Sunday, November 11, 2007

Southwest's New Business "Class"

Rightly or wrongly, we’ve never been big fans of Southwest Airlines. We haven't found the fares all that cheap, the schedules not that convenient, and we detest the cattle-call, no-assigned-seating policy. But somehow, they’ve made their formula work, and they satisfy a lot of travelers.
Now, though, Southwest seems to be going (in a very clumsy manner) against what they’re known for. They have instituted special business fares, which seem to be just higher prices to be allowed first in line for boarding (plus a few varying benefits such as refundability, a free drink coupon, and more frequent flyer credits). Of course, Southwest still flies from its same airports, which may not be most business travelers' first choices.
For example: We just booked a trip on Delta (with assigned seating) for $249. Using the same airports and dates, the cheapest fare on Southwest (with one leg a “web only” special and the return their “wanna get away” fare) was $228. Their Business fare was $336 and Business Select was $366.
Boy, are we excited.