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Southwest Airlines And Dealing With Snow  
User currently offlineChrisNH From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 4083 posts, RR: 2
Posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 4470 times:

I remember when Southwest Airlines was in the midst of expanding into the northeast...PVD, then BWI, MHT, BDL, ALB, ISP and all the rest.

Conventional wisdom was that they'd have a tough time dealing with all that the northeast has to offer. Not the least of which is sometimes legendary winter weather. 'Wait till they face a big snow storm, and THEN we'll see what Southwest is made of!' the naysayers said.

Well, I thought a thread was deserved here on Airliners.net on just how GOOD a job Southwest has done. I'm not here to claim that every Southwest flight gets into its destination during a winter storm. But they do a VERY good job, and I'm impressed.

Today, the northeast is getting slammed by a big storm. On FlightAware.com I'm able to keep track of what is--and isn't--getting into our airport here in Manchester, NH. The plow operators at MHT have a good reputation for keeping the runways open for flights willing to give it a try.

And today, practically the only flights willing to 'give it a try' are Southwest's. I won't go down the list; just type in MHT on FlightAware and see for yourself. We even had a flight from PIT-MHT, which I'm mystified by.

People love to bash Southwest, but I'm in the camp along with those that praise them. Even a 300-pound woman crying 'Racism!' couldn't bring Southwest down, and I was thrilled by that news. But that's a whole other story.

Today, though, my hat's off to the flight crews of Southwest Airlines for handling the rugged northeast winter weather quite well. Yes, someone will chime in with a reminder about Midway Airport this past December and how 'good' Southwest was there. That incident doesn't diminish what I'm saying here now: That Southwest Airlines impresses me with their ability to deal with winter weather here in the northeast, at least based on my observations regarding Manchester.

Chris in NH

17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 4323 times:

Prior to the blizzard's arrival, there were several internal meetings to discuss possible scenarios based on the possible tracks the low pressure system might take. When updated information from NWS was obtained, update meetings were held, and any changes to plan made. The prevailing wisdom was that MHT would not see the same snow amounts that BDL, PVD, and ISP would, and thus MHT could maintain operations (albeit at a slower pace) assuming the visibility and field conditions stayed above minimums.

The decision wasn't based (as a poster on a different Anet thread suggested) on any "testicular" factor or other emotionalized nonsense, just the concensus of the various operational disciplines represented in these meetings. We have them for tropical storms/hurricanes too.


User currently offlineTornado82 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 4265 times:

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 1):

The decision wasn't based (as a poster on a different Anet thread suggested) on any "testicular" factor or other emotionalized nonsense, just the concensus of the various operational disciplines represented in these meetings. We have them for tropical storms/hurricanes too.

As the aforementioned poster I WASN'T saying that Southwest was using nothing but testicular fortitude to fly in the snow. I was merely saying they haven't been "afraid" of dealing with snow just like any other airline in this end of the country for quite some time, so the whole point of praising SWA for doing what every other airline does is pointless. US flew into Allentown during the worst of the entire storm locally, around midnight, in Dash 8's even. So it's not like Southwest was the only flying in the snow.

Sure some of the competition cancelled flights, but if an area is getting a blizzard where people can't drive their cars (by city/governmental mandates and states of emergency), and in the case of Newark/Philly the bus services are even suspended... why not cancel the flight? Nobody can get to the airport to ride it anyways. MHT on the other hand was never getting hit that badly... and at least a couple of Southwest's MHT-PHL-XYZ flights became MHT-PIT-XYZ flights instead, which to me seems pointless, considering the connection opportunities in PIT as compared to PHL on SWA are nearly nil. Why not just overfly it as a whole and just make it MHT-XYZ direct?

Going to Pittsburgh at that point doesn't gain you too much, except the joy of being in an exponentially better airport and city.  Wink


User currently offlineCentPIT From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 990 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 4172 times:

Quoting Tornado82 (Reply 2):
Going to Pittsburgh at that point doesn't gain you too much, except the joy of being in an exponentially better airport and city.

Southwest knows it!  Big grin



Pittsburgh International: US Airways---160 daily departures! (52 destinations)
User currently offlineChrisNH From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 4083 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 4172 times:

Quoting Tornado82 (Reply 2):
so the whole point of praising SWA for doing what every other airline does is pointless

Uhhhh...problem is, 'every other airline' wasn't 'doing it' today. Southwest was the ONLY airline landing at MHT during the storm. I was praising Southwest because they WERE getting the job done, and in the process they were doing some clever scheduling that the 'other' airlines would NEVER do. Here at Manchester, for example, they took two flights today--one from Pittsburgh and another from Raleigh-Durham--and ran them straight to Manchester instead of going through the house of horrors called PHL.

It's said that you get what you pay for. I guess $49 buys you a whole lot more on Southwest. There's probably hundreds of people who paid hundreds or even thousands of dollars to fly from western cities to New England on those 'other' carriers today. And they're still sitting there.


User currently offlineTornado82 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 4111 times:

Quoting ChrisNH (Reply 4):
Here at Manchester, for example, they took two flights today--one from Pittsburgh

Disregard my original post here...

However, other airlines overflew places today as well, it's not that "creative." Creative was UA running CR7's from ORD to ABE to make up for all the stranded IAD pax, or US running a CRJ from PIT to CRW to make up for stranded DCA pax.

[Edited 2006-02-13 03:24:48]

[Edited 2006-02-13 03:25:08]

User currently offlineChrisNH From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 4083 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 4111 times:

The point about PIT being exponentially better than PHL--relative to airport operations--is a good one! Indeed, I wonder if Southwest now wishes it had a big operation at PIT and a smaller one at PHL, rather than the other way around.

