Bobster2
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Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 8:04 am

I just completed another flight on Midwest Airlines, and as ususual I felt like screaming after I got off the plane. "Why can't all you other stupid airlines be this good". Since I'm too shy to scream out loud in the airport, I'll try screaming with my computer keyboard instead.

They're basically an all first class airline, except that the seat pitch is like normal coach and the prices are like coach. The 2-2 seating arrangement on a 717 allows for wide leather seats and a middle armrest more than big enough for two people to share without continuously bumping into each other and poking each other in the ribs every few minutes.

Everybody already knows this. There's no point in my going any further. But since everybody knows this why does nobody try to copy it?

I realize 2-2 isn't feasible on bigger planes. But they could do 3-2, one less seat than the normal configuration, adding enough width to provide comfort and alleviate so much of the stress associated with flying.

How come one airline can do this? Why not a few others?

Sorry for the rant. Probably won't accomplish anything. But I had to scream. Big grin
"I tell you this, no eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn." Jim Morrison
 
loggat
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 8:05 am

How are they doing financially?
There are 3 types of people in this world, those that can count, and those that can't.
 
airtran737
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 8:08 am

Quoting Loggat (Reply 1):
How are they doing financially?

The stock had a great week last week. It went from $4.30 to $5.65, but as for the rest of the story, they usually lose about ten million a quarter, and have about 70 million in cash. They are a great airline, but the product that they serve is the very thing that is keeping them in the red.
Nice Trip Report!!! Great Pics, thanks for posting!!!! B747Forever
 
flypdx
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 8:17 am

Also, this configuration is only on some routes. Some are standard coach.
 
FutureFO
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 8:19 am

Also it is a more specific business airline as opposed to a leisure airline. The company was founded on the biz traveler, not Joe WalMart.


Sean from MCO and SDF
I Don't know where I am anymore
 
DeC
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This G

Mon Jan 02, 2006 9:07 am

Does anyone have a picture of the inside of such a configured aircraft?
DEC
 
Bobster2
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 9:28 am

I remember back when they were called Midwest Express, they were bragging about the revenue they could generate by carrying cargo. Eliminating one passenger per row means less baggage that has to be carried, and it allows more space and weight for cargo.

Ironically, the same people who demand insanely low airfares for themselves are willing to pay a lot of money to ship mail and packages.  Smile
"I tell you this, no eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn." Jim Morrison
 
wjcandee
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 9:33 am

Maybe you should scream from your keyboard to the major media in the major cities that they service with their "signature service" (as opposed to the routes on which they provide cattle-car service). As a smaller airline, little things can make a big difference for them. For example, after their recent incident in Boston, the fact that so many experts were coming on the air to say what a great little airline they were resulted in a spike in reservations. More publicity can't hurt, and this is the time of year to do it. (Reporters and editors are focusing on air travel because their relatives are traveling and bitching to them.)
 
simairlinenet
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 9:35 am

Quoting Flypdx (Reply 3):
Also, this configuration is only on some routes.

Most routes. Saver Service is only to destinations like California and Florida.

I'll be flying Midwest in less than twelve hours to MSP.
 
FutureFO
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:13 am

Saver is to LAX,LAS,PHX,FLL,MCO,RSW. Signature is even on some of the M82's. Signature is 2x2 88 seats on the 717's. The M82's are 2x2 106 seats while the Saver M82's are 2x3 142 seats.



Sean from MCO and SDF
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deltadude8
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:19 am

its a hit in kansas city so far...i wish them all the luck in the world because up to now...i have only flown them and every experience has been a great one...11 great trips and staring at 4 more in the next 6 months...i really no longer have stress about flying...they make it great.
 
AsstChiefMark
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:24 am

Quoting DeC (Reply 5):
Does anyone have a picture of the inside of such a configured aircraft?


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Cadet57
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:29 am

why wont they come to BDL? ive only herd the best of stuff about them. All wee get is Skyways 328's  yawn 
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HPLASOps
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:37 am

I took the saver service LAS-MKE last February and it went about as smooth and comfortable as I anticipated. I'm not a huge fan of the maddogs (as a rule I don't trust aircraft with engines on the tail - just a personal fetish, nothing else), but it was it was a very pleasant flight and everything I thought a flight should be.
"Just because I know how to get off a freeway doesn't mean I know how to get back on!" - Retard Joe
 
sideflare75
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 11:46 am

Quoting FutureFO (Reply 9):
Signature is even on some of the M82's. Signature is 2x2 88 seats on the 717's. The M82's are 2x2 106 seats while the Saver M82's are 2x3 142 seats.

