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(NBC News)   Southwest finally hits the apex of their business plan. Step 1: Enforce cattle-car boarding. Step 2: Charge $40 per person to avoid Step 1. Step 3: Receive great feedback from easily duped customers   (nbcnews.com) divider line 72
    More: Stupid, southwest, business plans, ancillary revenues, checked luggage  
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2112 clicks; posted to Business » on 22 Jan 2013 at 6:34 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-01-22 03:03:16 PM  
and that goes on top of the "early bird" fee that you almost have to pay if you want to have any shot at getting into one of the early-middle boarding groups.

I'd rather pay the damn bag fee and choose my own seat.
 
2013-01-22 03:30:40 PM  
I don't mind the cattle car boarding.  last flight, we sat in the back row of the plane and since no one wanted to sit back there, we got the row to ourselves.  don't see much of a problem with it.
 
2013-01-22 03:39:55 PM  
Step 3:  Always be on time.
 
2013-01-22 04:05:39 PM  
I usually check in right when it is available to do so and almost always get somewhere between A50 and B10 (60 the max in each group in case you don't ever fly SW).  Even on crowded flights, I can easily get a window seat in the middle of the plane (or aisle if I chose to).  And I've never really seen them not enforce it, and even if they didn't people still tend to line up with their number.

The thing about assigned seating when boarding starts is that every moron rushes forward, regardless of section called, and half the time, they never check the boarding passes to make sure people are not cutting in line.  I was on a United flight last year and was in the last section to be called.  I walked up as soon as my section was called and was the only one boarding.  When I got on the plane, the entire section was seated - there were no kids, special needs, etc.  Just a bunch of douches (no special needs, no kids, etc.).
 
wee
2013-01-22 04:09:47 PM  
I'm a little over 6' 3".  I will gladly pay $40 to sit in the emergency row so as to not have the asshole in front of me recline into my knees.
 
2013-01-22 04:54:45 PM  
IMO, the galling part of all of these fees and surcharges is this:

Air service on domestic carriers has become so poor, the airlines can now charge us extra for things that were always free previously and/or were considered standard aspects of customer service.  And for the most part, they're still doing only marginally better at it than they were before.


/Alaska Air gets a pass on this critique from me though
//never had a bad flight with those folks
 
2013-01-22 05:22:52 PM  
I'm flying Southwest this Monday, so I am really getting a kick out of these replies...
 
2013-01-22 05:39:38 PM  
The only airline I loathe more than Southwest is Delta. And I hate Delta more than I hate The Consumerist.
 
2013-01-22 05:53:06 PM  

Grand_Moff_Joseph: and that goes on top of the "early bird" fee that you almost have to pay if you want to have any shot at getting into one of the early-middle boarding groups.

I'd rather pay the damn bag fee and choose my own seat.


If I'm reading this correctly, the early bird fee (which I have always paid on Southwest and is only $10) is completely separate from this. This new thing involves selling off the remaining slots between A1 and A15 that haven't been given to passengers who bought Business Select tickets.

It's actually a giant game of Friend or Foe?
 
2013-01-22 06:32:42 PM  
So I'm looking at flying Southwest in the near future with my wife and 2 daughters (11 and
According to their website, adults flying with a child under 4 is allowed to board after group A boarding. Does this just mean my wife and infant, and then it's a crap-shoot for me and my older daughter? Or does this mean we all get to board together after group A?

How likely is it that we get an entire row to ourselves? Should I get early-bird for any of us?
 
2013-01-22 06:32:47 PM  
said airline industry analyst Bob Mann of R.W. Mann & Company.

www.platformnation.com
 
2013-01-22 06:35:51 PM  

UberDave: The thing about assigned seating when boarding starts is that every moron rushes forward, regardless of section called,


I hate that shat.
 
2013-01-22 06:48:19 PM  

OSULugan: So I'm looking at flying Southwest in the near future with my wife and 2 daughters (11 and
According to their website, adults flying with a child under 4 is allowed to board after group A boarding. Does this just mean my wife and infant, and then it's a crap-shoot for me and my older daughter? Or does this mean we all get to board together after group A?

