Matt D
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Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 4:01 am

I miss the "old" Southwest: the dirty brown and red, the brown seats with the red and orange dots on them, the small airline fun atmosphere.

To me, nowadays, they have simply gotten too big. Todays Southwest is not (in my sole humble opinion) the same Southwest it was 10, 15, and 20 years ago.


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But that's really neither here nor there.

My question is in regards to the Muse Air and Morris Air buyouts.

First, why were those airlines purchased-especially Muse Air, which was a direct competitor and flew a totally noncompatible fleet?

Second, why was Muse Air renamed TranStar? Why weren't they simply blended into mainline ops?

Why was TranStar shut down barely two years later?

Why was Morris Air purchased, and then half the cities dropped?
 
N1120A
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 4:20 am

Quoting Matt D (Thread starter):
First, why were those airlines purchased-especially Muse Air, which was a direct competitor and flew a totally noncompatible fleet?

Second, why was Muse Air renamed TranStar? Why weren't they simply blended into mainline ops?

Muse Air was named for ex-WN CEO Lamar Muse and was renamed TranStar to differentiate from Southwest operations. The reason for this is because TranStar was a different airline, offering different service levels, aircraft, etc.

Quoting Matt D (Thread starter):
Why was TranStar shut down barely two years later?

Because it was hemmoraging cash

Quoting Matt D (Thread starter):
Why was Morris Air purchased, and then half the cities dropped?

WN dropped Morris Air's unprofitable routes, while getting a bunch of airplanes compatible with their fleet, a hold in SLC and several profitable routes, along with dumping a competitor. Additionally, they wanted to bring in some of the management team to see if the clicked with the Southwest team. Most notable was David Neelman. He wanted more power than Herb, Colleen and the rest were ever willing to give him, so he left and went to Canada to set up WestJet and develop Open Skies
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
FATFlyer
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 4:21 am

Quoting Matt D (Thread starter):
Why was Morris Air purchased, and then half the cities dropped?

My understanding was that Morris operated cities with fewer flights than Southwest preferred. So the smaller stations were dropped and the aircraft used to increase frequencies in other cities.
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
 
FATFlyer
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 4:29 am

Quoting N1120A (Reply 1):
Additionally, they wanted to bring in some of the management team to see if the clicked with the Southwest team.

Don't forget, June Morris had been diagnosed with cancer, so she approached WN about the sale.

Additionally, Morris Air had adopted much of Southwest's operation model such as boarding cards, 737s, etc. So there was a closer fit to Southwest than most mergers would ever offer.
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
 
jfrworld
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 5:15 am

Quoting Matt D (Thread starter):
Why was Morris Air purchased, and then half the cities dropped?

At the time of the merger, WN had no presence in the pacific NW or mountain states.

Morris had operations to most major cities in the NW and in the mountain states, but also flew to a bunch of smaller cities like Laughlin, NV, Eugene, OR, etc. WN dropped the smaller markets, but used the Morris merger to instantly gain access to SEA, PDX, BOI, GEG, SLC, and TUS. By dropping the smaller cities they were also able to boost the frequencies and city pair offerings from each of the major cities that they kept. Remember that most Morris cities only had flights to SLC.
 
jfrworld
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 5:23 am

Also, the Morris Air merger was an all-stock deal so it didn't really cost WN any cash.
 
Av8trxx
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 5:26 am

Quoting Matt D (Thread starter):
First, why were those airlines purchased-especially Muse Air, which was a direct competitor and flew a totally noncompatible fleet?

Lamar Muse was the first President of Southwest Airlines, Co. He resigned 1978 after a dispute with the BOD and founded Muse Air in 1981. Muse Air was nicknamed "Revenge Air" and took up direct competition with WN as well as CO.

The Muse purchase was partially motivated to eliminate the competition from Muse and to try and block Continental from increasing their presence at Hobby. At the time CO was considering moving some of its operations from IAH to HOU, as that airport was experiencing a big growth in passenger traffic. Herb thought that by making Muse a subsidiary of WN that two against Lorenzo would be better than one but it didn't turn out that way. He later admitted that it was probably not the best move and WN wound up selling Muse Airs assets to Frank Lorenzo.
 
