Column: Southwest's rewards program inches toward rivals'

02/15/2011 | New York Times (tiered subscription model), The

Columnist Joe Sharkey explains how Southwest Airlines has long resisted launching the type of frequent-flier program that results in a passenger hierarchy similar to the "seating protocol for a dinner at Versailles in the 18th century." However, Southwest is striving to increase its business-travel market share. The move includes a revamp of the airline's Rapid Rewards program for frequent fliers, causing dismay for some customers, Sharkey writes.

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