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View Full Version : SWA Boarding Question


kronan
06-27-2018, 06:02 PM
Good Evening,
thought I'd ask the experts for their opinion\advice. Shoot, if you can't turn to the internet for advice you're likely to ignore where can you turn
;-)

Background info is I'm a FedEx pilot and I was traveling home on a Business Select ticket, A03 as a matter of fact.

Gate agent took pity on me, recognized the ALPA lanyard, who knows...in any case she let me meander down to board the plane early. In fact I was the 1st person to board. So, stuck my mellon into the cockpit to see if I knew\recognized the crew. (Retired A-10 guy and a lot, of A-10 guys retired out of Tucson and are domiciled in Phoenix. Same is true for a whole slew of Lawndart drivers)

Normal crew question of are you Jumping-welcome aboard, No I'm ticketed, Business Select #3 as a matter of fact...just in case the Flight Attendants get jumpy is it okay with you if I grab an aisle seat in the Exit row. Sit anywhere you like, thanks for spending the $$ on us.

So, I meander on back, introduce myself to the FA in the Galley-No I'm not Jumpseating. Introduce myself to the FA in the Exit row, walk back to introduce myself to the FA in the Aft cabin as Preboarding commences..no I'm not Jumpseating, Business Select.

Head on back to the Exit row. Regular boarding starts, Woman who's #1 about row 4 and the FA says you can't sit there. What? You pre-boarded...No, I boarded early and I'm the #3 guy (no exit rows taken at this time). If that woman, who's #1 or the guy behind her want to sit here happy to move.

You can't sit there.
Capt told me I can sit anywhere I like but if He tells me to move...then I'll move.

FA meanders away and talks to Numero Uno Senor FA, who goes and talks to the Capt. And comes back and says...per FAA restrictions, you can't sit there. Preboarding people can't sit in an exit row. I'm not a preboarder, I boarded early. I'm the #3 guy. Per FAA guidance you can't sit there, but I know the Capt said you can sit wherever you'd like but the next time you JS just tell them to make you #1 and then it'll be okay.

And I'm thinking, WTF. How many times do I have to say I'm a ticketed passenger. The number 3 guy. Clearly, Clearly not someone who would need preboarding. And, I'd like to think one of the most qualified Pax to actually Sit in an Exit Row in the unlikely event Emergency Evac is actually needed.

In all honesty, on the rare occasions I'm on early I've never had an FA so hardcore on the You can't Sit there mindset after I say I've got the Capts OK. And, had it been anything other than a 3+ hour flight, I would've moved.

But darn it, I paid friggin 500$ in the hopes of a bit more legroom being available...and I pre-board pretty darn frequently on Delta out of my home airport with a Confirmed Exit row seat, and nary a word.

It's Not like I'm trying to Upgrade my C45 boarding pass.

So, what say you APC.
Standing up to the FA a good thing or a bad thing. (Certainly could've gone Ugly)
New hardcore SWA Policy? Or simply an older FA anti-pilot unable to make the mental leap between boarding early as compared to pre-boarding.


PotatoChip
06-27-2018, 06:34 PM
Iíve been C21, flashed a crew badge and sat in the exit row.
I try not to abuse it, but if an agent lets me down early to avoid a middle seat, Iím happy to accept that perk of the job. Never had anyone, FA or CA ever give grief, all have been great.

MudhammedCJ
06-27-2018, 08:26 PM
I would have politely reiterated "I'm a business select paying CUSTOMER. The ops agent directed me to board. I'm NOT a preboarder." If she pushed it after that, I would have moved, then written a letter to the corporate office regarding the specific flight attendant and her illogical actions, and demanded an explanation and refund of the extra payment for business select. Then I would put it (professionally) on twitter or whatever social media you use.

Sorry for the ridiculous treatment. If I would have witnessed that I would have done everything in my power (report to chief etc) to educate the FA that not everyone in a pilot uniform is a jumpseater that can be treated like a second class citizen. I know what it's like. I've had American employees do it to me a few times.


navigatro
06-28-2018, 11:04 AM
This is EXACTLY why I remove and put away my crew ID/lanyard once I clear KCM/security.

It just causes problems and confusion when on a PAID ticket.

