I travel frequently for work and have been using Southwest so much this year that I'm already on the A List. Last week I flew out of Tampa on Thursday (the first day of the new change). The boarding process in Tampa was very smooth because there were extra people on hand to explain things. Things went less smoothly in Houston (Friday) and Lubbock (Saturday) ... mainly because there was no one explaining the new process to the casual travelers. It appears that Southwest is reserving the first 15 A's for the new business fare so when you get your boarding pass 24 hours in advance, you can expect to get no higher than an A-16. So you stand in the 16-20 group while the 1-5, 6-10 and 11-15 are totally empty. This caused confusion at all three airports I traveled through last week. In Tampa and Houston, people trying (innocently or not) to "jump the line" were sent to the group to which they belonged. In Lubbock, they were allowed to board ahead of those of us following the rules, which of course irked us a little. If I had paid more for a business fare and received a boarding pass in the 1-5 range only to be pushed back by people following the old boarding method, I would have been very angry. Southwest needs to ensure their gate agents help the casual travelers adhere to the new process rather than giving them a pass or they will lose my business.
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