727LOVER
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Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Mon Nov 10, 2003 6:13 am

I'm sure a lot of you read that massive thread by BigphilNYC about US CEO's remarks about WN. Unfortunately, that thread turned into a free for all brawl.  Insane

2 folks posted this article, but because of the sideshow over there, no one seemed to address it, so I thought I'd re-post it here. Very interseting reading.


(reprinted from http://www.aviationplanning.com)

Southwest & Philadelphia:
The New Low-Fare Service Environment

After almost ten years of being able to pretty much call its own shots up and down the East Coast, Southwest now has to look over its shoulder. JetBlue is now firmly in the game, and it's a factor that will change the way Southwest plans its operation in the months and years ahead.

Southwest's decision to enter Philadelphia signals a whole lot more than just another expansion city for the Dallas-based airline. Up until now, they had no significant, well-focused, and large-scale low-fare competition in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. As a result, Southwest had the luxury of being able to pick and choose new markets as it saw fit. Not any more. For the first time, Southwest has meaningful direct competition that it must address.

Southwest is facing what may be its biggest challenge since Braniff and Texas International tried to freeze it out of Texas in the mid-1970s. Back then, Southwest faced outright collusion from two dinosaur airlines. Today, Southwest now faces a competitor that can - and fully intends to - successfully dive into the core East Coast traffic base which has been pretty much Southwest's exclusive playground for nearly a decade. And it's just beginning. Increasingly, consumers are going to have a choice. Not just between mega carriers and Southwest, but between competing low-fare airlines. Specifically, between Southwest and jetBlue.


The PHL move is clear proof that the jetBlue challenge not been lost on the folks down at Love Field HDQ. Some of the usual lightweight analysts will spout that it's an attack on US Airways. Forget it, US is just a bystander caught in what will become an increasingly nasty firefight between WN and jetBlue.

Remember, Southwest didn't get where it is by relying on a Ouija board. Too many analysts have misread the well-publicized and well-humored antics of the airline's chairman, and mistake that to mean that Southwest is just a big, fun flying furball with low fares. It's a whole lot more than that. Southwest is a tough, well-run airline with management that knows the business. Especially the low-fare airline business.

And that means they do not take the jetBlue threat lightly.

Entry of jetBlue = New WN Strategies.

It's clear now that jetBlue will be a long term player. More ominously, it's not a low-fare airline. Instead, it's a low-fare airline with excellence in service - which is the formula on which WN built its business. Like Southwest, jetBlue is an airline that focuses on brand loyalty, not just dirt-cheap fares, to build its future.

Let's look at what Southwest is probably considering in regard to jetBlue:
Big time jetBlue expansion is inevitable. Southwest knows that jetBlue has over 200 airplanes on order. A lot of iron that will need to go someplace. Southwest knows that jetBlue will need to fly these machines in markets other than just JFK. And this will inevitably put jetBlue in direct competition for many of the traffic flows that Southwest now dominates. East Coast. West Coast. And in between, too.

Core-city airport service. The entry of jetBlue into Boston Logan was not insignificant to Southwest. It directly threatens much of the traffic base that Southwest enjoys at at MHT and PVD. Some of the reverse leakage driving out of Boston to fly WN is fixin' to get re-reversed back to Logan, which previously had no large-scale viable competition to Southwest. And although it really isn't a New York City airport, the same is likely happening at Islip. Cost-focused consumers in eastern Nassau and in western Suffolk Counties didn't have significant low-fare options from LGA or JFK. Now they do, and dodging potholes on the Long Island Expressway toward JFK becomes much more attractive. This isn't to say that Southwest will enter more core-city airports in the Northeast, only that jetBlue has the potential to dig into WN's existing traffic base.

Service quality. It bears repeating - jetBlue does not have passengers. More correctly, it has built a cult of travelers rabidly loyal to the airline. Not much different than what Southwest has done, but jetBlue has raised the stakes, with things WN doesn't have - in-flight television, wider seats (that's the A-320 factor), legroom, and yes, seat assignment. This is where Southwest is vulnerable. It's understandable that WN is reticent to adjust its successful service formula, but this time they really do need to take a hard look at comparative on-board service levels.

This time, it's for real - jetBlue is serious competition. This is not the United Shuttle. This is not Continental Lite. This is not MetroJet. It can be argued that the consumer may well begin to compare what he gets at each airline. At Southwest, he needs to be at the ticket counter way early to assure a boarding priority that minimizes the chances of ending up with a middle seat between two people from a culture that has not yet discovered soap. At jetBlue, the consumer doesn't have that anxiety. He has a seat assignment. In a wider seat. With a free TV to divert his attention, middle seat or not.
With jetBlue in the picture, for the first time Southwest is in danger of having the perception of offering less for the dollar than the competition.

Planning flexibility. Another dangerous competitive sign coming from jetBlue is that carrier's recent attempt to enter the Atlanta market from California. Apparently, it failed. And that's what's been missed by a lot of analysts. When it failed, jetBlue simply left. No chest-beating. No public recriminations. They just took their A-320s and went someplace else to fly another day. Two messages here, both indicating a very tough competitor: Little emotion, and the flexibility to move quickly when things don't work out.

Fleet flexibility. The addition of Embraer E-190s will be a major competitive advantage for jetBlue. Despite the comments from some ill-informed media types, these are not "regional" jets, but instead mainline airliners - think of 737-500s with better economics. For those of us who have actually been on the Embraer 170 prototype, it's very clear that the -190 is a 100-seat mainline jet that will put jetBlue in a position to enter markets and adjust capacity with extreme flexibility.

Bottom line: jetBlue is now the standard to which low-fare airlines must aspire. Including Southwest, even as good as they are.

On The Whole, They Gotta Be In Philadelphia.

And that brings us back to Philadelphia (as terrifying as that sounds, at least for those of us who've had to live there.) Southwest knew that it had to make a pre-emptive strike at PHL - to snarf up gates, establish turf, and attempt to deny jetBlue a beach head there. A sound competitive move, but one that could signal a range of shifts in the future expansion strategies at Southwest. The airline can be expected to move quickly over the next 18-months to shore up its position in key Eastern markets. Probably the most apparent moves will involve connecting the dots between existing airports on the WN route system. Watch for accelerated moves into transcon and semi-transcon markets.

