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Southwest Introduces Fly By Security Lanes

There was an interesting little surprise last Friday when Southwest revealed on FlyerTalk that it was rolling out what is effectively elite security lines for its best customers. I think I like this move since it’s squarely targeting the business traveler, even if it does go against Southwest’s egalitarian history.

I spoke with spokesperson Paula Berg and got the full scoop. Members of Southwest’s A-List (those who fly at least 32 one way flights per year) and those who purchase Business Select fares will be allowed to use the special lines. In some cities, these will be separate lines while in others they’ll be shared with the employee lines. By October 17, the lines will exist in Dallas, Phoenix, Orange County, Denver, San Francisco, and LA. They expect to have these in the “majority of our airports in the near future.”

So on one hand, I think this is a great move. Those Business Select fares always seemed to be a little light on benefits, but this is a big one, especially if you’re in an airport with long lines. And it’s an added benefit to A-Listers as well to make them feel wanted.

I think it’s interesting that only the A-List member of Business Select people will be able to use this. Let’s say you’re an A-Lister and you’re taking your family somewhere. Sorry, but they’ll have to go in the other line. So this is very clearly only for the business traveler who is traveling on business. And anything Southwest can do to convince business travelers to fly them is a good idea.

The only negative? Southwest has always prided itself on being the airline of the people, but maybe that’s being amended to apply only once you’re on the airplane. Something tells me that Herb may need a shot of Wild Turkey to help this one go down, but it still seems like the right thing to do.

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