So you checked southwest.com for Airport Arrival Times and saw that we recommend you arrive an hour and a half before departure in Nashville (BNA). You decided to play it safe and added an hour to that for the Holidays. But your checkin was so smooth that you have some extra time before your flight leaves. What to do? Well since I work here at BNA, let me give you some suggestions: 1. Before you enter security, check out the Arts in the Airport exhibits. There is a rotating exhibit to the left of the Southwest Ticket Counter and throughout the airport (see #7) 2. If it’s a sunny day, look for the mirrors on the walls and ceilings reflecting a rainbow of colors. It can be quite a spectacular display. 3. After exiting security go to the Shoe Shine shop. I stop by regularly, and they create a mirror finish on my boots. 4. If you’re hungry, stop at Swett's between C-4 and C-7 for some amazing Southern cooking. Be sure to get some cobbler for desert. Mmmm… 5. After you get your food, step next door to Tootsie’s for some live music. 6. Just past gate C-9 is a food court with a sit down restaurant and fast food. There’s a shopping area with a book store, electronics shop, kids wear, and sunglasses. 7. The food court also has more exhibits from the Arts in the Airport program. 8. If you continue through the food court and keep going you’ll walk right into one of my favorite services in the airport, a Massage Bar! 9. If you still have some time to spare, just past the Massage Bar is Nashville Nails. And yes, guys can get manicures. You should have seen my hands before they went to work on them. Ask for the paraffin hand wax. It’s amazing! 10. If you want to let your kids burn off some energy, there is a play area in the unused gate area of C-15/17. Now that you’ve eaten, shopped, been pampered and entertained, head on down to your gate and have a LUVly flight! I’ll see you on the baggage level when you get back.
... View more
To Joyce with the peanut allergic child...
We have procedures in place to assist our Customers with severe allergies to peanut dust and will make every attempt not to serve packaged peanuts on the aircraft when our Customers alert us of their allergy to peanut dust. We ask Customers with peanut dust allergies making reservations over the phone to advise our Customer Representatives of the allergy at the time the reservation is made. If the reservation is made via a travel agent, the Customer should telephone 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792) afterward to speak with a Customer Representative. If the reservation is made via southwest.com, the Customer may advise us of the allergy on the "Southwest Airlines Payment and Passenger Information" screen by clicking on the link to "Add/Edit Disability Assistance Options."
Please see http://www.southwest.com/html/customer-service/unique-travel-needs/allergies-disabilities-pol.html for more information.
... View more
You never know what effect a random act of kindness will create. But, I wanted to tell you about an event that reach beyond the small gift given by one of our Crews. However, first I have to tell you a story… By now I’m sure you’ve all seen the devastation in Haiti. If you are like me, you are saddened, but a little numb to international tragedy. It’s a world away. Send a little money, say a prayer for the victims, and promptly forget. However, Haiti is different. I have friends who have been trying to adopt a little girl from an orphanage in Haiti. After several mission trips, Mike and Missy Wilson decided to adopt Tia. The Wilson’s older child, Katie, took a semester off from college to go work at the orphanage, arriving just one week prior to the earthquake. As you can imagine, Mike and Missy were at first terrified, then relieved to hear from Katie after 24 hours of waiting and trying to reach her. She and Tia, as well as all the orphans were all okay. Mike was able to get to Haiti shortly after the airport began accepting flights. He took a Southwest flight from Nashville(BNA) to Tampa(TPA) and then got on a charter to Haiti. He was reunited with Katie and Tia and began to work to bring them home. Here’s more in Mike’s own words: What About These Kids??? January 16, 2010 11:24 pm Here in Haiti the orphan crisis is very real. I have been here since Wednesday evening and beginning at dawn on Thursday, the number one priority of my visit was to rescue the orphans we knew were without a building in Carrefour. What began as my simple attempt to rescue my daughters became a realization…Haiti is in dire need of help, and it will not be easy. Thursday we were fortunate. We were able to locate all of the children from our orphanage, secure transportation for them all, and move them to a safe location outside of Port au Prince. They were all alive, safe, and (with the exception of one of the