Matt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 51 Posted (12 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 1912 times:
I am not referring just to low fares and no frills. I am talking about how you run the airline. Look at how they treat their employees. Like humans, not just numbers. I have read and heard time and time again that Southwest is one of the best places to work. It is not an overly authoritarian corporate culture. It also reflects in their customer service, which also is consistently ranked among the highest. And they are the airline with the consistently lowest turnover and highest profit margin. They have a proven formula for success.
So, why don't the other airlines operate this way? Why is it that in the face of this prosperity that so many other airlines are getting hit with potential and actual strikes so often?
Continental is the only other one I can think of that has gone from one extreme to the other. When Lorenzo was around, he ruled with an iron fist (as so many others do). It was a shitty airline that was in bankruptcy in both financial and employee/customer morale. Having a dictatorship management scheme was a failure. Then Bethune came along, and well...the rest is history....
Why haven't the others followed? Are the egos in the airline world that big that they are blind to success? Is having power and control in the short term more important than conceding some of that power, and treating your workers with respect and making a killing financially in the long term?
Apparently it is.
TxAgKuwait From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 1803 posts, RR: 48 Reply 1, posted (12 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 1601 times:
This is a real good subject....thought-provoking.
My answer to the question is basically...all the other airlines think they are smarter than Southwest.
Southwest's product isn't radically different from the coach product on American or USAir or anyone else. A meal? On most 2 or 3 hr flights you might get something masquerading as a sandwich. On anything less...you are gonna get "beverage service only" which means that they block the aisle with a cart for an hour and you get one drink. In a case like that, Southwest's product is vastly superior.
Boarding process? Since the gold, platinum, titanium, iridium, and lead AAdvantage members etc get to preboard....the boarding process on the other carriers is as maddening (if not more so) than on Southwest. The difference is a machine has told you which seat you will sit in. Hope that the person sitting next to you took a bath...otherwise you may not get to select another seat.
Southwest has managed to keep a corporate culture alive where the great majority of the employees honestly believe they are on a crusade to make air travel affordable. They are well paid but the good wages came as a trade off on work rules....the work rules are pretty flexible (FAs can help clean planes, ramp agents can push the aircraft back, etc etc).
A lot of airlines came and looked at Southwest's operations over the years...especially the executives of low-fare start ups. But hey, even Gordon Bethune came and studied it back when he was still working at Braniff (I think).
Everyone will smile and nod but then go back home and fail to heed the lessons. They are smarter than the boys and girls in Texas.
That's one of the reasons so few start ups have been able to prevail. The system is delicate, finally tuned, and you can't afford to junk a single part of it. Even the "no assigned seats" is critical to the overall concept.
What's funny is that the big airline executives will sit there and delude themselves by thinking "Southwest won't take our business passengers"...."Southwest's passenger complaint ration is so low (in April 2000 1/4th the complaints of the airline in 2nd place) because people don't expect much from them."
And then the people with the ugly planes will sneak up behind them and swallow another market with low fares and kind service. Funny how it works, but it has worked many, many times in the past and will work again.
And those big airline execs who are so smart and so well paid will be wondering "what happened?"
Goingboeing From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4875 posts, RR: 19 Reply 2, posted (12 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 1570 times:
Also, way back in the early days, their president, Lamar Muse, talked with the unions and lobbied for those flexible work rules. He implemented the profit sharing plan, he asked the unions to look at long term compensation rather than a dollar an hour increase in pay. He basically made many of the early employees millionaires, because he followed thru on what he promised. Many of those employees are still working for Southwest...not because they have to, but because they WANT to.
What did it mean? It meant that the employees realize that it's THEIR airline, THEY share in the profits that are made by working together. They were a small airline that was going to kick some bu**. That was the begining of the "Southwest Spirit" that sets them apart.
J32driver From United States of America, joined May 2000, 399 posts, RR: 1 Reply 3, posted (12 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 1570 times:
No matter how you cut it, the corporate culture is a direct result of the man at the top of the ladder. If he is comfortable with his authority then he lets others below him exercise their own authority right down to the agents who are allowed to do multiple tasks to make the airline run as efficiently as possible.
On the other hand, those guys that rule with an iron fist will always run a piss poor airline. If the guys below you are afraid to speak up for fear of getting fired, the guy at the top will never learn of the problems below that are sucking away the profits!
