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I dont get how southwest does it..

Discussion in 'Getting There & Getting Around' started by user3657, May 10, 2012.

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  1. user3657

    user3657 High-Roller

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    I love southwest. because of their point system I have flown many times for free. Alot of times their flights are not full and I dont get how they offer so many flights from newark/philly but almost all the flights have plenty of seats. The connecting flights are almost always packed when they go to vegas.

    And they still dont charge any other crazy fees. Whatever they are doing, keep it up!!
     
  2. loonytoony

    loonytoony VIP Whale

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    They do it because all of their planes are the same. Save on maintenance, save on training, save on pilots, etc
     
  3. VegasBJ

    VegasBJ VIP Whale

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    Plus they fly a lot of short routes that connect to longer routes - so lots of unloading and loading of new passengers for the same route other airlines fly as a single leg. This actually increases segment fees collected as they are collecting 2 sets of fees that other airlines are collecting as one slightly higher fare. Southwest will fly very few long routes that are not sold out flights. They may fly some short routes that are not sold out, but if it is a long, direct segment you can almost guarantee that the plane will be full.
     
  4. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    We usually fly Southwest out of Chicago Midway, but have also used Milwaukee and Indianapolis ... and almost all of our flights are completely full. Obviously, maximizing their passenger load helps the bottom line.

    And ... they are not a union shop, and employees know that up front, accepting a happy job, and decent wages and benefits. That saves high costs for SWA.

    They also are one of the best at marketing with other sponsor / partnerships, and make side money there, while rewarding members with reward points.

    They are also famous for hedging their fuel expenses, when the prices are favorable, and buying long-term fuel contracts to save money.

    SWA are very shrewd operators, very customer friendly, and is a model for success, which many other airlines have not figured out.
     
  5. dbueler

    dbueler High-Roller

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    I agree with Buddha, as usual. As a frequent flier, the other airlines make decisions that amaze me. AA used to have 3 direct flights daily from St Louis to Vegas, and they were always packed. Yet, when they decided to cut routes out of STL, those were the first ones to go, leaving SW as the only direct flight option to Vegas. One would think the airline would analyze the flights and keep the ones always full, with limited competition.

    Also, there's no other airline that can turn a plane like SW. I fly a number of airlines with the assigned seating and it takes them twice the time to unload, get ready, then reload the plane as SW. Especially since the other airlines have significant baggage fees, so everyone is bringing carry-on, fighting for overhead space with their inappropriately huge luggage, and grandma & grandpa can't get their bag lifted into the overhead.

    It also surprises me how casual the other airlines are about leaving late. The staff on the SW flights I've been on are having fits if they think they may be late. And, even if we do leave late, I do appreciate them having spasms over it, makes me feel better!
    diane
     
  6. ABQJeff

    ABQJeff Low-Roller

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    I wrote my Master's thesis on Southwest. Their general thought was to offer flights to offer a reasonably priced flight to people whose option was to fly or drive. Because of that you'll find that most flights are relatively short, and very crowded. Planes are all Boeing 737's to save on parts and training. Southwest was also a leader in "hedging" fuel costs ensuring they could keep relatively stable fares during cost spikes. They are genuinely concerned about on time performance and have yet to have a passenger casualty on any of their flights.
    Sometimes I have caught a half empty flight from ABQ to LAS, but usually only on morning flights on weekdays.
     
  7. shifter

    shifter Degenerate Gambler

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    i agree that they're a great airline for short flights. we used to fly them all the time around the west coast. but i wouldn't be caught dead on one of their planes for a 4-5 hours cross country journey.
     
  8. C0usineddie

    C0usineddie VIP Whale

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    If you go to San Diego airport the southwest end of the terminal is always packed. Go to the other end of the terminal where united is and you can see tumble weeds rolling around or so it seems.

    The planes from here are always packed to capacity.
     
  9. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

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    1) You don't make money sitting on the ground:thumbsup:
    2) Southwest hasn't been my cheapest option in ~2 years (out of RDU) for any trip I've looked at. So I haven't flown them in ages (I'm also elite on Delta this year - international travel - so I have free baggage which makes it "cheaper" for me to fly Delta when the fares are the same as SWA - which they have been - or cheaper)

    I haven't seen more than one empty seat on any airplane I've flown in the past 2 years, either.....
     
  10. bubbakitty

    bubbakitty native Texan; born and bred.

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    If you look back at the "old system" of awarding credits, it took 19,200 (?) "points" for a round-trip with a point received for each 1 $ spent on their credit card. If (under the old system) the card only generated 2% from each purchase for SWA at the rate of 19,200 for a round trip that is 384.oo $ (and I think 2% is low but the bank gets something I'm sure). In the old days, few flights were 384 $ r/t that we took unless last minute but for SWA to break way beyond "even" I would think they could fly everyone free at the conversion rate above if accurate.