workers who was at the hospital at the time of the quake and received a broken leg) unharmed. The problems grow quickly. The building where the children once lived is unfit for them to return to. The bottom two floors have compressed to the point where no one even entertains the thought of reentering the building. When we left the building on Thursday with the children, one of the guards ran back inside ignoring the shouts to stop. When he came back down he was carrying Katie’s clothes that had been hanging in her room. HE RISKED HIS LIFE FOR HER CLOTHES!! The children got out with the basics…clothes for that day, a few mats, and the food and water they bravely went back into the building to get. The children are alive and doing well, but for how long. The adults can deal with things. The children are on their own. Most of the violence I have seen firsthand comes from those who have lost loved ones, those who have been turned away from getting help for their sick or injured family and friends, criminals, and parents fighting for their children’s lives. So who fights for those without parents? It’s truly up to us. We MUST take care of these children…because the sad reality is this: over the next few weeks more children will be forced to live in orphanages and creches because they unfortunately are now “orphans.” As Paul Harvey would say, “And now for the rest of the story.” This past week I received a call from Mike about his flight to TPA that he just had to tell. He was so appreciative and the story so moving that I couldn’t keep it to myself. The day after the earthquake, Mike took Flight #1627 from BNA to TPA. The Flight Attendants on that flight were Stephanie, Marchell, and Holly. Upon learning that Mike was on his way to Haiti, they filled a garbage bag with peanuts and pretzels. Mike took that bag with him when he boarded a medical charter to Haiti later that day. Mike told me that those snacks were supper for his team that night when they got to Port au Prince. When they saw kids on the side of the road that they could tell were starving, they would share some peanuts or pretzels. Then later, those snacks were used to feed the children at the orphanage until aid could arrive. I can’t help but remember my Sunday School lesson of the boy with five loaves and three fish that Jesus used to feed five thousand. It may not have been five thousand, but I truly believe the gift that Stephanie, Marchell, and Holly gave was multiplied in ways we will never know. It was their Servant’s Heart that led to a gift that quit literally saved children in Haiti from starving. Since that time, the orphanage has received food and supplies. But in the first days following the earthquake, a few bags of peanuts and pretzels went a long way to help some hungry children. You just never know the difference that a random act of kindness can have. (In my best Paul Harvey imitation), “And now you know the rest of the story!”
... View more
Normally during the Thanksgiving Holidays, I stay home and earn Christmas money while my family travels. Someone has to be at the airport to get our Customers out and back, and Southwest pays us extra to work the holiday. However, this year was different. As I've written in the past, my wife's mom, Mary, has been ill. Since this could be her last Thanksgiving, I felt it necessary to go to Jacksonville (JAX) this year. It turns out this was a wise decision. The Monday after Thanksgiving, Mary was admitted to the hospice hospital. My wife, Carol, went right back to JAX on Tuesday and was able to see her mom and visit before she passed away quietly in her sleep on Saturday afternoon. Because Mary lived in Tennessee so long, she wanted to return to be burried here. I spoke with my Managers at Nashville (BNA) and they helped make the arrangememts to fly her home on Southwest to honor her request. Southwest also provided confirmed seats to bring my family to JAX for the funeral. In addition, they gave my wife's family seats to Tennessee for the burial. During the flight to BNA, I told our Flight Attendants that it was my brother-in-law, Steve’s birthday. Our crew, Vita, Lee, and Tammy made it memorable by providing a crown made of peanuts and stir sticks, and a goodie bag full of snacks, playing cards and a coloring book. It helped make a sad journey, a little nicer. It has been a tough week but the assistance given by SWA and my BNA family has made it much easier. This kind of compassion is rare in the business world. But it is the norm at Southwest. They truly live by The Golden Rule. A special thank you to my local and regional Managers who gave the necessary approvals to transport Mary. Dave, Mark, Eli, Laura, Neal, and Brian, I appreciate you all. Also, to my Coworkers in BNA and JAX who assisted us and offered condolences, thank you for all you’ve done for my family.
