The Dallas Morning News reports that Southwest Airlines will launch a pilot program today (pun intended) to assign seats to passengers instead of herding everyone like cattle. Starting today, some Southwest flights from San Diego will give out assigned seats.
(As a side note, the newspaper also says Southwest gets wedding invitations from passengers who met through open seating. How does one invite an airliner to a wedding? Is the ceremony held in a hangar? Haha.)
While Southwest experiments with assigned seating, Northwest Airlines is doing the exact opposite:
Northwest is testing a new policy in which coach passengers have seat assignments but board in the order they line up at the gate.
To sum up: Southwest is trying to be more like Northwest. And Northwest is trying to be more like Southwest.