SouthWest Secrets Club 7-9
Most Airlines have some sort of frequent flyer program. Once you have done enought flying(suffering) they start to feel for you and let you get on in the first group and sometimes upgrade you to first class. Plus the benefit of getting a better opportunity to choose seats. Even though they are little perks, it is a real bummer losing those features.
Southwest doesn’t have first class, but does give the savy traveller an edge up. Most of this information is public knowlege, but is hidden pretty deep. But there are a couple of secrets. My brother-in-law Charles has to be given all credit for discovering the secrets. He will probably be a little upset for me sharing his secrets but not many people will ever read this blog so I am not going to worry.
The First critical step is checking in 24 hours in advance. Even if you are checking a bag. This can be done at southwest.com and can also be done from your phone. Don’t worry about being able to print the boarding pass. If you are checking a bag they will print you one at the airport. I even had a skycap print me a boarding pass when I forgot the one I printed at home, even though I wasn’t checking a bag.
Checking in early is critical because it gives you the number in which you can board. Checking in 24 hours early will usually get you an “A” status between 30 to 40. So if you are A 32 you are the 32nd person to get on the plane. All Southwest planes are exactly the same and have 134 seats. Getting on first gives us the opportunity to choose the seat we want. Most people guess what the best seats are. After flying for over 10 years and over 200,000 miles. I preffer an isle seat close to the front with no one sitting next to me. I love to talk to people,an empty seat between us never stopped a good conversation.
So to get the seat you have to have a plan and you have to know what other people are going to do. Charles, my brother-in-law flew southwest everyweek for over a year and started to see a pattern in Human behavior when it comes to the South west experience.
He noticed that many people want to get off quickly and will sit in the first 6 rows, even taking the dreaded middle seat to be able to get off the plane quickly. Once people see the first six rows are taken they head to the back of the plane to find a better seat. So the back fills up forward. This means that the last row to fill their middle seats are rows 7-9, hence the 7-9 club.
A couple of times I have forgotten to check in right at the 24 hour mark and check in a couple of hours late. I was A 57 once and A 65 once. both times I was able to get an isle seat in 7-9.
But that is not it; Once you sit down, and as quickly as possible, you get your MP3 player out. Stick in your headphones and close your eyes, act like you are sleeping and imagine no one sitting next to you. And act as big as possible.
I have been on 10 flights in the last six months. 2 times there were 132 people on the plane and one of the two empty seats was next to me. Three times the plane was completely full and twice the last person to sit sat next to me. Once a lady invited a girl to sit next to her before eveyone sat down. They were nice. the other 5 times there were more than 3 seats empty and one of the empty seats was next to me.
While it’s not a guarentee it gives you an edge to making your Southwest Experience lots better. If you fly let me know how it works out. Both Charles and I would rather fly Southwest now.