southwest execs never realized how much some of us like open seating. I worked in the hotel business for almost three years. One thing I learned from a Holiday Inn trainer is that it costs $50 to keep an old customer, but it costs $500 to get a new one. Don't risk alienating your old customers with the hope that you might bring in other ones. Let the small minority complain about open seating. Screw the _Wall Street Journal_.
kelli-bartlett-
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As a SWA employee, it's really nice to read that you LUV us... just the way we are. I too have always liked the open seating... most of the time. As a Flight Attendant, open seating becomes a challenge when a family traveling with children arrives at the airport late then must run onto the airplane hoping to find seats together. Our passengers usually help us out as we have to scramble and switch customers around to allow the late family to sit together with their children. To all of you that might have helped us accomodate one of these late arriving familes by giving up your seat and maybe having to take a back center seat yourself... THANK YOU! Thank you for working with us to keep our airplanes on time! It's all about keeping our airplanes on time and at the same time, keeping our Customers happy! Let's see how this "test run" goes.
Ian_Ringrose
Not applicable
Often I travel with a disabled fiend that is in a wheelchair. The airlines that have open seating are a LOT better for us, as wheelchair users get put on first and I can then choose the seat that gives the easiest lifting. Booking clerks are just useful at choosing seats for disabled people as they donÃ
John7
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Gary, can you feel the LUV yet for open seating? I can. It's great, isn't it? There are lots of interesting comments in this list that has been created in such a short time. It seems open seating is the preferred method of travel for the largest portion of domestic travelers! What a great thing. As the leader in domestic travel, for numerous reasons (open seating seems to be one), certainly when you start hitting Cancun and Hawaii, you will be the leader in and out as well. What a concept !!! I know, it hasn't been mentioned, but it sure sounds good! So, when are you starting???? Are you going to include Puerto V and Acapulco as well?
DJ11
Not applicable
Please please do not take away open seating! It is one of the main reasons why I choose SWA over everyone else. If you want to make a change, I'd be very happy if you'd offer service to Bangor, Maine so I can fly SWA when I travel to visit the family... *grin* Thanks, -Dj
Roy
Not applicable
NO, NO, NO to assigned seating. This is is one of the few perks you give your best customers (other than my companion pass). As others have stated, we know the system, know how to get a A pass, know that unless we have to sit near the front to make a connection, we can wait until the end of the A line and still get an exit row seat most of the time and an aisle or window all of the time. If you decide to make this cahnge, I cannot stress enough the need to make some accomodations for your best customers (ie- full fare, companion pass etc). If you want to speed up the boarding process, then all preboarders other than wheel chair passengers should sit in the back of the plane, not the front. Pre-board should also mean post-depart.
Dave_Hickman
Not applicable
As a long time customer of Southwest and a Companion Pass holder, I'm very much against assigned seating! First-come, first-served seating is one of the truly unique aspects of the Southwest experience and is the number one reason I select WN over other carriers. I like making a last-minute reservation....or a last minute flight change....knowing that at the 24 hour mark I have an equal chance at getting my desired aisle seat.