iowaman
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Southwest In DTW And CLE

Wed Jan 04, 2006 1:39 pm

I know this has been somewhat talked about before, but Southwest seems small in both DTW and CLE. I know they both are hubs for NW/CO, but I would think with those metro areas being so big they could have a decent sized operation there, instead of 17ish in DTW and 21ish departures in CLE. I would think some advertising/more advertising would help a lot, as I would imagine not many people know of WN in DTW or CLE. Any thoughts?
 
stlgph
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RE: Southwest In DTW And CLE

Wed Jan 04, 2006 4:00 pm

I am sure the fine people of Cleveland and Detroit are well aware of the presence of Southwest Airlines.

In Detroit, Southwest doesn't have an earth shattering operation, but it's a comfortable operation, considering a few years ago they only served St. Louis and Chicago. Now, Nashville, Las Vegas, and Phoenix are in the mix. I am surprised they haven't gone east with at least one or two flights to Baltimore.

In Cleveland, I think it seems a bit surprising Southwest hasn't kicked up a Cleveland to Kansas City (along with Columbus), but when you stop and look at the route map, one stop in Chicago, or hauling it out to Vegas gives you the option to connecting to all the cities you'd make it to from Kansas City. And given Kansas City's infrastructure, it's probably easier to connect in the aforementioned cities.

Pro Southwesters say the airline prefers to run a comfortable operation and are satisfied with each city's performance.

Others tend to say Continental and Northwest have Southwest cornered into their niche with little chance of huge expansion from either city.

You decide.
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N200WN
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RE: Southwest In DTW And CLE

Wed Jan 04, 2006 4:14 pm

I would throw IND into that question as well. Although it's not a hub such as CLE and DTW, WN hasn't aggressively pursued the market like ATA and NW. Southwest is even dropping the LAX nonstop on Feb 5th (but adding a 2nd MCI flight). A few years ago they dropped all five nonstops to STL and of course in the early years they lost the battle with NW on the DTW route and pulled out of that market. In the current schedule IND weekday departures are at only 16.
 
vegasplanes
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RE: Southwest In DTW And CLE

Wed Jan 04, 2006 5:16 pm

Quoting N200WN (Reply 2):
of course in the early years they lost the battle with NW on the DTW route and pulled out of that market. I

Back in the late 80's WN flew from DET not DTW, that was when the IND service was around. Too close to drive, not enough O/D such as MDW.

As for WN building up in DTW, is there any or going to be any additional gate space available? Last time I was there, Smith Terminal was pretty well maxed out. According to the DTW masterplan, there are only going to be 26 planned in the new North Terminal, which will replace the Smith Terminal. All the airlines, except NW and SkyTeam, operate or will operate out of the new North Terminal, therefore I do not see much room for WN to expand in DTW. For a while in the mid-1990's WN was the # 2 carrier in terms of monthly passenger count at DTW, that spot had been held by AA for what seemed like forever. Being #2 with 5% of the market ?? is still nothing compared to NW with their presence at DTW.

WN does not seem to really focus on the Midwest with the exception of MDW, even then most flights being added there are not intra-Midwest type flights to STL, DTW, CMH, CLE, IND, MCI, OMA, etc.
 
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mbm3
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RE: Southwest In DTW And CLE

Thu Jan 05, 2006 12:17 am

Many folks here in CLE know and swear by Southwest, espescially now with nonstops to LAS and PHX along with the usual flights to the hubs and focus cities.

Could they feasibly add more flights? I think DEN would do very well as well as some other cities in Florida.
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N766UA
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RE: Southwest In DTW And CLE

Thu Jan 05, 2006 1:22 am

WN's flights are usually packed in Cleveland. They fly to a good variety of cities (midwest, east coast, southwest, florida, central states) and they have an efficiant operation. What more could you ask for? They don't need 100 flights to every bleedin' city.
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N766UA
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RE: Southwest In DTW And CLE

Thu Jan 05, 2006 1:25 am

Quoting Mbm3 (Reply 4):
Could they feasibly add more flights? I think DEN would do very well as well as some other cities in Florida.