Not anymore. One Signature -80 sold last week, N806ME, and the other two have been taken off the regular flight schedule. One is to be used as a spare while the other will fly charters. Yes you may still see one occasionally if a 717 breaks but hopefully not. The second one to be sold, N807ME, will be gone early this year so it will be around for a while.

And just to clarify there are 147 seats on a Saver Service -82, 143 on the -88's, and 116 on the Signature -80's.

Now if we can just figure out a way to turn all these accolades into profits.....
 
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knope2001
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 11:51 am

Quoting FutureFO (Reply 9):
Saver is to LAX,LAS,PHX,FLL,MCO,RSW. Signature is even on some of the M82's. Signature is 2x2 88 seats on the 717's. The Saver M82's are 2x3 142 seats.

Yep, although from Kansas City everything except SFO is the Signature 2x2 717's, including nonstops to LAX, MCO, TPA and FLL. It's just from Milwaukee that the California, Florida, Phoenix and Vegas nonstops are conventional 2x3 Saver Service seating.

Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 12):
why wont they come to BDL? ive only herd the best of stuff about them. All wee get is Skyways 328's yawn

They did fly full-sized aircraft (DC9's) into Hartford from about 1997 to early 2002, but it was always on the weaker side. The 2x2 Signature service needs a decent amount of higher-fare business traffic to make it worthwhile, and MKE-BDL is kind of marginal to support the 717.
 
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JBo
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 12:28 pm

Quoting AirTran737 (Reply 2):
They are a great airline, but the product that they serve is the very thing that is keeping them in the red.

Maybe.

There are also those who say if it weren't for fuel costs, we'd be making out like bandits.

Just depends on what point-of-view one takes.

However I've always believed YX needs some sort of national ad campaign (or regional for the cities they serve) to get the name out there. It only takes a little bit to go a long ways in some cases.
I'd take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day.
 
N742AT
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 12:49 pm

Quoting Sideflare75 (Reply 14):
Not anymore. One Signature -80 sold last week, N806ME, and the other two have been taken off the regular flight schedule. One is to be used as a spare while the other will fly charters. Yes you may still see one occasionally if a 717 breaks but hopefully not. The second one to be sold, N807ME, will be gone early this year so it will be around for a while.

I believe N813ME (md-82) is also configures with the two by two seating and I did see it taking off this morning as flt 918 MKE-MCI-SFO.
 
Type-Rated
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 2:07 pm

It seems that the airlines that try the First Class for coach prices service don't do too well. Anyone remember Air One? They did the same thing with 727-100's.

Even though I have never had a chance to take Midwest, I certainly would like to try them sometime. I see them out at HOU frequently.

BTW, how is the HOU-MKE run doing for them?
Fly North Central Airlines..The route of the Northliners!
 
N742AT
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 2:15 pm

Quoting Type-Rated (Reply 18):
how is the HOU-MKE run doing for them?

YX pulled the HOU route about a month or two ago. Only about 4 months after it started.
 
mandala499
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 9:29 pm

Didn't Midwest Express do well until 9/11 ? and didn't they "shiver" looking at the LCC invasion so they decided to go down that way too?

If so, then it was a great successful product ruined by getting cold feet... ie. loosing focus...

I do hope they get back into the black... though the market ain't what it used to be.

Mandala499
When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
 
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knope2001
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This G

Tue Jan 03, 2006 12:05 am

Quoting Mandala499 (Reply 20):
Didn't Midwest Express do well until 9/11 ? and didn't they "shiver" looking at the LCC invasion so they decided to go down that way too?

Midwest (at the time, Midwest Express) was profitable every year from 1987 through 2000, a feat match only by Southwest Airlines. However by the later 90's profits were flat and declining, and by 2000 they were starting to lose money in some quarters.

Even without 9/11 and without the entry of stronger low-cost carriers at Milwaukee, Midwest was facing some serious and growing problems by about 2000:

--Business traffic demand and fares were plummeting in the year or so ahead of 9/11 at alarming rates. High-fare business traffic was the name of the game for Midwest.

--Midwest had grown into more and more markets where they had to aim at the mass leisure market with the high-end 2x2 service. This included large leisure markets like Florida, but also thinner business markets like Milwaukee-Raleigh where traffic existed but just not enough good-yielding traffic.

--Midwest had become more and more bloated internally, with (among other things) too much middle managment obsessing over things like salt shakers and too much infrastructure for an airline of its size.