How likely is it that we get an entire row to ourselves? Should I get early-bird for any of us?


You'll get to board as a group after the first 60 people board.

There's a decent chance you can all sit together, but you'll probably be at the back of the plane.
 
2013-01-22 06:49:37 PM  
I'll never understand why anyone would give a shiat about not having an assigned seat. Get on the damn plane and sit down in an empty seat. It's not hard. If you feel somehow slighted because you don't have seat 24D on your ticket, then maybe you shouldn't be flying at all, let alone flying coach.
 
2013-01-22 06:57:33 PM  
Flying Southwest in about two hours. B23 for boarding.

Not going to pay to move up a few spots, might if I was deeper and all but guaranteed a middle seat. At the same time, not really broken up about this, it's really optional where the bag fees really aren't.
 
jvl
2013-01-22 07:00:09 PM  
Oh no! Being in the back of the plane may mean you have to sit comfortably and screw with your iphone for five more minutes! The horror!
 
2013-01-22 07:02:35 PM  

Solid State Vittles: I'll never understand why anyone would give a shiat about not having an assigned seat. Get on the damn plane and sit down in an empty seat. It's not hard. If you feel somehow slighted because you don't have seat 24D on your ticket, then maybe you shouldn't be flying at all, let alone flying coach.


Well, when you are flying with a loved one or family or friends or just somebody you want to sit next to its nice to know that you will be able to sit next to them.
 
2013-01-22 07:03:50 PM  

Solid State Vittles: I'll never understand why anyone would give a shiat about not having an assigned seat. Get on the damn plane and sit down in an empty seat. It's not hard. If you feel somehow slighted because you don't have seat 24D on your ticket, then maybe you shouldn't be flying at all, let alone flying coach.


I've never flown on an airplane without assigned seating, I've never flown much in the States though and only on U.S. Airways or JetBlue. I always pick my seat at check-in and make sure I show up early to do so or go online as soon as possible, if they offer online check-in. I like the fact I can pick my seat, aisle/window seats are so much better. So, from my perspective, you crazy!
 
2013-01-22 07:16:19 PM  

wee: I'm a little over 6' 3".  I will gladly pay $40 to sit in the emergency row so as to not have the asshole in front of me recline into my knees.


On that note, why do folks need to recline for a damn two hour flight? Don't they know the chain reaction that causes?
 
2013-01-22 07:18:56 PM  

Lego_Addict: I've never flown on an airplane without assigned seating, I've never flown much in the States though and only on U.S. Airways or JetBlue. I always pick my seat at check-in and make sure I show up early to do so or go online as soon as possible, if they offer online check-in. I like the fact I can pick my seat, aisle/window seats are so much better. So, from my perspective, you crazy!


Yeah, but if you print your Southwest boarding pass at home/work 24 hours before your flight, chances are good you'll be boarded among the first 60-90 passengers. Since 2/3 of the seats on a 737 are window/aisle seats, you're golden.

OK, now being able to sit next to someone you're traveling with, that's fair. Seeing how I fly solo 90% of the time, that didn't really occur to me.
 
2013-01-22 07:19:12 PM  
I never understood the southwest hate.

I've flown on them a few times in the past, was always a pleasant experience.

/the ability to NOT sit next to a crying baby is a plus, not a negative people!
 
2013-01-22 07:19:21 PM  

OSULugan: So I'm looking at flying Southwest in the near future with my wife and 2 daughters (11 and
According to their website, adults flying with a child under 4 is allowed to board after group A boarding. Does this just mean my wife and infant, and then it's a crap-shoot for me and my older daughter? Or does this mean we all get to board together after group A?

How likely is it that we get an entire row to ourselves? Should I get early-bird for any of us?


Depending on what time the flight is, you can just hit the check in 24 hours in advance and get decent numbers (Between A16 and A60) without having to ante up the extra $10 per ticket. In which case I would recommend boarding when your number is up vs between groups A and B. If you've got crap numbers, invoke the traveling with a small child and all board between A and B. Even going between A & B you should be able to everybody on a single row and what I've observed, everybody in the party is able to board with the child, not just one parent.
 
