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One of the best perks Southwest offers its A-List and A-List Preferred members is complimentary standby. The perk, which was introduced six months ago, gave members complimentary free standby access on the same day of travel to other flights. Per the Southwest website:
“Free same-day standby will be provided for A-List and A-List Preferred Members traveling within two hours prior to their original flight departure time, between the same city pairs, on the original date of travel, where space is available.”
The policy, which allowed passengers free changes within two hours of their scheduled departure time, was perfect for business executives and other travelers who had unforeseen delays or a change in circumstances and needed to change their flight.
Two Hours is Not Enough
The drawback of the policy is its 2-hour limit. Imposing this limit severely restricts the number of Southwest flights the policy can be used for. In fact, a rudimentary analysis of any day of Southwest schedule shows that only about 25% of flights have an alternative standby option using the two-hour rule.
Although the company has yet to make an official announcement, the rumor on the grapevine is that the company will be scrapping this arbitrary 2-hour limit as of March 8, 2017. The new policy will make the free standby option available for the entire day of travel, not just restricted to a 2-hour window. This will bring more of Southwest flights into the free standby window, not just 25%.
This change is great news for Southwest members, in a world where more often than not changes to airline loyalty programs mean devaluation and the loss of benefits and perks. So, any change that enhances a benefit is a welcome thing. Also, the new policy will not only bring Southwest in line with other US carriers but the no fees for the standby beats many other US carriers.
Source: Seth Miller/Wandering Aramean
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