Ok, I have always given Southwest the benefit of the doubt in the 15 years that Southwest has been my exclusive domestic carrier... and I have rarely been disappointed. I will do so again... but... I cannot express how concerned I am about this improvement that "does not sacrifice existing personal space." Umh... I don't buy it yet. I'll have to see it in practice before I will be OK with this. As it is, there is only two seats on an entire Southwest 737 where I can actually be comfortable due to my high-end-of-the-bell-curve leg length (yep, the over-the-wing seat behind the 2-seat row at the emergency exit + the window sit in that 2-seat row).
What Southwest needs to do is not focus "preserving space" but rather on INCREASING space.
Here's a thought: figure out the average increase in revenue from the 6 extra seats. Divide that number by 137. Add the result to the cost of each purchased ticket. Make all changes detailed in this blog entry *except* leave cabin-capacity at 137. Revenue increases by the same amount and each row of the plane gains more than an inch of precious space.
My quick-and-dirty estimation is that the per-ticket fare increase would be between $5 and $10. I would GLADLY pay this additional cost in order to have a tiny bit more legroom and I suspect that many loyal Southwest passengers would agree with me b/c we KNOW how many thousands of dollars we have saved over the years on this excellent airline. (Look at the revenue generated by the $10 Early Bird Check-In fee... a fee which provides an actual value-add, unlike the nickel-and-dime fees that every other airline now charges.)
Don't get me wrong -- I love the concept of running a greener business; the moral statement that Southwest is making with this planned change is wonderful and I support it 100%. But let's be honest here: Southwest is a corporation in a capitalist economy and as such its #1 goal is to make money. Could we examine how to keep profit up without putting yet again MORE people on a small jet profile that is already prone to being a claustrophobic nightmare during peak travel times? Just this once? Please?
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