Dear Southwest Airlines,
Hello – remember me? Throughout my childhood I flew you from Dallas to El Paso to visit my grandparents. A lot of times I flew alone, sitting up front in the section where a couple of the seats faced backwards. When I went to college in Boston, I lamented the fact that I couldn’t fly you there. These days, I occasionally have the opportunity to fly on you out of Midway in Chicago, and, Southwest, the love affair is over.
First of all, it’s time to get over open-seating. Are you trying to tell me that your fares are lower (sometimes, by a little) because you don’t have assigned seating? Come on. Do you really get pleasure out of seeing people lining up at the gate an hour before boarding, in hopes of being first in the “C” line and therefore getting first pick of the middle seats?
Your flight attendants can wear shorts in the summer and from time to time might crack a joke or two during the safetly instructions. I have no problem with that. You’re one of the top companies in the country to work for. Don’t you think your flight attendants would really be having fun if they didn’t have to walk up and down the aisle looking for those last few remaining seats for the passengers scanning their eyes back and forth, looking for a place to sit? “Ma’am, is that seat taken? No? Sir! Sir! There’s a seat right here – no, right back here sir, there’s a seat for you here! Will everyone with a lap child please make sure their child is on their lap?” …And so on.
If you’re worried you won’t stand out as an airline if you get rid of open seating, consider your unorthodox drink service, where you take orders and bring drinks on trays, rather than shoving an enormous, head-and-knee-knocking cart down the aisle. See? You’re still very, very special.
Someone who flies you only when she is forced to