    SWA as mentioned is not union. It is too bad if their attitude and perception of leaving / arriving late is a result of simply not being union. But it is Texas based and Texas is a "non-union" state so maybe we were lucky as to its parentage if such a word exists. Not to knock unions.
     
    1st Super Bowl DT...Panthers / Browns no doubt
    Spur of momento trip
  11. nostresshere

    nostresshere Mr. Anti Debit Card

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    lots of back seat drivers here, but he main reason they do well is GOOD MANAGEMENT.

    Single plane decision.
    Loading decisions.
    Employee selection and training decisions
    Fuel decisions
    Airport decisions (some charge way too much for landing, gates, etc)
    On and on.

    As to the comment about flying multiple flights, etc - I am not sure about that. Many say the reason some majors are hurting is their hub and spoke system. Delta - ATL, MEM, MSP, DTW, SLC for example.

    Not sure what segment fees are being discussed, that confuses me.

    And, as to flying cross country on SW vs others - they all suck if you are in coach, and in the middle.
     
  12. theshaah

    theshaah Low-Roller

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    Southwest does have a union. I know that the Pilots have SWAPA, and the Flight attendants have TWU as their union representation.

    Even though they are unionized the company has a great relationship with their employees. Everything at southwest is centered around their culture. Which is based on providing an excellent customer experience for the passengers, and treating fellow employees like family. They pay an excellent wage, profit share so every one has incentives to make sure the airline does well. Not to mention that they are just one damn great company to work for. I look forward to being a loyal employee to SWA when I make my transition from the Airtran side of the partition.




    Adam

    All statements and opinions made in this post are of the poster and do not come from southwest airlines or their management.
     
  13. hammie

    hammie VIP Whale

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    I believe Texas is considered a "right to work" state which means you cannot be forced to join a union.
     
  14. Vegas55

    Vegas55 Tourist

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    I believe they also own their reservation system which saves them alot.
     
  15. Suekel

    Suekel VIP Whale

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    While I generally agree with all of the previous posts here, and have been a loyal Southwest passenger for years, in the past 3-4 months I have found their prices to have jumped to levels that have me looking at other airlines. This is not just about their now including all taxes and fees in the prices. For a long time, flights from Austin to Vegas would range, inclusive of all fees and taxes, from $200 to maybe $290 RT, at the high end. Now, there is nothing under $390 RT. I got back yesterday from New Orleans, and had to fly United at $235 because Southwest was priced well over $300. It's a pretty short trip from Austin, that seems outrageously high.

    I know gas prices are up, but if something doesn't give with airfare rates from Austin, I am going to have to start using other airlines for our most common routes, which are Vegas, Fort Lauderdale and Southern California. I hate to do that because I love Southwest.
     
    Vegas Just Because...
  16. IWannaBeInVegas

    IWannaBeInVegas VIP Whale

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    Funny you mention that about Austin. I bought my son a one way ticket from AUS to CMH for $185 which was much cheaper than Houston or Dallas. I only had one flight to choose from since he is flying as an unaccompied minor, SWA is the only airline I trust putting him on due to their policies on minors.

    Iv flown on SWA from CMH to LAS, thats a four hour flght and even in a window seat it was not too bad, I did have an exit row and that may have helped.
     
    Tentative Arrival
  17. kel3420

    kel3420 VIP Whale

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    Last Monday, I flew out of MKE to LAS, 6:55 flight. There were 33 of us on the plane. Yes 33!! They made an anouncement before boarding that there were 187 open seats and that everyone on the plane could have their own row, lol.

    I simply cannot see that happening with any other airline. Other airlines would have cancelled the flight, but I figure that SW needed that plane out West and kept the flight.

    People were actually grumbling that they paid $10 for early boarding. Oh lord.
     
  18. ChickenBone Jones

    ChickenBone Jones Low-Roller

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    I think that one overlooked aspect is the lack of "legacy" costs that many of the other aislines still carry.
    I also think that SW also gets some leeway on prices, as others have mentioned they are not always the cheapest alternative but many people still percieve them to be the cheapest.
     
  19. saintpauljeff

    saintpauljeff VIP Whale

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    wow. I think every flight i've been on in the last 5 years to wherever has been at least 99% full
     
  20. makikiboy

    makikiboy VIP Whale

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    Enjoy the cheaper rates while you can. Southwest had benefited by signing a contract for fuel many years ago. Although it was questioned at the time they have since shown that it was an awesome deal. while fuel prices kept rising the past number of years Southwest was able to make a profit because they could keep their fuel prices down while other airlines had to bite the bullet and pay more for fuel which then caused higher ticket prices and baggage fees.

    That will be changing pretty soon. It appears that their sweet fuel contract is ending next year. They expect their fuel bill to be $300 to $500 million HIGHER which means that they will either have less profit or have to raise prices or start implementing things like baggage fees.

    http://money.cnn.com/2005/04/14/news/fortune500/southwest_oil/

    I fear the end of free baggage (maybe the first bag free?) on Southwest to make up for the increase fuel costs but we'll have to see what happens.
     
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