Big-Time Loser: Wild Turkey Sales. What not to expect is a rash of new cities on their route system. They know jetBlue is eventually going to be all over them, and they will be circling the wagons accordingly. Forays into risky new cities is not in the cards. Any airport that doesn't have a million enplanements and the potential of generating or capturing another 300,000 to 400,000 passengers can now commence singing the blues: The odds of getting Southwest service are neck and neck with a meteor strike.

So smaller airports should face realities. Southwest is out of reach. They aren't coming. Regardless. And, by all means, small airports had best forego sending Southwest any more of those cutesy-pie marketing promotions that center around Wild Turkey bourbon. The long-suffering and good natured folks at Southwest have seen virtually every form of trying to use Mr. Kelleher's choice in adult beverages as a marketing tool. Frankly, that stopped being "innovative" about a decade ago. If you're a small to mid-size airport, save yourself the money and the brain damage. That promotional bottle you were going to send to Southwest, so cleverly disguised inside a stuffed turkey holding a picture of your airport in its mouth, is a lost cause. We'd suggest you drink the stuff instead.

Adjusting To The New Kid(s) On The Block. For almost a decade, Southwest has had pretty much free reign. Now it has an emerging, major competitor in the form of jetBlue. For Southwest, it means adjusting and responding to competition that wasn't there before. And responding to new competition often demands changing the way one does business.
It's evolve or die. By the time the dust settles on this match-up, both airlines are likely to look a whole lot different than they do today.

© 2003 The Boyd Group/ASRC, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
I feel woozy....what did you put in that Pudding Pop?
 
ConcordeBoy
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Mon Nov 10, 2003 6:35 am

WN successfully competed against the majors for a long time because 1) it was long the only of its kind, 2) it served markets/airport they didnt, 3) its cost structure was extremely difficult for them to match.

While the majors have adjusted, and a plethora of other LoCos emerged; WN never really met a competitor who could answer all three of those variables on a nationwide scale.... until B6.

So it's not running scared... they just realize that they have to be attentive and slightly more tactical than usual.
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luv2fly
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Mon Nov 10, 2003 6:43 am

727LOVER

What a well written and thought out post, also yes the other thread has been totally high-jacked and has officially departed from the original post, never to return...

I am sure WN is watching closely what B6 is doing and thinking.

It should be an interesting upcoming year for both players. As WN beefs up its East Coast, and as B6 starts to expand even more.

All the best.
You can cut the irony with a knife
 
geg2rap
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Mon Nov 10, 2003 6:49 am

As much as B6 has caught all our attention (and made me a bank full of money) B6 is new and still has a long ways to go to match WN how planes does B6 have 50? 60? soon to be 200? WN has almsot 400. ANd plus WN has a frequent flier plan a monkey could learn quick and easy to earn a nice domestic ticket anywhere.
Time will tell b6 has some proving to do to be the WN of the industry.
I have never heard of the "jetblue effect"
but the DOT even has the "Southwest effect"
 
727LOVER
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Mon Nov 10, 2003 7:00 am

I have never heard of the "jetblue effect"


You've never heard of THIS?:




View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © William Jenkins

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goingboeing
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Mon Nov 10, 2003 7:00 am

Southwest scared of JetBlue? I don't really think so. Mindful of them? Sure - but scared - no. Some things in that article (which appear to be written by a JetBlue staffer) point to some things that might actually HURT jetblue. First, the comments about "200 jets on order". They currently have 48 planes. This order represents a fourfold increase in their number of aircraft. While some folks scoff at comparisons between Jetblue and People Express, one of the things that contributed to People's failure was - rapid expansion. Yeah...everybody points to Neeleman as the second coming of Christ, but bear in mind, Don Burr was considered pretty sharp at the time, too. The jury is out if 200 aircraft might be a wee tad too aggresive. While Southwest can remain fairly true to it's "niche" of short haul, high frequency (or even long haul, high frequency), JetBlue is moving from their "long haul short frequency" niche and hoping to capture some of the short haul market. But can they offer the frequency?

Second point also relates to the aircraft acquisistion. While everbody (including the author of that article) gets hung up on the semantics of "regional jet", the fact is that the 190's represent a departure from the "keep costs down" formula. They already annouce that the 190's will increase costs by 14%, although they pooh-pooh that by saying it's just a penny per ASM. Imagine the damage that AA or United could do by just lowering their ASM costs by a penny. They'll have the "spare parts" issue...Airbus parts won't fit 190's and vice versa. The early 320's will be coming out from under "warranty" and maintenance costs will rise. IMHO, human nature being what it is, the labor force will eventually begin asking to be paid a wage more in line with a "traditional" carrier - especially if JetBlue stays profitable - which they'd best do lest Wall Street punish the stock SEVERELY. ANd it's my opinion that the 190's will bring up some "issues" in the pilot ranks. NYC is a pretty big union town...I really don't foresee JetBlue remaining union free for much more than 5 years. That's not a death knell...after all, Southwest, who is based in largely non-union Texas, is one of the most heavily unionized airlines flying.

I hate to bring up the People Express thing again, but you gotta remember that when People Express was at the stage the JetBlue is today, they also were considred the poster child of a successful airline.
 
luv2fly
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Mon Nov 10, 2003 7:04 am

Remember People Express towards the end strayed very far from the formula that made them a success. Also they lacked a sophisticated reservation system that also hurt them....
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727LOVER
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Mon Nov 10, 2003 7:05 am

See that copyright at the bottom? It was written by Michael Boyd, a very well respected airline analyst. See:AIRLINE ANALYST. That's his JOB
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deltaflyertoo
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Mon Nov 10, 2003 7:08 am

I think WN is concerned with the future of LCC in general. Jetblue has proven that this is going to be the way LCC do business. Frontier is now copying it and from what I've heard, the new airline in Pittsburgh will look rather similar. Indeed entering PHL is far outside of WN's traditional business model. WN is going to have to realize that its model is a tad out of date as well and see that LCC can turn profits out of busy airports. They seem to be waking up to that fact.

Everything about WN screams cheap. The interiors of their a/c, the casual attire of flight crews and CSA and of course the inflight service. THe day Jetblue launches 10 A320s on any route that WN serves, there would be no reason to fly WN over Jetblue. Also, Jetblue's ff program is identical to WN, I.E. so many trips in a year to get a free ticket.

WN is at a huge crossroads. IMO, they need new interiors (maybe grey or all blue leather seats instead of yellow and blue?) , a new look on A/C, they HAVE to enter EWR, JFK and BOS as well as IAD. I know, I know, these airports can be congested right? But that is at bank times, WN is so efficient w/ the way they fly in and out of airports, I'm surprised that weren't flying into BOS, EWR or PHL years ago and wrapping flights around CO and US banks. WN is also going to have to bite the bullet and start posting fares on Orbitz and Expedia.