Well, we had MCO and they dropped that. RSW is starting soon or has started. Maybe TPA could do well? The only problem is gate space although I'd imagine they can fit a few more flights in after, say, 9AM, once they get their RON's out of the way. They're overnighting 5 airplanes at 4 gates.
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N702ML
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RE: Southwest In DTW And CLE

Thu Jan 05, 2006 1:46 am

I used to work on the ground in both CLE and CMH for Southwest. At the time, CMH was considered a "country club" station with only 11 flights a day. I think CMH has now matched or slightly surpassed CLE in daily flights.

What always suprised me, more than anything, was that Southwest offers no nonstop service from CLE to Florida. Sure, there are easy connections to all Florida cities via BWI, BNA and MDW....but the same could be said for CMH, IND, SDF, etc.

I believe I heard once (and this could be wrong) that CLE was one of our most expensive airports to serve. I don't know if this has to do with landing fees and/or rent per square foot or, for that matter, if that statement is even true.

I also remember rumors flying for a while that WN would transfer its CLE operations to CAK because of the costs associated with CLE. Again, this was quite a while back (well before FL grew or even served CAK.).

I know I wish CLE would grow!

I did not know the IND-LAX flights were ending! Thats news to me! But I believe it. We seem to be able to quietly end routes.

As far as DTW, is DTW not the only city east of the mississippi river without nonstops to BWI? (Except PIT and PHL and - until recently - MSY?)

For anyone who is interested, CLE's space used to belong to....

Gates B8/B10 were Midway's. B9/B11 were Piedmont and Piedmont Commuter (used briefly by USAir after the merger). The ticket counter, baggage office and baggage claim were all from Eastern.

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DCA-ROCguy
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RE: Southwest In DTW And CLE

Thu Jan 05, 2006 1:56 am

Southwest doesn't seem to be an airline that's "cowed." If they felt it would be worth their while to spend the money developing bigger operations in CLE and DTW, they likely could do it. AirTran's big success at CAK, for instance, indicates that folks in Northeast Ohio like low fares as well as anyone else.

A more likely explanation for WN's relatively small DTW and CLE stations lies with other factors. First, there's probably lower-hanging fruit elsewhere. They probably didn't want fight historically-aggressive NW for more DTW market share. Which in retrospect seems a miscalculation. Spirit's rise alongside WN's station has proven that Detroit will support LCC service alongside Northwest.

For years, Cleveland had high fees which discouraged Southwest from expanding. IIRC, the fees have been lowered somewhat--CLE experts would need to give details--but WN now seems to be focusing on opening beachheads in big markets like PHL, DEN, etc. If CLE wanted a bigger WN station, the 90's and the past few years apparently would have been the time.

CLE experts would need to address the question of local fear of losing the perpetually fragile-looking CO hub. Clearly that hasn't discouraged people from using AirTran at CAK, but I wonder if the business community thinks they'd lose their Barbie-jet nonstops to all those places if they threw more business to WN right at Hopkins. That likely wouldn't stop the average person though, if WN were to grow at Hopkins.

I share Stlpgh's surprise that WN hasn't started DTW-BWI, though. CLE-BWI has been a successful route.

Jim
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N766UA
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RE: Southwest In DTW And CLE

Thu Jan 05, 2006 2:27 am

Quoting N702ML (Reply 7):
What always suprised me, more than anything, was that Southwest offers no nonstop service from CLE to Florida.

As I said we have new CLE-RSW service.
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iowaman
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RE: Southwest In DTW And CLE

Thu Jan 05, 2006 2:37 am

Quoting N766UA (Reply 9):
As I said we have new CLE-RSW service.

When does this start? It isn't bookable on southwest.com
 
N766UA
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RE: Southwest In DTW And CLE

Thu Jan 05, 2006 2:44 am

Quoting Iowaman (Reply 10):
When does this start? It isn't bookable on southwest.com

You know I'm not exactly sure. I thought it was some time soon, but maybe not till April or so? (Unless they already shot it down before even starting the route?)

[Edited 2006-01-04 18:46:46]
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piercey
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RE: Southwest In DTW And CLE

Thu Jan 05, 2006 2:56 am

CLE is mainly lack of gates. WN has B8-B11. AC has B1. UA has B3, 5, and 7. DL has B2, 4, and 6. CO has all of D and all but C1 and C2 in C. 1 and 2 are NW. I don't remember the layout for A, but it's comprised of AA, US/HP, and USA 3000.

