Why can’t airlines offer a guaranteed-on-time airfare?

May 22, 2008

I think it would be cool if Southwest Airlines offered another fare option beyond the ones that they currently offer, which might be called “Business Guaranteed”.  It would come with the options that Business Select already includes – extra rapid reward credits, free drink, and guaranteed “A” boarding pass, and it would additionally include a guarantee that the flight would arrive at its destination within a certain amount of time compared to the scheduled arrival time.  The fare would be priced higher than the current business select prices and would be limited to a certain number of seats on each plane.

Here’s how it might look when someone goes on the web site to buy a ticket:

Depending on how late the plane arrives at its final destination, a refund would be offered to the customer.  On-time or minimally late planes would not result in any refund, a delay of 1/2 an hour to an hour might warrant a 50% refund, and a delay of over an hour would result in a 100% refund.  I’m sure Southwest could look at the on-time performance of its planes and set the premium for this type of a fare at a level that would not result in a loss of profitability over the long-run, and it would also serve as an incentive for the company to make its planes run on time.

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