Many of us have posted the request that families preboard and sit behind a certain row in order to satisfy parents and business people. Is anyone in management even considering this or are our voices simply wasted? It has been weeks since the initial announcement of the seating changes. A note of thanks for solving the boarding pass issue for for parents with lap children.
PLEASE RESPOND, EVEN IF THE ANSWER IS NO.
Again, I request that you email a survey to your most frequent fliers in order to see that they truly want this change also. This time keep the survey direct, not would you be more likely, less likely, or somewhat likely, that is nonsense.
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In response to "No Whining Here" and to Management,
What may be viewed as negative complaints, could actually be a plea to Southwest to reconsider some of these recent changes. In a perfect world, Kevin, Gary, and the rest of management would have rolled out the new boarding policy and waited for the other changes. In a truly perfect world, they would have kept family pre-boarding and simply designated the number of adults that could board per child and where they were permitted to sit. This would also have allowed flight attendants to assist parents needing help carrying things, just as they assist seniors in wheelchairs. It was time for a change in boarding, just not this change.
HERE IS AN IDEA: Many passengers are probably unaware that recently a survey was sent to extremely frequent travelers, myself included, asking us what we wanted. HOW ABOUT SENDING A NEW SURVEY TO ALL A-LISTERS AND PEOPLE WHO BOOKED THE BUSINESS SELECT FARE THE FIRST WEEK AND ASK THEM THEIR OPINION ABOUT FAMILY BOARDING??? Every business traveler I have spoken with (several dozen) wants it changed back so they know where the families will be. If you designate rows, then business people still have access to the front of the plane. This research would be very inexpensive, please allow a comments area as the last survey offered only questions and answers. My bet is that management is surprised that both families and business travelers would like the decision repealed.
Now another very grim change is the 30 percent fare increase for the 14 and 21 day advance Wanna Get Away fares. Yes, it begins with travel March 8 and beyond. If you have not yet booked travel for late March or April, many people may be in shock. Traditionally fare increases have been five and ten dollars at a time. I understand the cost of fuel is skyrocketing, but 30%!!! From a year ago, the increase on advance purchase fares is actually 100%.
About those Freedom Rewards, thank you for now opening more seats on planes that no longer have regular Rapid Reward seats available (please tell me that each flight still has an allocated number of seats). COULD YOU SIMPLY ALLOW THE USE OF TWO ONE WAY RAPID REWARD CERTIFICATES, FROM THE SAME ACCOUNT,TO BE USED AS A FREEDOM REWARD AND CALL IT A FREEDOM SEAT? When someone redeems a reward online or over the phone, the system automatically pulls the first expiring one way reward. WHY COMPLICATE THINGS WITH "CONVERTING" TO A FREEDOM AWARD, during the time it takes to convert to a Freedom (which cannot be un-converted) the flight could oversell/sellout and then the passenger would be stuck holding a Freedom Reward that they could not use. When looking for Rapid Reward seats the system could show "Rapid Reward" seats requiring a one way certificate, and if those are sold out, "Freedom Reward" seats requiring 2 one way certificates. THIS WOULD BE A VERY EASY MODIFICATION TO WHAT YOU HAVE IMPLEMENTED. Why create the extra step? The intention must have been ease of use and more freedom, not how to get more of those reward tickets off your accounting books.
One more thing, I am part of a group of people that years ago created a list of desirable places to live, or own a second home. ONE OF THE TOP THREE MOST IMPORTANT REQUIREMENTS TO QUALIFY FOR THE LIST IS THAT IT BE NEAR A CITY THAT SOUTHWEST FLIES TO. Can you believe that, we have all moved or bought homes based on our loyalty to an airline?!?! It never occurred to me that I might be sorry for that decision. Come on Southwest, it seems the new people at the helm truly have no idea how strong customer loyalty has been to this airline. We (the loyal customers of Southwest) are not a traditional business model. I would bet my A-List recognition that even the business traveler on Southwest is not a traditional one. Why rave about fully refundable tickets or abilities to upgrade when the full Y (no advance purchase) fare has ALWAYS been fully refundable and upgradable. The free drink? Are you kidding? At four free drinks per Rapid Reward ticket, I continuously have a drawer of over fifty drinks coupons, and I actually use them and share them with other passengers!!! Who wants a drink at 7:00am??? I may actually buy half the plane a drink on my next evening flight.
