Southwest announces a “buy your way to the front of the line” plan

On the Southwest “Biz” page, the airlines is announcing some rather radical new features related to its new boarding policy.

They include some perks for hardcore SWA fliers (like me) so it will be interesting to see how they position these baby-steps toward tiering their seating policy away from the “egalitarian” system of old.

Here are the components of their, hmm, what to call it, “We don’t have first class, but how about this class?” (Later: Or, “It’s not first class, but you can move to the front of the class” fare)

Business Select: When you purchase this new fare, they’ll guarantee you’ll be among the first to board and you’ll also get extra Rapid Rewards credit and a free drink.

The Rapid Rewards A-List: Fly 16 roundtrips in 12 months and you get on the SWA A-List where they’ll reserve you the best boarding pass available on all your flights for an entire year, which means you’ll most likely get an A boarding pass. (Note: Finally, an A-List on which I’ll be included.)

Freedom Awards: Rapid Rewards Members can now convert two Standard Awards into one Freedom Award. With the exception of a few blackout dates, Freedom Awards are not subject to seat restrictions.

Later: The Dallas Morning news has details about the new “perks to lure business travelers”.

(Thanks, Lewis)

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