Chugach
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 5:46 am

I may be way off base here, but didn't Morris Air fly to ANC at one point in time?
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Matt D
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 5:57 am

Thanks for the replies so far. I can see Morris having dropped some of the small stations like Medford and Laughlin. But why Fresno not converted to a WN city? That still is the gaping hole for them here in CA.
 
srbmod
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 5:59 am

Quoting N1120A (Reply 1):
Most notable was David Neelman. He wanted more power than Herb, Colleen and the rest were ever willing to give him, so he left and went to Canada to set up WestJet and develop Open Skies

Plus the work hard, play hard attitude among WN's management (Case in point, Herb's love of whiskey) clashed with Neeleman's Mormon beliefs.
 
Av8trxx
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 6:12 am

Quoting Matt D (Reply 8):
But why Fresno not converted to a WN city? That still is the gaping hole for them here in CA.

Even though the area is growing, FAT doesn't presently generate the kind of traffic to justify opening a WN station there, although passenger traffic in the future may warrant considering it. Filling RJs & turboprops is quite another from ten 737s a day. Many of my flights to FAT only have a dozen people on them! I am sure Jim & Colleen will be watching Frontiers new service to FAT and how successful it is. However, two flights a day are a lot easier to fill than the number WN requires to open a city.
 
FATFlyer
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 6:27 am

Quoting Av8trxx (Reply 10):
Even though the area is growing, FAT doesn't presently generate the kind of traffic to justify opening a WN station there, although passenger traffic in the future may warrant considering it. Filling RJs & turboprops is quite another from ten 737s a day. Many of my flights to FAT only have a dozen people on them! I am sure Jim & Colleen will be watching Frontiers new service to FAT and how successful it is. However, two flights a day are a lot easier to fill than the number WN requires to open a city.

Actually, Fresno was on Southwest's short list prior to 9/11. After 9/11 WN wouldn't talk to anyone about starting new service. But FAT was the first airport that Southwest took a meeting with about opening a new city. Ultimately, they chose to move instead in a new direction of large cities, going to PHL instead. But I imagine FAT still sits high on their radar.

Fresno has had a high drive away market due to fares, equipment, and frequencies. Mexicana has realized that, determining that the FAT area has been providing 100,000 pax a year to Mexico at other California airports. That is why they will start service in April. The domestic markets are the same way. Currently Frontier is running above expectations.

I have no doubt that WN could get 8-10 flights a day at FAT easily at the start. But right now there are some larger cities that may be more tempting to them.
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
 
frugalqxnwa
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 6:49 am

Quoting Jfrworld (Reply 4):
Remember that most Morris cities only had flights to SLC.

Actually, Morris flew BOI-SEA,PDX before the merger (and possibly BOI-GEG as well, and all at very low fares). Morris gave WN a very profitable route network out of BOI. WN's main competition out of BOI has always been and is still QX/AS.
 
FATFlyer
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 6:53 am

Here is a pre merger route map for Morris.
http://www.airtimes.com/cgat/usb/misc/m/morris/detail/mapkn830801.jpg

Not everything is through SLC. For example notice FAT is served by flights to OAK, LAX, and LAS. No Salt Lake City.
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
 
frugalqxnwa
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 7:02 am

Well, I was wrong about the BOI-GEG route that WN now flies. Thanks for the link, FATFlyer.
 
Av8trxx
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 7:14 am

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 11):
But FAT was the first airport that Southwest took a meeting with about opening a new city. Ultimately, they chose to move instead in a new direction of large cities, going to PHL instead. But I imagine FAT still sits high on their radar.

You gotta wonder. Two years ago Mike Boyd said, "Southwest has to be in the cards [for Fresno] in the next three to five years." But another av analyst, Stuart Klaskin said he is "not sure Fresno has the size to attract a carrier such as Southwest, which must depend on a large number of passengers for a profit."