It may sound like complaining, it is actually an attempt to improve on the improvements. Will I fly Southwest, yes. As others have stated on the many blogs about the changes, it is now hard to sing your praises. Why not just be honest with everyone and say "Hey, we love you guys and we need your help to stay in the skies". Moderate fare increases we could have accepted, new boarding we could adjust to, Freedom Awards - great! The sham of business and business select fares is enough to have the company take back the stock options of the brilliant people that came up with the plan. The negative PR and grumbling alone is enough to make management send a letter of apology to each and every person in Rapid Rewards admitting they need to fine tune the changes. You send us Birthday Cards, Partners Promotions, and even special offers. How about depositing 2 Bonus Reward credits in every members account as good PR and a cushion for the bumpy ride ahead? You are the masters of fun, put a spin on this "Here at Rapid Rewards, we thought you could use a little extra credit this holiday season. As a valued Southwest customer, we are giving you 2 bonus credits because we LUV you so much! Thank you for your loyalty and we look forward to seeing you on your next flight."
Looking forward to a response.
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Dear Kevin and in SWA management,
It is evening and now I can take time after the business day to comment on the new policies. As a person who flies SWA several times per month (10 in Nov.), here are my thoughts:
As many other people have commented in previous blogs, including a great number of parents and business people, I implore you to change your pre-board policy for families. It is pretty clear that parents need a little extra time (even psychologically to recover from the drama of children and airports) and most A's and B's would like to choose whether they sit near small children. To prevent pre-board abuse, simply limit a maximum of two adults to board with the children. It seems so simple. I would rather be further back in the aircraft than have a small child kicking or screaming behind me (as I experienced this past Sunday).
Thank you for keeping wheelchairs before A's, I have 3 elderly family members that need extra assistance when they fly.
I will qualify for the A-list, however, I think it was an error that relays the wrong message to your non-business travelers. For years I dreamed of the coveted companion pass, now that I am a holder, I appreciate the incredible gift that it is. There must be other ways to continue to reward your high volume travelers without creating a hierarchy with an A-list for boarding. All SWA passengers are important and some who fly infrequently now are the road warriors of the future. What is done is done for now. Now some A-listers will feel deprived if and when you repeal the policy.
Many people that have been redeeming rapid rewards tickets have had to adjust to the "new" policy (changing blackout/seat restrictions). I preferred the old one because it was the most generous in the industry. Of course, the two year accrual period was a nice change. Clearly, you have been looking for a solution to allow people to use a reward when there are no reward seats available. The 2 certificate/1 flight is an option. Was it really the best one that the incredible talent at SWA could come up with??? What about allowing use 24 hours prior if the capacity permits? I know, you overbook and may have to compensate if the flight is oversold and over the actual passenger limit. You could simply allow use if the flight still has "actual" seats available and is not oversold. The seat would otherwise go empty and IT WOULD MAKE A HAPPY SOUTHWEST CUSTOMER.
Remember when it was all about LUV? Remember when the customers experience was important. Sadly, you have a lot of upset passengers right now (and a few happy ones too). It was not that long ago when I only earned 1 or 2 rapid rewards tickets a year, and they were gold to me. For many people, it is still a big deal to earn a free ticket. You have so much of the equation right: 2 years to earn 16 credits, 2 one ways (rather than a round trip), ease of redemption online (great improvement), and fully transferable. The only airline that comes close is Alaska, as they have copied you and implemented 10,000 mile one ways. Imitation is flattery.
Well there is a lot more to say, perhaps best in a letter. By the way thanks for the extra TUS/SAN flight and the new TUS/OAK nonstop, I flew it Monday.
Remember that everyone counts, thanks.
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Wow, so much to process at one time. Looking forward to being an A-lister, although when I travel with the family I will choose to board with them. May these changes at the peak holiday travel period go as smoothly as possible. Best Wishes.
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