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Confirmed: Boarding positions are no longer being recycled

Confirmed: Boarding positions are no longer being recycled

Old Apr 14, 21, 8:13 am
  #1  
nsx
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Confirmed: Boarding positions are no longer being recycled

A-list boarding numbers are assigned 36 hours before departure. When the member cancels a trip after that time, his boarding position becomes vacant. The next person to check in will get that boarding number. At least that's how it has worked in the past.

Recent flights have me wondering if this has changed. This week both A16 and A17 were absent from the boarding line. There always seems to be at least one missing person in the first five spots.

Maybe they are choosing to board late, for example to avoid virus exposure. Maybe they are no-shows. Or maybe Southwest has changed its software to avoid giving out canceled A-list boarding positions.

Has anyone here recently received a low boarding number, say A20 or lower, checking in normally as a non A-list member?
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Old Apr 14, 21, 9:02 am
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I haven't seen any reused boarding pass #s since 2018-2019

It used to be when a family member cancels at 3am and another browser window immediately clicks checkin, they would re-draw the same boarding # each time.

Instead from our testing even on full flights, there seems to be an infinite capacity on the higher # C boarding passes. I have seen C's in the high 80s or low 90s.

//with regards to A16 boarding late, that was our exact strategy during the mostly empty covid flights.. hey why not take rows between us and other pax! Us and other A-listers actually had a mini standoff at final boarding once---with both families pretending to not be on the flight, just hanging near the gate until the last minute.. then both aaying go ahead of us "we insist".
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Old Apr 14, 21, 10:13 am
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I see at least someone missing in 16-20 frequently, always assumed it was a last minute (few hours) cancellation, after everyone already has checked in
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Old Apr 14, 21, 11:49 am
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I would also guess some missing spots are to more people have the premium credit cards and getting free A1-15 boardings. We have done that on some flights. On one flight we got a2 and a3. And there for around 6 people behind us in the A1-a15. I have to assume they bought upgrades right after we did. That would leave their spaces open as well.
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Old Apr 14, 21, 2:20 pm
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Originally Posted by NoStressHere View Post
I would also guess some missing spots are to more people have the premium credit cards and getting free A1-15 boardings. We have done that on some flights. On one flight we got a2 and a3. And there for around 6 people behind us in the A1-a15. I have to assume they bought upgrades right after we did. That would leave their spaces open as well.
That's possible, but how many people would actually use one of their free upgrades offered through the credit cards to jump from A16-20 to A1-15? Doesn't seem like much of an upgrade.
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Old Apr 14, 21, 2:28 pm
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I'm usually A-16-25 depending on the flight and I've noticed that most of the time there are some missing numbers near me. Some of it could be pre-boarders, family boarders who elect to board with the children or people late to the gatew..
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Old Apr 14, 21, 4:11 pm
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Good afternoon all!

I don't have the exact date, but we did stop re-using (re-issuing, recycling) boarding pass numbers a couple years ago.

This was based on Customer feedback when someone would check-in last minute and end up in front of an a-lister, or someone who purchased Early Bird.
In order to protect your status benefits, and the purchased EB product those numbers are no longer assigned to the next check-in.
As someone noted above, they get added to the end of the C group.

Please remember that some of those empty spaces are also attributable to preboards, no shows, last minute a-listers, families traveling with children, active duty military, and others who may be invited to board earlier than their assigned position.
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Old Apr 14, 21, 4:42 pm
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Originally Posted by SWAVictor View Post
Good afternoon all!

I don't have the exact date, but we did stop re-using (re-issuing, recycling) boarding pass numbers a couple years ago.

This was based on Customer feedback when someone would check-in last minute and end up in front of an a-lister, or someone who purchased Early Bird.
In order to protect your status benefits, and the purchased EB product those numbers are no longer assigned to the next check-in.
As someone noted above, they get added to the end of the C group.

Please remember that some of those empty spaces are also attributable to preboards, no shows, last minute a-listers, families traveling with children, active duty military, and others who may be invited to board earlier than their assigned position.
Thanks for that info! It does seem like this change was more recent than a couple of years ago though. Your reps have been using, and still do use, the "recycled positions" as an excuse for EBCI oddities -- maybe they should be notified of the change?


