Adds Liquor, FF Perks To The Battle Between 'Apple Juices' And
If there was any question before of just how serious Southwest
Airlines was with its push to lure more business travelers to the
carrier... that's been answered. This week, in addition to radically altering its
storied "cattle call" boarding process, Southwest --
once considered an airline-for-the-masses -- also announced new
perks for passengers paying higher-price, last-minute airfares.
"Southwest is differentiating its product without changing its
core philosophy," said Southwest CEO Gary Kelly Wednesday,
stressing earlier statements the airline planned to shed its
Dubbed "Business Select," for a $10-$30 premium over the cost of
a regular, full-fare ticket, travelers will receive a guaranteed
"A" group boarding pass; extra Rapid Rewards credits; a free drink
coupon; and the option of a full refund or changeable fare if they
need to cancel their trip.
We dunno... the philosophy sure SOUNDS different.
Southwest will also reward its most frequent fliers, beyond the
current Rapid Rewards program. Effective Wednesday, members who fly
32 flight segments per year will be considered "A-List"
passengers... who will be automatically checked in for their
flights. In Kelly's words, the move "gives our customers something
to aspire to."
However you may feel about such radical changes to Southwest's
business philosophy, it's not hard to see why the airline is making
such a move. Though Southwest made its name on offering cheap
airfares for a bread-and-butter clientele, including families...
that's not where the money is anymore.
"We're giving business travelers new reasons to choose
Southwest," Kelly (below) said, adding the changes "set the stage
to give customers a reason to spend more."
Available Business Select fares will be capped at about 10
percent of available seats on each flight, reports The Dallas
The changes extend to Southwest's website, as well. Regular,
non-"Select" full-price fares will now be referred to as "Business
Fares", while all discounted fares will be grouped under the
catch-all "Wanna Get Away" category.
Maybe "Bourgeoisie" and "Proletariat" classifications were a bit
too esoteric... but the "Coffee" and Apple Juice"
analogy favored by Klyde Morris might have