2013-01-22 07:21:51 PM  

Chariset: You'll get to board as a group after the first 60 people board.

There's a decent chance you can all sit together, but you'll probably be at the back of the plane.


Back of the plane is cool with us. We're not catching a connecting flight or anything. Just want to make sure the kids are attended to, and we have the ability to keep the diaper bag / bottle cooler in the cabin with us.
 
2013-01-22 07:26:23 PM  

BizarreMan: Depending on what time the flight is, you can just hit the check in 24 hours in advance and get decent numbers (Between A16 and A60) without having to ante up the extra $10 per ticket. In which case I would recommend boarding when your number is up vs between groups A and B.


So, I thought that A boarding was reserved for 1st class and other special rewards program members. 24 hours in advance check-in should be do-able, at least on the flight out there. Not sure how easy I'll be able to access the internet 24 hours before the return flight.
 
2013-01-22 07:28:46 PM  

Solid State Vittles: Lego_Addict: I've never flown on an airplane without assigned seating, I've never flown much in the States though and only on U.S. Airways or JetBlue. I always pick my seat at check-in and make sure I show up early to do so or go online as soon as possible, if they offer online check-in. I like the fact I can pick my seat, aisle/window seats are so much better. So, from my perspective, you crazy!

Yeah, but if you print your Southwest boarding pass at home/work 24 hours before your flight, chances are good you'll be boarded among the first 60-90 passengers. Since 2/3 of the seats on a 737 are window/aisle seats, you're golden.

OK, now being able to sit next to someone you're traveling with, that's fair. Seeing how I fly solo 90% of the time, that didn't really occur to me.


Too bad you have to pay an extra $40 to board first now. Although, given no choice, I would pay it. So yeah, boarding first is not as bad as free-for-all at the tail end of the plane.
 
2013-01-22 07:31:33 PM  

impaler: UberDave: The thing about assigned seating when boarding starts is that every moron rushes forward, regardless of section called,

I hate that shat.


It probably wouldn't happen as often if they had enough overhead space for even 1/3 of the carry-ons.
 
2013-01-22 07:34:12 PM  
Southwest can turn a plane in 25 minutes. Last American flight I was on took an hour.
I'll accept the cattle car business for the 35 minutes less travel time.

/I'm A-List so I check in an hour ahead and get A16-30.
//My poop does not stink, either
 
2013-01-22 07:35:43 PM  

LouDobbsAwaaaay: impaler: UberDave: The thing about assigned seating when boarding starts is that every moron rushes forward, regardless of section called,

I hate that shat.

It probably wouldn't happen as often if they had enough overhead space for even 1/3 of the carry-ons.


Or if they didn't charge bag fees so that everyone carries on
 
2013-01-22 07:44:00 PM  
Virgin America > Southwest

by a /lot/.

Better planes, better service, better employees, better prices. I can fly first class on Virgin for less than Business Select on Southwest. I just wish they flew to more places.
 
2013-01-22 08:03:01 PM  

impaler: UberDave: The thing about assigned seating when boarding starts is that every moron rushes forward, regardless of section called,

I hate that shat.


To be fair, I assume a lot of people piling up to be in first are doing so because they want to put luggage in the overhead bin. With the awful baggae fees, people now shove full trunks into the overhead bins effectively taking up 2-3 spots
 
2013-01-22 08:04:43 PM  
I don't fly Southwest all that much, but when I do, I pay that $40 every time with joy in my heart. I'm usually out of the airport by the time that plane is fully debarked. It is worth every dime.
 
2013-01-22 08:06:14 PM  

LouDobbsAwaaaay: It probably wouldn't happen as often if they had enough overhead space for even 1/3 of the carry-ons.


There is plenty of overhead space.

There are also plenty of jerks cramming huge bags up there.

When I am king, I shall decree everybody gets one checked bag free, and carry-on size limits will be strictly enforced.
 
