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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17 Comments on "Southwest Introduces Fly By Security Lanes"

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[…] 9-29: According to Cranky’s post today, families/companions of A-List holders won’t be able to use it, […]


How is this different than being a Registered Traveler? At my home airport (RNO) there are two lines: Registered Traveler and everyone else.

Flight crews enter through the Registered Travelers’ line….so I doubt our happy security folks are going to be willing to put in a special line just for SWA.


I am glad they are finally going after the business traveler, I remember having to fight with my company because I wanted to use southwest but they insisted on using a travel agent, I finally won when our VP of sales noticed that I was the only one flying to our kickoff whose total roundtrip ticket was under $100.

Chris Guillebeau

“Herb may need a shot of Wild Turkey to help this one go down, but it still seems like the right thing to do.”

That is a great sentence. :)

It is interesting that SWA is catering more and more to business travelers these days, but as you note it does make sense.

So let’s see here…business fare is $286 each way for many destinations…super saver or web specials are around $91 each way. A soda at the post security vendor is $3 and a registered traveler pass is approx $125 for a one time cost. Of course, this case only works if you are using one of those many airports with a RT line. If I were inclined to fly SWA and were flying the RT airports, I’d opt for the 12 (sometimes 13) month line jumper pass and a post security soda. The elite lines are no doubt a nice perk… Read more »
I think it’s a great idea for SWA, especially since most of the other airlines offer something similar. Ever since I lost status (and upgrades), I’ve preferred the somewhat egalitarian SWA system! I’m all for them offering some business travel perks if it means that they can preserve the low cost model that leisure travelers have come to expect – no change fee, quick aircraft loading and loading, pretty fast check-in, etc. I hope that SWA doesn’t ostracize the leisure travelers. When the economy picks up and the legacy airlines do better (optimism) biz travelers will probably run back to… Read more »

[…] have been doing this for years. Years! More shocking, though also, not entirely: Southwest is rolling out elite lines, […]


great new perk for business select! there weren’t THAT many perks for buying a business select fare. now this one is really worth it.


[…] out (and according to some, it’s bad! BAD!, then again, these are the same people who are raving about LV’s new elite give-aways) I’m not so sure. As all have pointed out, all you get now that you didn’t have before […]


As a super frequent southwest flier, I am likin this, although at the airports I usually fly in and out of (HOU,MDW,DTW) the security lines generally aren’t that bad… except for LAX.

Next stop, I hope: SWA Airline Clubs

Peter D

The TSA employees are paid by the taxpayers. The airports are built by public funds. Elite lines for security checks should be banned as un-American.

Peter L
I’m an Ameriva by choice and, was a big fam of SWA, until I read about their Fly By privileges for business tickets, which they give using my taxpayer money. That is un-American indeed. I just wrote this to SWA: —– I’m a regular customer of SWA. A question on this privilege via Business Select to get in front of the line at the TSA (so government run, taxpayer paid) security check-in: Who pays the TSA for this extra privilege? Does SWA pay the TSA insteda of the taxpayer, or does this come from the taxpayers money only? I’m not… Read more »
Peter L
The ‘clarification’ that the real estate in front of a checkpoint is run by airlines and arports is misleading. If an airline would offer an expedited access to one of its services it woudl be a fair transaction to ask money for that, but this case is different. The Airlines, including Southwest, are selling expedited access to government services, which we taxpayers all paid a security fee for (and possibly even more than that via income tax etc). No fellow citizen should have a right to expedited access to a government service which I have paid for, defacto pushing me… Read more »
Ron Hartwell

I do see the point that we are paying for the security and it is being bypassed for economic reasons that only benefit Southwest, but my concern is that a terrorist could easily be a frequent flyer. Last time I checked the terrorists did not lack the wherewithal to fake a frequent flyer identity.