The problem with cut-rate night flights geared towards increased utilization is that most of your variable costs still apply to those night flights -- things like labor, fuel, landing fees. And in some cases, you may have to pay a premium to your employees for working inconvenient hours (i.e. overnight). If you can get yields/RASM that aren't too far below your daytime numbers, then yes -- but you also run the risk of reducing your traffic during the day.
If memory serves, the U.S. carriers used to offer a lot more late-night flying back in the 1970's in part because the aircraft were going to be flying mail anyway. My parents flew those flights frequently since they were young, they didn't have a whole lot of money to spare, and the flights were a lot cheaper than the flights during the day.
Running a handful of late-night flights to currently unserved airports doesn't make sense for WN
, since (1) they'd still have to hire people, buy equipment, rent gates, etc. at those airports, (2) many "central" airports have nighttime curfews, and (3) they don't do much late-night flying as it is, since the demand isn't there for them. Relying on temporary inducements like reductions in landing fees is not a sustainable business model for them.
That said, I can imagine WN
starting a limited
number of red-eye flights on its long-haul
routes from Las Vegas, Phoenix, and the West Coast in the future -- 5-hour flight times and a 3-hour time change make a red-eye flight a desirable option for many passengers. jetBlue's startegy makes sense in light of their largest operations being at LGB
-- red-eyes are desirable on cross-country flights.