Southwest’s Latest A-List Perk is a Double-Edged Sword

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N8733M, a Southwest MAX departs LAX in September, 2021.

N8733M, a Southwest MAX departs LAX in September, 2021

Did you hear Southwest somewhat recently enriched their A-List perks by adding a long-desired feature? You might not have. I reached out to our friends at Southwest PR and it turns out there was no big announcement or PR campaign. They just sort of rolled it out and let folks discover it on their own. This latest benefit is something I had personally been wanting for years; problem is, now that they’ve rolled it out, I’m not sure that I still want it.

What’s this mysterious new perk? Click through to see for yourself…

N963WN departs BUR airport in September, 2021.

N963WN departs BUR airport in September, 2021

Southwest’s Newest A-List Perk

For years I have wished that my travel companion(s) could board with me as a part of my A-List benefit. And now they can! According to Brad Hawkins, PR for Southwest: “As part of A-List Priority boarding, the A-List Customer and everyone on their reservation will get an earlier boarding position.”

That’s right, everyone on the reservation gets to board with their A-List companion. Everyone! This is great for when I bring my AvGeek wife and/or 11-year-old aspiring AvGeek son along on trips. My wish is Southwest’s command, and I should be grateful, right? Well, I am.

But the problem with this perk is that it applies to all A-Listers. And it applies to all folks in the party. All of ’em. With as liberally as Southwest has loosened A-list qualification through targeted teasers and paths to expedited qualification, it seems there are a bunch of A-Listers these days. If my recent experience is any indication, they sure like to bring all of their friends. Prior to this update it was pretty common for me as an A-Lister to find myself in the B-boarding group simply because of the sheer number of other A-List travelers on my flight. This is particularly pronounced on routes with high business traffic, which includes most all of Kansas City’s routes to non-sunbelt destinations.

So the new perk is great. Except for when it isn’t. I’m not complaining, just examining both sides.

I’m glad that Southwest is listening and continues to add value to their loyalty program while other airlines continue to devalue their own. As for this perk, it’s a bit of a mixed bag and I’m still undecided on whether or not I LUV it.

How do YOU feel about this new perk?

  • Have you encountered this yet? And if so, what has been your experience?
  • Have you business travelers felt the A-List line more crowded lately?
  • Have you paid for Early Bird only to find yourself with a still unfavorable boarding position?

Managing Correspondent – Lee’s Summit, MO. JL joined AirlineReporter in 2012 and has since become one of our most tenured and prolific writers. His passions include catalyzing AvGeek passion in others, spending too much time on Twitter, and frequent travel. While he’s always looking for the next big adventure, home is with his growing AvGeek family in Lee’s Summit, MO, a suburb of Kansas City. Email: jl@airlinereporter.com

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