I remember it being talked within the company that FAT was 'possibly being considered', and a few joked about transferring there, but of course nothing came of it. I think it is correct to assume that there are far more attractive markets to enter into first. The overall growth potential of the city also has to be figured into the equation and you can bet that filling a dozen flights a day is a baseline and WN would be looking to double or triple that over the long haul. SNA is the smallest WN city in CA with 31 daily departures and it may well be that FAT could manage that but as long as WN can find other cities they can grow to 60 or 80, FAT will be on the 'short list' for a while. It's also not the only market with a high number of drive away passengers. Look at ATL. With DL drawing down post Ch 11, there is a whole other opportunity that sure beats FAT. (But that is a whole other thread, and I am sure it's on this forum someplace already!) While they could certainly benefit from the sevice
 
Av8trxx
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 7:17 am

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 13):
Not everything is through SLC. For example notice FAT is served by flights to OAK, LAX, and LAS. No Salt Lake City.

Those LAX-GEG & LAX-SEA flights were great too! Non-reving on those nonstops was far better than jumping all over the system.
 
FATFlyer
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 7:20 am

Quoting Frugalqxnwa (Reply 14):
Well, I was wrong about the BOI-GEG route that WN now flies.

Don't give up too quick, that map is early 1993. I have a Summer 1993 schedule for Morris that shows BOI-GEG operating 3 times a day. So it looks like the route started in 1993 but just before the Southwest merger.
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
 
FATFlyer
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 7:45 am

Quoting Av8trxx (Reply 15):
but as long as WN can find other cities they can grow to 60 or 80, FAT will be on the 'short list' for a while.

I agree. I said a few years ago that once it became evident that WN was willing to enter cities like PHL, that Fresno's immediate moment had passed.

But let's also not forget that California is seeing a shift. In the past, if people decided to move out of LA or SF they left the state entirely. Now they move to the Central Valley instead.

The population and economic growth around Fresno is fascinating to watch. Job and population growth is exceeding the most of the rest of California.

Currently it is like the entire retail and restaurant sector has discovered the area. Today's news was that Coach will open a store in the area, their only free-standing location between Los Angeles and the Bay Area. Others like Banana Republic and J. Jill have announced new Fresno stores in the last few weeks.

So it will be interesting to see the airline sector. Given the limited services at FAT a market will soon arise for someone to grab. It will be interesting to see if it is Southwest or someone else.
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
 
OPNLguy
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 8:03 am

Quoting Srbmod (Reply 9):
Plus the work hard, play hard attitude among WN's management (Case in point, Herb's love of whiskey) clashed with Neeleman's Mormon beliefs.

So, where did you hear/read it was a clash of beliefs regarding alcohol?
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
N1120A
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 8:21 am

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 3):
Don't forget, June Morris had been diagnosed with cancer, so she approached WN about the sale.

The tough old bird made it through and is still a member of the WN BOD to boot.

Quoting Chugach (Reply 7):
I may be way off base here, but didn't Morris Air fly to ANC at one point in time?

Yes they did.

Quoting Matt D (Reply 8):
But why Fresno not converted to a WN city? That still is the gaping hole for them here in CA.

At the time, FAT was not quite as strong a market. The skyrocketing Southern California and Bay Area real estate markets has changed things. Back then, WN was concentrating on gaining greater coverage in various larger regions across the country, like adding service to the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and PNW. With SMF, RNO and OAK/SJC/SFO (it was still part of the network then) all destinations, FAT wasn't a priority

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 18):
I agree. I said a few years ago that once it became evident that WN was willing to enter cities like PHL, that Fresno's immediate moment had passed.

Well, the thing with PHL (and now PIT) is that US became vunerable and less defensive, particularly with PIT. With US in a troublesome position, WN knew they did not have the strength to fight dirty as DL did in ATL against B6, so they took a chance and saw success. PIT was an absolute golden chance that they also took. Fresno likely does have a place in WN's system, and I would not be surprised to see the usual suspects (LAS, PHX, California shuttles to LAX/BUR/ONT/SAN) and possibly some SEA/PDX/SLC service.

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 19):
Quoting Srbmod (Reply 9):
Plus the work hard, play hard attitude among WN's management (Case in point, Herb's love of whiskey) clashed with Neeleman's Mormon beliefs.

So, where did you hear/read it was a clash of beliefs regarding alcohol?

I have the same question as OPNLguy. From what I heard, it was the other members of the WN board who thought Neelman didn't fit into their system (there were at least 4 people ahead of him in the pecking order) and Neelman wanted to control things more than he could, as he was not Herb or one of the big 3 Herbolytes. I can see Herb's Texas liberal, party hard lifestyle being tough on Neelman, but he seems the pretty laid back guy and gets along famously with people like George Soros, so I doubt it was that.
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FATFlyer
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 8:34 am

Quoting N1120A (Reply 20):
I would not be surprised to see the usual suspects (LAS, PHX, California shuttles to LAX/BUR/ONT/SAN) and possibly some SEA/PDX/SLC service.

