In the words of Tom Wolfe in his book, The Right Stuff, you and those at SWA have "screwed the pooch" on this decision to allow pets. It's like starting the pro life/abortion debate--you're going to offend half of the people. What were you guys thinking?
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I don't have the disdain for Gary Kelly than some posters on this site do, but I really don't understand this pet action. There is a huge disconnect--SWA has begun to court business passengers and now pet lovers, which other than the cat show people, seem to be diametrically opposed. Pet allergies and the attendant potential problems associated with this pet policy are not inconsequential.
For the minimal income this policy will generate and the great amount of bad will generated and probable loss of significantly more revenue from customers switching from SWA, I think this is an ill conceived and poorly thought out business decision. Where is the concern for all the people allergic to pets, especially cats? Let's see, make a few more people happy and make many more unhappy. This has the potential to become a public relations nightmare.
I agree with Rebecca Lee's earlier posts. And to Brian Lusk, SWA employee, who is trying to support the SWA decision--SWA has had service animals on board and I've seen one in 30 years and why would you want to be like all the other (largely unsuccessful) airlines and carry pets? Southwest is different and has been successful for several reasons--ease of use of the internet site, generally on time flights and few cancellations, the friendly spirit and rewards program among others. Don't add a policy that is going to generate strong opposition and dislike from a large percentage of your customers
Southwest Airlines is often not the lowest fare airlines now, but I love it (up to now). If you need more income, raise fares $1-10--that would be significantly more income than what will be generated by the pets. Maybe SWA should poll their customers and particularly their frequent ones--A List and Companion Award earners. I would think those are the people you don't want to offend.
I sincerely hope that the push back is so strong that SWA will rethink its policy and kill it before SWA does irrepreble harm to itself. I'm an annual 20+ trip flier and flew on SWA in the early 70's in Texas--I hope I don't have to look for another airline.
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