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SWA and second lowest on-time rate

Discussion in 'Getting There & Getting Around' started by Joe, Sep 12, 2014.

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  1. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    Christmas
  2. hillwood24

    hillwood24 High-Roller

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    There is no way that Spirit beat out Southwest and American. As a rule of thumb, Spirit flights leave 90 minutes later than their posted time.
     
  3. VPDana

    VPDana Low-Roller

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    We only fly twice a year, but we always leave St. Louis on time. A few times our return home flight has been delayed. I don't complain tho ~ as long as they get me THERE on time, coming home doesn't matter as long as I get there. Don't mess with my LV time!
     
  4. bdautch

    bdautch High-Roller

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    I fly SWA maybe 15-20 times per year. Your only shot at on-time performance is a morning flight. If you've got anything after around 1 pm, forget it. It's because their planes go from (for example) LA to Vegas to Phoenix to Houston to Tampa to Baltimore to...

    ...If you're anywhere in that sequence, and the flight loses time along the way, the delays only increase the further into that chain you get. MAYBE they'll get you a substitute plane if it gets really late, or "steal" a plane from some other flight and make them wait if they'll only be an hour late instead of your flight being three hours late. But yeah, I'm not surprised at all to see poor on-time performance from those guys.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2014
  5. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    Well maybe we have had good luck because we only pick non-stop destinations. Vegas, Seattle, Boston and Phoenix.?
     
    Christmas
  6. Piggylane

    Piggylane Well-Known Member

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    The problem with SWA is they stop at every airport they see! Flew them once, never again. Amateurs. If I remember I connected through BWI and was five hours late getting from Hartford to Orlando. I cancelled my return.

    Currently at 2.6 million miles on Delta and a long term Diamond with them. When something happens they manage to get me there.

    SWA may be cheap. You get what you pay for.
     
  7. xmarksx

    xmarksx VIP Whale

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    Joe and bdautch I think you are right. I never notice any on-time performance issue with SWA, even flying out of Chicago MDW. However, like Joe we always fly direct and we almost always fly that super early first flight out.

    Piggy, not sure I agree with the characterization of them being amateurs and imagine you fly mostly for business. When I was flying a ton for business I avoided SWA like the plague and flew it only when it had a direct fight but Delta or American did not. Why, no assigned seating, no designated class of seating that separated you from cattle car, no Admirals Club and finally, I just didn't want to go through the noise of dealing with people who rarely flew and had no concept of the queue - every single flight. In short, while they pay lip service to having services for business travelers, it is a joke.
     
  8. nhcris

    nhcris High-Roller

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    SWA has gotten so far away from what made them so successful that this doesn't surprise me one bit. As they move away from the smaller airports that keep things moving (like reducing MHT flights and increasing BOS flights) and eliminating non-stops that were always full (MHT to LAS for example) and routing everything through hubs like MDW & BWI, they are no better than the rest of the airlines. Their rates are no longer any better when you add the $12.50 each way for a reasonable boarding number. I had more delays and issues this year than ever, and have found myself drifting to other airlines.

    I found a couple of good deals on Delta first class flights, and actually looked forward to the flights with anticipation rather than dread. I wish I could afford to travel that way all the time!
     
  9. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    I hate flying early mornings. I am not getting up at 3-4 AM for a flight. So, we usually fly the 12:20 PM flight to Vegas, non-stop. Coming back, usually the 12:20 PM flight also, but for the winter, we'll do the 9 AM, so we get back and it is still light out.

    Anyway, 5 RT flights so far this year, eight last year and all have been on time both ways. Knock on wood, 3 more this year and I hope that streak continues. There are places we like, but just don't go because they are not non-stop. San Diego for example.
     
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  10. mdlee3_46041

    mdlee3_46041 Low-Roller

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    As bdautch said, if you don't have the early morning flight, you're more likely to get hit with a delay and that's the case for every airline, not just SWA. The problem SWA runs into is they push for a 45 minute turnaround of a plane, which is doable, but if there is even the slightest delay, it makes it nearly impossible to do.

    Also, remember that just because you pick a non-stop flight or a direct flight, that plane is also used on flights before and after yours so even if everything goes smoothly on your flight, problems could have developed to delay the next flight on it for instance. From Indianapolis, the earliest non-stop SWA offers on a Saturday for instance is 10:35am. Before coming to Indy, the plane is in Pittsburgh, then to Indy, Las Vegas, and San Diego. I'm not sure where it goes after San Diego, but anyway, there are a several flights and a 5 minute delay early can lead to a larger delay later in the day. I've only flown SWA to Vegas a couple times, but each time I've flown SWA, the flight home has been delayed. This summer when flew SWA, my flight home was delayed along with the flights on the gates on each side of mine. One of the flights had a mechanical issue, my flight had a flight attendant that was running behind on another flight, and I never heard why the other flight was delayed.
     
  11. dmr

    dmr Registered Abuser

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    I often fly afternoon back from MDW to OMA on Southwest. Very seldom is the flight really late. And these are often milk-run flights that originate in something like Greenland and hop all across the US.

