Five years ago I started flying Southwest and from that point on refuse to fly any other airline. Southwest has a unique personality that gives me a "comfortable" feel when I am onboard. I used to fly Continental solely until I got a taste of how friendly and comfortable Southwest was. A main reason for that feeling is the fact that I can arrive early and guarantee that I get to sit wherever I want! Before I started flying Southwest every airline I flew on before had assigned seating and it was awful! Those for assigned seating say it could speed up the process of boarding, to those I say did you ever fly on assigned seating planes before?? All that happens is that people arrive at the last minute assuming that because they have an assigned seat that their spot is "reserved" and therefore there is no reason to arrive early. What happens then? The flight is delayed because we are waiting on those people to run in at the last minute and board. Not to mention that because they do have an assigned seat everyone already seated on their row has to get up and let them in and wait for them to get settled in. With open seating at Southwest, if someone arrives late, the flight attendants find the first available seat puts them in it and off we go.
I realize that all airlines have to make a profit and have been understanding that Southwest has currently raised their
prices due to fuel costs. So I am now paying more for tickets on Southwest than ever before. In fact, I have lately began to notice that some other airlines are actually cheaper than Southwest a good majority of the time. Yet, I still remain a loyal customer, as does three other members of my family that I have gotten addicted to Southwest. Rarely do I board a flight on Southwest that has an empty seat anywhere on it, so I have a hard time believing that assigned seating is needed to bring in more customers for the airline, nor
do I believe that it speeds up the process of boarding and taking off as from personal experience I know it does the opposite.
I was willing to pay more for tickets on Southwest, but if open seating goes away then Southwest no longer holds an advantage
for me over any other airline, so I will simply look for the cheapest fare and whoever has it I'll fly. I recently read that another
major airline was considering going to open seating themselves, therefore I would have yet another reason to fly someone else.
I luv Southwest and have my fingers tightly crossed that they won't give up their uniqueness of open boarding as I had
hoped to remain a frequent flyer for life. But if the choice is made to assign seats, then I will have to seek other airlines in the future.
As for the comparison that customers were upset over the change in boarding passes---I never understood that one and certainly do not feel as though that was anywhere near such a major change as this seating policy is.
Don't change Southwest!! You have built a lot of loyal customers over the years for what you have continued to do---why fix something that isn't broken???
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