2013-01-22 08:09:38 PM  
I usually travel alone, so I don't mind Southwest's boarding policy. I like that they don't charge for bags. I've never had a bad flight on Southwest, though I had one flight (that was already delayed for 4 hrs due to weather) slightly delayed because they had to "do some extra housecleaning" which involved replacing some seats. When we boarded, I noticed the plane smelled slightly of piss, so I think someone (maybe a kid) on the flight before must've pissed themselves.
 
2013-01-22 08:13:03 PM  

Rent Party: I don't fly Southwest all that much, but when I do, I pay that $40 every time with joy in my heart. I'm usually out of the airport by the time that plane is fully debarked. It is worth every dime.


Yeah, I try to get an aisle seat close to the front of the plane so I can GTFO as fast as possible.

MightyPez: To be fair, I assume a lot of people piling up to be in first are doing so because they want to put luggage in the overhead bin. With the awful baggae fees, people now shove full trunks into the overhead bins effectively taking up 2-3 spots


I like when I'm on a flight that uses one of those little planes, because people with giant carryons are forced to check them since there is not farking way they will in the overhead bins on those planes. I always use my backpack as a carryon because it always fits under the seat, even with my laptop in it.
 
2013-01-22 08:23:44 PM  

MightyPez: To be fair, I assume a lot of people piling up to be in first are doing so because they want to put luggage in the overhead bin. With the awful baggae fees, people now shove full trunks into the overhead bins effectively taking up 2-3 spots


In most cases - you can just take your time and the airline will check your baggage for free at the jetway.

/and if you need more than one carry on bag for your shiat - you are bringing too much shiat with you
 
2013-01-22 08:23:56 PM  
Southwest has never lost a bag of mine, so there is that. USAir and Delta seems to be roughly 10% chance, and American roughly 75%.
 
2013-01-22 08:34:21 PM  

gingerjet: MightyPez: To be fair, I assume a lot of people piling up to be in first are doing so because they want to put luggage in the overhead bin. With the awful baggae fees, people now shove full trunks into the overhead bins effectively taking up 2-3 spots

In most cases - you can just take your time and the airline will check your baggage for free at the jetway.



And then I have to wait at baggage claim for all my shiat to come out. This is a particular pain in the ass when flying internationally and you have to clear customs.

I fly with no checked bags 99% of the time because I don't like hanging around airports. People that pack the overhead with their overstuffed bag piss me off.

Honestly, the airlines and manufacturers would be well served to standardize overhead compartments, so baggage folks could build compliant bags. I love Airbus aircraft, but their overheads suck. Boeing aircraft are pretty ratty, but there is generally a lot of space up above.


/and if you need more than one carry on bag for your shiat - you are bringing too much shiat with you


Farking THAT.
 
2013-01-22 08:41:33 PM  
Yawn, this again. I've only been flying for fifteen years regularly, so I probably don't have much experience, but I'll offer this:

I've flown Delta, Northwest, American, and United for the first nine of those years. Switched to Southwest six years ago mostly due to a change in job that modfiied where I was flying to most of the time. So, I didn't pick them out, but I find I like SW. Unlike the others, Southwest has not lost or delayed one of my bags, ever. Southwest's mileage program is far more productive (for me) than any other. Could be a function of their size and location of hubs, but I have seen very few delayed flights compared to my years of flying the others.

And yes, up until this year I was not flying enough to qualify for their A1 program, so I was cattle boarding with the rest of the passengers, typically in the high Bs and not uncommonly Cs. It really isn't that big of a deal. Turns out, their gate check works fairly well, if a little slow picking them back up after the flight.

Oh, and the kicker. SW is $100-300 cheaper per flight, every flight, comparing coach to SW standard tickets. It's nice coming in under budget on airfare year over year on top of the other pluses.
 
