Take that, Southwest! Pass-a-matic answers the Webware call

Can't afford a 24-hour assistant? Pass-a-matic will handle at least one part of the job for you.

Just in case I wasn't crystal clear in my earlier post about Southwest Airlines' new online boarding pass lottery, I despise the carrier's "cattle car" seat assignment scheme. There's at least one clever entrepreneur (and future Webware T-Shirt wearer) out there who feels the same way I do and is building Pass-a-matic. This service, still in closed beta, should do exactly what I want. First, it will act as my agent on Southwest's online check-in service, logging in at the precisely right time to "snipe" the coveted low-numbered "A" boarding passes. Second, in doing so, it undermines the whole time-based, twitchy process Southwest employs to assign boarding priority, and could eventually force Southwest to abandon the process and just allow online seat selection like a civilized carrier.

I think I can handle this UI.

The site looks very easy to use. Just enter in your Southwest confirmation number and it handles the rest.

Southwest could try to kill Pass-a-matic by requiring captchas or some other test to assure that its check-in site only interacts with real people and not bots. But since Pass-a-matic will eventually be a paid service, the company can afford to fight back by farming out captcha solving to a service bureau or to a distributed captcha technology like ReCaptcha (review).

In the future, this technology will be be applied to other services that have a similar rush-the-gate process: buying tickets to concerts, getting good seats on airlines where you're not a premier member, and so on.

See also: PlaneFast.

It's because of things like this that I love the Web.

Featured Video
6
This content is rated TV-MA, and is for viewers 18 years or older. Are you of age?
Sorry, you are not old enough to view this content.

As Xbox One gets a little sweeter, HoloLens gets Xbox Live

Microsoft announces new features coming to Xbox One, including the ability to record TV shows. Also, the company opens up Xbox Live to HoloLens programmers.

by Bridget Carey