Even without the LCC invasion at Milwaukee and the rocketing of fuel costs, Midwest needed some changes. The entry of AirTran into Milwaukee really forced Midwest's hand, but it's not like things could have gone on as-is were they to have stayed out.

Saver allows Midwest to play in (and to some extent dominate) the high-volume Milwaukee leisure markets. Without Saver, Midwest probably has to accept perpetual loses on many or most of their higher-volume leisure routes. But the alternative -- to drop them -- is also problematic. That's because high-yield business travelers also sometimes have to travel to leisure destionations for work (especially conventions) and they travel for leisure as well. If Midwest doesn't fly to places like Phoenix and Las Vegas and Fort Myers, they are less and less likely to hold the loyalty of frequent travelers. That leaves the door open for a competitor -- especially an aggressive low-cost competitor -- to muscle in. And an aggressive LCC competitor is almost certain (these days) to NOT simply stop at Vegas and Florida and soon move into Boston, and Dallas, and Denver, and New York, and other markets at the heart of Midwest's 2x2 Signature system.

Midwest has made many other changes over this period including getting the 717, cutting costs, improving utilization, etc. which in addition to Saver are designed to return to profitability. So far that has not happened, and while high fuel costs may be fully responsible for this, high fuel costs are a reality. We'll see if 2x2 Signature is something they can stick with long term and make money.
 
isitsafenow
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Tue Jan 03, 2006 12:19 am

I flew this company for the first time last Labor Day. They have a good product.
I was impressed by the pilots shaking hands with the pax as they exist the plane at MCI and MKE thanking them and wishing them well as we existed the plane. I will use them again when I go back to MCI in the spring......and heck, I'm gold with NW.
safe
If two people agree on EVERYTHING, then one isn't necessary.
 
uswyjer
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Tue Jan 03, 2006 1:57 am

I'd love to see the 717s at BDL, but unfortunately they've seem to have found their place at BDL with the 328s, they've had 3 roundtrips at the same times for a couple years now. Flew them back in 2003 on the 328 out of BDL and the flight was pretty full, same with the return flight. My flights to PHX to and from MKE were full, and the service was awesome! But the PHX flights have been relegated to Saver Service since then.
 
Type-Rated
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Tue Jan 03, 2006 2:04 am

I am sorry to see that they dropped the HOU station.
I sincerely hope that they can find a way to become profitable. I still would like to try them sometime.
Fly North Central Airlines..The route of the Northliners!
 
sideflare75
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Tue Jan 03, 2006 4:16 am

Quoting N742AT (Reply 17):
I believe N813ME (md-82) is also configures with the two by two seating and I did see it taking off this morning as flt 918 MKE-MCI-SFO.

That may be true but it is not used on the regular schedule. N813ME along with N807ME are to be used for charters and as a spare just in case. Obviously there was something wrong with another plane as flight 918 is now a Saver Service route.

Like I said you may see it used when something is broken but that is the only reason. I was just pointing out that they are no longer scheduled to fly any routes.
 
sleekjet
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Tue Jan 03, 2006 7:36 am

And what a super color scheme they have on the outside!
II Cor. 4:17-18
 
mandala499
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Wed Jan 04, 2006 1:44 am

Knope,

Thanks for that... that answers a lot of of my questions regarding what went wrong with Midwest...

Mandala499
When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
 
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knope2001
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Wed Jan 04, 2006 1:57 am

No problem! As a premier-level Midwest frequent flier I definitely miss the old days when dinner was a complementary meal of ribs or shrimp on china with free-flowing wine, but Midwest is still a cut above the competition in many ways.
 
777Purser
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Wed Jan 04, 2006 2:21 am

Quoting AirTran737 (Reply 2):
The stock had a great week last week. It went from $4.30 to $5.65, but as for the rest of the story, they usually lose about ten million a quarter, and have about 70 million in cash. They are a great airline, but the product that they serve is the very thing that is keeping them in the red.

So by this info, a simple equation tells me that unless they go through some major changes, they have about a year and a half to go?
 
jeb94
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Wed Jan 04, 2006 2:49 am

YX also discovered, to the shock of some in the corporate office, that a JT8D-217 engined MD82 looses a lot of range when you add 31 seats. A fully loaded MD82 struggles to get to LAS and won't go much further. Forget about the MD81s that made the trip to LAS with 116 seats. So they are selling the signature 80s? That's a shame. 806 went online right before I started there and 807 was on the Mod line. I know of at least one airline that would like to have them if they get upgraded to 83s. YX will most likely be the next airline to fail after Independence. The management at YX still hasn't figured out that the employee groups they've cut back or cut altogether are the ones that do the most work from the operations side for the least amount of money versus the office managers that cost more and don't do much actual work when it comes to actually moving airplanes on a daily basis.
 
