My 87 year old mother, who flies about 6 times per year, has excellent cognitiive skills but the physical limitations brought about with her age. She does not have a computer - shame on her, I suppose, if she wants to fly Southwest again. Last week she checked in at the airport, going and coming, and had a C boarding pass. In times past, she has been very courteously and respectfully pre-boarded due to her physical limitations - she arrives in a wheelchair but can walk onboard. She can't, however, manage to crawl over someone into a middle seat, and her previous pre-board experience made the process simple. This past trip was a horrible experience - much confusion for eveyone boarding, but particularly for her, sitting in a wheelchair and awaiting a pre-board, which is now a partial pre-board, after so many others have boarded. The transition from wheelchair to walking and being placed in front of some and behind others was actually a slowdown in the boarding process and a great embarassment to her. Based upon some posts herein, this is of no consequence to some of your travelers, who so highly value their opportunity to be first on and first off and, for your sake, you'd best have enough of these anxious business travelers to sell enough tickets to remain in business. Since your fares have risen to approximate all your competitors, we will now be forced to use other airlines where seat assignments are made in advance and, indeed, they will put her onboard in advance. She probably has only a few years left though, so her business lost won't break you. You better hope your plan works because it sounds as though she's not your only loss.
Joe, who wrote about the business traveler subsidizing the leisure traveler, must not have actually flown Southwest for too long. There has never been a distinction in the prices. They were all low fares. As a matter of fact, my recollection is that the last minute walk up fares in the evening used to be the cheapest Southwest had to offer -sort of a reverse from today's system. Anyhow, he'll be glad she isn't any longer going to get "his" seat if he's willing to pay extra. That extra ticket cost on other airlines gets you into an entirely different class, i.e. first or business - it doesn't prohibit elderly, handicapped or families with children from getting onboard easily.
... View more
What a brilliant idea the "new generation" Southwest management has come up with!! Southwest, leader of the "discount carriers" will allow me to buy a business select ticket from Nashville to Dallas, Jan 10, for the low, low price of only $229 - and that will guarantee I can be in the "A" something lineup. That almost guarantees I can get a seat near to my choosing, unless,of course, there are already passengers onboard, in which case the valued "A" boarding pass becomes of no value. On the other hand, the high priced folks at American Airlines will sell me a ticket the same day for $228 - gouging me by making me pay a dollar less and taking me non-stop as opposed to 1 or 2 stops and an airplane change on Southwest. Oh, and they'll make me go ahead and select my seat when I book the flight. Gee, I wonder if I need "new generation" thinking, applying proper algorithms and so forth to make my decision like the Southwest mangement team?? Southwest, you better "dance with the one who brung you" or you may not be dancing too much longer.
... View more
Wow! I wonder what any A group boarding pass might look like!! We charge virtually all our expenditures to one credit card and as a result, use our credit points for all our travel. Since our card company has to make our reservations and then provide us a ticket rather than a "ticketless" reservation, we cannot get a boarding pass online at all. So, we arrive hours early in hopes of even a B group boarding pass, but seldom see that as the flights are so full and most travelers have gotten there boarding pass online. Even though we sometimes book months in advance, we cannot check in until arriving at the gate and seldom get to sit together. Now, the last minute "business" traveler, making his reservation weeks or even months after we made ours, is going ahead of us (and every one else). Gee, what a new twist on the caste system! Every other airline lets us choose our seat when booking, so the earlier the better. This new system is a pretty lame way of asking people to wait until the last minute or ask for the highest fare when booking so as to gouge their employer with the expense account. If I were in charge of corporate travel for a major company, I'd really think twice about having Southwest as a supplier - they're actually encouraging the bread and butter business traveler to rip off their employer. Pretty dumb move, I believe. No doubt a "bean counter" decision - someone with true sales or marketing skills would have more sense.
... View more