 
SHUPirate1
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Mon Nov 10, 2003 7:11 am

Original Post: Doesn't jetBlue have firm orders for 100 A-320's and 100 E-190's, and options on 100 more of each, or am I (seemingly as usual) off base?

Correction: jetBlue actually has firm orders for 152 A-320's, with options on 50 more...the E-190 numbers are accurate...

[Edited 2003-11-09 23:25:55]
Burma's constitutional referendum options: A. Yes, B. Go to Insein Prison!
 
luv2fly
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Mon Nov 10, 2003 7:11 am

Deltaflyertoo

The FF program that WN offers is WAY different than B6's you have to fly a whole lot more to get a free ticket on B6 than WN...

Also the new interiors of WN's planes with the leather is very nice.
You can cut the irony with a knife
 
LHR001
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Mon Nov 10, 2003 7:15 am

JetBlue...

Afraid of Air Tran, Song and Southwest Airlines!

YES

YES

YES
 
727LOVER
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Mon Nov 10, 2003 7:19 am

Actually, I think that DCA-ROCguy (our low-fare guru) suggests that WN missed an opportunity to fly to JFK before B6 got there. B6 is now hurting WN at ISP.
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chrisnh
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Mon Nov 10, 2003 7:32 am

At a given time, Southwest has more aircraft sitting on the ground at some cities than JetBlue has in its entire fleet. It's a matter of scale: Southwest has it and JetBlue doesn't. One might argue that once JetBlue gets all its A320s and RJs, it will have 'scale' too. But for someone to get excited by that prospect, they'd need to presume that Southwest will sit idly by doing nothing. And of course with the PHL announcement, that won't be the case. In some respects, I see JetBlue eventually evaporating into a PeoplExpress-like existence. Yes, JetBlue is a Wall Street darling. But so too was Enron at one point. Not to make a comparison, only that the term 'Wall Street experts' is an oxymoron.
 
goingboeing
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Mon Nov 10, 2003 7:36 am

727lover - I am very aware of who Michael Boyd is. Just saying that that article looks like a JetBlue press release and not an "analysis".
 
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mariner
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Mon Nov 10, 2003 7:44 am

Deltaflyertoo:

"Frontier is now copying it..." Huh? Frontier has been what it is since before JetBlue existed.

A nice wrap or a warm bagel on JetBlue? I don't think so.

The Ultimate Ski Season Pass (Frontier and Vail Resorts).? I don't think so.

Mexico on JetBlue? I don't think so. If/when it does happen, I could argue that JetBlue is "copying" Frontier.

JetBlue Express? I don't think so. Maybe one day - when JetBlue gets the Embraers.

The only thing Frontier might have "copied" is the LiveTV. Frontier already had a deal for that before JetBlue bought LiveTV.

cheers

mariner
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deltaflyertoo
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Mon Nov 10, 2003 7:59 am

Mariner:

You make good points, I guess I was thinking largely live TV and new planes when I made that statement. So to expand on your post Frontier innovated those items that Jetblue did not. It adds to my theory though that there is more than one way to add comforts to the LCC operation and keep customers happy. Whether its the Jetblue model, or the Frontier model, WN execs are in a way sandwhiched at this point as to what they will need to do for WN to get it slightly upgraded but at a decent cost.
 
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mariner
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Mon Nov 10, 2003 8:06 am

Deltaflyertoo:

"I guess i was thinking largely live TV and new planes....."

I guessed that, so my post was a gentle dig. Very, very gentle.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

But, for the record, Frontier had already ordered (or was about to place the order for) their new aircraft at around the time JetBlue was born.

However, I agree with with your general point about the LCC's. The WN concept was the very successful original, and mostly it is the UK/Irish LCC's that have copied it - to a fault.

I think what is happening here in the US is that some of LCC's will become/are already less and less like that original WN model.

I'd guess WN knows that too. The fact that they are at least looking at some form of IFE (and possibly 100 seat planes) suggests they understand what's happening.

cheers

mariner
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aa757first
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Mon Nov 10, 2003 8:08 am

I'm guessing 75% to 85% of SW passengers fly because of one thing - the low fares. If B6 and WN are competing on the same route with the same or very close prices, then most people would choose B6 with their LiveTV.

Just my two cents.
 
sllevin
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Mon Nov 10, 2003 8:11 am

Actually, I think that DCA-ROCguy (our low-fare guru) suggests that WN missed an opportunity to fly to JFK before B6 got there.

Yeah, but if there's one thing we've seen, you can always enter a market. Being there beforehand isn't THAT big an edge. If Southwest decides they need JFK, they'll get a few gates, and operate the core flights they need.

That said, right now, why compete with jetBlue if you don't need to? All it does is hurt your bottom line. As long as jetBlue stays our of Southwest's way, there's still plenty of business for everyone.

OTOH, if they are forced to go head to head, they can, and can put jetBlue out of business without any problem -- simply forcing prices low and burning a little cash. It's not the way they've operated until now, but if you push Southwest into a corner of "lay off people or push jetBlue outta business" -- well, you can imagine the result.

Steve
 
goingboeing
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Mon Nov 10, 2003 9:01 am

I'm guessing 75% to 85% of SW passengers fly because of one thing - the low fares. If B6 and WN are competing on the same route with the same or very close prices, then most people would choose B6 with their LiveTV.

I'd guess you'd be off a bit there. Look at the JetBlue "invasion" of the LA-Oakland/Las Vegas market. Prices - very much the same. But even with Live TV, they cut back...way back.
 
aa757first
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Mon Nov 10, 2003 9:09 am

I'd guess you'd be off a bit there. Look at the JetBlue "invasion" of the LA-Oakland/Las Vegas market. Prices - very much the same. But even with Live TV, they cut back...way back.

Interesting. Thanks for bringing that up.
 
txagkuwait
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Mon Nov 10, 2003 10:33 am

WN isn't afraid of any other carrier, but they try to keep their 'edge'.....they view every carrier as a potential threat to their hobby (making a profit) and try to be both proactive and reactive.

Southwest is making money right now. Pretty good money. Yet they look for positive ways to control costs without diminishing the product.

Consolidation of res centers (thanks to internet booking) and sales/marketing offices (why keep a sales/marketing office open in St Louis....when a rep from KC can be there in 55 minutes?)

