The High-Tech Texan Blog

Sunday, October 28, 2007

All Aboard

I've taken a few Southwest Airlines flights over the past few weeks and went through the new boarding process for the second time. I first happened to use it during the test phase in San Antonio last August but the Dallas-based airline is rolling it out now. All flights out of Dallas Love Field now use the lettered-and-numbered boarding pass and me likey.

Here is a copy of my computer-printed boarding pass. Notice the boarding group (A) and position (04). The number tell you where within the group you will stand in line before you board.

I like this process as it will eliminate the need for people to line up at the gate an hour before the flight. I'm an A guy, no doubt. I try to check in online as close to the 24 hour window before my flights. But I don't like getting to the gate an hour or more before flight time. That means I could be the 60th or more person to board the flight which - thanks to Southwest's open seating structure - means I could be sitting in the back or in the dreaded middle seat.

On this particular flight not one person was standing in line until the gate agent announced they were beginning to board. Then we all methodically lined up at our positions next to numbered columns.

Rolling out a new process like this to frequent and infrequent fliers could have been a nightmare but like everything Southwest does, the directions are simple as peanuts.

The only downside is that I now need to set my Outlook reminder alarm to buzz me exactly 24 hours before my flight so I can get a low number. Luckily I can do that from my web-enabled cell phone.



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