WN is popular here, though. Everytime I'm in the terminal, the WN gates are packed.
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N766UA
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RE: Southwest In DTW And CLE

Thu Jan 05, 2006 3:51 am

Quoting Piercey (Reply 12):
I don't remember the layout for A, but it's comprised of AA, US/HP, and USA 3000.

Eagle runs out of A-1,3, and 5. US/HP use A-2, 8, 10, and 12. A-7 is now empty and A-9, 11, and 14 are servisair/common use (USA 3000, Charters, Int'l flights.)
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piercey
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RE: Southwest In DTW And CLE

Thu Jan 05, 2006 3:57 am

Quoting N766UA (Reply 13):
Eagle runs out of A-1,3, and 5. US/HP use A-2, 8, 10, and 12. A-7 is now empty and A-9, 11, and 14 are servisair/common use (USA 3000, Charters, Int'l flights.)

thanks. Who used A7 before?
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N702ML
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RE: Southwest In DTW And CLE

Thu Jan 05, 2006 4:48 am

Quoting N766UA (Reply 9):
As I said we have new CLE-RSW service.

Not to say you are wrong, but I do not recall seeing that announced anywhere. And, being from CLE, and starting my WN career there...I pay attention to what happens in CLE.

Has anyone else heard of this service being announced?
The opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Southwest Airlines.
 
monorail
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RE: Southwest In DTW And CLE

Thu Jan 05, 2006 4:52 am

Quoting Piercey (Reply 14):
thanks. Who used A7 before?

America West. With the HP/US consolidation they just joined the previous US gates
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N766UA
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RE: Southwest In DTW And CLE

Thu Jan 05, 2006 4:57 am

Quoting N702ML (Reply 15):
Not to say you are wrong, but I do not recall seeing that announced anywhere.

You know what... now that I check into it I can't find it anywhere either. I must have heard it somewhere reputable (banner at the counter, maybe?) otherwise it wouldn't be stuck in my head.. but I'll be damned if I can find anything to back it up anymore!

Quoting Piercey (Reply 14):
thanks. Who used A7 before?

America West. They used A-9 too but now they're over with US on the other side of A.
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nwhpdtw
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RE: Southwest In DTW And CLE

Thu Jan 05, 2006 4:59 am

Quoting Vegasplanes (Reply 3):
According to the DTW masterplan, there are only going to be 26 planned in the new North Terminal, which will replace the Smith Terminal. All the airlines, except NW and SkyTeam, operate or will operate out of the new North Terminal, therefore I do not see much room for WN to expand in DTW.

According to an article in one of the Detroit newspapers several months ago, WN is actually planning to reduce the number of gates they use from four in the current Smith terminal to three in the new North terminal, owing to efficiencies gained from the new building.
 
luv2fly
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RE: Southwest In DTW And CLE

Thu Jan 05, 2006 4:59 am

Quoting Vegasplanes (Reply 3):
Back in the late 80's WN flew from DET not DTW, that was when the IND service was around. Too close to drive, not enough O/D such as MDW.

In the late 80's WN served both DET and DTW, in fact they started service from DTW and then added DET and served both airports together for almost 5 years until DET never came through on promises made and WN closed DET and just kept DTW. IND was only offered from DET never from DTW.
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nwa757boy
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RE: Southwest In DTW And CLE

Thu Jan 05, 2006 5:05 am

I remember a few years back Southwest had a major marketing campaign around DTW and I remember seeing big huge billboards and signs that said "Phoenix for Pheanuts"
 
flyinryan99
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RE: Southwest In DTW And CLE

Thu Jan 05, 2006 5:07 am

Does anyone think the reason Southwest hasn't added more flights to DTW is because of the already large presence of LCCs? Spirit has a fairly sized operation there; USA 3000 runs flights to liesure destinations; AirTran with nonstops to ATL, MCO, SRQ; Frontier to DEN;(used to) Independence to IAD. I would think that has something to do with it too. Also, I think it really plays into the passenger numbers at the surrounding airports, too (like LAN, AZO, FNT, MBS, TOL).
 
luv2fly
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RE: Southwest In DTW And CLE

