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Old Jul 24, 14, 4:04 pm   #1
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First time flying SWA with kids

So we are flying on Southwest. We have 7 of our 8 kids flying with us. 17,15,14,11,9,4,2
We did not buy the early bird. When I booked, I wasn't totally familiar with SWA seating. After reading a bit..this is our plan.

Check in at the 24 hour mark.

I am assuming we will not get A seating.

DH with DD2
and Me with DD4 will board at family boarding after the A group.

17,15,14,11,9 will wait and board with seating group given at check in.

We are not worried about the 17,15,and 14 year old. We have discussed with all of them that they will most likely be seated in various spots around the plane.

What we are hoping will happen.... my husband and I each find an open row of 3 seats when we board (parent in aisle seat, little girl in window seat), leaving the middle seat empty in hopes that the seat(s) will still be open by the time our 9 and 11 year olds board. We know there is a chance that might not work and they both are comfortable sitting by themselves for the duration of the flight.

Does this sound doable? Are we breaking any rules?
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Old Jul 24, 14, 4:19 pm   #2
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Welcome to Flyertalk, Kathleen Brown Heintz!

How many PNRs ("reservation numbers") do you have? If multiple people on one, they should get boarding positions very close together.

If you check in at T-24, you are likely to get a high A or low B. Have multiple windows open and toggle from one to another fast. Check in the teens first if need be for better position. Adults last, as they will be boarding after A60.

Your plan of window/aisle hoping for no one to sit in between is sound.

Don't worry.
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Old Jul 24, 14, 4:28 pm   #3
  
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If you book T-24 you should probably be fine with low-B boarding passes for the kids. They will likely still find several three-across rows. Even if you get into B40ish, they will likely be able to pair up with the younger children.
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Old Jul 24, 14, 4:29 pm   #4
  
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Wow! What a jig saw puzzle! Only on Southwest!

Sounds like a good plan. If you head to the back and save middle seats, 99.9% of people will not bother you or get upset. Check the older kids in first since you and DH will not matter. Depending on the flight, time of day, destination, thru passengers, some may very well draw a late A, just give them the same instructions.

If you do the t-24, you should have little to worry about, especially if you are not worried about 17, 15 & 14.

Best of luck, with a family that size, I imagine you are very organized and prepared much more than the rest of us.
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Old Jul 24, 14, 4:41 pm   #5
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Originally Posted by toomanybooks View Post
Welcome to Flyertalk, Kathleen Brown Heintz!

How many PNRs ("reservation numbers") do you have? If multiple people on one, they should get boarding positions very close together.

If you check in at T-24, you are likely to get a high A or low B. Have multiple windows open and toggle from one to another fast. Check in the teens first if need be for better position. Adults last, as they will be boarding after A60.

Your plan of window/aisle hoping for no one to sit in between is sound.

Don't worry.
Thank you. We have 2 reservations. Eight of us on one. And the 17 year old on the other. Do I need a printer when I am checking in or can I print boarding passes later?

Not sure what toggle between means..I am assuming after reading your reply, that we need to check in each person individually even though they are on the same reservation? And just do it as quickly as we can. Can my husband and I each log in and be checking in on different computers for the same reservation.

I am thinking check in the 9 and 11 year old and then the teens so the younger ones will board first. (not a big deal but I would prefer not to leave them out in the terminal without one of the older kids being able to keep an eye on them from behind.)

Then the 2 year old and the 4 year old and then us parents?

Thank you for the advice...we have never flown SWA so I am not quite sure what is involved with check in. Is there any site/video you would suggest that walks you through the steps so we kind of know what to expect before the check in date.

I'm not too worried but I like to be as prepared as we can be.

Thank you again!
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Old Jul 24, 14, 4:48 pm   #6
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I guess my long winded reply (with more questions, of course) won't show up right away. It said it needed to be approved by a moderator. Just wanted to say thank you to all who have replied while I was typing away.
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Old Jul 24, 14, 5:35 pm   #7
  
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First ones on --> Head to the back of the plane. Those seats tend to fill up late.

I think you plan is a good one and thank you for not being that family that tries to board everyone in "Family Boarding"!!

And if you find the 9 year old "stranded" don't be afraid to ask nicely if someone closer to you will change seat -- especially if the 9 year old snares an aisle seat!!
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Old Jul 24, 14, 5:46 pm   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshua362 View Post
Wow! What a jig saw puzzle! Only on Southwest!

