You know, I am sort of competitive, so at first I really enjoyed Southwest Airlines seating game. No assigned seats, but boarding groups A,B and C. Check in 24 hours in advance (Exactly 24 hours) and chances are you will get an A group. My business trips seem to all be on Southwest’s routes, so I’ve collected aplenty ofRapid Reward points. In the past year I have managed to acquire an A-01 position and recently, an A-02. There are some tricks but basically if you click “Check-in” exactly 24 hours in advance of your flight and have faster fingers than the other nerds sitting at their computers clicking their keyboards, you can win.
Of course, it isn’t like there is a whole lot of difference in the seats. No first class, no business class, every seat identical except the exit door rows, and I have not been able to snag one of those for two years. But since all their planes have three seats on the left and three on the right, it is avoiding that middle seat that is critical.
The flight tomorrow is a full flight, so I was lucky to get A-48. Which means 47 people get on the plane ahead of me, racing to find their favorite seat.
I still think I can be competitive at times, in a fun way. But lately this Southwest seat race is getting a little less fun. I flew Virgin America last Fall and was able to select my seat when I booked the flight. There is something to be said for knowing in advance where you will be sitting. And Virgin America has several levels of comfort, so I could upgrade to the perfect combination of comfort/cost.
I do like Southwest’s flights though. My flights are almost always taking off early and landing early. People put their butts down in their seats quickly or they lose them. That helps get us going faster. I like that they fly the same planes, so I figure every mechanic knows how to work on them. Some of larger world airlines have as many as 14 different type planes. Different parts, different skills to repair, etc.
But I think in time I may want to switch airlines. If I can find one that covers all my usual routes.