It is only more money for SW if you buy their tickets. SWA is no longer on my list. They lost their focus. They used to be different, now they are the same if not worse.
What a shame. The sad part is the managers that thought this up probably go home and tell their wife and kids what a great job they are doing! Guess Again!
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Reading a few of the comments, the ones that took me aback were those that stated "Southwest is still the best airline" or "don't judge it until you try it." Saying we are 'just as bad as everyone else' is not a winning business strategy. Further, those like me HAVE tried it. This is what we have been getting flying 100,000 miles a year or more on other carriers. While I haven't flown SWA all that much, I am a stockholder and I really don't believe this is a direction the airline should be heading.
Other posters on this blog say "well, SWA has to do something to generate more revenue with increasing fuel prices." Maybe so, but changing the winning recipe is not going to do this. The other crappy airlines are still holding on to their business travelers through the lure of free upgrades and other perks. The answer is keeping costs low and seats full. This new policy will alientate the traditional SWA customers, business travelers like myself, or both.
The least I have spent on air tickets in a year in the past 20 years is about $50,000 and some years it has approached 5 to 10 times that. Southwest is moving further away from getting any of that money. You are not a REAL alternative anymore. I don't get it. How is SWA going to be more profitable moving away from the strategy Kelleher implemented and alienating a large section of its traditional base.
Yes, there are only a few hundred negative posts out here, but most consumers aren't exactly in touch with the daily erosion of frequent flyer benefits and worsening customer service of their air carrier of choice. I get 3 or 4 emails a week from United and American and I don't have the time or the interest to read them. Invariably, they are a negative message wrapped in a transparent and untruthful wrapper.
I am extremely disappointed that Southwest is no longer a meaningful alternative. I guess Virgin America (I travel to San Francisco a lot) and Jet Blue should be thankful that Southwest has abandon their roots and hired inept managers.
The "new' Coke comment was spot on. Very, very sad in my opinion.
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I can not think of a more misguided move than selling out its customer base to chase business fares. I fly anywhere from 200,000 to 400,000 miles a year, and have many road warrior employees and friends. I am 100K on United and Platinum on Continental. I also elite status with Singapore and Cathay. I have been a platinum flyer on American, Delta, and Northwest in the recent past. Many, many friends who are willing to fly Southwest have done so because they are sick of ridiculous boarding procedures and total disinterest in customer service for anyone who is not a top tier frequent flyer or flying on an first or business class fare. I am likely going to prohibit employee use of United because even as a 100K flyer, we all play second fiddle to their invitation only Global Services program. I personally have not been a fan of Southwest because 1) they didn't serve my old home airport (Denver) until recently, 2) they don't offer enough legroom anywhere on any of their flights, and 3) I once believed loyalty to an airline had advantages (clearly, this has changed). Also, with Southwest, it was hard to get across the country withough making 2-3 stops. However, having just moved to Manchester, NH I was looking forward to trying Southwest out more seriously BECAUSE they didn't have all the BS of tiered frequent flyer programs and tiered service levels.
Southwest is changing into exactly what the other airlines already are and the reason many of us road warriors are leaving other carriers such as United, Delta, American, etc. Southwest is not being true to its heritage and I believe this is a decision that Soutwest will regret. As someone that has flown 2 Million miles on United with the belief that as a 100K flyer I would always be the top of the food chain, I am extremely angry that United has eroded the promised benefits by imposing the Global Service program above all of us frequent flyers, and continues to administer the program with such secrecy that even their front line managers don't understand it. Being treated as a second class customer doesn't feel good for anyone, and this is where Southwest is heading. They are also only doing it half-heartedly. If they were really serious about business travelers, they would focus on international routes, put their flights on only booking engines such as Expedia & Orbitz or American Express, and they would change to something meaningful such as more legroom or wider seats. These are the things that have made Jet Blue, Frontier and, now, Virgin America appealing to business travelers and leisure travelers alike. Southwest probably figured they risked making their leisure travelers angry. I doubt they anticipated making road warrors like myself and others that have recently started flying Southwest (as the antithesis of other major carriers) angry, but they have.
Shame on Southwest. FIRE Mr. Kelly and remember who and what kept Southwest profitable through all the lean years when other carriers like United and Delta were passing on their business failures to the American taxpayer through bankruptcy and passing of pension liabilities. Southwest used to be an alternative. Now they are just another lousy airline with misguided management.
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