Post # 1
I am getting some tiny details out of the way for our 2015 trip. I know I know, it’s far off. But I like to do research before its time to make reservations, etc.
Anyway, we were going to fly with Airtran again for the trip because we flew with them last year for our honeymoon and love them. But we found out that Southwest will (absorb) Airtran into their company by the end of 2014. No more Airtran after that.
So we will be flying with Southwest for our trip. I did a little research and found out that they have open seating and they board people by when you checkin. So different from Airtran.
What has been your experience with this? Do you love Southwest for this? I’m thinking of paying for early checkin(36 hours before flight) so we can be one of the first ones the plane. Is it worth it? When you checked in at the regular time(24 hours before flight), were you one of the first or were you really far back in the line to board?
Thanks for the help. Oh and if you want to mention anything else concerning Southwest please feel free to tell me.
Post # 3
Southwest is fine as an airline. No frills, but it gets you from Point A to Point B. I’ve never had any problems. Just make sure to pack some snacks and/or real food in case you get hungry.
When I check in, I try to get as close to the 24 hour mark as I can. I’m usually in Group A or B (at the beginning of the line). The last time I flew, they called everyone up to line up at the signs for their appropriate boarding group. Easy peasy.
Post # 4
I’m not really a fan of open seating but I’ve done it quite a bit with Southwest.
I have routinely forgotten to check in until 12 hours or less before my flights. I’m usually towards the back (C section, they have AB and C and numbers 1-60 I think for each section) but I haven’t had any major issues with it (only one time have I sat in the middle, usually FI does for me)
When I traveled alone it actually worked out nice because there are lots of single seats open and I got basically the first row by the window next to 2 guys even though I was in section C. Bonus, they had lots of Southwest vouchers they used to give me free drinks (we were going to Vegas). However you also run the risk of most of the single seats being left over at the end are the middle ones.
I’m using SW in 3 weeks and I’m going to try to check in 24 hours early. How much is the early check in? It’s not worth it to me.
Also last flight FI told the lady that I was scared of flying and she gave me free red wine and 4 or 5 bottles of rum for free. I liked that!
Post # 5
Southwest is GREAT. Do early check-in (from your smart phone or computer) and you’re almost guaranteed at least “B group.” I’ve found A and B groups always, always get the aisle and window seats.
I agree with PP that you will need to buy/pack snacks, because they only give you pretzels and/or peanuts, but most airlines don’t have quality food options these days anyhow.
Also, two checked bags free! That should do it for you right there!
I wouldn’t worry 🙂 I now choose Southwest over other airlines, and I’m a frequent flyer with United/Continental.
Post # 6
Some people have issues with the open seating but I don’t mind. I travel a lot on Southwest by myself so It wouldn’t affect me as much as it would if I was travelling with FI.
Like the PP said, just make sure to checkin early so that you can get in the first round of boarding. If you are in the last round, all that is left for seating, usually, are middle seats…not fun.
Post # 7
I have flown Southwest, and have had no problems. Depending on the airport, etc, they have lines for groups A, B and C, so it is fairly organized. I AM one of the ones whom tried to check in as close as I can to the 24-hour mark, however, the times I was not able too – even being in group C, my seat was still in a decent row. I park my butt in the C row at the airport, and wait for the flight, so at the very least I am one of the first in group C to get on 🙂
Post # 8
@Earlybride: I didn’t mind southwest when I flew it.
You should be ok if you make sure to go online as soon as it is open, especially since you are only 2 people. My fiance and I flew down to Orlando and didn’t do the early check in and were able to find 2 seats next to each other.
Post # 9
I fly SW almost exclusively, as they have a hub here in Chicago and I can get to almost anywhere I want to go in the US cheaper than any other airline.
Southwest assigns three boarding groups when you check in: A 1-60, B 1-60 and C 1-60. Groups are called to line up by letter, and then you align yourself with markers for your number in the boarding area. A 1-15 goes to business select travelers, so the earliest you’d likely get if all the stars align with a coach fare is A 16.
I’m a Rapid Rewards member and I’m pretty obsessive about checking in EXACTLY 24 hours in advance; I usually end up in the A group, albeit towards the end. Even when I’ve been in the start of B, I’ve never had an issue getting a seat I want. However, for business, or when I *know* the flight is going to be full, I’ve paid the extra $10 for early bird. If the cost matters, sometimes DH and I pay for one of us to have early check in, get on the plane and save the other person’s seat, no big deal.
I’ve never experienced any issues with SW and like their lighthearted approach to travel. The seats are a little small to me, but I’m tall and overweight, so that may just be a personal thing of mine.
Post # 10
@Earlybride: I love the open seating concept and usually fly southwest because of it. Like others have said, they don’t offer a lot of “extras”. You get free beverages and can purchase alcoholic drinks as well. They do hand out snacks too. And you can check two bags for free so that’s nice 🙂
Post # 11
I’ve flown more than usual this past year and I really like Southwest. PPs are right, you should be fine as long as you do the 24-hour early check-in as close to 24 hours as you can so you’ll get in group A or B. The free checked bags are a great plus too! Plus I like the blue and red planes, heh.
Post # 12
i only fly southwest because i’m usually only flying to the burbank airport in southern california and they’re the only airline that flys there from oakland. i hate the open seating. i like to be able to choose my seat ahead of time. now that they have the early check-in, i always pay for it so i’m at least in the A group. other than that, i really like southwest. their flight attendants are really funny and they make sure you have a great trip. they’re almost always on time. the last time i flew, my flight was super delayed because it was coming from phoenix (there was construction going on at that airport) but i was able to get on the earlier flight for no extra fee.
Post # 13
I don’t fly often, but I’ve used Southwest several times. I just hang out on the website a few minutes before the 24 hour check in time, and check in the second I can. I’ve always been able to get in the A or B group and gotten a window seat (which I prefer).
Post # 14
I love Southwest. I always try to check in right at 24 hours since I can do it from my phone. You can get a good seat in group A or B. Plus, two free checked bags!
Post # 15
I fly SW for business, and usually am at the end of group A or the beginning to middle of group B, and I almost always get a window or aisle seat. Its the end of group B and the Cs that are stuck in the middle.
I’ve never done early check in, just try to remeber to check in as close to the 24 hour window as possible.
Post # 16
@Earlybride: I don’t like the seat assignment done by SW in that there is no seat assignment. If I can’t check in as soon as I’m able to, I pay extra to have SW check me in. That way I get an “A” boarding number. I’ve never had to sit in the dreaded middle seat.
I would recommend SWA to anyone despite the seating assignments.