Coex From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 5, posted (12 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 1531 times:
I'm a former employee of Southwest that "saw the light." It is my honest belief that Southwest Airlines is NOT one of the greatest places to work. I know that I will probably get allot of anti-coex mail since I have stated MY OPINION. I left Southwest and went to Continental which I see as the best move that I have ever made.
Before comments can be made about how great of a place Southwest is to work for, ask the flight attendants... ask the rampers... ask the provisioners... ask the customer service agents..... Plus , always remember.... Southwest Airlines has one of the best marketing and public relation departments ever, which I BELIEVE gives the illusion of how great Southwest Airlines really is......
Goingboeing From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4875 posts, RR: 19 Reply 6, posted (12 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 1524 times:
Not gonna bash you coex, but you might want to go stop by Gordon's office and ask who he used as a model for employee relations. It certainly wasn't Frank Lorenzo.
Certainly as companies grow, they are going to get a few who don't like the company. Rather than bash you, coex, I'd like to commend you for actually DOING something to remedy the situation. Too many folks in union jobs don't want to change because they go to the bottom of the seniority list, so they stay where they're at and bitch and moan and complain, and threaten CHAOS or strike.
You kind of have to go by past history. Right now, all US airlines are doing pretty good. Let the economy tank, and other airlines are going to look at cutting costs. Airline profits are just pennies per seat mile, and in this industry, a penny saved really IS a penny earned. One of the first places that an airline looks for cost savings is to the labor force. That translates into defered raises, givebacks, or layoffs. Southwest has weathered past downturns in the economy pretty well. When no other airlines were making money, Southwest was still sharing the profits that they made. They also only had one small round of layoffs in the very early years. Since then, they've had none.
Southwest has grown quite a bit. Some of the new hires aren't going to be happy when they realize that "Alaska's paying $X more for the same job". But in my opinion, the number of satisfied employees at Southwest far outweighs the number of dissatisfied employees. You've done yourself and Southwest a favor by going to CO - they lose a dissatisfied employee and you gain what you feel to be a better situation. That's win-win, my friend.
Gnomon From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 7, posted (12 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 1502 times:
Matt D wrote: "Is having power and control in the short term more important than conceding some of that power, and treating your workers with respect and making a killing financially in the long term?"
It's a sad, sad day when the powers that be in the airline corporate culture sit down and say, "We don't want to compete any longer. Let's consolidate. At everyone's expense but ours."
I think this mergermania is a result of the same corporate culture that differentiates other carriers from Southwest. Quick money seems to be the bottom line these days, not long-term improvements of service or long-term commitments to a certain type of service, as Southwest has shown. Southwest maintains its unique "Southwest Class" (which I arbitrarily call it), while carriers like DL, CO, AA, and UA have some kind of attention span disorder that compels them to rebrand and rename business and first classes, combine the two, etc. just about every couple years. How many different business- and first-class products have those airlines gone through in the last ten years? The constant change gets very, very old.
Coex From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 9, posted (12 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 1493 times:
I will be more then happy to tell you why I left Southwest Airlines... I wasn't terminated..... I had no personal problems with SWA, or anyone at SWA. I was a member of SWA culture committee, spending so much time arranging events for SWA. Even events for employees who need special help....
I'll write why I left SWA and then post it... I don't have the time tonight to write anything else and I know that by tomorrow, this post would have already advanced.........
Goingboeing From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4875 posts, RR: 19 Reply 10, posted (12 years 10 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 1453 times:
The thread ended up on the second page, so I wanted to revive it for you...I read TxAgQ8's question and did a little search, and you really don't miss many opportunities to bash Southwest, In fact, you've started a few threads bashing them. Now, I've quit jobs that I didn't like before, but I never found it necessary to slam them. I couldn't quite understand what you had posted, but I really am kind of curious to know the circumstances surrounding why you left Southwest. Please enlighten me...
Goingboeing From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4875 posts, RR: 19 Reply 12, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 1406 times:
darn it, the silly post made it to the second screen again before you could read it Coex....Here it goes again. My interest stems from a project I am working on concerning disgruntled employees. It seems obvious to me that you are disgruntled, so my curiosity is getting the better of me!
Nycank From United States of America, joined May 2000, 233 posts, RR: 0 Reply 15, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 1357 times:
Both Swiss Air and Singapore Air have excellent service as far as the customer
is concerned. Some of it in direct contrast to SouthWest's. So a better question
is Are there two industries within this sector ?
