Dear Southwest Airlines

Dear John Southwest,

You've been so good to me all these years that this is really difficult for me to write. To make it a little less painful for us both, I'm just going to say it up front: I believe it's time to cool our jets, for I've met someone new.

I hoped to keep my new dalliance secret, to not have to admit my loyalty no longer lies with you, but Thursday's press conference announcing $29 introductory flights and more made it impossible for me to pretend any longer. I've found a new love, a new best friend, a new way to fly to see my beloved grandson Bubby.

Yes, dear Southwest, you probably guessed it. It's Allegiant Air. They're back in town and I can no longer go on seeing you when it's Allegiant who has my heart, my bags, my flight to an airport near Bubby.

Me love you long time, Southwest, and you were oh-so good to me during that time. You carried my bags for free, offered up peanuts and pretzels at the same time, provided the most interesting airline publication of all, and even introduced Jim to Sky Mall ... and we have the replica of Mount Rushmore at the top of our backyard waterfall to forever prove Jim's appreciation for that serendipitous introduction.

Most importantly, though, you were my first, Southwest. You were the one to carry me relatively turbulence free to visit my brand-new grandbaby for the very first time, just days after his birth. And for that I will always love you.

But sometimes even the strongest of loves can't make a relationship work. Unfortunately, this is one of those times.

Please don't take it hard, as it's not you -- or your treatment of Kevin Smith -- it's me. I just need less. Less time driving to the airport; Allegiant will pick me up 10 minutes from my house whereas you required me to drive a minimum of 90 minutes to reach you. I need less time riding the parking lot shuttle, less time standing in the security line at the international airport where you're located, less time lining up in my designated slot to board. Oh, and less time scrambling to check in exactly 24 hours before flight time in order to make the A group.

(Which reminds me: I've always wondered who it was you were playing favorites with, who made it so that even though I checked in at the exact millisecond I was allowed, you granted me an A36 -- or worse! -- boarding pass. So maybe it is you, just a teensy eensy bit.)

But I won't hold that -- or the comment from the pilot on my last flight about how "gooood looooooking" the flight attendants were -- against you. Because despite a few questionable practices here and there, I hope we can still be friends, hope to still get together occassionally. For as wonderfully appealing as Allegiant is, they can't offer me everything: For one thing, they provide service from my town to Bubby's only twice a week and sometimes a long-distance grandma needs a little more flexibility than that. Those are the times, sweet Southwest, that I'll most treasure our long history and book some time aboard your wings.

Thank you, Southwest. I've been honored to be your passenger, to be part of your Rapid Rewards Club. And I hope you will, in return, honor the idea that the skies are indeed friendly, that you won't turn the other direction and pretend you don't see me when we pass one another as Allegiant carries me back and forth between the mountains and the desert, between my home and Bubby's.

You'll always hold a special place in my heart, Southwest. Don't ever forget that.

Friends forever,

Bubby's grandma, aka Rapid Rewards #248817951

Today's question:

What's your favorite airline and why?