A big question mark for me will be what steps SW takes to ensure fairness and prevent passenger conflict, since the new policy clearly exacerbates a couple existing problems. A couple posters have mentioned the seat-saving problem. I will add another: the passengers who ignore the boarding numbers and cut in line. Almost every time I fly, someone holding a late boarding number will pretend to be clueless and try to board early. Sometimes the passenger is politely turned back by the gate attendant, but often he isn't. My sense is that so long as a passenger is in the right letter group, the attendant will let him board, even if he is A57 and has jumped ahead of the A16-20 passengers. This happens a lot, since the gap that forms between the Business Select passengers and A16-20 is just too inviting for some people to resist.
Before, this behavior was merely irritating. But now that most A group passengers will be paying extra for their boarding number, SW had better enforce the boarding order more rigorously, or things might get ugly.
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