WhaleSurfing
06-28-2018, 12:55 PM
Unfortunately some don't understand the pre-board issue. Because SWA doesn't have assigned seating FAR (14 CFR, Part 382.81C) is what is at issue here. Carriers such as SWA, who don't have advanced assignment seating, are required to allow passengers with disabilities, to pre-board and choose the seat(s) that best suit their personal needs. It is taken out of context frequently but technically the Ops Agent shouldn't have let you pre-board before those passengers with disabilities. Their Ops manual specifies this but the intent of the regulation is lost on many at SWA because they don't know the reason behind the rule. If you were to deny someone with a "pre-board disability" to sit in that exit seat then, yes, that's a problem. This issue is brought up frequently but again, no one knows the premise behind the rule.

bitatasg
06-28-2018, 04:29 PM
Unfortunately some don't understand the pre-board issue. Because SWA doesn't have assigned seating FAR (14 CFR, Part 382.81C) is what is at issue here. Carriers such as SWA, who don't have advanced assignment seating, are required to allow passengers with disabilities, to pre-board and choose the seat(s) that best suit their personal needs. It is taken out of context frequently but technically the Ops Agent shouldn't have let you pre-board before those passengers with disabilities. Their Ops manual specifies this but the intent of the regulation is lost on many at SWA because they don't know the reason behind the rule. If you were to deny someone with a "pre-board disability" to sit in that exit seat then, yes, that's a problem. This issue is brought up frequently but again, no one knows the premise behind the rule.


I learned something on this website today. Amazing!

MudhammedCJ
06-29-2018, 06:00 AM
Unfortunately some don't understand the pre-board issue. Because SWA doesn't have assigned seating FAR (14 CFR, Part 382.81C) is what is at issue here. Carriers such as SWA, who don't have advanced assignment seating, are required to allow passengers with disabilities, to pre-board and choose the seat(s) that best suit their personal needs. It is taken out of context frequently but technically the Ops Agent shouldn't have let you pre-board before those passengers with disabilities. Their Ops manual specifies this but the intent of the regulation is lost on many at SWA because they don't know the reason behind the rule. If you were to deny someone with a "pre-board disability" to sit in that exit seat then, yes, that's a problem. This issue is brought up frequently but again, no one knows the premise behind the rule.
But that's not this guys problem. It's the company's problem. He didn't do anything wrong.

e6bpilot
06-29-2018, 09:01 AM
But that's not this guys problem. It's the company's problem. He didn't do anything wrong.



Bingo. This was a blatant miscommunication between the ops agent and the FA. If you arenít a ďpreboardĒ ie you did not request to preboard for a disability, you can sit anywhere you want.
Southwest has become so black and white rule oriented in ground ops and inflight that it is negatively impacting their hospitality towards others, and especially our paying customers.
The ops agent was doing him an old school solid by letting him board first. The FAs completely didnít understand or get that at all. This is a company problem. Open seating is great until it isnít. We are rapidly approaching the point where the negatives outweigh the positives.
Preboarding is abused across the system and the jetway miracle plus the logjam of wheelchair pax during deplaning is ridiculous. Why? Because preboarders get some of the best seats on the plane. Wheelchair pax should get off the plane last as to not clog up the aisle and jetway when our other high value passengers are trying to get to their meetings and obligations. Itís a logistics issue. Alas, the lawyers write the policies and ground ops and inflight are afraid of their own shadows due to the write up culture in both of those employee groups.

WhaleSurfing
06-29-2018, 11:58 AM
But that's not this guys problem. It's the company's problem. He didn't do anything wrong.

Where did I say he did something wrong? When I referred to “some” not understanding the rule I was referring to SWA employees, not the jumoseater. I pretty much said it’s a communication problem and lack of understanding of the rule for some at SWA.

And I agree 100% with e6b

navigatro
06-29-2018, 05:54 PM
Also you screwed over A-1 and A-2 who were also paying customers, and should have boarded before you.

If you are a paying customer, board at your number. That is the system. Don't use your crew ID to cut in line unless you want to follow the pre-board restrictions.

Albief15
06-29-2018, 11:28 PM
Use Delta or AA. Your deviation money will have you Platinum at Delta or Executive Platinum in no time. Club membership complimentary. Put away your lanyard/ID. Don't be in uniform. Drink a Woodford. Read the paper or surf the net. Then stroll...at YOUR leisure....to the premium boarding line and enjoy your upgrade to first class and take your seat. The FA will see your airline bag and ask where you work, then thank you for flying on them. Then they will bring you your second Woodford, before you leave the ground. No upgrade? Sorry...but you ALREADY reserved an exit row seat and you've got some coupons for your cocktail, so second place isn't that shabby.

