Seating on SW

Old Aug 23, 18, 6:07 pm
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Seating on SW

I am new to SW. Only flew once last year to and from CLE to AZ and back. Both times I paid the extra $15 for me and my husband. We got terrible seating order. When I inquired I was told it depends on how many business travelers there are on the flight. When we finally did board, there were empty seats but passengers were saving by putting their purses or coats on them. Do they save for their friends who do not pay the $15? I am now making plans for CLE to AZ again and don't know if it is worth it to pay the extra $15 each especially since I just heard on the news the rate is increasing. What do all you experts advise?
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Old Aug 23, 18, 6:25 pm
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Originally Posted by AuntKathy4 View Post
I am new to SW. Only flew once last year to and from CLE to AZ and back. Both times I paid the extra $15 for me and my husband. We got terrible seating order. When I inquired I was told it depends on how many business travelers there are on the flight. When we finally did board, there were empty seats but passengers were saving by putting their purses or coats on them. Do they save for their friends who do not pay the $15? I am now making plans for CLE to AZ again and don't know if it is worth it to pay the extra $15 each especially since I just heard on the news the rate is increasing. What do all you experts advise?

When is your flight ?

EBCI is assigned in the order it was purchased. I purchase EBCI for all our flights but we also book all of our flights the day they go on sale so we are some of ( if not) the first EBCI.

We normally board A30 or better
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Old Aug 23, 18, 6:58 pm
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Originally Posted by AuntKathy4 View Post
When we finally did board, there were empty seats but passengers were saving by putting their purses or coats on them. Do they save for their friends who do not pay the $15? I am now making plans for CLE to AZ again and don't know if it is worth it to pay the extra $15 each especially since I just heard on the news the rate is increasing. What do all you experts advise?
Impossible to say whether "it's worth it to pay the extra $15."

Your Southwest boarding assignment will fall in group A, B, or C, and you will be assigned a number ranging from 1-60 within that group.

Everything else is subject to variables. Seat savers, included.
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Old Aug 23, 18, 7:15 pm
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Another perspective. I regularly fly WN on a route that is well served (between 6 and 8 flights daily), and never purchase EBCI. I check in at T-24 exactly and have never gotten higher than B10. Also, using two screens, I've never had two BPs not within 5 slots of one another, so we board together, avoiding the seat saving.
These flights typically go out full and people do save seats, but we've never not found two seats together and rarely had trouble finding two aisles across from one another (wife and I prefer that to aisle and middle). Obviously, this aisle-aisle would make seat saving awkward - at best.
IMO, on Southwest, saving one seat in a row is hardly ever an issue. Saving two in a row can stand if the others get in before B31, but usually ends badly if their traveling partners have really high boarding slots. By the time they call for C, no one's getting away with reserving rows of seats.
EBCI does not guarantee your two boarding slots will be adjacent and people do buy one EBCI and save for their partner, and it's fine. Southwest doesn't care, and unless your partner is boarding long after you no one will even bother you about it. I think you encountered that on your flight, and, as you say, you found two seats together.
There are many people who hate seat saving and the subject has engendered countless thousands of posts. I suspect some will weigh in on this thread with either their strongly held belief that seat saving is just wrong in principle and must be condemned at every opportunity or with apocryphal tales of chaos and disaster caused by a seat saver.
But honestly, having flown thousands of WN fights, I've only seen egregious seat saving a few times. N general it's a non issue.
Proceed as you're most comfortable doing.
​​​​
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Old Aug 24, 18, 6:21 am
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Originally Posted by AuntKathy4 View Post
Both times I paid the extra $15 for me and my husband. We got terrible seating order.
Can you elaborate: Which boarding group did you get? B? C? Both ways, or just one?
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Old Aug 24, 18, 8:51 am
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Yes, please share how far in advance you purchased your ticket, and what boarding number you got. We rarely buy it, and usually end up in the high A or early B by doing online checkin right at 24 hours before the flight. When we board there are often 20+ aisle seats still left.

As to saving seats - there are already 4,892 comments posted elsewhere on this site about that. Been beaten to death.
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Old Aug 24, 18, 8:52 am
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Oh my god, have there been frequent and extended conversations on the practice of seat-saving.

