You would be doing your faithful customers a great injustice by instituting the assigned seating policy. It ain't broke....don't fix it.
If you are trying to board planes faster, assigned seating is not the way to go. Every airline in america gets it wrong when it comes to boarding planes. This includes Southwest in a way. They all start by boarding the front rows...this means you have people getting aboard and stopping in the middle of the aisle to put their carry on's above while other passengers are stuck waiting behind them.
Instead of assigned seating... do something like this.... If you have a "C" boarding pass, you get on first and must take a seat in the last "x" number of rows. The B's can have a seat somewhere in the middle and go next. Then the A's in the front. Finally, the phony preboards can have the first few rows.
By forcing people to board the back of the plane first, you will get everyone aboard faster.
I believe that you will offend your customer base alot less with a plan like the one described above than you would by changing to be the same as everyone else. Try it on a limited basis .... I'll bet it will work.
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