User currently offlineTornado82 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 4064 times:

Quoting ChrisNH (Reply 6):
The point about PIT being exponentially better than PHL--relative to airport operations--is a good one! Indeed, I wonder if Southwest now wishes it had a big operation at PIT and a smaller one at PHL, rather than the other way around.

Eh.... PHL has more O&D potential, and had higher fares to begin with for SWA to tap into the market with. FlyI/ATA/Airtran had already cheapened PIT to almost all directions long before SWA came to town so the "Southwest effect" was muffled more. But either one of those markets was sniffing the blood of a near-dead US, which ended up not working out as originally planned.


User currently offlineSpartanmjf From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 493 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 4057 times:

Quoting ChrisNH (Reply 4):
I guess $49 buys you a whole lot more on Southwest.

It certainly gets you the operational expertise of the country's most consistently profitable airline.



"Nuts to the man in 21D!"
User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 3947 times:

Quoting Tornado82 (Reply 2):
and at least a couple of Southwest's MHT-PHL-XYZ flights became MHT-PIT-XYZ flights instead, which to me seems pointless, considering the connection opportunities in PIT as compared to PHL on SWA are nearly nil. Why not just overfly it as a whole and just make it MHT-XYZ direct?

Know what a "clutter" penalty is?


User currently offlineTornado82 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 3723 times:

http://www.srh.noaa.gov/data/obhistory/KBWI.html There's your BWI ob, I'm looking at this on Mon Morning, but it looks like you're referring to "this morning" as Sunday morning... either way the only FZFG was during the snow itself.

User currently offlineFlyboyaz From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 3635 times:

Quoting ChrisNH (Thread starter):
Yes, someone will chime in with a reminder about Midway Airport this past December and how 'good' Southwest was there

Glad you brought it up first.....

I have to commend my own airline (US) for flying when others cancelled flights. On Saturday DL, CO , and AA cancelled most of their northeast flights. We got a couple dozen or more customers from them. We sent some back because we assumed our flights would cancel too. To my suprise all of our afternoon PHX-northeast flights left (even got in early). The others were criticized for cancelling too early...it wasn't even snowing yet.

I might be transferring to MHT Chris...can't wait!


User currently offlineTornado82 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 3617 times:

Quoting Flyboyaz (Reply 11):
I might be transferring to MHT Chris...can't wait!

Beautiful city/airport. It's about the only New England/East Coast city I wouldn't mind living in myself.


User currently offlineChrisNH From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 4083 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 3580 times:

MHT is a great little airport. I live about a half-hour from there, and I even have a Yahoo Group with 153 members devoted to MHT. I've been very proud of the growth that airport has seen, but sadly it will see negative growth from 2005-2006. That's because many of the mainline carriers have pulled capacity to force people back to Boston. To their credit, while USAirways has done some of that themselves, they've stayed the course at MHT with good service to PHL, DCA, and CLT. Indeed, way back in 1983-1984 when MHT had NO mainline jet service, USAir and United were the first two carriers to come here.

If you do transfer here, Flyboyaz, please join our MHT Yahoo Group beforehand and I'll make sure we all take good care of you: answering questions, giving you pointers about the area, and so on.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/manchesterairportmht/

If you go to the photos section of our web site, you will see probably one of the rarest planes ever to visit MHT (besides the President's 747 last Wednesday  Wink): a MetroJet 757! I kid you not!

Chris in NH


User currently offlineFlyboyaz From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 3559 times:

Thanks Chris....sounds awesome!

I grew up in Merrimack and used to visit the airport often...I moved about a year or so after they opened the new terminal. I used to fly on US via PHL to visit my grandparents in south Jersey....on 732's and DC9's...was a blast!

It will be great to be back home again...though it won't be for a while yet...still i'm excited.  Smile


User currently offlineCentPIT From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 990 posts, RR: 3
Reply 15, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 3386 times:

Quoting ChrisNH (Reply 6):
The point about PIT being exponentially better than PHL--relative to airport operations--is a good one! Indeed, I wonder if Southwest now wishes it had a big operation at PIT and a smaller one at PHL, rather than the other way around.

Well, PHL does have much more O&D traffic and PIT seems to run a lot smoother, but I don't think Southwest wishes the PIT operation was bigger. However, WN probably isn't done expanding PIT.



Pittsburgh International: US Airways---160 daily departures! (52 destinations)
User currently offlineTornado82 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 3375 times:

Quoting CentPIT (Reply 15):

Well, PHL does have much more O&D traffic and PIT seems to run a lot smoother, but I don't think Southwest wishes the PIT operation was bigger. However, WN probably isn't done expanding PIT.

Fully agreed. You can't come into PIT and drop 50 flights in the place in a year, it's just a smaller catchment than PHL. Especially when dropping all those flights at PHL helped it "steal" pax from ABE as well. PIT has nobody to steal from, the Erie people were already driving for flights, and everyone else already had LCC's to the same destinations, in CLE/CMH's case they had WN.


User currently offlineCentPIT From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 990 posts, RR: 3
Reply 17, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 3361 times:

Quoting Tornado82 (Reply 16):
PIT has nobody to steal from, the Erie people were already driving for flights, and everyone else already had LCC's to the same destinations, in CLE/CMH's case they had WN.

Exactly! ERI also has a good amount of traffic alone, including four daily flights to PIT. 3 CRJs and a DH8.



Pittsburgh International: US Airways---160 daily departures! (52 destinations)
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