Southwest adds to business traveler services

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Southwest Airlines has added a new fast-lane perk to its Rapid Reward loyalty program, which it is also extending to its Business Select passengers.

The program, branded “Fly by,” gives Rapid Reward A-List passengers — those who fly 16 qualifying roundtrips per year — and Business Select ticketholders priority access to airport security lanes. Beginning October 17, “Fly by” lanes will be available at Baltimore/Washington International, Dallas Love Field, Phoenix Sky Harbor International, Orange County John Wayne, Denver International, San Francisco International and Los Angeles International. Additional lanes will be added starting in November.

“We believe that our customers will appreciate the added benefit priority security lanes will provide,” said Kevin Krone, VP of marketing, sales and distribution for Southwest, in a statement. “Expediting passengers through security is just one example of how Southwest is enhancing the Customer experience by offering added convenience for seasoned travelers.”

The program is aimed specifically at business fliers, which are a high priority for Southwest. All Rapid Rewards members and Business Select customers received e-mail announcements about the new program. A promotional message is also running on Southwest.com.

Southwest operates more than 3,300 flights a day, serving 64 cities in the US. The airline reported second quarter revenues of $2.9 billion, up 11.1% from second quarter 2007, and net income, excluding special items, of $121 million — a 37.9% drop — in July.

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