The authors of the petition want Southwest to keep AirTran's business class seats when Southwest completes its purchase of Orlando based AirTran. They also want Southwest to get rid of its open seating policy. The petition reads, in part: "We care about assigned seating because we're families who want to sit together and business professionals who want certainty even if we're the last to board."
Currently, Southwest has all single class, coach cabins on its fleet of Boeing 737's. AirTran flies a two class configuration, allowing travelers to pay $49 to upgrade to business class seats before their flights. Southwest passengers board in groups and choose their seats as they get onto the plane. AirTran passengers can pay a fee to reserve a seat in advance.
Southwest is unlikely to be swayed by the move, despite the petition group's claim that it has already collected hundreds of signatures. Southwest CEO Gary Kelly has previously acknowledged that the airline knows it may lose some customers over it's seating design and policies.