Southwest carries a lot of people and they do it not because they are cheap, but because they offer consistency, value, and---in most markets---FREQUENCY.

Some of JetBlue's actions suggest Neeleman has been reading (and believing) all of the press clippings. I do think he is smart enough, however, to try and steer clear of WN. The LGB-LAS and LGB-OAK deal might have been one lesson, I'd expect that what he has run into ATL-LGB vs DL & FL has been another.
 
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EA CO AS
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Mon Nov 10, 2003 12:49 pm

I'd guess you'd be off a bit there. Look at the JetBlue "invasion" of the LA-Oakland/Las Vegas market. Prices - very much the same. But even with Live TV, they cut back...way back.

While I'm no fan of either B6 or WN, don't forget that they only started those flights from LGB as "placeholders" so they wouldn't lose their slots due to non-use. They'd have flown empty planes if it came to it. The low-fares they offered there were just to get people on those flights to offset their operating costs and keep their losses down.

So it's hard to really say that B6 turned tail and ran.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

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OzarkD9S
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Mon Nov 10, 2003 1:24 pm

Call me crazy, but it really isn't JetBlue VS. Southwest as much as JetBlue, Southwest, ATA, Frontier, AirTran and Spirit VS. the network carriers.

AirCal and PSA ruled intra Califronia traffic for years before being disembowled by their aquireres. Southwest moved in and became virtually BOTH carrier's replacement.

Every route an LCC enters is going to make trouble for the existing NETWORK carriers in that market: B6 and WN and the like can co-exist, but every passenger they take from the big 6 is another potential nail in their coffin.

AA of all airlines is "considering" a low-fare/low-cost subsidiary so things must really be bad.

Bottom line: (my opinion) ALL domestic US carriers will need to transform at least their domestic mainline operations to the LCC/LFC model or they simply will be nibbled to death. One arrow may not kill you, but a hundred or so just might.
Next up: STL-OAK-RNO-LAS-ICT-STL
 
DCA-ROCguy
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Mon Nov 10, 2003 3:03 pm

Actually, I think that DCA-ROCguy (our low-fare guru) suggests that WN missed an opportunity to fly to JFK before B6 got there. B6 is now hurting WN at ISP.

Thanks 727, it's kind of you to recall my argument....I still think it correct. You're right Steve that WN could get some gates at JFK and enter if they wanted. What they missed was the opportunity to be *the* low fare carrier at JFK, and run a huge operation out of an in-city airport in the largest O & D market on the planet. JetBlue is entrenched, well-capitalized, and it wouldn't be worth the cost for WN to put them out of business. Plus, that's not WN's M.O.--they prefer eviscerating bloated network carriers like US Airways.  Smile The 1990's JFK opportunity that Southwest squandered is gone.

JetBlue will NOT be the next People for several reasons. They've got the computer reservations systems PE lacked, the consistent service quality PE lost near the end, as noted. Above all David Neeleman isn't going to go out and buy a big, higher-cost legacy regional elsewhere in the country. The Frontier purchase is what in the end destroyed People Express.

Boyd argues that Southwest will cling to their requirement that a new market support ten dailies on day one. Mikey's wrong on this one, I think. That's got to go, or JetBlue and AirTran will increasingly run rings around WN. When AirTran will land at the local airport for a 10 percent cost premium, why drive two hours to the next city for WN? And if JetBlue's EMB 190's mean raising the CASM 14 percent, that *still* means an overall carrier CASM below Southwest's.

JetBlue will be able to offer frequencies and low fares at medium and small-medium markets. That will mean they can make money without demanding that a market produce 400,000 new people right away. The WN wizards will find another way to preserve their 7.5 cent CASM if the market demands, which it will. Good for JetBlue and AirTran, I say. It's about damn time an airport doesn't have to support 10 73G's to get low fares.

Some other thoughts:
--WN's unassigned seating, I think, *will* go within a few years. RAM is cheap and it's not going to crimp their costs to keep a few extra bytes of info. JetBlue and AirTran are showing that low costs and assigned seating will go together.
--Deltaflyer, you're wrong that "everything about WN screams cheap." Their leather interiors are snazzy; their employees are professional and efficient; and their onboard service is as good as what one gets in coach on a Cartel-network carrier these days. The unassigned seating is what is cheap, and as I said above I think it will disappear.

Jim

Need a new airline paint scheme? Better call Saul! (Bass that is)
 
DCA-ROCguy
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Mon Nov 10, 2003 3:49 pm

Southwest carries a lot of people and they do it not because they are cheap, but because they offer consistency, value, and---in most markets---FREQUENCY.

JetBlue is proving that it can offer frequency on short-haul routes, too; five daily BUF-JFK and four daily ROC-JFK. SYR and BTV are going back up to three dailies in the winter. Yes, these routes were added to get Congressional support for JFK slots (good for the politicians, say I). But JetBlue is doing extremely well in all of these markets.

In Rochester JetBlue has drawn a healthy crop of regular business travelers, according to the local paper. B6 now controls a staggering *60* percent of the ROC-New York City market, which usually has been split much more evenly among three or four carriers.

Three years from now, when JetBlue has EMB 190's on these routes (as Neeleman has said he plans to do), you'll have say seven daily EMB190's on ROC-JFK instead of four A320's. JFK will have even more connecting opportunities by then, so eight or nine dailies will probably be offered. Say 12 daily EMB's in BUF; 6 in SYR and BTV.

Many medium-size cities will probably be served by only EMB's, in order to keep station costs limited to one a/c type. JetBlue has also been willing to contract out ramp service and baggage handling (as they did at ROC for the first year) so they aren't beholden to operating a station staff that only multiple A320's can justify. Places like CMH, CLE, DAY, GSO, RIC, MHT, could easily support several daily EMB 190's, and thus have the kind of frequency that business travelers want.

And again, New York is the *single biggest O & D market on the planet.* Plus the multiple destinations will increase JFK connecting opportunities, and the station's hub value. Southwest made a *very* big mistake in the 1990s, not jumping into the gap left by People Express. Entering Philly will help WN, and Boyd is probably right that pre-empting JetBlue is a key goal (though I think going after high-cost US traffic is on WN's radar too  Smile ).

JetBlue will offer frequency in more and more markets out of NYC, and start connecting more dots. Still, the fact that B6's main hub is JFK will allow them to do so without major conflict with WN for most of this decade, I think.

