Southwest Airlines Assigned Seating Leads to Pandemonium

Southwest Airlines has been thinking about changing its open seating policy for assigned seating. This isn’t about convenience or altruism: rather, it’s about trying to cram as many people into a plane as quickly as possible, reducing the turn-around time between when a flight lands to when it takes off again.

Well, Southwest conducted its first experiment in assigned seating the other day, on a flight from Dallas to Phoenix. Pandemonium reigned. Customers were outraged by the convolution of the experiment, which involved customers having to line-up to check-in, line-up to pass security, then line-up again to get their seats.

“It’s ridiculous,” said one traveler. “It was so easy before, you got your card and you just walked on board. Now you can’t pick your seat.” And driving the spiky point right through Southwest’s dented forehead, another traveler supplemented: “These guys are smart, why change something that’s not broke? The only people that do this are dinosaur airlines.”

Southwest Airlines tries telling passengers where to sit [Mercury News]


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  1. Drinker Nisti says:

    Of course it’s broke–
    you never just “got your card and walked on board.” You got your card, immediately herded yourself into one of three pens, stood around or sat on the floor for an hour and then stood around for ages on the jetway as people filled up the front of the plane first. If you’re in a later group, forget any chance of overhead space for that carry-on.

    Have I mentioned that I adore JetBlue?

  2. Iris says:

    I would be super pissed if they do this full-time on all flights. I fly Southwest for a few reasons, the main one being the pick-yer-own seat process, but also because their flight attendants are actually nice. Funny, even. I travel extensively for business and got sick of that stupid gigantic beverage cart the Alaska/American/United/Delta flight attendants barrel down and block the aisle with for the majority of the flight, knocking your elbows the whole way and then the bitchy freeze-out when you try to get by to use the facilities. Southwest isn’t perfect, but at least they seem like they want to get there as fast as and with as little inconvenience as possible. Plus it’s kind of fun to play the “A” group game by setting your phone/device/computer to go off 23 hours and 59 minutes before the flight and the resulting scramble to get in that first 75.

  3. Ben Popken says:

    D writes:

    “Maybe there was pandemonium because Southwest doesn’t fly from Dallas to Phoenix. At all.

    It’s a Wright Amendment thing.

    All the test flights are out of San Diego anyway.

    Yours in fact checking,