Here are some points and food for thought:
1. Swiss and Singapore both depend on International Ops for their survival, being
small countries they have no domestic volume to speak of. They have to be
sensitive to diverse clientele and compete for every passenger. Hence the
attention to details.
2. Both Airlines are really small in size too - They somehow became cash rich by doing something right - Satisfying customers and maintaining still a good margin. Swiss has taken majority stake in Sabena (I hope they improve SN's CRM), and SIA took approx 49% stake in VirginAtlantic. A combination
of size and details has prevented (or saved) them from dealing with macro
economics of large OPs like UA/AA/DL etc.
3. Bilaterals - International Airlines still work on Flag/national and inter-govt.
agreements This gives them necessary slots (Bermuda-II aside) and a
manageable forcasting methodology. SIA and SR both have never been a
discount airlines in the sense that their fares are *not* cut-throat.
SouthWest has not had to juggle international operations - I wonder what their
flight operations and profitability would be in TransAtlantic or TransPacific sector ?
The domestic US deregulated hub-spoke differential yeald-management and
complex pricing models have evolved in part because of having to satisfy
a few major industry analysts associated with amjor Wall St. firms every QUARTER !!!!! - who in turn can influence institutional investors. Ever heard of
Candice Browning ??
Tritanic From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 0 posts, RR: 0 Reply 17, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 1328 times:
Folks Southwest is doing pretty good. It's the Wallmart of the Airline industry. It's no frills, simple, and at times very humorous (which the big boys need to look at), but let's not go over board. If you think the big boy's don't have a good product, and if you think passengers don't like the frills, well you are WRONG!
The month of MAY D.O.T report came out for all the airlines. Delta finished first in ontime. Delta finish second behind South West for customer complaints. Delta finished 2nd in mishandled baggage. Considering that Delta flies apporximately 70 million more people a year, that's not to shabby for a major. South West is good for a smaller airline that's growing, but the highest paid employees in the industry with the most benefits are still UA, CO, AA, and DL. People love preseat assignments, People love First and Business class, people still enjoy some pampering, and if you are willing to pay, well the airlines will accomadate you. In most of the majors the top 10 percent of passengers (the highest frequent fliers) represent 75 percent of all revenue!!!
Goingboeing From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4875 posts, RR: 19 Reply 18, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days ago) and read 1317 times:
Very nice dissertation for a Delta fan. Too bad the topic is dealing more with EMPLOYEE satisfaction than CONSUMER satisfaction. But...altough it's true that Delta carried more passengers than Southwest, for every 100,000 of those passengers, .41 complained about Southwest versus 1.60 of the 100,000 Delta passengers.
I wouldn't brag about the top 10 percent representing 75% of all revenue...let the economy tank and you'll see that revenue decrease. Something you young folks aren't familiar with yet...it's called "austerity programs".
Tritanic From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 0 posts, RR: 0 Reply 20, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days ago) and read 1319 times:
Ok now let's take this to a new level. As far as sighting sources. I'm actually bringing you statistics that was forcasted for revenue control at Delta Airlines based on last years numbers. At Delta we call are elites Platinum Medallions, and yes these few represent that much revenue, and those numbers were put forth in corportate to support a "special program" that would enable individual attention to these high revenue passengers. The program is called a Passenger Service Coordinator. This specialty service program has agents in business suits, that are very highly qualified in there field to meet on board late arriving aircrafts to give new iteneraries, hotels, rebookings, and at times cars to take them to close connections. I have a great amount of revenue informaition for our other high mileage fliers also, but I really don't think it's pertinant.
DL flew 106,000,000 passengers last year and profited over 1.1 billion dollars. By years end they will have purchased new computers for all employees for home use. They will have free AT&T internet access for home use. They have the highest compensated employees in every category. They have won numerous awards: "Airline of the Year", "Best managed Airline". They are the LEAST unionized airline in the world!!!! That must say something with employee satisfaciton.
The airlines of today: AA UA CO NW BA invest BILLIONS to take care of these elite business passengers who often will spend for the full fares (just for the flexability). I know personally how CO UA and DL have invested in technology for these important passengers, such as, personal pagers from the airlines that completely update and flight changes, or stby changes, atc delays. Free wireless internet access within the gate areas and club rooms. Internet access during flight. Passengers are also ranked not only by the mileage flown, but now a new criteria based on revenue generated. Inhanced first class service, such as food and new seating.
