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SCOTT JAGOW: Southwest Airlines was on Wall Street yesterday. The company was explaining why its first quarter profits were so bad: a slowing economy, less demand for travel, fuel prices. But the airline has a plan to fix things, although Ia€™m not sure youa€™re gonna like it. More now from Jill Barshay.
Jill Barshay:Southwest CEO Gary Kelly told investors yesterday that 3 out of 10 seats go empty on every one of his flights. He wants to fill those seats through code shares with other airlines. That means more connections for passengers.
Gary Kelly: For us, it’s not easy to transform ourselves from the simpler point-to-point system that we have enjoyed for 36 years.
Perry Flint, editor-in-chief of Air Transport World Magazine, says Southwest will sell tickets through the same booking systems that other airlines use.
It’s putting wireless Internet in its planes. Flint says that’s all part of a drive to snare business travelers, but it may not be enough.
Perry Flint: If you really want to attract the business traveler in bigger numbers, you want them to be able to get an assigned seat.
Southwest doesn’t plan to introduce assigned seating. But passengers may find the prices of some seats going up.
In New York, I’m Jill Barshay for Marketplace.
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