... View more
I recently upgraded my cell phone. It’s been two years and my provider gives a large credit toward a new phone if you sign up for two more years. Smart phones are all the rage these days, so I decided to look into getting one. If you are asking what a smart phone is, think iPhone, BlackBerry, and PalmPre. A smart phone takes multiple gadgets and combines them into one handheld device. Imagine combining a cell phone with a digital camera, MP3 player, calender, etc. Mine also has a contact list, e-mail, GPS, and several other cool programs that I downloaded. So far I've gotten a level, mobile banking, an electronic bible, SlackerRadio, a program that makes my phone a flashlight ,and even a book reader from Barnes & Noble. I even started this blog post on my phone in "Word To Go" while I was waiting in the HOU Airport. I also love getting my e-mail straight to my phone. In fact, I barely use my laptop anymore. My new phone also includes a web browser. Yep, I get the Internet on my cell phone, and that’s where the Southwest connection comes in. We have a modified version of southwest.com available for smart phones. Just go to mobile.southwest.com from any web enabled phone, and you'll find all the same basic abilities as our primary site right in the palm of your hand. I saw the e-mails and company announcements about the new mobile site back in June when it went live, but had no reason to check it out. Now I do, and all I can say is, "Wow!" We have some increadible programmers. Previously, Southwest mobile Customers had the ability to checkin for flights, cancel reservations, contact Southwest Airlines, and view Southwest’s terms and conditions. Now, Southwest Airlines mobile Customers can also book a flight, log on to Rapid Rewards, view schedules, and check flight status (my personal favorite feature). Now if we can just get our programmers to create a mobile version of the Employee standby travel page! Hint, hint.
... View more
First, my apologies to William Shakespeare for changing his quote from Hamlet, "To be or not to be..." but I wanted to get your attention. Who better to borrow from than Shakespeare? I'd like to discuss some of the items that should not be in your checked bags. Recently, I met Customers in the Nashville (BNA) Baggage Service Office who put important items inside their checked bags that did not arrive on the same flight as they did. Though the majority of our Customers receive their checked bags intact and on time with no problems, the possibility of human error does exist. And, we wouldn’t want our Customers ever to be separated from items that could, quite literally, save your life. It is a common misconception that liquid medication cannot go through security. But according to the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) web site, "All prescription and over-the-counter medications (liquids, gels, and aerosols), including KY jelly, eye drops, and saline solution for medical purposes" are allowed through the checkpoint. You can also carry on "Gels or frozen liquids needed to cool disability or medically related items used by persons with disabilities or medical conditions…However, if the liquid medications are in volumes larger than 3 ozs. each, they may not be placed in the quart-size bag and must be declared to the Transportation Security Officer." Any “life-sustaining” medications and equipment (which can be very expensive, by the way) should be kept in your possession and carried onboard the aircraft. Such necessary items include CPAP machines, Portable Oxygen Concentrators, nebulizers, and essential medications (heart, insulin, high blood pressure, cancer, etc.) If you checked these items and your bag is delayed, you would have to contact your physician/pharmacy to obtain an interim prescription until you could be reunited with your luggage. Or it could be necessary to rent equipment if your bag containing a breathing device is delayed. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to find a provider (I’ve tried), and the rentals also require a prescription. Not to mention, there is a risk of damage associated with checking fragile equipment as items may shift in the cargo bin. (If you decide to check an assistive device anyway, you should inform the Customer Service Agent upon checking in that such a device is contained within your luggage.) Most people are familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA. What you may not know is that accessibility in airline travel is covered by the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) and by the regulations implementing the Act from the U.S. Department of Transportation under Title 14, Part 382 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), “Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel.” Interstate airline travel is specifically excluded from Title II of