Ssides From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 4059 posts, RR: 22 Reply 1, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 1735 times:
One of Southwest's keys to success is that they don't look too far into the future when it comes to booking.
Most airlines allow booking up to 330 days in advance, approximately 11 months. Lots can change in 11 months. Markets can change drastically. Fuel prices can swing wildly. If, for example, AA decides to pull out of a city, it may have passengers already booked there, meaning it must reaccomodate them on other airlines. This costs money.
Southwest doesn't try to predict the future as much. At one time, Southwest only offered flights up to three months in advance. Now, they've upped that to six months. Because of this, Southwest isn't stuck with passengers too far in advance, and has more freedom to tweak its schedule to meet market demands. Just another reason why Southwest is profitable.
Ssides From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 4059 posts, RR: 22 Reply 4, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 1637 times:
Quoting AMSMAN (Reply 2): Interesting....seems reasonable....wonder if that was Herb's idea?
Many Southwest policies stem from when it was a small three-plane, three-city operation. Back then, they didn't assign seats because their planes were often half-empty. They still don't assign seats. They didn't serve meals because most flights were less than an hour. They still don't serve meals. They also didn't plan too far ahead, because they had little clue as to what demand would be several months in the future. They still don't.
Given the fierce loyalty of its customers, they must be doing something right!
Stirling From Italy, joined Jun 2004, 3943 posts, RR: 26 Reply 5, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 1616 times:
I heard straight from Herb's mouth, that the policy was the result of them honestly thinking, that they weren't going to make it.
How much of this statement is modesty, and how much is meant to perpetuate the fairy-tale saga, no one but Herb can say for certain.
The established carriers at the time did everything in their power to keep Southwest from taking to the skies. And when they did, they fought them even harder. Braniff especially. Intra-Texas was a cornerstone of what that airline stood for.
David and Goliath story.
David 2, Goliath 0
FlyingTexan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 6, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 1576 times:
Quoting Ssides (Reply 1): Just another reason why Southwest is profitable.
Southwest rarely has passengers effected by a schedule change. I see customers inconvenienced by schedule changes by legacy carriers day in and day out. Sometimes, I see a schedule change multiple times on the same reservation.
Txagkuwait From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 1803 posts, RR: 45 Reply 8, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 1544 times:
>> heard straight from Herb's mouth, that the policy was the result of them honestly thinking, that they weren't going to make it.
How much of this statement is modesty, and how much is meant to perpetuate the fairy-tale saga, no one but Herb can say for certain.<<
Well, I don't doubt that you heard it from herb, but that doesn't make it true. Bless his heart, occasionally Herb doesn't seem to remember things the way they really were.....of course that could very well be due to the FACT that for at least the first 7 yrs of the airline's existence, Herb had NOTHING at all to do with it except lawyer.
Here is an amusing anecdote for you.
As far back as 1975, Southwest was accepting reservations for 365 days out.
They were not on a computer system.....flight reservations were put on little index cards and filed.
Loads were such that you never started to worry about flights until 30-45 days before the flight.
Imagine everyone's shock and consternation when the pasteboard box containing "future date bookings" was sorted through and everyone discovered that Flight 125 on the Friday before Labor Day, 1975, from Dallas to Houston to Harlingen at 7:30 pm, was booked to 376. On a plane that seated 118.
There wasn't much anyone could do......Rez called folks and talked them into taking an earlier flight...a later flight....whatever.....but the truth is the day of reckoning arrived and Fortuna smiled on Southwest, big time.
A hurricane moved across the Gulf of Mexico and threatened to come inland right by Brownsville and South Padre Island, just a hop-skip-and jump from the Harlingen Airport. So instead of a massively oversold aircraft, it went out from Houston with, as I recall, a load of 28.
Shortly thereafter Rez did not take any more reservations that far in advance. Ultimately, Southwest got away from the index cards and went to a NCR computer inventory system....using little bitty Bunker-Ramo agent terminals.....and it was about all those things could do to keep track of a month's worth of records, much less 12.
And that's the way it was at Southwest Airlines Reservations, 1201 N Watson Rd, Arlington TX. Metro number 640-1221.