Jim
Need a new airline paint scheme? Better call Saul! (Bass that is)
 
SWAFA30
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Mon Nov 10, 2003 4:20 pm

Scared....probably not. Fear implies that danger is imminent. Concerned is probably a better word. Southwest concerned about jetBlue?? Definitely. We should be concerned. jetBlue's product is superior. Period. Fortunately, our size relative to B6 gives us the precious gift of time. Wanna go from LA to Houston on jetBlue...too bad...Phoenix to Omaha...they can't help you...Raleigh to Kansas city...SOL...but that will change and sooner rather than later. So, for now we have time but, not alot. jetBlue is growing fast and they have the "Eye of the Tiger".

Senior management has alluded to possible changes to our business model and product...they are ""casually investigating" IFE...yeah right. My guess is that the office suites studying feasibility and implementation of IFE are working more furiously than Santa's Workshop on Christmas Eve. Time is of the essence. Every shiny new 73G that rolls off the assembly line without IFE is one more that has to be retrofitted. Likewise, the number cruncher who can successfully adapt the 100 seater to our business model will never want for Wild Turkey again.

IFE is a 'gotta have' to compete in the new LCC market. There are no two ways about it. Fun and Friendly Flight Attendants are no match for TVLand....We're good but we're not that good. AirTran has managed to do okay without IFE but Business Class is their signature distinction and who knows what secrets their 73s will hold.

The jury is still out on assigned seating. Management was quick to deny rumors that surfaced about a switch to seat assignments. But, make no mistake. If it can be proven that people are beginning to book away from us because of open seating...we would be assigning seats like yesterday. The technology is in place now...all we have to do is use it.

Right now SWA and jetBlue are carefully dancing around each other. Neither is quite ready to go head to head. But if the guys upstairs are worth their salaries they have to know that when we do go step onto the court with jetBlue we better bring our "A" game.

So...scared? no...concerned?...yes. The day we stop being concerned about carriers who pose a realistic threat to our market share is the day I start polishing up my resume.

.
 
SWAFA30
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Tue Nov 11, 2003 1:12 am


WN is at a huge crossroads. IMO, they need new interiors (maybe grey or all blue leather seats instead of yellow and blue?) , a new look on A/C

Actually, I kinda like the new interiors. The tan with the blue breaks up the montony in the cabin and the new leather sits pretty good. I was on the fence about the new paint scheme. I think it looks better on the -700s than the -300s but at any rate it has grown on me. It's distinctive and instantly recognizable.


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richierich
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Tue Nov 11, 2003 2:09 am

I'm a big B6 fan but I tend to agree with Swafa30's last post.
I doubt Southwest are "scared" of JetBlue. But they would be extremely stupid not to recognize that JetBlue maybe on to something.

Southwest is an impressive company that adapts to change very well. The airline industry is different today than it was 10 years ago and is obviously quite removed from the late 1970s. Southwest has gone from a niche player to becoming somewhat of the industry standard... don't think that JetBlue analyzed Southwest before they started flying!

In my opinion, JetBlue took the Southwest model, figured out what worked, added some innovations and raised the bar. Southwest is not stupid and has quickly realized what so many others are noticing. That is, JetBlue is a true contender and a formidable opponent with a unique product and a strong brand.

Southwest is not scared. They have faced competition before and they have often won. But I think that they are being forced to make changes to their empire too. More long hauls. I think assigned seating is only months away from being implemented (my guess), and obviously there is a deficit in not having IFE at this time. IFE was never a concern when WN flights were never more than 2 hours in length, but now with transcons.....

Southwest has some huge advantages over JetBlue. The biggest is size. This means they can fly to scores more cities with more frequency than JetBlue. (Nobody expected JetBlue to start flying with 400 planes, did they? It takes time to build a fleet of this size!!). So there are people all over the USA who have never heard of JetBlue because the nearest B6 flights are 39,000 feet over their heads!

Southwest is smart. JetBlue is also well managed. These airlines do not want to go head to head as it would not benefit either carrier. Besides, both airlines have other fish to fry (Fillet of Song, perhaps?). The other resident Northeast majors are scared crapless of Southwest and are putting up an unprecedented fight against JetBlue because this region is their last bastion of being able to charge high fares. Well now they are going to have to deal with a Southwest incursion as well!!

Like it or not, LCCs are here and are thriving. All the crap I read on another thread about how Southwest is responsible for the "Walmartization of America" is ridiculous. Anyone who is snobby enough to pay more (a lot more) on an airline just to not fly Southwest (with the masses) deserves what they get. That type of elitist attitude is gladly a dying breed.

At the end of the day, I do not claim to know how the majors will survive or what they will look like. I think at least one will go belly-up, probably UniTed (aka eunich Ted?). LCCs will continue to grow, especially JetBlue and AirTran. Southwest will be the #1 airline in passengers flown and perhaps size for many many years - they are now too big to be scared.

Let me finish by saying that JetBlue is also facing stiff competition for the first time in their four year existence. Song may still be Delta, but they are branded so differently that the average Joe won't realize that (only that his SkyMiles are valid on Song). And eventually, when Song is able to actually offer what it advertises, it will pose some features that JetBlue does not. (Currently, TV is only installed on one or two Song aircraft, although you would not know this by seeing a Song ad - read the small print!!). My point being that JetBlue will also have to adapt and change and continue to give the passengers what they want. I think the fact that Song took Delta employees and had to put them through charm school tells me everything I need to know!
None shall pass!!!!
 
aaway
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Tue Nov 11, 2003 2:17 am

Swafa30:
I think you've hit the nail on the head!!! It isn't so much B6 may be threat with it's planned scale, but it's the product differentiation that has got to have WN somewhat wary. Afterall, IFEs certainly up the ante as far as passenger comfort is concerned. Brilliant, well-executed, yet simple. Mere television - that appeals to both the business and leisure traveler.
"The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one." - Elbert Hubbard
 
SWAFA30
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Tue Nov 11, 2003 2:59 am

Swafa30:
I think you've hit the nail on the head!!! It isn't so much B6 may be threat with it's planned scale, but it's the product differentiation that has got to have WN somewhat wary. Afterall, IFEs certainly up the ante as far as passenger comfort is concerned. Brilliant, well-executed, yet simple. Mere television - that appeals to both the business and leisure traveler.