the ADA by Section 12141(2). The ACAA preceded the ADA, and Congress excluded air carriers and other transportation services from the scope of the ADA. The ACAA covers everything from how an airline accommodates people with disabilities onboard the plane to how we transport assistive devices. We have additional information on southwest.com if you’d like to learn more. You may be interested to know that pursuant to 14 CFR Part 382, assistive devices do not count toward your carryon or checked baggage limits. Assistive devices are also given priority stowage onboard the aircraft. That means that you can carry your assistive devices (including prescription medications) onboard, and room must be made in an overhead bin close to your seat. In preparing this post, I contacted several of our Company experts who deal with ACAA issues on a daily basis to get some additional travel tips. Here are some comments they provided: • Any support items used for an assistive device to make it operable should NEVER be checked (e.g., battery chargers for scooters, wheelchairs, etc.) • Hearing aids, dentures, retainers, etc. should be worn, kept on your person, or packed in your carryon bag. • Prosthetics/cosmeses should be in your carryon bag to avoid the potential for loss, delay, or damage. • Other items that should be in your carryon include, canes, grabbers, optics, and believe it or not…..breast pumps. • And while it’s not related to the ACAA, my Coworkers threatened me with bodily harm if I didn’t remind everyone to please carry on your car keys. Matters of this importance require appropriate degrees of respect, attention, handling, and communication prior to traveling/transport. More importantly, we encourage everyone to become informed and responsible travelers by reading the travel tips available at both www.southwest.com and www.TSA.gov. I also recommend that you visit the TSA’s special needs web page and print a copy of any guidelines that relate to your situation. Finally, a very special thank you to Nancy Hall, Mary Buck, and Adrienne Browne for their assistance and insight in preparing this article. Without their help, this post would not have been nearly as informative.
... View more
If someone comes to you and says you have to take eight weeks off, with pay, don't take it! Why? Because you are not allowed to do anything. To help you understand, I have to start where all stories start: at the beginning. On the last Sunday afternoon in September, I was horseback riding on my farm. When my horse decided to take a hard right back to the barn, my saddle took a hard left. It's amazing how many thoughts go through your head in a few seconds. "Make sure my feet are out of the stirrups, get off or get knocked off by the upcoming trees, make sure I hit the ground rolling," etc. After those quick thoughts, I made my "unplanned dismount" (alright, I jumped). Everything seemed OK until I tried to sit up. Turns out I dislocated my shoulder. After two months of Physical Therapy, three times a week, all seemed to be healed going into December. But two weeks before Christmas, while taking my coat off, something went POP! On Monday, December 15, I saw my Orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Chad Price. He wanted to fix my shoulder "soon." He said it would make the surgery easier if healing hadn't started yet. When I asked, "how soon is soon?" he said, "how's Friday sound?" So, on Friday the 19th, I was under the knife. Then for the next eight weeks, I got to sit at home and do NOTHING. That's right, I got waited on, and goofed off for eight weeks. It was great ... for the first two weeks. After that I started going stir crazy. And to top it off, SWA got hit with two solid weeks of weather disruptions. You have to understand, I enjoy the challenge of irregular operations, and I was stuck at home. I'm back at work now, although I'm limited to ten pounds with my left arm for the short term. But, soon I'll be released to full duty. You don't know how much you miss something until you can't do it. I really have missed my Customers and Coworkers. So next time you're in Nashville, stop by the baggage service office and we can compare scars. And remember, if someone offers you eight weeks off...DON'T TAKE IT!!
... View more
Anonymous - The reason that you only see Ding! fares between Minneapolis and Midway is because our beginning service in Minneapolis is only between those 2 cities. I'll bet we will see other cities added over time. But since I'm not in the know, we'll all have to wait and see.
... View more
Joseph - Yes, CS2 has been rolled out in Dallas. They've had it for a few weeks.
Oliver - Not sure how the WiFi test is going. Maybe someone in the know will update us.
Stove - You are correct. Apple had the first point and click, but with more people using Windows, I thought I'd better use it as an example.
