More choice benefits customers

The latest round of competition for Metroplex airline customers has yielded some excellent benefits for consumers.The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Monday, Southwest Airlines began offering free alcohol to customers flying out of Dallas Love Field between now and Memorial Day. This is in response to last Wednesday, when American Airlines gave away 20,350 round-trip tickets to fans at a Dallas Mavericks game.

These incentives are aimed at getting and keeping customers. For American Airlines, which has only recently begun flying out of Love, it is about attracting customers to their new operation there. For Southwest, it is about ensuring that customers continue to travel with them regardless of American’s presence at Love.

This type of competitive atmosphere will promote consumer satisfaction, as opposed to legislative measures such as the Wright Amendment, which limits which states airlines can fly to out of Dallas Love Field. The amendment favors certain specific businesses and ends up hurting consumers. Customers may be forced to pay more for tickets, choose longer flights with layovers, or yield to sub-standard service when there aren’t enough choices – for example, when a single airline holds a monopoly on a particular flight path.

Clearly, this competition is a good thing.

If businesses want customers, they should be required to compete for them, offering bonuses and incentives, or just plain good products and good service. They should not be able to merely lobby for legislative means to those same ends. The competition may require sacrifices from American Airlines, but in the long run, it may find its company improved as it is forced to find new ways to appeal to customers.

This competition is what capitalism is supposed to be about – the best business winning fair and square, or multiple businesses reaping rewards, and certainly the consumer being able to choose the best deal possible.

And as customers pour into Love Field, it appears that’s what is happening.

Opinion editor Stephanie Weaver for the editorial board.