Let's not mix apples and oranges. Southwest has a great product, but it doesn't forecast revenue in the same respects as the big boy's. It markets to different clientelle.
Southwest bumps for passerners (percentage) than any other airline in the domestic U.S.....and lacks in loss baggage.
Basically it's two seperate products. Some people take greyhound to their destination, some trains, some hitch, and if one will sacrifice certain convienances for savings then all the power to them. Just remember why the special program previously mentioned is there. It's to keep our 250,000 dollar a year passenger very satisfied. And all the majors will spare no expence to attract such.
Pleas exuse the spelling, not enough time to go back and edit.
Goingboeing From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4875 posts, RR: 19 Reply 21, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 1299 times:
My how times have changed. Not too long ago, rather than "Passenger Service Coordinators" for 10 % of the passengers, Delta had "Red Coats" for 100% of their passengers. Red Coaters are harder and harder to find these days. Stop and think about it - what Delta is saying is "to hell with you greyhound riding losers...sure, you're 90% of our passengers, but these 10% "platinum plated titanim premier" CUSTOMERS are who we care about.
Let me give you some examples -
My Sister-in-law was visiting us last year. HEr husband is a very successful surgeon. She brought her 2 boys (3 and 5) with her. I dropped her off at the airport and discovered that Delta no longer preboards families with children. They did call for platinum level passenger preboarding - yet nobody stood up. Based on your statement that those flyers made up 75% of revenues, I can assume that this flight must have been operating at a loss. BTW, while not platinum (or even copper) - those tickets WERE full Y fare. She's back this year... and flew USAirways. Y'all lost 4 full Y class passengers (hubby came with this time).
Flying into ATL with a connection to MCO that was going to be close (thanks to a ground crew misfueling the plane) I asked the FA if she could tell me what gate our connection was leaving from, since my wife suffers from arthritis and if it meant changing terminals we'd request a wheelchair. Her reply? "No". Funny, AA,UAL, US, NW and even Vanguard announces connections. Delta used to, and maybe they did for the titanium 10%. I guess they were too busy for this flight.
Delta used to be my airline of choice back in the early 80's. Their service has deteriorated for us "regular folk". That's one big thing about Southwest - the family who travels once a year is treated as well as the businessman who travels everyday.
Tritanic From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 0 posts, RR: 0 Reply 22, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 1283 times:
Goingboeing, well it's obvious you have a love affair with Southwest, but I would prefer stats instead of the ONE time your sister flew, and the ONE time a connection gate was not given on board.
PSA's are still in place just like yesteryear. For your information some of our "Titanium", or we call them Platinum fly with us around 100-150 times a year. Some of them see us more than their own families. I am proud of any company that will take what ever means necessary to satisfy these very loyal customers. That's not just with DL, just ask any of the other majors how important these select folks are.
It's a very difficult task to have Full fare paying customers and those who are at 10 percent of a full fare. Flight crew does not know the difference, therefore they do not distinguish service given.
Everyone's important, but like any company and any business they will give their most loyal and most revenue producing just a tad bit more attention.
Let's look at certain industries, how about Marriott? Well if I'm paying $50.00 more a room I expect a little more then Redroof, they both have beds, so what's the difference in price?
With the majors they offer choice! If you want $112.00 RT tickets or if you want $2500 RT Hawaii the choice is there. If you were on DL and the plane suffers maintanence well they can easily place you on AA, CO, NW, UA, US, and many more, well except South West who have no airline agreements with any other airline. How about if a thunder shower causes a misconection. Does Southwest pick up the tap for hotels, and food? Most majors do, even though the tariff rules state not such action is needed due to weather or ATC!
Southwest is without a doubt the best discount airline in the business, but they are not ready for comparison at this time.
Goingboeing From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4875 posts, RR: 19 Reply 23, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 1269 times:
Tritanic - Back in the early 80's, I flew Delta almost exclusivly - twice a week, every week, without fail. I would have been one of your gold plated 10%. Back then, we were all just "Frequent flyers", we didn't get any extra perks, outside of the Medallion club and the special unlisted reservation number that was avialable to the guy with 1,000,000 miles or the guy with 10 miles. We didn't get preferred seating, we got upgrades if we wanted to pay for them or redeem the miles. Everybody was treated about the same, and the service provided was excellent.