Sounds like a good plan. If you head to the back and save middle seats, 99.9% of people will not bother you or get upset. Check the older kids in first since you and DH will not matter. Depending on the flight, time of day, destination, thru passengers, some may very well draw a late A, just give them the same instructions.

If you do the t-24, you should have little to worry about, especially if you are not worried about 17, 15 & 14.

Best of luck, with a family that size, I imagine you are very organized and prepared much more than the rest of us.


How would this be different or better with others? I fly AS once in awhile, hate it, and cannot get 3 together ? WN is better. Funny why you even post in WN. You work for another airline?. Only on southwest? I'm confused(?). If you have secrets to board 8 on AS. And be all together. Please share....
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Old Jul 24, 14, 7:18 pm   #9
  
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My recommendation: have only small carry-ons, that fit under the seats. It will help to find better seats.
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Old Jul 24, 14, 8:22 pm   #10
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathleen Brown Heintz View Post
. Can my husband and I each log in and be checking in on different computers for the same reservation.
You should be able to. Just divide up the different members of your family.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathleen Brown Heintz View Post
Thank you for the advice...we have never flown SWA so I am not quite sure what is involved with check in. Is there any site/video you would suggest that walks you through the steps so we kind of know what to expect before the check in date.

I'm not too worried but I like to be as prepared as we can be.

Thank you again!
As with anything new or different, it's understandable that you would be a little anxious, so I understand why you want to be as well prepared, as possible. You are doing a great job.

You might look at https://www.southwest.com/html/trave...LYSWA-BOARDING for lots of good information.

I agree that walking toward the rear of the aircraft and selecting seats toward the back (but not the last row) will offer the best chance of everybody being able to sit together (+being close to lav).

Have a great trip; after your first Southwest flight, you will be a real expert.
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Old Jul 24, 14, 8:39 pm   #11
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Originally Posted by pirossalma View Post
My recommendation: have only small carry-ons, that fit under the seats. It will help to find better seats.
Yes.
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Old Jul 24, 14, 9:55 pm   #12
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If 8 of you are on one reservation, all will be issued boarding slots near-simultaneously, I presume. I have never experienced this many at once. Just do it 24 hours out within a few seconds of the instant.

You can print BPs at home (either immediately or later if more convenient), or at the airport.

The 9th one for the teenager can safely be done after the other 8, on the same computer. He/she will be a few slots behind you probably, but cannot imagine a problem sitting by you.
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Old Jul 25, 14, 3:13 am   #13
  
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Originally Posted by DebitNM View Post
First ones on --> Head to the back of the plane. Those seats tend to fill up late.

I think you plan is a good one and thank you for not being that family that tries to board everyone in "Family Boarding"!!

And if you find the 9 year old "stranded" don't be afraid to ask nicely if someone closer to you will change seat -- especially if the 9 year old snares an aisle seat!!
+1

Family boarding for four, grab two aisle and window seats in last row. That's six of your eight likely together. If you're still vigilant about check in at t-24 the rest will be close.

It's not what many would prefer but look at it this way. You won't wait as long for your checked bags. They might even beat you there.
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Old Jul 25, 14, 7:38 am   #14
  
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In your situation I wouldn't hesitate to switch boarding passes around among the kids to group them together the way you want them to board the plane, especially if you end up with large gaps between the boarding numbers. That should alleviate your concern about the 9 and 11 year old being in the terminal by themselves at the end. Checking in that many people it's possible you will have a surprise with boarding numbers.

Anecdotal evidence suggests this plan could be a little more challenging if you're flying into Orlando due to the larger number of families and EBCI's purchased. Heading to the back of the plane is really good advice.
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Old Jul 25, 14, 8:12 am   #15
  
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Originally Posted by MilesRookie View Post
In your situation I wouldn't hesitate to switch boarding passes around among the kids to group them together the way you want them to board the plane, especially if you end up with large gaps between the boarding numbers.


I'd disagree with you--switching BP is never a good idea.

For starters, WN gate agents aren't bound to be pleased if they notice a young girl hands them a BP that says Dave. And in the unlikely event the scanner doesn't read a barcode, or reads that the passenger is already boarded, expect issues.

I've seen customers refused boarding after being caught switching passes, and have also seen a plane take a 20-30 minute delay as a result of this.
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