I've been a loyal customer of Southwest for over twenty years and have held a Companion Pass for at least ten years. My wife and I travel quite a bit. However, in the last three years we have switched to Alaska Airlines for several reasons: advanced assigned seating and first class. As Southwest's loyal customer base starts aging they are less likely, as a demographic, to travel on an airline were they cannot reserve a seat or upgrade to fist class. In Europe, all budget airlines allow for advanced seat reservations and offer first class seating by simply blocking the middle seat. My peer group (I'm 64) would gladly pay for those two upgrades. I suggest Southwest consider initiating a pilot program for six months to see if this concept gains traction. The cost to test this program would be minimal and allow Southwest to compete with Alaska and other similar carriers offering advanced seat selection and first class seating.
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