One good part of their 737 fleet is that they are able to run such a short route and then turn that same a/c around on a longer route that will connect to another flight. They keep to airports with major numbers of their a/c and are still able to keep their low low low prices. I have seen it happen many times with UA
while @ their MX
A good example was of a United 767-300ER that flew HNL
. It arrived DEN
and required a peace for its upcoming flight the following day. The a/c would fly DEN
the following morning. By the time the a/c had arrived, de-plained, and headed towards the MX
the 6:00 SFO
flight had boarded and departed. After the peace was located the 8:00 SFO
had boarded and was being held at the gate for this peace. A bunch of dudes run to the gate to put the peace on the a/c and find that the a/c is an Airbus and isn't long enough to carry the 11ft peace.
Having the last SFO
flight left and an 11ft peace of metle that needed to get to DEN
by 7am (the mx needed something like 3 hours before the a/c was due at the gate) the MX
guys were a bit stumped and asked the stores if the part was correct. The part was correct so they ended up sending the peace in the belly of a United 757 SFO
just after 5am. After it arrived in ORD
it would get on another 757 and fly ORD
and arrive DEN
by 8am. They pushed the DEN
flight back the proper amount of hours and the flight took off some time late.
The point of this is that United and other airlines a like suffer the most from having to deal with set backs such as an a/c not being big enough to fit a peace to another down a/c at another airport or unpredicted peaces and flights. WN
has made it so that no matter what flight, be it a 30 min hop or a 5 hour x-country that they are dealing with the same a/c, same engines, same peaces, same restrictions (to a degree), etc. To be honest I can see WN
throwing back any express a/c they purchase, if they do at all, b/c of the trouble the crews and mx alike will deal with. What they have built and what they continue to use is a system that is hard to beat and only proves to help the airline.
It's b/c of this a/c that they have cash in the bank and its that reason why they buy more and more a/c. It also allows for future plans in their route map. They don't have to feel the restriction of a certain a/c on routes. Now they can't push it like US-EU routes but they're not in that market to begin with.
If anything its why would they order express a/c. They are successful with such an a/c in their feet in such large numbers. It makes working around them easier, fixing them easier, and most of all operating them easier. And they choose an a/c that has a bullet proof rep. and proves, to this day, to be one of the safest a/c in the skies today. The NG
's haven't had ONE fatal accident in it's history, talk about bragging rights.
Sure there might be a need for a smaller a/c but why mess something that's perfect? If its working don't mess with it.