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knope2001
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Wed Jan 04, 2006 3:36 am

Quoting 777Purser (Reply 29):
Quoting AirTran737 (Reply 2):
The stock had a great week last week. It went from $4.30 to $5.65, but as for the rest of the story, they usually lose about ten million a quarter, and have about 70 million in cash. They are a great airline, but the product that they serve is the very thing that is keeping them in the red.

So by this info, a simple equation tells me that unless they go through some major changes, they have about a year and a half to go?

It's nowhere near this simple.

"Cash" is not directly or especially related to profit or loss. In many quarters (at this airline and at other companies) "cash" actually goes up in a given quarter in spite of a loss.

Trying to guess if/when a company may go into bankruptcy or shut down is very, very difficult. And it is never anything nearly as simple as comparing losses to cash, net worth, market captialization, or anything else.

What pushes a company over a financial threshold (such as into chapter 11 or into liquidation) is usually a one or a few key financial events such as an expiring credit line or key payments due. While making money is the key overriding goal, in a struggling industry like the airlines it is equally important to successfully navigate around and through key crunch points. This company's avoidance of chapter 11 in 2003 were the result in just such navigation.

Take a look at Northwest as an example. At the start of the year NW was considered one of the strongest of the conventional major airlines, and by September they were in chapter 11. Is this because for that nine months they experienced losses so much bigger than other airlines? Is it because the actual losses in the first nine months of 2005 were so very much larger than what was forecast in January? No, they faced a couple of key events and facts that told them chapter 11 was their best move. Among others was the change in bankruptcy law which was looming for October.

Undoubtedly, the continued losses at Midwest push them to the financial thresholds I spoke of earlier and make it harder to navigate around the key obligations and expirations they periodically face. However in most cases it's nearly impossible to try and predict something like chapter 11 or shutdown because it is so difficult to know all the variables. Investment houses have well educated, experienced people who focus intensely on just this type of question and they only give general guidelines and expectations on this sort of topic...never predictions. And even these are often incorrect.
 
777Purser
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Wed Jan 04, 2006 4:30 am

Quoting Knope2001 (Reply 31):
Undoubtedly, the continued losses at Midwest push them to the financial thresholds I spoke of earlier and make it harder to navigate around the key obligations and expirations they periodically face. However in most cases it's nearly impossible

and so forth...basically, they all cannot be as good because the current market does not support the model...so they also, have to change and adapt or go...sooner or later...right?
 
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knope2001
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Wed Jan 04, 2006 6:14 am

Quoting 777Purser (Reply 32):
they all cannot be as good because the current market does not support the model...so they also, have to change and adapt or go...sooner or later...right?

Yes...however they *have* changed. The question is have the changed enough? Some just want to simplify this to a question of keeping 2x2 or not, but it just isn't that simple.


---It is not clear that a complete abandoment of all-2x2 seating is necessary for Midwest to turn a profit.---

More selective use of 2x2 service (not using it to mass-market leisure destionations), higher load factors, better yield management and serious costs control could bring Midwest to profitability even with 2x2 seating kept.


---It is also not clear that a complete abandoment of all-2x2 seating is sufficient for Midwest to turn a profit. ---

If Midwest goes to all 2x3 seating, perhaps its loyalty and pricing power in Milwaukee quickly evaporate. Yield plummets and load factors don't rise enough to offset the increased capacity of all-coach aircraft. It is more vulnerable to outside attack. Perhaps AirTran or others aggressively move in and this time they succeed. Midwest ultimately decends to the status of bottom-feeder in junky leisure markets like ATA and finds a similar fate.


I'm not predicting either of these. But some seem to say that keeping 2x2 is sure death and dropping 2x2 is sure profit. I don't think either is assured.
 
n917me
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RE: Midwest Airlines: Why Can't They All Be This Good?

Wed Jan 04, 2006 11:12 am

Midwest is doing better than this time last year. While we may lose money this qtr, our booking have exceeded expectations during the 4th qtr. We have continued to take delivery of new 717 aircraft while still filling seats. RSM is up from last qtr.

I think Midwest may add a first class cabin to the saver service aircraft. A survey of frequent fliers shows that many would pay additional for a signature style seating area on the saver service flights.

The Best Care Cusine is turing a profit.

While there are more struggles and an uphill climb, Midwest wil be around for at least another 20years...even though many predicted by this time we would have merged with AirTran...

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