Dear Mr. Kelly and Southwest Airlines,
As a loyal Southwest customer for many years, I can say with certainty that the appeal of flying Southwest has always been your unique approach to customer service. Everything from your boarding procedure to having flight attendants sing after the plane lands adds a bit of welcome personality to your airline that you can't find anywhere else.
As I fly regularly (although not enough to reach your new A-listers club), I have now had the experience of using your new boarding procedure several times. I fully expected that I would have some strong negative feelings towards the new procedure since I am one of those "crazies" who likes to line up at the front of the A line. However, I have found that I am rather indifferent towards the new procedure. Part of me is sad that I will never experience the fun of waiting for an hour and a half at the front of the A line, but part of me is pleased that I can do whatever I want right up until it is time to board.
It is slightly amusing to watch the different reactions of passengers at different cities. It seems to me that those passengers at larger hubs were more alert to the changes and more willing to follow the numerical order. At other, smaller airports however, people were simply confused and had difficulty following the new instructions. I overheard one gate agent telling a fellow passenger that the changes were, in part, Southwest's attempt to address complaints from passengers who were dissatisfied with having to wait in line for up to 2 hours to get their choice of seat on the plane. Well, it seems to me, and I say this with only the utmost respect to my fellow loyal Southwest customers, that by catering to the lazy, Southwest has managed to confuse the incompetent travelers - who usually are also the most lazy passengers. But, once again, I repeat that I am not against the new boarding procedures, I can follow simple directions, like how to line up in numerical order.
What I am strongly against, as echoed by some other commenters, is your new policy of allowing those who pay more for their flight to board within the first 15 of the A passengers. The best thing about Southwest in all of the years that I've flown is that you make no distinction between someone who paid full fare and someone who paid the lowest fare.
So, while I have no complaints with the new system (as yet, I haven't been lower than A45 and that was for a completely full flight) I do miss the "old days." Perhaps it's time to go back to the old method of handing out boarding cards one hour before each flight to those who planned well enough to be at the gate on time, because sometimes, simpler is better. But above all, I would hope that no matter what Southwest does with regard to their boarding policies that they remain the fun, friendly airline that I LUV to fly.
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