As a cabin crewmember...I see this first hand. The middle seat on a transcon is much more bearable if you have the distraction of DirecTV. As it stands now...about 3 hrs into a 5 hour flight...I have 4 people crammed into my galley who stopped by to "visit". Is it because they find the smell of the aft lav intoxicating.??..is it because they want to see my co-workers baby photos?? Doubtful. They are standing in my galley because they are bored. Personally, I think you have to have a masochistic streak to sign up for BWI to SJC in a 737 but that is a whole other conversation.

But, I digress... back to bored passengers. When B6 begins to compete with us on a route for route basis, the question is answered before it is even asked. I think our management is incredulous that after 32 years of hard work and struggle and sacrifice that it in the end it will all come down to the "idiot box", television. I fly free on SWA and on a flight over 2 hours...I would gladly pay 25 bucks to nonrev on jetBlue rather than fly on my own carrier all things being equal.

We have spent so much time convincing the traveling public that they don't need frills...having to do an about face on that philosophy has gotta be a bitter pill to swallow. But sometimes you gotta swallow that pill to survive. I have heard that several IFE options are currently on the table. While I think PTVs are optimum, I think we could get away with LCD monitors every few rows. In my opinon, anything less is just a waste of time and money. Of course changing with the times does not mean throwing out everything that has gotten us to the top. The challenge will be to keep our product competetive, yet keep SWA agile and cost effective.


For the next few years...this should be a really interesting place to work.


 
MD80Nut
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Tue Nov 11, 2003 3:37 am

Having flown both Southwest and JetBlue, I believe Southwest has a lot to be concerned about in the future. True, Southwest is the much bigger airline right now, but JetBlue offers a superior product with wider cabins and PTVs. If JetBlue can match Southwest's fares or at least come close when they start competing head to head on routes, it's natural people will start to prefer them.

Still, don't underestimate Southwest. They are well established at what they do and didn't get to where they are by idly standing by. Still, JetBlue and Frontier represent a new wave of higher level service for LCCs, and I think Southwest will eventually have to confront them or at least match their amenities. Both JetBlue and Frontier are getting a lot of mileage out of touting their in-flight entertainment, I would not be surprised if Southwest eventually installs PTVs on their 737-700s in order to compete.

cheers, Ralph
Fly Douglas Jets DC-8 / DC-9 / DC-10 / MD80 / MD11 / MD90 / 717
 
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EA CO AS
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Tue Nov 11, 2003 3:43 am

I have heard that several IFE options are currently on the table. While I think PTVs are optimum, I think we could get away with LCD monitors every few rows

WN would probably do well offering IFE via the portable digEplayer, invented by an Alaska Airlines ramp agent.

http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/030908/85957_1.html

"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
737doctor
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Tue Nov 11, 2003 5:01 am

Concerning IFE, I think it's safe to say that it won't happen any time soon. At $1 million per aircraft to equip our fleet with IFE, the company is not willing to spend that kind of cash. No, this isn't a figure I pulled out of a hat or my own opinion. This was the sentiment expressed by Jim Parker, Gary Kelly (our CFO) and our DOM at a recent MX Recharge conference that I attended.
Patrick Bateman is my hero.
 
SWAFA30
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Tue Nov 11, 2003 6:51 am

Concerning IFE, I think it's safe to say that it won't happen any time soon. At $1 million per aircraft to equip our fleet with IFE, the company is not willing to spend that kind of cash. No, this isn't a figure I pulled out of a hat or my own opinion. This was the sentiment expressed by Jim Parker, Gary Kelly (our CFO) and our DOM at a recent MX Recharge conference that I attended.

737doctor,

I believe you. I have worked here for close to a decade. Long enough to know that we don't spend money... especially close to half a billion dollars on a whim. No expenditures around here...only investments. If it ain't gonna make us money...it's off the table.

However, once the cost benefit analysis is done... if it will work...SWA will not hesitate to dip into the coffers and spend the money. Witness the blended winglets that we are adding to our 73G fleet. Expensive now...but eventually they will pay for themselves and go on to make us money.

Likewise the massive technology upgrades we have seen in recent months out at the stations...for instance the Self-Check-In Kiosks.. On the surface, this is something that we could have done without. We have plenty of CSAs to distrubute boarding passes...that's kinda what they are paid for. However, SWA wisely looked around and realized that we were about the only kid on the block without this convenience item. Post 9/11, passengers were complaining about having to stand in 'yet another line'. Despite 30 some odd years of history to the contrary, management understood that the frustration level with our check-in process had reached a critical level and they acted.

Now, these machines are everywhere..and I have to assume they were not cheap. But SWA spent the money because they knew they had to do so in order to keep us in the game. Same goes for the new Boarding Pass Gate Readers.

Now, I am not suggesting that the cost outlay for the Kiosks or Gate Readers
is anywhere near that of equipping almost 400 aircraft with IFE. However, the point is that the company listened to what our customers wanted and acted accordingly.

I am glad that management is resisting the urge to "take the bait" and push ahead with an overly ambitious plan to spend close to 1/4 of our cash on hand to retrofit the entire fleet.Reseach is good. As an employee and stockholder I would not have it any other way. Especially as we get ready to begin what could be a long and costly tussle with US in PHL. We still have time to address the IFE situation. The wolf is not at the door...yet.

Why not go ahead settle on a system and slowly begin the retrofit? As the retrofits come out of the hangar deploy them on the longest routes first and work your way to the shorter routes as years pass and more IFE equipped aircraft come online. Even if only a small percentage of our fleet has the bells and whistles...it keeps SWA on the radar where the customer is concerned and ultimately in the game.

Of course I have Jim and Co. spending all of this money based on the assumption that in a side by side comparison with B6..we can't win unless we have IFE. Who knows? Maybe we could win solely on the strength of our brand, but I dout it. The only way I could see that happening is if we were to somehow miraculously get our costs even lower, start a fare war and make customers an offer they can't refuse. It is all a gamble. IFE may indeed be the flavor of the month. But if it's not and we wait too long... not only do we have to spend the money to retrofit the fleet...then we have to spend even more to lure back the customers we lost while we sat on the fence.
 
737doctor
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Tue Nov 11, 2003 10:19 am

Swafa30,

The company will look into anything and everything that might make us more competitive. They have a "never say never" mentality. I have seen this firsthand, concerning ACARS; the company started the ACARS mods, put them on hold while exploring other options and then started them up again. But the overriding factor when making decisions is "Will this help us be more profitable?" Winglets? Absolutely. IFE? Perhaps, but apparently right now, the initial investment is not worth it. Especially now when all I hear in the MX department is how we need to control costs. We are still making a profit, but our costs are rising. Until we can get our costs where management thinks they ought to be, IFE will not happen. Personally, I don't want it. From a MX standpoint, it is just one more thing that can break. But regardless of what I want, I trust the company to do what's best for us all.
Patrick Bateman is my hero.
 
