Southwest Airlines Boarding Process Changes
Nevertheless, the new process maintained the core concept of first-come, first-serve; the passengers who checked in first are usually assigned favorable seating numbers which assures them favorable seats in the aircraft as they are the ones who get into the plane first. The notable difference is that travelers would line up in a more orderly fashion than before. The early-bird check-in process has boarding numbers which range from 1 to 60 within each of the three groups. The early-bird check-in process ticket cost an extra 10 dollars and allows passengers to move up in line. Normally, the plane is boarded in order of priority; the passenger allocated boarding number A1 boards first, whereas the passenger C60 boards last. Under the Southwest Airline new process, the passenger who chooses to buy the early-bird check-in ticket increases his or her chances than the passenger who decides not to.
As such, if the person decides not to use the early-bird check-in tickets and another cares enough to pay the extra 10 dollars for the early-bird check-in. The person who does it is assured of a better chance of getting a favorable seat in the aircraft than the person who decided not to or that the person who even bought the early-bird check-in too provided the other checked in first. The travelers face the prisoner face the Prisoner’s Dilemma with the early-bird check-in process because they are competing with other passengers who are equally making the same decisions as they are. According to Talawakar (2013), the Dilemma results from the passengers being caught up in positions of deciding to pay for the early-bird check-in tickets which cost an extra 10 dollars and move up in line of landing a favorable seat or decide not to buy the early-bird check-in tickets and try his/her chances with hope that the majority have also not paid for the early-bird check-in tickets.
The new process saw people being lining up in an orderly fashion to be served at the gate. It is significant to note that note the Southwest Airlines did not introduce the early- bird check-in technique in order to assign individual seats. The technique serves as an organized procedure that establishes how passengers board the aircraft. Advantages and Disadvantages of the early-bird check-in process for Southwest Airlines Advantages First and foremost, the early-bird check-in process brought more order to the boarding arrangements of the Southwest Airlines. It is important to note that unlike a majority of the Airlines that prefer providing assigned seats to their passengers, over 42 years, the Southwest Airlines has held onto its policy of “open seating”. For example in 2010, 3 years after the new process had been introduced the Airlines’ sales volume shoot to 98 million dollars and 144 million dollars in 2011.
The Airline accredited the increased revenues to be as a result the early-bird check-in concept of pitting customers into a Prisoner’s Dilemma Style game. Moreover, the early-bird check-in process has given the Southwest Airlines a unique corporate identity that is different from other Airlines in the airline industry. Taneja (2016) argues that a unique corporate identity is a vital tool for an organization especially in the aviation industry as it gives the organization a competitive advantage and a cutting edge over its competitors in the market. The new process has made the organization stand out from the other airlines. Furthermore, considering the fact that under the early-bird check-in process the travelers are assigned boarding numbers based on the time at which the traveler checked in for the flight, someone can argue that it is no different from the first-come, first-serve process (Talwakar, 2013).
For example, under the first-come-first-serve process, the travelers who were the first to arrive have the assurance of getting the favorable seats in the aircraft. Similarly, under the early-bird check-in process, the earliest traveler to check in secures a favorable boarding number which guarantees him or her favorable seat in the aircraft. It is important to also note that the early-bird check-in process does not necessarily guarantee a good seat. Initially when the new process was introduced in 2007, fewer people would pay for it because it came with an extra 10 dollar charge. Southwest's Boarding Process: Why I Love it and Hate it [Web log post]. Retrieved May 22, 2018, from https://onemileatatime. boardingarea. com/2017/01/05/how-does-southwest-boarding-work/ Matzler, K. , Bailom, F. Looking beyond the runway: airlines innovating with best practices while facing realities.
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