Group “A” – Home For The Holidays Part 1

Home for the Holidays.  Nice concept and popular in movies and music.  In reality, getting there can be a hassle.  But since Travel Queen Tips is all about more fun and less hassles when you travel, the next few weeks will be devoted to getting YOU home for the holidays with minimum fuss.

Do you need to take a plane to your destination?   Flights are always oversold around Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The closer you get to the day of departure, the more expensive and scarcer airline tickets typically become.

So if you plan to fly over one of the major travel holidays, buy your airline tickets now!  You will likely get the lowest fare and by absorbing the cost in October, you reduce the impact on your budget in December.

Southwest Airlines is a popular airline of choice for many holiday travelers.  They are known for lower fares and they don’t charge to check a bag – an unexpected cost inexperienced travelers often do not factor into their ticket purchase decision.  They are also the most flexible should your plans unexpectedly change.

The downside to Southwest, particularly over the holidays when every flight is jam packed is that they do not allow you to pre-assign seats.  Instead, they board by “Groups” and then in numerical order within the group.  Example:  A1, A2, etc.

Getting a low boarding number is always preferred – over the holidays it’s essential!

  • A low boarding number increases the odds your group will be able to sit together.
  • It also will give you more choices in seat selection – aisle, window or middle.
  • Those on the plane first also find it easier to stow their carry-ons because the bins are not yet full.  If you don’t plan to check a bag – or even if you do but will have a tote bag or shopping bag of gifts you will carry on with you – overhead space is not guaranteed by ANY airline.  A low boarding number on Southwest makes it far more likely you will find a space for your items.
How do you get one of these prized “A” Group boarding numbers?  You pay for it!
When on the Southwest Airlines website booking your flight, select the lowest fare available for your destination and preferred travel time.  This is the price in the FAR RIGHT column of their page.  If you book now, you may get one of their low “Wanna Get Away” fares and will often say “Web Only”.
As you move to the next screen where you put in the travelers’ names, you will see an option for “Earlybird Check-In”.  SELECT IT!!!!!  Yes, it will increase the price of your ticket $10 each way – $20 total on a round-trip but trust me, over the holidays it’s a small price to pay to preserve your sanity!
The sooner you do this, the lower the number you will get because they check you in automatically and assign a boarding number.
This weekend, call the people  you want to visit over the holidays and make a plan.  Request time off at work (if necessary) and then book your flight.  Regardless of the airline – the sooner the better when it comes to holiday travel!
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