I remember back in the old days when a free ticket on Southwest was the most convenient to use. If there was a seat available you could book it in advance. I understand with the goals to maintain some balance with revenue per seat that allowing unlimited booking of seats for free tickets could cause a problem. However, I don't understand if there are empty seats on a flight why the free tickets can't be used as standby? I sure wish this would change somewhat back to the good old days.
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