    Now as far as airlines which I've frequently had late flights on, those are Untied, the old TWA, and the old America West.

    LOL, I laugh about it now but I was p*ssed when I checked in, good-girl like early, for an America West flight.

    He: Your gate is B-11 but the flight is late, they are having trouble getting out of Portland.
    Me: Uh ...
    (volce from behind the wall): They just left Portland.
    Me: Uh, Portland is four hours away!
    He: Yes, your plane will arrive in about four hours.
    Me: {profanity} :(
     
  12. captainron62

    captainron62 VIP Whale

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    I used to always take the 5pm flight from LV to Columbus, but 4 out of 5 times it ran late. They would always blame it on a problem with the plane flying in from Cali. With the time change I would get home at like 11pm, which is doable for work the next day, but the delays kept pushing me back so I started taking the earlier flights. Last March I gave it one more try and yup, late again so back to the morning flights for this guy.
     
  13. chef

    chef Resident Buffetologist

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    Compared the years past, SWA is definitely slower. As they've gotten bigger, the service level by employees has declined. There just isn't that hustle and efficiency anymore. I realize things like many more wheelchair boarders, TSA regs and usage of larger airports are contributing factors to being late out of the gate, but this isn't the same SWA I used to know.
     
  14. abileneblues

    abileneblues Low-Roller

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    We generally take morning flights from HOU to LAS (about 50-50 non-stop vs. segments) and have had on-time service. Flights back we usually get a flight around noon. We've had one flight that was about 15-20 minutes late leaving (they switched gates and probably planes), but other than that, we've had good luck. I've had worse problems with AA in the past, but it was probably more due to flying from/through airports with more weather issues and the fact that I used to hit conferences in late fall/early winter or late winter/early spring.

    My Vegas flights have tended to be in August or October. Don't know if that makes a difference, but I'll include the data point.
     
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  15. bjpcyclone

    bjpcyclone High-Roller

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    I'd be curious to see the length of delays on SW. When I last flew SW in August, my flight was only on-time about 75% of the time but the average delay was 6 minutes. I'd much rather take a flight with those stats than an airline with a 90% on-time rate but average delay of an hour.
     
  16. NandJfrmNJ

    NandJfrmNJ High-Roller

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    I guess we've just been lucky. We fly on SW 6-7 times a year and have never been delayed except for weather related problems a few times. We do take the earliest flight possible out of PHL and SW is still #1 in our book.
     
  17. nhcris

    nhcris High-Roller

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    Flights with delays of 15 minutes or less are considered on time by the FAA. Assuming that's where the stats came from, anything less than 15 minutes isn't in the mix.
     
  18. mdlee3_46041

    mdlee3_46041 Low-Roller

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    It's been awhile, probably a few years, since this was brought up, but there was a topic on flyer talk.com about it. They said on there that even if a flight is more than 15 minutes early, it actually counts as a delay. The FAA or Department of Transportation did it that way to prevent airlines from padding their schedules. So even though a flight might be 20 minutes EARLY, it was supposed to count against the on-time rating of that flight. I'm not sure if that's true or not, but the people on flyer talk know a lot more about it than me.

    I guess in a way, it does make sense. I mean, if they didn't do it this way, then an airline could schedule say 5 hours for a 3 hour flight and then, unless there was really bad weather that lasted for hours, or a mechanical delay that lasted hours, all flights would have a 100% on-time rating.
     
  19. bubbakitty

    bubbakitty native Texan; born and bred.

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    Seems when I get on a flight that is late out of Texas or LV returning, the pilot says he will try to make up the time in the air and usually cuts 15 minutes or so off the expected time listed for the flight.

    The America West comment earlier reminded me we used to fly the red-eye(?) from Austin to LV non-stop (I think it was used as a "turn-around" for the jet) and the oddity of it was you arrived 5 minutes after you left (time zone thing) which made the flight 2:05. Now the time for flying is 2:35 or 2:25 depending on jet stream an you. Perhaps slower speed for fuel savings?

    If it were me I would extend the flight time on paper and never be late and early most times.....surely there is a problem with that or they would do it already....
     
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  20. dmr

    dmr Registered Abuser

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    I hear that often, on many flights to many destinations.

    I do miss the old America West red-eyes in and out of OMA. Yes, I think they probably used them to position the planes for the next morning.

    I think they are tweaking the arrival times for better on-time performance. I am not a pilot (IANAP) but I do fly rather frequently. They seldom seem to arrive really early. I think they adjust the actual speed to get the flight in as close to the scheduled time as possible. If they are truly early, they ease up a bit, if they are late they try to make it up, even if it means more fuel.

    One thing that very seldom seems to happen lately, even at very busy airports such as ATL and ORD, is the once-more-common circling, holding in the air waiting to land. Last I saw this it was at LAX and it was really a minor hold with only a 10 minute delay or so. I know that in Phoenix it seems like we always do a square pattern around the airport but I think that it just to get lined up with the correct runway and not due to inability to land.

    In any case, I don't tend to get annoyed until the flight is late more than 1/2 hour and the agents are deceptive about it. Some airlines seem to quote shorter than real delay times.
     
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