2013-01-22 08:49:38 PM  
You know who else didn't appreciate cattle-car boarding:

i48.photobucket.com
 
2013-01-22 08:49:57 PM  

Solid State Vittles: I'll never understand why anyone would give a shiat about not having an assigned seat. Get on the damn plane and sit down in an empty seat. It's not hard. If you feel somehow slighted because you don't have seat 24D on your ticket, then maybe you shouldn't be flying at all, let alone flying coach.


Ever been in a middle seat between two fatsos oozing over the armrests? At least with a window seat I know there's one side I can lean towards.
 
2013-01-22 08:53:46 PM  

Lost Thought 00: Southwest has never lost a bag of mine, so there is that. USAir and Delta seems to be roughly 10% chance, and American roughly 75%.


People still check bags for domestic flights?
 
2013-01-22 08:59:09 PM  

Carth: Lost Thought 00: Southwest has never lost a bag of mine, so there is that. USAir and Delta seems to be roughly 10% chance, and American roughly 75%.

People still check bags for domestic flights?


If you fly Southwest, it's 2 normal sized/normal weight bags for free.

/me still carries on his luggage if possible
//camera backpack full of camera equipment fits under the chair, my suitcase is small enough to fit in overhead bins.
 
2013-01-22 09:04:26 PM  
the fees are incoming, and anyone who ignores this fact is just stupid.

/southwest ads are less about low fares and more about business travelers
 
2013-01-22 09:18:47 PM  

Carth: Lost Thought 00: Southwest has never lost a bag of mine, so there is that. USAir and Delta seems to be roughly 10% chance, and American roughly 75%.

People still check bags for domestic flights?


Sometimes it's just unavoidable and you have to bring something of substance with you
 
2013-01-22 09:42:03 PM  

Rent Party: And then I have to wait at baggage claim for all my shiat to come out. This is a particular pain in the ass when flying internationally and you have to clear customs.


With Delta at least - the luggage that was tagged on the jetway is brought back to the jetway.

/internationally its a different ball game I agree
 
2013-01-22 09:53:41 PM  

fozziewazzi: Ever been in a middle seat between two fatsos oozing over the armrests? At least with a window seat I know there's one side I can lean towards.


That's why I normally go for the aisle, though after this last flight I'm not so sure - obese biatch of a stewardess slammed into either my elbow, my shoulder, or my head every single time she passed. I swear she was doing it on purpose. When she was leaning over to pass drinks to the other people she literally had her other hand less than an inch from my nose. No issues with the cart mind you - you would have to lean into the seat to hit me given where I was sitting. I'm pretty sure she was just an idiot.
 
2013-01-22 10:21:57 PM  

Solid State Vittles: I'll never understand why anyone would give a shiat about not having an assigned seat. Get on the damn plane and sit down in an empty seat. It's not hard. If you feel somehow slighted because you don't have seat 24D on your ticket, then maybe you shouldn't be flying at all, let alone flying coach.


It makes them feel special.
 
2013-01-22 11:35:43 PM  

Banned on the Run: LouDobbsAwaaaay: impaler: UberDave: The thing about assigned seating when boarding starts is that every moron rushes forward, regardless of section called,

I hate that shat.

It probably wouldn't happen as often if they had enough overhead space for even 1/3 of the carry-ons.

Or if they didn't charge bag fees so that everyone carries on



That does suck but I've done a lot of business travel in the last decade and it doesn't look like the baggage fees made much of a difference with the carry-ons from what I can tell.  And yes, people do fight for those spaces - most of them are bringing on huge carry-ons that they should have checked and the airline doesn't enforce the size limit.  But there are still a huge amount of people who only rush forward to get on the plane quickly.

I always check my bag and when I do carry on, it is small enough to fit under the seat in front of me (laptop bag usually).
 
2013-01-22 11:45:59 PM  

fatalvenom: You know who else didn't appreciate cattle-car boarding:

[i48.photobucket.com image 204x278]


You are definitely going to Hell for that one.
 
2013-01-22 11:48:03 PM  
"We have continued to look for ways to increase revenues in challenging economic times by offering optional services for which there are optional service charges,"

Doesn't anyone speak English properly any more? The services are optional, but the charges for those services are not optional. Ugh.
 
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