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Southwest Boarding Etiquette Question

Charleston, South...
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Southwest Boarding Etiquette Question

I recently flew Southwest for the first time and enjoyed their boarding process. I am not a fan of the scrum involved in boarding the other airlines and found SW's lineup process a welcome respite from this. On the way home, though, I noticed something and wanted to ask the experts.

My husband and I were boarding position A30 and A31, so we were first on the terminal side of the boarding queue. As we waited for the folks A1-29 to board (the window side), we noticed that a person who had A38 on his boarding pass was boarding with the earlier group. I will call him A38. He was clearly with the people he was boarding with, and those people had A-twentysomething. My initial thought was that A38 was line jumping.

On the other hand, I have a credit card from a major airline which grants me the right to board in Group B, right after the first class folks. I book flights when I can on this card for the early boarding benefits. But when I book for hubby and me, only my boarding pass has Group B. The hubby is still in Group C. Gate attendants have universally told me that the hubby can board with me in Group B (and have announced the same over the loudspeaker). In other words, a person in a later boarding group can board with his/her party if the others in the party have an earlier boarding group.

Does Southwest work the same way? Is it totally legit that A38 (later boarding group) boarded with his party in the earlier boarding group? Or is the same policy not true at Southwest due to their unique boarding system - and I witnessed a line-jumper?

I didn't mind and certainly wasn't going to complain. I ask because I want to do things correctly. I purchased Early Bird Check in for both me and my husband so that we'd have a good boarding spot. It seems to me if "board with the earliest boarder in your party" is the rule, then only one person would ever purchase EBCI and expect their entire party to board with them.

I expect that Southwest does not adhere to the "board with the earliest in your party" rule for this reason, but I wanted to ask. Thanks for any input!

Cape May, New Jersey
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11. Re: Southwest Boarding Etiquette Question

I can never understand this issue. Why care? The flight is not leaving until all are boarded anyway.

London, United...
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12. Re: Southwest Boarding Etiquette Question

>>I can never understand this issue. Why care? The flight is not leaving until all are boarded anyway.<<

Because we are all,different. I'm an early boarder, my husband wants to be the last dude on the plane. We are all different, we can't all board first and we can't all board last.

If you don't care, fine, be the last on and fight for space in the over head bin and risk your hand luggage being under your seat or gate checked, but enjoy the luxury of spending less time on the plane. As said, we all have different priorities, try to at least understand that even if you don't care, others do and they have their preferences.

Elwood, IL
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13. Re: Southwest Boarding Etiquette Question

I fly southwest a lot. As long as I have a seat on the plane, I really don't care where I sit. If there are two of you travelling, one of you can purchase early boarding. You can save your partner a seat. SW doesn't make a big deal of this. They don't announce it but they do allow it. The guy in A38 - line jumper. The remark about the overhead bins being full, I wish SW would make the allowance smaller. Before I get jumped for that remark, lol, the bags that some flyers bring on are ridiculously big. They have trouble lifting the bags. I don't understand why they don't check them as long as they fly free. I hate dragging a bag through the airport. Its so great just getting on the plane with a small carry on that fits under my seat.

Boston...
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for Walt Disney World, Orlando, Antarctic Adventures
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14. Re: Southwest Boarding Etiquette Question

Southwest has the added wrinkle of not having an assigned seat. I'd pay just about any fee to avoid getting a middle seat if I am travelling by myself. This is why I don't fly Southwest anymore. I don't want to have to play boarding games to get a lower fare.

When I have a ticketed seat and I am trying to get my rollerboard on, you bet I am going to promptly get in line when called before all the amateurs with oversize bags, who also stuff their winter coats in the overhead even after numerous announcements not to do so, take up all the space.

When I have a ticketed seat and I just have my purse, I will sit in the gate area until the last moment.

Different strokes for different folks...and scenarios.

Chicago, Illinois
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15. Re: Southwest Boarding Etiquette Question

"I can never understand this issue. Why care? The flight is not leaving until all are boarded anyway."

Two reasons

1. Southwest does not assign seats so if you care about getting an aisle or front of the plane or want to get two or more seats together, you need to board early.

2. There is usually not enough overhead space for everyone. So if you have a carry on, especially one that does not fit under your seat, you need to board early.

Spartanburg, South...
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16. Re: Southwest Boarding Etiquette Question

I have more issue with the people who do not know how to de-plane rather than the ones jumping spots in the SW boarding order .On my last flight the row in front of me was clearing and here comes someone barging into me from behind. They shot me a get out of my way look and I shoved in front of them anyhow...lol..I found it amusing.

Sherbrooke, Canada
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17. Re: Southwest Boarding Etiquette Question

I did not say that the passenger had elite status, i just said that they are many reasons or ways for someone to board early, elite staus can be one. If he wasn't stopped at the boarding gate then he probably had valid reasons to get on a why care what others do.

Cape May, New Jersey
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18. Re: Southwest Boarding Etiquette Question

So...the early boarders just want to hog up the overhead bins.

Ottawa, Kansas
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19. Re: Southwest Boarding Etiquette Question

Is it worth it to buy the early bird check in though? It's 50 bucks for me and my husband and it's not a guaranteed to give you a A boarding. This is the first time I have flown in almost twenty years sorry if it's a silly question. I mean if everyone can buy one what good does it do if we all do?

Maryland
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for Las Vegas, Washington DC, County Donegal, Western Ireland
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20. Re: Southwest Boarding Etiquette Question

"So...the early boarders just want to hog up the overhead bins."

What are you suggesting as an alternative? That the bins be left empty and people who board early should place their roller bags on their laps?