Wow. It's like I can hear my college professors as if it were yesterday. The laws of supply and demand. Somewhere, someone is willing to pay for something in short supply. Like our "A" boarding passes. It's the first group to board our flights, and it gets all the glory that goes along with it. "A" means I get that window or aisle seat or even the first row. I can even avoid that dreaded (gasp!) middle seat. So let's take a closer look at this. Now I appreciate the fact that not everyone agrees with our seating policy or may even take issue with our "first-come, first-served" operation, but we offer boarding passes on southwest.com for free. Everyone has the same shot at checking in–24 hours in advance. (Customers can also use web-enabled mobile devices to check in.)
Many of you know there are web sites that promise "A" boarding passes, for a price. Hey, marketing professor, I hear you again. Find a Customer's need, fulfill it and make some cash to boot. Nothing wrong with that. I like money, and I even like the creativity of these folks. Unfortunately, what has been happening is these sites are taking away our ability to provide the coveted "A" inventory.
So what? Is it every flight every day? No. However, there have been several sites already and more are popping up daily. And I mean daily. We don't want our Customers to mistake the services as one supported by Southwest and to transact with companies that may not provide the level of Customer Service we hope to provide - thus potentially putting their personal information in the wrong hands. There are security issues as well, such as providing e-mail addresses that can be bought as well as be used for spamming.
OK, now I feel a little like my mom and dad when they told me I could only ride my bike up and down my street because the kids around the block may push me down and take it away. A little protective? Maybe. But all we are in the end is a brand. And we've tried to make the Southwest Airlines brand mean something you could trust as someone that would provide great service, so it's important to us to do everything that we can to uphold that promise. You're all #1 in our book, even if we can't give all of you an "A" boarding pass.