Or go fight the hoards. Your choice.

The crews at SWA are awesome, and you won't find a group of nicer, more motivated pilots anywhere. As a frequent traveler for business, however, I want to board one of two places: First--or last. At SWA, you get to stand in line and wait. Plane delayed--you are stuck--still waiting. Want to work on a project, or find a private spot for a business call? Tough ****....get in line and hold your spot. Leave line to hit the restroom and grab a coke or a snack--and if they start boarding when you step away your "premium" ticket didn't buy you anything. Add in the tendency for some people with a sense of entitlement to want to fight or bicker about a seat, and you are just asking for trouble IMHO. I don't want to get into a fight--even one I didn't try to start and am actively looking to avoid--while on company time getting to or from work. If anyone IDs you as a pilot you just became a target for questions, hassles, or worse.

I will sometimes use SWA as a point to point when finishing up somewhere late and wanting to get on the next town. I understand what I'm getting, board late, go to the back of the plane, and deal with it and try to be as nice as I can to the (as I mentioned) awesome crews. Its not the crews that bothers me flying SWA...its herd getting on.

SWAFA
07-01-2018, 10:34 AM
First of all, thank you for your business. We really do appreciate it.

I am a Southwest flight attendant (over 20 years of service) who reads this forum on a regular basis and I joined just to address your post.

The Captain, unfortunately, put the flight attendants in a tough position. I am absolutely positive that this was not his intention just as I am sure that it was not the intention of the flight attendants to give you a hard time.

I understand that you did not "preboard" in the sense of needing extra time and/or assistance. I understand that you only boarded ahead of everyone else because you were invited to do so by the operations agent as a professional courtesy.

However, to everyone else in the gate area watching and waiting to board, especially the other Business Select Customers and those Customers who paid for earlier boarding positions, it appeared that someone boarded ahead of everyone else and ahead of the call for "general boarding" and took a seat in the exit row.

To everyone else watching and waiting to board, you "pre-boarded."

Now the flight attendant standing at the exit row will be the one possibly subjected to the disgruntled looks and comments from Customers who thought they saw a pre-boarder sit in one of the exit row seat they had been counting on. It may be the flight attendants who will have to respond to a complaint letter from a Business Select Customer who saw a pre-boarder take the seat they wanted in the exit row.

Unfortunately, "the Captain said it was okay," or "he's a pilot so we let him board early to take whatever seat he wants," is probably not going to go over too well with the Customers who have also paid good money to be in the first group to board or those who have earned that boarding position due to their continued loyalty to our Company. Furthermore, those explanations will also probably not go over too well with In-flight Management should a formal complaint letter be sent in.

While it was nice of the Operations Agent to let you board early ahead of everyone else and nice of the Captain to tell you that it was okay to sit in the exit row, it truly put the flight attendants in a bad position.

I hope this explains a little of the perspective from our side of the flight deck door and again, thank you for your business.

Qotsaautopilot
07-02-2018, 09:14 PM
Let’s forget for a moment that the OP was the number three guy on a paid ticket. Never mind that there are more than two exit row seats so the number one and two pax are not getting any less value than their ticket bought them.

Where did the respect for the profession go? I don’t know if this guy was in uniform or not. At Southwest I know the drill when jumpseatong, don’t dare sit in good seat. Never understood it but I play by the rules and am greatful for the ride. Years ago I was jumpseating on continental and was given the last seat in first class. I actually had a passenger get mouthy with me when they were deplaning. They said that should’ve been their upgrade from coach and I shouldn’t have been given that seat. I was in uniform. Where did the respect for the profession go? It’s BS if you ask me.

As an aside, on a paid ticket board when you are supposed to and don’t poke your head in to the cockpit is the best practice. Being in regular clothes is preferable. At Spirit we are often deadheaded offline on paid tickets and if you just operated a flight or are going to operate a flight, changing clothes isn’t always possible.

CaptYoda
07-04-2018, 04:36 AM
Unless I am requesting a jump-seat, I make the greatest effort to travel "under the radar." I don't walk around with my ID badge showing and if at all possible get out of the monkey suit. In fact, I will venture to say that most airlines will state somewhere in their manuals that they want their employee non-revs to be inconspicuous. But you still see folks out of uniform with their ID's out for full display. There is always that assumption that when you are in uniform or with your ID hanging, you are non-reving. There are many out there that are not always familiar with crews traveling on paid tickets. Keeping it low profile and simple works best.

captjns
07-04-2018, 05:17 AM
Good Evening,
thought I'd ask the experts for their opinion\advice. Shoot, if you can't turn to the internet for advice you're likely to ignore where can you turn
;-)

Background info is I'm a FedEx pilot and I was traveling home on a Business Select ticket, A03 as a matter of fact.

