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What's the big deal with Southwest Airlines in Grand Rapids?

7:11 PM, Feb 4, 2013   |    comments
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File image from the Associated Press.

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - It was just announced Southwest Airlines is coming to Grand Rapids in August, and experts say that is good news. If you haven't flown the low cost carrier before, you may not realize how Southwest is different than other airlines.

Unlike most airlines that assign you a seat, Southwest assigns you a place in a line. "Typically it's open boarding where you get there and line up," says Brian Rigs Exec. Dir. Of the Gerald R. Ford Airport. "People who are used to it seem to like it." You can also pay to get priority seating which means you get closer to the front of the line.

Travel agents say this "cattle call" seating system gives Southwest a unique advantage. "That is one of the ways Southwest has traditionally saved money," explains John Lovell President of Breton Village Travel. "They have been able to turn around a plane faster.

If you are looking to buy a ticket from Southwest, you won't find them on popular travel booking sites like or that's because Southwest has a policy that you can only find their best prices on or

Southwest also has a reputation for not "nickel and diming" you... or so they say. You may have seen their ad campaign for Bags Fly Free. "Bags Fly Free that is a program has been very popular that as you know has been marketed very well," says Ryks.

If you are interested in learning more about Southwest Airlines and their fares you can go to

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