United Website Pokes Fun at Southwest's Boarding Policy — See How

The site offers to call Southwest customers to remind them to check in to their flight — avoiding the airline's "Group C."

Interior of the seats on a Southwest Airlines airplane

Ashlee Duncan/Courtesy of Southwest Airlines

United Airlines is poking fun at Southwest Airlines with a new website that offers to call Southwest’s customers to remind them to check in for a flight so they get a better boarding position.

The new website, notgroupc.com, laments Southwest’s policy of assigning travelers a boarding number based on when they check in. Southwest doesn't assign seats and instead offers "open seating," assigning travelers a boarding group (A, B, or C) and a position (1 through 60 or more) when they check in, their website reads.

The website offers to schedule a “courte-c call” for Southwest travelers so they don’t have to set an alarm to remind them to check in. The website also touts United’s own policy of allowing customers to choose a seat in advance.

“Once upon a time, a Southwest flyer forgot to check in exactly 24 hours ahead of their flight. And ended up in the dreaded Boarding Group C. Dun dun dunnnn,” United wrote on the site. “But — plot twist — we're here to help you avoid that fate! Our Courte-C call system will give you a ring before your check-in time so you can do your best to avoid a less-than-desirable seat… Thanks to the airline that lets you choose your seat in advance. *cough cough* United.”

United's managing director of advertising and social media, Maggie Schmerin, referred to the website as "a lighthearted alarm to remind travelers who may not choose United that there’s an easier way to travel," in a statement to Travel + Leisure.

"Ideally, the next time these travelers are flying, they won’t need to check in 24 hours before or risk being in Group C, because they will have chosen to fly with United and not one of our competitors," she added.

In response to the website, Southwest called the move "fun" and "a great curtesy."

"It’s fun seeing another airline reminding our Customers to check in for their flights," a Southwest representative told T+L. "It’s a great courtesy they’re extending to Southwest’s loyal Customer base, and we appreciate their hospitality."

For its part, Southwest launched an option for customers to upgrade their seats online ahead of their flight starting at $30 per segment. Upgraded boarding can only be purchased within 24 hours of a flight's departure time and sales end 30 minutes before departure. This feature is included in Business Select seats.

Southwest also offers an "EarlyBird Check-In" option, which will automatically check customers in for their flight before the typical 24-hour check-in period, also ensuring a more desirable boarding slot. This option, which starts at $15 per one-way flight, can be purchased up to 36 hours before a flight's scheduled departure.

Southwest offers all customers two free checked bags and no change fees.

In 2020, United also eliminated change fees for all tickets except basic economy fares, and last year, the company made same-day standby free for all customers. The policy set off a domino effect with many U.S. airlines following suit. Earlier this year, United started allowing travelers who book a basic economy ticket to either upgrade to a standard economy ticket or cancel it for a fee.

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