SWAFA30
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Tue Nov 11, 2003 1:12 pm

737doctor,

I'm with you, I trust our management team...their track record speaks for itself. I just hope that our trust is well placed. The aviation business environment has never been more competitive. There is very little margin for error. My gut tells me if they get this one wrong we're screwed.
 
txagkuwait
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Tue Nov 11, 2003 1:47 pm

SWAFA30 writes in, and I quote:>>"My gut tells me if they get this one wrong we're screwed. "<<

From someone who has been on the periphery of WN in one way, shape, or form since before 18 Jun 1971 let me put your mind at ease.

Putting entertainment on airplanes. A big dollar investment.

If you put them in and they cause a lot of maintenance problems, you were dumb.

If you put them in and pasengers can live without them, you were dumb.

If you dont put them in and people all of a sudden demand them, you put them in.

Once upon a time, Braniff was a very well run carrier and made a lot of money.

AA,UA,DL,CO,EA...practically everyone....went on a spree buying wide bodied aircraft because they thought that was what the passenger would demand. Why, who would even think of flying an airline without a spiral staircase and piano bar on the upper deck?

Everyone except Braniff got caught up in this.

By the early 70s, BN continued to make money hand-over-fist with their fleet of 727-200s while a lot of carriers' DC10s, L1011s, and B747s sat in the Mojave Desert...too expensive to fly.

BN was able to offer frequency....and when the market took a turn to the south...they weren't burdened by excess capacity.

Braniff got into a lot of trouble later when they elected to expand too fast, bought a bunch of 747 SPs, etc etc...but my point is they did not follow the herd mentality and it did not cause them any problems.

If later it turns out that IFE is THAT important, then the window is still open to install it.

The way you get in trouble is raising your fare. You raise your fare to deal with costs. That's why I am encouraged by the efforts to cut costs. It's fine if employees want to make more money.....but you can't do that by raising ticket prices. You have to increase productivity.

Once upon a time WN bought MC. MC was a nice airline in many respects. Call it Southwest for the Neiman-Marcus clientele. Assigned seats, leather interiors, food service, the whole nine yards.

MC had two class service. However, MC tried to do the F cabin a little differently. Instead of trying to squeeze an ungodly amount of revenue out of it by pricing it at astronomical levels, they sset the F fare $10-$25 higher than coach. Needless to say, the load factor for F was higher than in Y.

The bean counters of the world got to looking at the F cabin as a underutilized source of revenue and convinced management to jack the price of F up some. Not too much....another $10 - $50 to where the fare differential was $20 - $75 based on length of the flight.

The F passengers defected to the Y cabin almost instantly and MC was never able to lure them back up front.

The moral of the story is IFE is something that can be fixed.....if it becomes apparent that psgrs are booking away or not flocking to WN because of a lack of IFE, heck, you go out and buy the darned things.

But do not do things that increase your costs unless you are certain they will return a equal or greater amount of revenue. Once you have run the passenger off due to price, it is absolute hell to get them back. And a few bucks will make a difference.

I still feel that the answer for IFE is for WN FAs to employ sock puppets in an entertaining Punch & Judy type show, after the beverage service.

 
Skip7966
Posts: 118
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2003 6:05 pm

RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Tue Nov 11, 2003 3:06 pm

One thing even those of you that work for WN seem to forget is.. Soutwest is not trying to compete with other airlines!! WN is trying to compete with the automobile.
 
SWAFA30
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Tue Nov 11, 2003 3:11 pm

TxAg,

Thanks for your insight. In 1971 when this party was getting started I was yet a gleam in my father's eye. You made some great points.

As I said in my previous posts, I can appreciate the wisdom behind taking a wait and see attitude. This is a huge investment that ought not be made just for the sake of keeping up with the jonses. The key is...how long do you wait?

I admit that my evidence is strictly anecdotal but I spend literally thousands of hours with our customers and I witness how they interact with our product first hand. As our average stage length gets longer and longer, IFE or the lack thereof is going to become more and more of an issue. Only time will tell if IFE will truly become an actual competitive issue. My fear is that the stickershock for a fleetwide retrofit will lead management to downplay the weight customers will give IFE when choosing a carrier. Then we're scrambling to play catchup at the 90th hour.

Then of course there is....

I still feel that the answer for IFE is for WN FAs to employ sock puppets in an entertaining Punch & Judy type show, after the beverage service.

If SWA pays us enough we will stage a full scale off, off, off Broadway musical. Perhaps we could convince the passengers to participate as extras. We could do "Annie" on the BWI-SAN runs. The underfed passengers could play the starving orphans and bring down the house with a rousing rendition of "Hardknock Life". Now that's interactive entertainment. Dinner Theater at 37,000 feet.  Wink/being sarcastic

I'm sure you've heard the anecdote about the flight attendant that asked about IFE at a recent Message to the Field. Apparently, during the Q and A, a flight attendant stood up and asked Colleen if we were considering IFE....Colleen's response?..."Darlin, Y'all are the Inflight Entertainment!"
Needless to say everyone in attendance thought that was funny except for the poor red-faced flight attendant that had to slink away from the microphone.












[Edited 2003-11-11 07:13:40]
 
SWAFA30
Posts: 436
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Tue Nov 11, 2003 3:16 pm

One thing even those of you that work for WN seem to forget is.. Soutwest is not trying to compete with other airlines!! WN is trying to compete with the automobile.

Dallas to Houston....maybe. Manchester to Las Vegas....not so much.
 
deltaflyertoo
Posts: 1479
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Tue Nov 11, 2003 3:32 pm

With this IFE thing, who says WN needs to have PTVs. What would the costs be for a simple 12 channel audio set? Pax could bring their own headsets or buy one to keep for $5 bucks once on board. If you programmed each channel to offer 12 different genres of the truley most demanded music within its class, and rotated it every 2 months, you are ahead of the network carriers. And I doubt its that expensive.
 
737doctor
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Tue Nov 11, 2003 5:45 pm

Skip, believe me. That is not the first time I've heard that.
Patrick Bateman is my hero.
 
Skip7966
Posts: 118
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2003 6:05 pm

RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Tue Nov 11, 2003 6:30 pm

The main thinking of WN seems to be getting lost on the upper management. I think WN can afford to have several cross country flights, but only if they have the IFE to distract passengers from the fact they're eating nuts and other BS snacks to a full meal.
 