SWAgrrl - Because there is more than one way to get there from here!
... View more
Back in the early days of computing, you had to type a long string of DOS commands in order to get anything done. Anyone remember ‘c:\WINDOWS\system32\calc.exe’ ? Then along came Windows and icons with point and click. Those command lines are still there, but now clicking an icon sends those commands for you. Don’t believe me? Try ‘START’, ‘RUN’, and type the above string in the box. In the airline business, we still use DOS-like command lines to sell you a ticket and check a bag, among other transactions. In the movie Meet the Parents, when the agent at the airport is typing away for two or three minutes just to issue a boarding pass, it’s actually pretty accurate. Well, that’s all about to change for Southwest Airlines with a program called CS2. CS2 stands for Customer Service Two. It is the largest project developed internally in our Company history, and it is rolling out across the Southwest system. It is taking us from an archaic command line system to a point and click program. And it’s hot! CS2 has been several years in the making and features significant improvements to our previous application, including: electronic standby lists, and automation of commonly used forms. While it was being created, our Airport Performance Improvement Projects Team conducted many focus groups with Customer Service Agents and Supervisors to ensure this new application would meet the needs of our Employees. CS2 also lays the foundation for future enhancements, including: electronic ticketing at the airport and the ability to introduce international codeshare. This application is the first “car” in the “train” that’s pulling out of the station, which will lead to even more Customer enhancements at Southwest Airlines. I just got back from Dallas where I spent three days training on CS2. Transactions that used to take forever will now be finished in moments. Forms for Unaccompanied Minors and Infants are now automated. It may take a little time to enter the information on the outbound flight, but we can take the outbound info and swap it for the return (and it will be legible too). We also have the ability to look at more flights at a time when you want to book a reservation. Information that used to require us to toggle between three or four screens is now laid out in one. The list of enhancements is HUGE! There are lots of boring details that you might not understand or even care about, but it makes my job much easier. There is one enhancement that I want to touch on though, since I think it will excite our business travelers. It is the Electronic Standby List. Customers will now be able to get on standby for any flight at the airport up to two hours prior to departure or more than two hours if the next flight is more than two hours away. Customers will also be able to get on the standby list with any Southwest Agent: ticket counter, curbside, or gate. If the change results in a higher fare, we will take your credit card information when putting you on standby, and you will not be charged unless cleared. We will also be able to upgrade an entire group and let the group leader pay for it with just one swipe. (We used to have to swipe the card for each passenger individually). This is a huge undertaking and we are very excited about it! Please be patient with us as we learn our way around the new program and work out the bugs. There’s a lot more to come. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
... View more
Everyone knows that airline employees get the benefit of free travel. If there is an open seat, we can go. What you may not know is that Southwest also extends those flight privileges to our spouse, minor children, and parents. The Freedom to Fly is one of the best things about working for Southwest. It became even more of a blessing when my wife's mom, Mary, was diagnosed with cancer last year. Since Mary lives by herself in Pensacola, FL, we decided to have her go to Jacksonville, FL, to live with her son and his family during treatments. My flight privileges allowed my wife, Carol, to fly down to Jacksonville to help with her care and also allowed my Mom, Liz, to fly in from Tuscon, AZ, to care for me and my daughters while Carol was away. For the past nine months, Carol has gone to Jacksonville as needed and my Mom has come to Nashville. Thankfully, Mary is now in remission. Last week Carol flew to Jacksonville to help move her mom home to Pensacola. As she has done throughout this ordeal, my Mom flew in and has played taxi driver and cared for my children during the past week. Today, Carol flew home to Nashville and Mom returned to Tucson. You expect your employer to care about you, the employee. But not many companies also care about an employee's family. Thanks, Southwest, for not only being a great place to work, but for also caring about our internal Family (Employees) as well as our external Family (Employees' Families).
... View more
Hank - Sorry you've been so confused. It's some of what the first 3 people told you, but definately not the 4th. We don't have a time machine to check your grandmother's hair color on her first birthday.