If you don't want to pay the fee for Early Bird boarding but can check in exactly (and I mean within 0-5 seconds) at 24 hours before your departure, perhaps you can score boarding positions between, oh, A40 and B20. Those will, with pretty high probability, be high enough to score an aisle seat and adjacent seat - although you may find them in the last 5-8 rows of the plane. If that's not good enough, pay the fee. If you need to be among the first 30 people to board you will need a Business Select fare. At that point you should be looking at discounted First class fares (and assigned seats, meals, power outlets, etc.) on Delta, American, and United.

For reference, a quick search on ITA Matrix for October with 8-10 night stay shows round-trip CLE-PHX, limited to one connection in each direction, in First as low as $822 (on United). On those dates Southwest's Business Select is $1,221.

Last edited by 3Cforme; Aug 24, 18 at 10:57 am
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Old Aug 24, 18, 9:29 am
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Originally Posted by AuntKathy4 View Post
I am new to SW. Only flew once last year to and from CLE to AZ and back. Both times I paid the extra $15 for me and my husband. We got terrible seating order. When I inquired I was told it depends on how many business travelers there are on the flight. When we finally did board, there were empty seats but passengers were saving by putting their purses or coats on them.
So when you boarded, there were still empty seats? Sounds like some people had even worse than "terrible" boarding position. I'm thinking yours really wasn't too terrible.
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Old Aug 24, 18, 9:50 am
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Originally Posted by AuntKathy4 View Post
What do all you experts advise?
My advice: as long as you know you will have data signal 24 hours prior to your flight, don't buy EBCI. Just check in 24 hours in advance - exactly - and you'll get a mid-B boarding pass and your choice of seats towards the back of the plane. Do it in the app: if you later want to check a bag and get a paper boarding pass, that's fine - the paper BP will be the number you see at T-24.

EBCI is a useful tool for specific situations. For example, I used it last year when I knew I'd be in the air on a BA short-haul flight that I was pretty sure wouldn't have Wifi. But barring something unusual that would prevent you from a T-24 check-in, it's not necessary.

On your prior flight, I'm not sure what exactly happened. With EBCI, and even with a bunch of through passengers and a few people saving seats, you should have still gotten 2 together somewhere, if not two adjacent aisles in the back. I've flown WN a ton of times with no status and no EBCI and have never had a bad seat unless I did some kind of flight change inside of 24 hours.
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Old Aug 24, 18, 6:13 pm
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
Oh my god, have there been frequent and extended conversations on the practice of seat-saving.

If you don't want to pay the fee for Early Bird boarding but can check in exactly (and I mean within 0-5 seconds) at 24 hours before your departure, perhaps you can score boarding positions between, oh, A40 and B20. Those will, with pretty high probability, be high enough to score an aisle seat and adjacent seat - although you may find them in the last 5-8 rows of the plane. If that's not good enough, pay the fee. If you need to be among the first 30 people to board you will need a Business Select fare. At that point you should be looking at discounted First class fares (and assigned seats, meals, power outlets, etc.) on Delta, American, and United.
For reference, a quick search on ITA Matrix for October with 8-10 night stay shows round-trip CLE-PHX, limited to one connection in each direction, in First as low as $822 (on United). On those dates Southwest's Business Select is $1,221.
Thatís insane.
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Old Aug 24, 18, 7:11 pm
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Ignore the seat savers and take any open seat. An open seat is one not occupied by a human being. Purses and bags don't count.
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Old Aug 24, 18, 8:15 pm
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Originally Posted by toomanybooks View Post

Thatís insane.
Of course it is. Doubtful many people pop for the BS fare when WGA starts in the 160s each way (based on the random 10-day spread I looked at in October).
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Old Aug 24, 18, 9:13 pm
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Originally Posted by Peoriaman1 View Post
Doubtful many people pop for the BS fare when WGA starts in the 160s each way ...
You forget the allure of the points multiplier to travelers booking on OPM.
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Old Aug 25, 18, 7:40 am
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Originally Posted by Peoriaman1 View Post
Of course it is. Doubtful many people pop for the BS fare when WGA starts in the 160s each way (based on the random 10-day spread I looked at in October).
I know people - I am related to people - who just can't accept being the 40th person to board a 737. I can't gauge the OP's antipathy to inferior boarding positions with any precision.
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Old Aug 25, 18, 8:30 am
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Originally Posted by Peoriaman1 View Post
Of course it is. Doubtful many people pop for the BS fare when WGA starts in the 160s each way (based on the random 10-day spread I looked at in October).
BS is really only useful if WGA is sold out or you need a fully refundable fare.
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