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Southwest shuts down seat assignment proxy site

Pass-a-matic is no more. A moment of silence, please.

I'm saddened to report that Southwest Airlines has effectively shut down Pass-a-matic, the service that would act as your proxy to retrieve the coveted A-1 boarding pass. The service, which I raved about two months ago, would take your reservation number and use it to jump on the Southwest Web site precisely 24 hours before your flight's departure time to grab the good seats.

Southwest, clearly, was not amused, and recently amended the terms of service for its Web site with this proviso: "You may not use Southwest's web sites for or in connection with offering any third party product or service not authorized or approved by Southwest. For example, online check-in service providers may not use the Southwest web sites to check-in Customers online or attempt to obtain for them a boarding pass in any certain boarding group."

An email from Pass-a-matic notified users of the shutdown: "Southwest Airlines has asked us to stop the operations of our boarding pass retrieval service for their airline...We are complying with their request immediately."

I mourn the passing of Pass-a-matic. It was a civilized solution to a barbarous process.