The recent times I've flown, it's very apparent that your medallion flyers are most important to Delta. I guess it's good that y'all have found a way to identify the elite passenger. Because the service given to the non elite full fare and 10% full fare passengers has deteriorated considerably. Sure, I can't cite stats that "prove" that. I've only got the flights I've flown, or the flights my family has flown. And they have all had less than stellar service. That's why they have become my last resort when travelling.
You're right, I'm a fan of Southwest - they've got the flights to most places I want to go at the times I want to go, and for the price that doesn't break the bank. I even select WN for business when I travel. I save my company money, and I don't spend all day flying thru hubs. The service I recieve is better that I would get on most other airlines. Any flight less than 2 hours on any airline won't get anyone much more than peanuts and a coke.
BTW - it's true that Southwest doesn't interline, but they make up for that with FREQUENCY. If a plane has a mechanincal, chances are pretty good that they've got another flight (or two or 3 ) out within the hour. If it's the last flight of the night and there's a mechanical or missed connection (although those are few since WN is more of a point to point carrier) then yes, they will put me up in a hotel.
Bottom line, I get to spend more time with my family and less time traveling these days. So when I do spend my hard earned dollars to fly somewhere, I prefer to take an airline who cares about the 90% of us who make up only 25% of their revenues. You've pretty much pointed out that we don't matter at Delta, and that's why I'm not flying Delta that much any more.
TxAgKuwait From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 1803 posts, RR: 48 Reply 24, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 1273 times:
Actually, I know GoingBoeing and he does not have a love affair with Southwest, they are more like "just good friends."
And I guess some of us folks who think that our discovery of and continued support of Southwest as the most revolutionary idea since penicillin (for those unwise love affairs) can be pretty insufferable at times.
However, what it boils down to is that most of us who are members of "the great unwashed" or "the huddled masses yearning to breathe free" if you prefer....our employers want us in the coach cabin, and we do fly a lot....but we have corporate travel offices and such to make sure we aren;t squandering the bosses' year end incentive bonus.
Those of us who fly AA or DL in coach, steerage, or "the main cabin" may have a slightly different point of view. On most of our domestic travels....the travel experience we would get from a full Y ticket on DL is no better (and sometimes worse) than what we would get on WN.
The bottom line is, a lot of the time...there is no meal service to speak of in coach on flights of 2 hrs or so. And if we do go 3 hrs and there is a meal provided....well, a great deal of the time I would do just about as well to eat the packaging material the food-like substance came in. (I had a REAL nasty turkey sandwich the other day on AA)
The pitch (distance between seats) in Southwest's 737s is as generous if not more so than that found in the coach cabin of DL. How do they do this while cramming so many seats in? Simple, they have those new thin line seats and the galleys are very simple...for drinks and snacks only (no meals) so you can squeeze a few seats in without turning the cabin into a torture chamber.
What continues to set Southwest apart from everyone else is the overall impression you get from the employees that they honestly believe they are on a crusade to make flying affordable. They do, in fact, sneer and make fun of some of the walk up fares that other airlines get away with. I recall well a remark one made at BNA about Delta's fare from there to Atlanta being criminally obscene.
A lot of airline execs like to think that they are not liable to suffer at the hands of Southwest since "business travelers don;t like to fly them." This delusion usually doesn't last too long.
But in the big scheme of thing, it's all interesting to watch, but folks ought to fly on whomever they wish. Ultimately we will see what the outcome is. In the meantime, me and GoingBoeing have about decided that we have seen the future and it is Southwest...whereas you think we may be headed to mega-carriers that will continue to offer air travel in accordance with the way things have been in the past.
Suffice it to say, it will be interesting to watch.
But hey, those deals with DL aren't isolated incidents. Next time Mrs Tritanic needs a permanent...let me know. I got some Delta tales guaranteed to curl her hair. Especially the one that involves the schoolchildren from a private Christian academy and a hooker motel with 4 free porn channels near FLL.
25 Tritanic: As with all the airlines the late 80's and early 90's spelled disaster. Most airlines reduced the work force at least 30 percent. Some airlines did no
26 Tritanic: Well TxAgKuwait, we here in ATL are laughing on the floor!! You and your "revolutionaries" are here to change the world and the airline industry!!! Ma
27 Tritanic: Well TxAgKuwait, we here in ATL are laughing on the floor!! You and your "revolutionaries" are here to change the world and the airline industry!!! Ma