Pretty much the list I've said in the past, but I also consider OAK and RNO as possibles.
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
 
stirling
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 8:37 am

Within my company, out of the 83 regions across the U.S.A., Fresno (the region includes Bakersfield in the south to as far north as Modesto, and everything in between)....is the 3rd Fastest growing region, right behind #1 Orlando and #2 Raliegh. (It's a Health Insurance company).
5 years ago, the Fresno region was ranked 70-something.

This is not an isolated incident...many businesses across many sectors report similar growth.

So yes, I will concur with FAT, the growth around here is astonishing to watch.

It will be very hard to ignore Fresno and the rest of the Central Valley for too much longer.

I didn't realize a metro of 800,000 and growing everyday was considered "Small".
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N1120A
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 8:43 am

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 21):
Pretty much the list I've said in the past, but I also consider OAK and RNO as possibles.

RNO and OAK may be a bit close, but I can see your point

Quoting Stirling (Reply 22):
It will be very hard to ignore Fresno and the rest of the Central Valley for too much longer.

I didn't realize a metro of 800,000 and growing everyday was considered "Small".

I agree, though the driving distance is just close enough that the airlines can justify their low level of service to FAT. Only for now though
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FATFlyer
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 9:08 am

Quoting N1120A (Reply 23):
I agree, though the driving distance is just close enough that the airlines can justify their low level of service to FAT. Only for now though

Although traffic time and security clearance times have caused some FAT area travellers to lose patience with the drives to other cities. What used to be 3 hours on the road plus airport time is stretching out to the point where I'm finally starting to hear more grumbling about catching flights elsewhere than grumbling about small planes and higher fares at FAT.
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
 
FATFlyer
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 9:14 am

Quoting N1120A (Reply 23):
RNO and OAK may be a bit close, but I can see your point

OAK would be for connections. RNO is a 5 hour drive from Fresno. Also a few years ago the manager at the Reno Hilton was quoted as saying that Fresno was the one city he'd like to see added to RNO's services so they must see a lot of potential for tourist traffic.
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
 
bhmbaglock
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 10:07 am

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 18):
Today's news was that Coach will open a store in the area

Oh Joy! You can pay $1000 for a butt ugly purse.
Where are all of my respected members going?
 
jetdeltamsy
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 10:19 am

Quoting Matt D (Thread starter):
First, why were those airlines purchased-especially Muse Air, which was a direct competitor and flew a totally noncompatible fleet?

Second, why was Muse Air renamed TranStar? Why weren't they simply blended into mainline ops?

Muse Air was purchased and shut down so that competition could be eliminated. The company was not profitable.

Muse was rebranded Transtar when Lamar Muse lost his controlling interest in the company.

Muse/Transtar did a good job. The company was very popular in New Orleans, from where they offered non-stop MD80's to LAX, SFO, LAS, HOU, MCO and others.

Southwest didnt' offer jobs to Transtar employees when they were shut down.
Tired of airline bankruptcies....EA/PA/TW and finally DL.
 
stirling
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 10:42 am

MuseAir was one of the first airlines I can remember to ban smoking.

I thought their planes looked sharp, even if they stole a page from Braniff's play-book.

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 24):
What used to be 3 hours on the road plus airport time is stretching out to the point where I'm finally starting to hear more grumbling about catching flights elsewhere than grumbling about small planes and higher fares at FAT.

I would venture a guess that the stretch from Fresno to the Altamont Pass, is quicker than the stretch from the Altamont Pass to either OAK or SFO.
That is of course you go 99 to 152 to 5 to 580 and into the Bay Area.
And by the way, for you non-Central Valleninians, the former is the longer distance.

I don't know what it's like going south; I'll guess it's the same thing.
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N1120A
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 10:58 am

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 25):
OAK would be for connections.

That is going backwards to go forward. LAS and PHX would be great, however

Quoting BHMBAGLOCK (Reply 26):
Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 18):
Today's news was that Coach will open a store in the area

Oh Joy! You can pay $1000 for a butt ugly purse.