Here's an excerpt from Southwest.com: http://southwest.com/rapid_rewards/aList_membership.html
Rapid Rewards Members who fly 32 or more qualifying one-way flights within a 12-month period will receive reserved boarding privileges for an entire year. When you purchase your travel at least 36 hours prior to your flight time, weÃ
... View more
I realize many of you are upset with what you heard on the news reports. But really! Is "low life murders" and "burn in hell" really necessary? Have you read the written testimony from Gary and Herb? In case you have not, here's an important excerpt:
"Contrary to some suggestions, we did not miss an inspection. We conducted the required inspections. But, we inadvertently omitted a small area (0.6% of the skin surface) that ordinarily should have been specifically inspected under the AD. The "missed" area continued to be inspected by our other regular and routine inspections, as well as by an additional AD that called for crack inspections along a line that ran within 0.7 inches of the short length of the "missed" area."
If you take the time to read the testimony and exhibits, you'll see that it is not 'spin' to say we we never flew an unsafe flight.
... View more
Thanks everyone for all the great ideas! Keep 'em coming.
Some of the ideas are outside my area of knowledge, but we'll see about getting those to someone who knows what they are talking about.
... View more
I've been trying to come up with something to write about, but I keep drawing a blank. I think it must be Writer's Block.
Can you, our readers help me out? What have you seen at the airport that you've always wanted to know more about? I don't have anything to give away, but maybe we can pry some Candy Corn from Blog Boy. 🙂
... View more
Desert Ranger -
You're right! You, the Customer, should not have to do any enforcement. That's our job. I'm sorry you are still having problems. My point in posting an excerpt from the memo is to let everyone know that our Leaders expect us to maintian boarding integrity. And, from what I saw in December, it's much better than when it started.
You've earned a spot on the A-List. It's our job to make sure you receive the benifit you've earned. If it's still not happening, please let us know. Specific flights, cities, and dates are helpful. I asked, so I can assure you that information is being passed upline to our Leaders.
... View more
I don't know if your comments caused it, but all Operations and Customer Service Agents recently received a memo from Headquarters titled, "Boarding in Numerical Order". Here is an excerpt I thought you'd be interested in seeing:
"We are not policing the A-22 boarding before A-19, but the obvious 'line-cutters' should be addressed in order to maintain the integrity of our boarding groups."
Thanks for all the comments! Keep them coming. We appreciate you letting us know where we have met or exceeded your expectations as well as where we have failed and need to improve.
... View more
I remember legos as squares and rectangles. They did not come in kits, you had to design creations on your own. I don't mind the new predesigned kits, but do miss having to imagine your own creation.
... View more
Wow! Thanks everyone for all the great responses. I'm glad to things are going so well around the system. For those that had less than stellar experiences, please accept my apology. Please know that our leaders are being advised of your city specific comments.
Kyle - The rotating poles are temporary. New gate designs are being rolled out to all cities.
Jill - Sorry, I don't have an inside scoop on hiring. Just hang in there. You never know when someone might decide to transfer to a new city.
... View more
In response to comments in our November announcement posts about our new boarding process, I asked that you be patient and allow our Frontline Employees to get used to working the new procedures. It's now been two months and two Holidays since we started the new boarding process. Thank you for giving us time to adapt. Here's what I heard and saw in Nashville during Christmas.
I actually left my comfort zone (aka Baggage Service) in the month of December and spent some time working at the gates to see how things are going. What I saw was a lot of Customers who have adapted to the new boarding process. I also saw a few that didn't know we made some changes because they only fly once a year. But, they adapted quickly. And best of all, I saw lots of people sitting around not worrying about their place in line (standing in line was the biggest complaint about our old boarding system).
I heard our Operations and Customer Service Agents doing a great job with the new announcements. They are flowing much better now and many Agents have added their own personality. Additionally, Operations Agents did a better job keeping order when Customers tried to board out of turn. Maintaining boarding order was something that had been requested by our Customers.
