Southwest Airlines Assigned Seating Leads to Pandemonium

Southwest Airlines has been thinking about changing its open seating policy for assigned seating. This isn’t about convenience or altruism: rather, it’s about trying to cram as many people into a plane as quickly as possible, reducing the turn-around time between when a flight lands to when it takes off again.

Well, Southwest conducted its first experiment in assigned seating the other day, on a flight from Dallas to Phoenix. Pandemonium reigned. Customers were outraged by the convolution of the experiment, which involved customers having to line-up to check-in, line-up to pass security, then line-up again to get their seats.

“It’s ridiculous,” said one traveler. “It was so easy before, you got your card and you just walked on board. Now you can’t pick your seat.” And driving the spiky point right through Southwest’s dented forehead, another traveler supplemented: “These guys are smart, why change something that’s not broke? The only people that do this are dinosaur airlines.”

Southwest Airlines tries telling passengers where to sit [Mercury News]