SWAFA30
Posts: 436
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Wed Nov 12, 2003 1:25 am

The main thinking of WN seems to be getting lost on the upper management. I think WN can afford to have several cross country flights, but only if they have the IFE to distract passengers from the fact they're eating nuts and other BS snacks to a full meal.

I gotta think food service would be waaaaaaay cheaper than IFE. Especially since the industry seems to evolving towards the 'pay as you go' inflight meal plan.
 
txagkuwait
Posts: 1388
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Wed Nov 12, 2003 2:12 am

Swafa30:

Now you'rre thinking.

GOOD airplane food (and it can be found) would go a long way towards placating customers who might want IFE.

My fear in IFE is it is electrical and requires a lot of wiring. Adding additional electric wiring to an aluminum tube full of flammable petrolleum distillates which is hurtling thru the air, 6 miles above the ground, at a mile every 7 seconds is not the best idea I have ever heard. Combatting IFE with food service is not a bad idea.

MC used to serve some pretty good chow on MIA-HOU-LAX. Real good. The menus were more of a heavy snack than a full meal. One of the breakfasts was bagel with cream cheese, a fruit salad, sliced Canadian bacon, with juice and/or coffee. Fruit and pastry tends to travel well.

You are not going to get mom's fried chicken on an airplane. or pot roast. or eggs cooked to order. Creativity can help folks cook up (no pun intended) some rather simple yet tasty goodies which don't require a huge galley.

Nobody would have though WN would serve the snack packs. But they did.
I can envision an upscale snack pack evolving into a full meal.

Before you got into the entire IFE business it might just be cheaper to equip every plane with 100 or so laptops preloaded with DVD movies and MP3 files to listen to.

 
cloudy
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Wed Nov 12, 2003 7:45 am

Concerning IFE, I think it's safe to say that it won't happen any time soon. At $1 million per aircraft to equip our fleet with IFE, the company is not willing to spend that kind of cash. No, this isn't a figure I pulled out of a hat or my own opinion. This was the sentiment expressed by Jim Parker, Gary Kelly (our CFO) and our DOM at a recent MX Recharge conference that I attended.
------

Why do you need the whole fleet equipped? A subset of IFE equipped -700 's used for transcons and near transcons could be adequate. Of course WN is always reluctant to take steps that increase uncertainty for the customer and complexity for the airline.

I would guess that it would be much less expensive to have new-build aircraft delivered with IFE than to retrofit this capability to old aircraft - and that is how JetBlue is doing it while keeping their cost down. But I could be wrong on this....

Having a good selection of magazines (not just the airline's inflight magazine) seems to be a good alternative to IFE. Whener I have been aboard a plane with a good inflight "library" I have found it almost as good as having IFE. And this is pretty cheap to do.
 
LHR001
Posts: 966
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Wed Nov 12, 2003 9:46 am

Southwest Airlines does have major advantages over JetBlue!

*Southwest Airlines flights are not flown on a hub and spoke system as JetBlue has done!

example: Detroit to Phoenix
St. Louis to Las Vegas
Los Angeles to New Orleans
Sacramento to Kansas City

*Southwest Airlines flights are flown from point to point with the ilimination of transferring through busy or unwanted hub bases!

example: Chicago to Nashville
Orlando to Phoenix
Spokane to Portland
New Orleans to Tampa

*Southwest Airlines route network will take decades for JetBlue to achieve.

example: 360 aircraft in fleet

*Southwest Airlines is pioneering in markets that JetBlue has not even touched!

example: Baltimore to Los Angeles
San Diego to Phoenix
Spokane to Los Angeles
Sacrramento to Orange County

*Southwest Airlines flies into major airports unlike JetBlue -

example :Los Angeles vs. Long Beach

*Southwest Airlines offers more travel partners and greater oppurtunity to obtain free travel faster.

example: Credit Card
Hotel Partner

*Southwest Airlines has paid much more attention to the West Coast than JetBlue.

example: Sacramento to Burbank
Sacramento to Los Angeles
Sacramento to Ontario
Sacramento to Orange County
Sacramento to San Diego
Oakland to Burbank

*Southwest Airlines has solid clientele in key markets that include-

example:Arizona
California
Illinois
Nevada
Oregon
Washington
Texas

*Southwest Airlines is offer non-stop service both on Transcontinental, Inter-State, and Intra-State markets.

example: Las Vegas to Baltimore
Phoenix to Detroit
Los Angeles to Tampa
******

Direct TV makes you no more of an airline than does a meal!
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
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RE: Is Southwest Scaredy-cat Of Jetblue?

Wed Nov 12, 2003 10:39 am

Cloudy asked:
>>>Why do you need the whole fleet equipped? A subset of IFE equipped -700 's used for transcons and near transcons could be adequate. Of course WN is always reluctant to take steps that increase uncertainty for the customer and complexity for the airline


Any move to onboard-IFE would be fleetwide, and not just the -700s, since the -500s and -300s run some longer haul flights as well. (I'm intentionally not mentioning the -200s, since they'll be gone in about a year).

Some other factors why I don't think (IMHO) you'll see SWA do onboard IFE:

1/ Installation and support costs. Already discussed. Big bucks. Huge...

2/ TV Programing. If the IFE was TV, there are costs associated with licensing and programing. Plus, given what's on TV these days, is it something you -want- to watch, or are -willing- to watch because is free and available?

3/ Movie Programing. If the IFE was not TV but movies, there are also costs associated with it. Plus, who decides -which- movies get selected? Rated G, PG, PG-13 or R? Are they to be edited/sanitized versions suitable for family viewing? With all those variables, how do you balance pleasing some folks with your choices while simultaneously disappointing others?

4/ Music Programing. Same as #2 and #3 above.

Some 10-15 years ago when portable CD players first started coming out, they were quite expensive, yet today you can find them for next to nothing. We're starting to see the same price decline with small portable DVD players, some of which I've seen for as low as $150. (Can $100 or $75 be far down the road?). Ditto with MP3 players.

With the declining prices for these items, I think SWA will basically let those passengers who want to have these kinds of electronic entertainment provide it for themselves, and bring their own content (CD/DVD/MP3). That way, there's no issue of cost to SWA, no issue of choice of movie/music, and no penalizing the flying customer who doesn't want/need any of this stuff) with the higher ticket prices it would take to both provide and support it as onboard equipment.

Just my opinion...
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.