Gate agent took pity on me, recognized the ALPA lanyard, who knows...in any case she let me meander down to board the plane early. In fact I was the 1st person to board. So, stuck my mellon into the cockpit to see if I knew\recognized the crew. (Retired A-10 guy and a lot, of A-10 guys retired out of Tucson and are domiciled in Phoenix. Same is true for a whole slew of Lawndart drivers)

Normal crew question of are you Jumping-welcome aboard, No I'm ticketed, Business Select #3 as a matter of fact...just in case the Flight Attendants get jumpy is it okay with you if I grab an aisle seat in the Exit row. Sit anywhere you like, thanks for spending the $$ on us.

So, I meander on back, introduce myself to the FA in the Galley-No I'm not Jumpseating. Introduce myself to the FA in the Exit row, walk back to introduce myself to the FA in the Aft cabin as Preboarding commences..no I'm not Jumpseating, Business Select.

Head on back to the Exit row. Regular boarding starts, Woman who's #1 about row 4 and the FA says you can't sit there. What? You pre-boarded...No, I boarded early and I'm the #3 guy (no exit rows taken at this time). If that woman, who's #1 or the guy behind her want to sit here happy to move.

You can't sit there.
Capt told me I can sit anywhere I like but if He tells me to move...then I'll move.

FA meanders away and talks to Numero Uno Senor FA, who goes and talks to the Capt. And comes back and says...per FAA restrictions, you can't sit there. Preboarding people can't sit in an exit row. I'm not a preboarder, I boarded early. I'm the #3 guy. Per FAA guidance you can't sit there, but I know the Capt said you can sit wherever you'd like but the next time you JS just tell them to make you #1 and then it'll be okay.

And I'm thinking, WTF. How many times do I have to say I'm a ticketed passenger. The number 3 guy. Clearly, Clearly not someone who would need preboarding. And, I'd like to think one of the most qualified Pax to actually Sit in an Exit Row in the unlikely event Emergency Evac is actually needed.

In all honesty, on the rare occasions I'm on early I've never had an FA so hardcore on the You can't Sit there mindset after I say I've got the Capts OK. And, had it been anything other than a 3+ hour flight, I would've moved.

But darn it, I paid friggin 500$ in the hopes of a bit more legroom being available...and I pre-board pretty darn frequently on Delta out of my home airport with a Confirmed Exit row seat, and nary a word.

It's Not like I'm trying to Upgrade my C45 boarding pass.

So, what say you APC.
Standing up to the FA a good thing or a bad thing. (Certainly could've gone Ugly)
New hardcore SWA Policy? Or simply an older FA anti-pilot unable to make the mental leap between boarding early as compared to pre-boarding.

Long story short you’re nothing more than a passenger traveling on a full fare ticket. You should have stowed the lanyard, taken the seat of your choice. Then, upon arrival, introduce yourself to the crew when deplaning. That said, this thread would not....

JATAGA
07-10-2018, 04:38 AM
It's been a while but when I was flying 121 they told us to wear our badges to show the FA that we were able bodied pax. It seems now that is not the case. As a current frac pilot we get the looks all the time as we are able to get good seats based on status.

kingairfun
07-10-2018, 05:46 PM
As a former Netjets guy who had to travel in uniform all the time on full fare tickets, and often upgraded to First on Delta,AA, and UA...I found it's easier just to board with your priority, once on board take your seat and be just another paying customer. (I always tried to be cordial, but at the same time I didn't put up with pushback from gate agents or random FA's who wanted to treat me like a non-rev/JS'er)

For the "take you lanyard, monket suit off etc" crowd.. I get the idea, but honestly, if I'm just another paying passenger, I can wear whatever I want... Unless its booty shorts and a pink tank top, with black dress shoes!!

I frequently would have FA's (per captain request) ask why I didn't stop up to ask for a ride, or "the Captain would like to see you about the JS".. I was polite but to the point, I am not JS'ing and am a payed passenger who happens to be a pilot, just like every other passenger in a suit and tie.

symbian simian
07-12-2018, 09:57 PM
Also you screwed over A-1 and A-2 who were also paying customers, and should have boarded before you.

