Good on you SWA for honoring the Tuskegee Airmen. I know one of the Tuskegee Airmen where I live and he was honored recently at the White House by Mr. Bush. He is a great man who, like many African-Americans, Native Americans, and Japanese Americans who served during W.W. II, had to put up with petty racism from other soldiers and airmen. This is just another example that SWA's corporate heart is in the right place. I will keep me eyes peeled for this jet.
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I just have to respond to the many people who have complained that SWA is infringing this woman's constitutional rights. Please review your 9th grade civics books or any copy of the Bill of Rights: the First Amendment right of free expression only applies to restrictions placed on speech by the Government, not by a private entity such as SWA. Congress can't pass laws that infringe on free speech or expression. Private companies can, and do, enact numerous restrictions on "expression" such as dress codes. Similarly, a private company doesn't violate a citizen's rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment (or the Due Process Clause of the 5th Amendemtn) by treating her differently than another similarly situated person. A violation of the EPC would occur if a state government denied a person the right to vote becuase of her race; a private company such as SWA does not violate the Equal Protection Clause if it prevents a scantily clad woman from boarding a flight but allows a similary dressed man to do so.
You could look it up.
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I haven't flown out of San Antonio yet with this new procedure, but it sounds good. I fly on SWA a lot (25+ times per year) and I LUV the open seating method. My gripes (and my associated suggestions) have to do with how Southwest counter agents handle (or don't handle) the situation at the ABC corals. In many SWA gates at many airports I've flown into and out of (mainly in the Western U.S.) it seems that there is no SWA representative overseeing the ABC ticket corals until the pre-boarding process begins. Consequently, there is no one with any "official" authority reminding passengers that can't "save" their place in the A line by leaving a piece of luggage there. Only one time have I heard an SWA rep announce over the gate's P.A. system that placing a piece of luggage does not "save" your place in line. If SW would pay a bit more attention to what's actually happening at a gate in the 45-60 minutes before pre-boarding starts, and laid down some rules (e.g. you can't save your place with a piece of luggage) I believe that would avoid some problems and make us regular SWA customers feel more at ease.
Also, on this subject, I never can understand why able-bodied adults have to sit in chairs prior to boarding an airplane where they are going to sit in chairs for the next 2-3 hours? What's so hard about standing in a line for 45-60 minutes when you are waiting to board a (nearly always full) airplane and then sit in a chair? I can understand needing to sit if you are elderly, very young, or not in full health, but for all of you others, why not just stand in line? Why do you insist on sitting in chairs and pretending that you're in the A line, and then rushing to get in the line once pre-boarding is announced? Just my $.02.
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