I actively sought comments from Customers and Coworkers. The comments I heard were mostly favorable. Everyone liked not having to stake out a place in line. And to my suprise (and it would be to the surprise of a lot of the negative blog comments we received), quite a few Customers paid to upgrade to Business Select after receiving a C boarding pass.
We did receive some negative comments at the airport and some people were caught off guard by the changes. But despite some of the initial concerns, the new procedures are definitly offering a more comforable, and stress-free gate and boarding experience for our Customers.
I'd like to hear from both Customers and Coworkers about your current (real-life) experiences (as opposed to perceptions) with the new boarding process. How's it going now?
... View more
My favorite Christmas memory is from my college days. I was attending Memphis State University. I lived on campus but had family across town, so I'd alternate going to my grandparents and my uncle's to get a hot meal and wash clothes. I didn't have a laundry basket, so I'd put my laundry in a box and head out.
Since my dad is the oldest of five, I have lots of cousins. Everybody would get together at my grandparents house on Christmas Eve--aunts, uncles, cousins. It was a full house to say the least. Everyone had presents for everyone else, so it was quite the event.
The Christmas of my freshman year, my uncle brought all his family's presents in a laundry basket. I never thought anything about it until it came time for him to pass out his family's gifts. You have to understand that my oldest cousin is only one year younger than I am, and everybody always gave us matching presents. When my uncle did not have a matching present for me like my cousin's, I knew something was up.
After he'd passed out all the presents from his family, he walked over and gave me the laundry basket.
... View more
Great news! If you are traveling with a lap child, you can now get your boarding pass online. You spoke, we listened.
In the midst of all the other changes, this one may not have gotten the attention is deserves.
... View more
I've waited and read and waited some more before I comment. All the comments I've read are about change. One of the deadliest statements any business can make is, "We've never done it that way before!" Change is scary. But, in order to survive, we all must change.
First a little background. Stay with me, I'll get to the new offerings shortly.
Our leaders at Southwest are faced with the reality that every Airline is now a low cost Airline. They have to be to survive. Some have become that way through bankruptcy and others through wage concessions. Southwest has remained the Low Cost Leader by working smarter and harder. Crude oil prices at the time of this typing are $96.44/barrel and the 1 year prediction is $125.37/barrel (from www.oil-price.net). And, our fuel hedges are not as big as they used to be.
Every employee has been tasked with keeping our costs down. But to survive, we must find ways to increase our income. We simply cannot keep doing things the way we have always done them. We did not change our fare structure, we added a new level.
Customers have asked for change, some are willing to pay more for that change, and we are trying to give them what they want. That's a win/win. Enter: Business Select. Some business travelers are willing to pay more for an A boarding pass. So, a few A boarding passes have been set aside for those customers. The number will vary by flight, but there will not be more than 15. So, we still have 45 A's available regardless of what fare you paid. Just like we did before.
Our most frequent fliers have asked to be rewarded with something in addition to the Rapid Rewards ticket. So we introduce the A-List. Now they can check in without having to set an alarm for 24 hours before departure. Does this mean that all the A boarding passes will now be gone? On some of the commuter flights like DAL-HOU, maybe. On most other flights, no. There will still be A boarding passes available on most flights.
Next, our Rapid Reward members have spoken and we listened. Assume for a moment, that we make no changes to the Rapid Rewards program. You still have no black out dates, but you do have seat restrictions. Now we add Freedom Rewards. With the exception of a few select blackout dates, Southwest is making it possible again to redeem frequent flyer Awards for unrestricted travel.
Change is inevitable. It is also scary. But it can be good. And I believe that these changes will be for the best! I'm not in Marketing, so I'm not trying to hype you. I'm not in the Executive offices, so I have not been on the inside of discussions that I am sure have been ongoing for a long time. I'm a frontline employee who is scared out of my mind about these changes, but I believe they are for the best and will allow Southwest to not only survive, but remain the industry leader we have alway been!
... View more