Coach is ok, but Louis Vuitton are fugly
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
FATFlyer
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 11:04 am

Quoting Stirling (Reply 28):
I don't know what it's like going south; I'll guess it's the same thing.

I-5 south over the Grapevine keeps getting worse. With Bakersfield now turning into a Los Angeles suburb (yes people are doing the commute) it is only a matter of time before it clogs like Altamont.


By the way Stirling, pass the word around Modesto. FAT is now even easier to access. The new freeway link opens Friday between 99 and the airport. From 99 take 180 East/Kings Canyon National Park exit. Travel 5.5 miles to the Peach Avenue exit. Then North 3/4 of a mile direct into the terminal parking lot.
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
 
FATFlyer
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 11:10 am

Quoting N1120A (Reply 29):
That is going backwards to go forward. LAS and PHX would be great, however

I'm thinking north to Boise, Spokane, etc. Plus the east coast connections. Many FAT travellers already are routed through LAX and SFO first so it really doesn't change the perception.

Quoting BHMBAGLOCK (Reply 26):
Oh Joy! You can pay $1000 for a butt ugly purse.

LOL, true (I hate logo stuff) but they have already been on sale at Macys locally for a while. But a lot of people still don't believe there is that kind of disposable income money in the Fresno area. Just shows the market is much different than believed, Coach thinks it is important enough to have their own shop here. Heck even Monterey/Carmel and Santa Barbara don't seem to have enough of a market to support one of these stores.
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
 
PlanesNTrains
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 12:00 pm

Quoting Chugach (Reply 7):
I may be way off base here, but didn't Morris Air fly to ANC at one point in time?

They did, and a couple quick stories about a roundtrip my wife and I did in '93 (I believe)...

It was January, and we flew the typical northbound out of Seattle at 9:00pm flight (typical because it seemed that was a flight everyone has had at one time or another on this route), and arrived in Anchorage around 12:30am.

When we landed, the pilot comes on and tells us that Morris doesn't have a jetbridge at Anchorage, so we will be using the airstairs. Oh and by the way, it's -10 degrees outside! Needless to say, when the door opened and we walked out, we started choking from the cold dry air. It was pretty funny, and kinda peculiar compared to any other experience we'd had.

Returning, we caught the roughly 1am departure to Seattle. Around 5am or so, we begin our decent into Seattle. Up to this point, the captain hasn't said word one. All of a sudden, somewhere over I'm guessing Mt. vernon/Marysville) the engines spool up and we begin a noticable climb. At that time, the captain comes on and simply says in a quiet voice that SeaTac is fogged in and we will be going to PDX.

We landed in PDX around I'm guessing again 5:30 or 6am, but there were no Morris employees yet on duty, so we disembarked into an empty gate area with no one to instruct us on what to do. Finally someone showed up and said buses were being arranged to take people to Seattle. It was at that point that my wife and I walked to the car rental counter and plopped down the credit card. We were home three hours later.

I'm glad I flew them so that I can add them to the (small) list of carriers I've flown, but I can't say it was a great experience. But it was low fare.

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 31):
I'm thinking north to Boise, Spokane, etc. Plus the east coast connections. Many FAT travellers already are routed through LAX and SFO first so it really doesn't change the perception.

In today's environment, I'm guessing that at least a few flights would be beyond the local zone. Perhaps MDW or HOU. Something to bridge people closer to an eastern city without multiple connections and tiny hops.

-Dave
-Dave
 
FATFlyer
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 12:44 pm

Quoting PlanesNTrains (Reply 32):
Perhaps MDW or HOU. Something to bridge people closer to an eastern city without multiple connections and tiny hops.

I'd have no problem with that.  Wink

And that is probably true. The more recent openings have seen a couple of longer distance flights.
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
 
Lono
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RE: Southwest Merger History Questions

Fri Sep 23, 2005 12:55 pm

Quoting Chugach (Reply 7):
I may be way off base here, but didn't Morris Air fly to ANC at one point in time?

Not at all off base... I tried to fly this once and the flights were full.... I don't know why WN did not stick it out... It will be good to hear why they bailed ANC....
Wally Bird Ruled the Skys!