If you are a paying customer, board at your number. That is the system. Don't use your crew ID to cut in line unless you want to follow the pre-board restrictions.

You really sound like a great person

Roper92
07-13-2018, 10:13 AM
Also you screwed over A-1 and A-2 who were also paying customers, and should have boarded before you.

If you are a paying customer, board at your number. That is the system. Don't use your crew ID to cut in line unless you want to follow the pre-board restrictions.

Iíve been A21 and boarded in the back of the A21-25 group. I donít think everyone is in exact order. I didnít feel ďscrewedĒ. If you want first dibs on a seat, fly an airline that has assigned seats. This guy didnít do anything wrong and good on him for standing up for himself.

flensr
07-13-2018, 10:39 AM
I got to the gate after pre-boarding was done for a JS home, and since they were already almost done with group A and my JS ticket said B24 I just got in line. Gate agent immediately waved me up and told me to get on the plane, said have a nice trip home and a good weekend.

I think smiling helps.

navigatro
07-13-2018, 10:47 AM
You really sound like a great person

actually, I am.

Go over to Flyertalk or one of the frequent flyer boards.

There you will read about the business travelers, the ones who fly weekly on high fare tickets. They get pretty upset when someone upsets the "system".

They want the seat that their boarding # entitles them to. It may be a specific seat in a specific row. So if someone "cuts in line" they will complain.


this may not be important to you, but it is definitely important to many of Southwest's best customers.

and these customers are not nearly as entitled as some of you pilots

WHACKMASTER
07-13-2018, 11:13 AM
I got to the gate after pre-boarding was done for a JS home, and since they were already almost done with group A and my JS ticket said B24 I just got in line. Gate agent immediately waved me up and told me to get on the plane, said have a nice trip home and a good weekend.

I think smiling helps.

Correct me if Iím wrong but per our boarding procedures, JSer are expected/entitled/supposed to board immediately after preboarders so they donít tie up general boarding with stoppIng to check in with the cockpit.

flensr
07-13-2018, 11:39 AM
Correct me if I’m wrong but per our boarding procedures, JSer are expected/entitled/supposed to board immediately after preboarders so they don’t tie up general boarding with stoppIng to check in with the cockpit.

It wasn't a JS boarding pass. When I get a JS boarding pass I do pre-board. Unless I'm too late to pre-board.

In this case, my boarding pass was not JS and I wasn't there for pre-boarding either.

And yes usually I do get listed for JS, makes things simpler for everyone.

symbian simian
07-16-2018, 10:29 AM
actually, I am.

Go over to Flyertalk or one of the frequent flyer boards.

There you will read about the business travelers, the ones who fly weekly on high fare tickets. They get pretty upset when someone upsets the "system".

They want the seat that their boarding # entitles them to. It may be a specific seat in a specific row. So if someone "cuts in line" they will complain.


this may not be important to you, but it is definitely important to many of Southwest's best customers.

and these customers are not nearly as entitled as some of you pilots

Don't have to go there, I lived it. ACMI with international paid commute for 7 years, followed by fractional for 8 more, took me 5 months to get to Senator class at DLH. He didn't cut the line, the SWA OPS guy told him to get on, he explained to everyone on board how he ended up there early, and got told off by an FA who could not reach a basic level of common sense. He would have been totally right to raise a stink as a paying customer, he was definitely not an entitled pilot.

gsphuntr
07-17-2018, 05:05 PM
Don't have to go there, I lived it. ACMI with international paid commute for 7 years, followed by fractional for 8 more, took me 5 months to get to Senator class at DLH. He didn't cut the line, the SWA OPS guy told him to get on, he explained to everyone on board how he ended up there early, and got told off by an FA who could not reach a basic level of common sense. He would have been totally right to raise a stink as a paying customer, he was definitely not an entitled pilot.

THIS! For the WIN! thread lock!

TiredSoul
07-17-2018, 05:32 PM
Kronan,

You and I must have met the same FA.
Got told off for taking the emergency exit. Iím like Iíve got a regular ticket and I was told to board.
Anyway halfway through the flight a pax in front of me asked her a question about flight time and weather or something. She goes like ď why donít you ask MISTER PILOT over hereĒ
Ah well...anybody can have a bad day I guess.



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