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Last edited by ursine1; Apr 14, 21 at 5:39 pm Reason: grammar
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Old Apr 15, 21, 10:02 am
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Originally Posted by ursine1 View Post
Thanks for that info! It does seem like this change was more recent than a couple of years ago though. Your reps have been using, and still do use, the "recycled positions" as an excuse for EBCI oddities -- maybe they should be notified of the change?



Thanks for the information, will share to get the word out.
Hopefully this user did indeed PM us to look in to the specifics of their reservation.
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Old Apr 15, 21, 10:43 am
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Originally Posted by ryanmcv View Post
That's possible, but how many people would actually use one of their free upgrades offered through the credit cards to jump from A16-20 to A1-15? Doesn't seem like much of an upgrade.
Agree it does not seem like much of an upgrade - BUT if one is after certain seats. (exit row, luv seats,bulkhead) - the odds of grabbing those drop as more people board before you. High A spots have the best shot, but if you 15 people behind others, your chances go downhill.

We have 3 of those cards, so we get 12 per year. We will be dropping one of those cards next month and have used up the 4 on that card.
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Old May 17, 21, 3:26 pm
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Originally Posted by NoStressHere View Post
BUT if one is after certain seats. (exit row, luv seats.
So - what are luv seats?

(It has been many years since I was on FlyerTalk, Oct 2009 according to the "You last visited" notification.)
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Old May 17, 21, 6:30 pm
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Originally Posted by Far Left Texas View Post
So - what are luv seats?

(It has been many years since I was on FlyerTalk, Oct 2009 according to the "You last visited" notification.)
They are the two seats located in the exit row on one side of the airplane, no extra legroom room even though in the exit row but no seat to the left of you so great for couples hence the luv seat name.
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Old May 18, 21, 7:53 am
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Originally Posted by figment7 View Post
They are the two seats located in the exit row on one side of the airplane, no extra legroom room even though in the exit row but no seat to the left of you so great for couples hence the luv seat name.
Yep. And on the 737-800, there is a set on each side.
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Old May 18, 21, 10:45 am
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Originally Posted by SWAVictor View Post
Good afternoon all!

I don't have the exact date, but we did stop re-using (re-issuing, recycling) boarding pass numbers a couple years ago.

This was based on Customer feedback when someone would check-in last minute and end up in front of an a-lister, or someone who purchased Early Bird.
In order to protect your status benefits, and the purchased EB product those numbers are no longer assigned to the next check-in.
As someone noted above, they get added to the end of the C group.

Please remember that some of those empty spaces are also attributable to preboards, no shows, last minute a-listers, families traveling with children, active duty military, and others who may be invited to board earlier than their assigned position.
Thanks for the info! Out of curiosity, do you know if anything is in place for the boarding numbers that are abandoned by A lister cancellations to be recycled for other A listers who missed the T-36 cutoff?
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I'm a tiny bit surprised by the fact that there was customer feedback opposed to the recycling of boarding numbers. When I've had to make a last minute change, I was glad that someone out there was going to get an unexpectedly good boarding position.
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Old May 18, 21, 1:16 pm
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Originally Posted by mdword View Post
Thanks for the info! Out of curiosity, do you know if anything is in place for the boarding numbers that are abandoned by A lister cancellations to be recycled for other A listers who missed the T-36 cutoff?
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I'm a tiny bit surprised by the fact that there was customer feedback opposed to the recycling of boarding numbers. When I've had to make a last minute change, I was glad that someone out there was going to get an unexpectedly good boarding position.
The a-list check in process, like the EB process, is set to run at specific intervals prior to flight time.
Currently their is logic in place to never re-use those numbers. I am not aware of any effort to reserve abandoned a-list positions for last minute a-listers - but that doesn't mean it isn't being discussed.
Of course, we already have the boarding process of allowing any a-listers to board after the A boarding group that also helps to resolve this.

I'll happily pass along the suggestion!
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