Southwest gives assigned seating a tryout

Marketplace Staff Jul 10, 2006
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Southwest gives assigned seating a tryout

Marketplace Staff Jul 10, 2006
HTML EMBED:
COPY

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: If you’ve ever flown Southwest, you know about the mad rush. Well, today, Southwest is trying some flights without the cattle call. Here’s Annie Baxter:


ANNIE BAXTER: Southwest is the only major airline that uses open boarding, but starting today the company is testing assigned seating on a handful of flights out of San Diego.

Travel expert Terry Trippler of Vacation Passport says the experiment is significant.

TERRY TRIPPLER: This a real crack in the old southwest vernacular, because they’ve increased fares four times this year, now they’re assigning seats.

Trippler says the move reflects a trend among low cost carriers. Many of them are starting to offer more of the frills and higher fares typically associated with the legacy carriers.

But at the same time, many legacy carriers are cutting out frills to save money. Trippler says it’s a strange moment to watch:

TRIPPLER: We hope they all will meet in the middle.

A Southwest spokesperson says despite the seating change and the recent fare increases, the carrier plans to keep its rates below those charged by the legacy airlines.

I’m Annie Baxter, for Marketplace.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.