Thu Jan 05, 2006 5:22 am

Flyinryan99 you have hit the nail on the head. Also why run hundreds of flights and have to market and discount to fill your seats, when you can run a handful and fill them with little or no effort on WN's part.
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iowaman
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RE: Southwest In DTW And CLE

Thu Jan 05, 2006 7:02 am

Quoting Flyinryan99 (Reply 21):
Does anyone think the reason Southwest hasn't added more flights to DTW is because of the already large presence of LCCs? Spirit has a fairly sized operation there; USA 3000 runs flights to liesure destinations; AirTran with nonstops to ATL, MCO, SRQ; Frontier to DEN;(used to) Independence to IAD. I would think that has something to do with it too. Also, I think it really plays into the passenger numbers at the surrounding airports, too (like LAN, AZO, FNT, MBS, TOL).

True, however compared to most cities WN flies to, DTW doesn't have that much LCC competition.
 
flyinryan99
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RE: Southwest In DTW And CLE

Thu Jan 05, 2006 7:32 am

Quoting Iowaman (Reply 23):

I would tend to disagree with you. Florida yes, MDW yes, and maybe a few cities out out west, but not airport specific. PVD, MHT, BWI...I would say DTW has almost all of the big LCCs except B6...In my list above I forgot to add US (HP). I think DTW has cut throat competition and it's really keeping WN from expanding more. I'm sure if they wanted to bring in more flights, they would. As far as I know, DTW's fees aren't outrageous so that isn't limiting them.
 
georgiabill
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RE: Southwest In DTW And CLE

Thu Jan 05, 2006 7:43 am

I think WN could be very successful serving MHT,PVD, BDL and ALB from both DTW and CLE
 
stlgph
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RE: Southwest In DTW And CLE

Thu Jan 05, 2006 8:22 am

Quoting N702ML (Reply 7):
We seem to be able to quietly end routes.

No offense, but that tends to happen a lot with Southwest.

Quoting N702ML (Reply 7):

I did not know the IND-LAX flights were ending! Thats news to me! But I believe it.

Yes, they took out Los Angeles and added a second daily to Kansas City. I believe they had tinkered with a second daily to Kansas City a few years ago.
The Indianapolis to Los Angeles service is now three one stops a day...stopping in either Phoenix, Las Vegas, or Kansas City.

Quoting Piercey (Reply 12):

WN is popular here, though. Everytime I'm in the terminal, the WN gates are packed.

From my own experiences in and out of Cleveland, it seems like every airline fills their seats there.

Quoting NWA757boy (Reply 20):
I remember a few years back Southwest had a major marketing campaign around DTW and I remember seeing big huge billboards and signs that said "Phoenix for Pheanuts"

Yep, that would have been about the time they threw the Phoenix nonstop onto the route. I think Vegas was added around the same time. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Quoting N200WN (Reply 2):
I would throw IND into that question as well. Although it's not a hub such as CLE and DTW, WN hasn't aggressively pursued the market like ATA and NW

It seems, key word, seems, as though ATA did hold them back a bit, but given the amount of daily traffic along some routes where ATA operated maybe one daily flight at most, you'd have thought there would have been more service.

And even with ATA going away, there was a strong base for Northwest to begin the focus city build up at the scale of which they did, due to their frequent flyer base. It just seems that Indianapolis flyers happen to have never heavily sought interest in Southwest as an option.

And I've said this on here before and said it again, I know that the Indianapolis Airport Authority Board and Southwest have scuffled over all kinds of issues before and the airport authority board has even held their ground. In the mid 1990's when Southwest introduced Quik*IT machines, the IND airport authority wouldn't allow Southwest to have one there because they didn't like the way the machine looked.

Quoting N200WN (Reply 2):
A few years ago they dropped all five nonstops to STL

I'm still surprised they dropped all the routes. TWA/AA dropped the route and Southwest soon followed. The jets were replaced by J41's and then eventually the props got a bit bigger, up to ATR's until AA Connection and Northwest Airlink added RJ's on the routes. Airlink pulled out quickly but the three AA Connection ERJ's still remain. For those in Indianapolis, you can get great fares to some destinations on American by connecting through St. Louis.
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ncflyer
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RE: Southwest In DTW And CLE

Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:48 am

The announcement for "cleveland" to RSW was Airtran from CAK, not WN. No such thing on WN. In fact WN is pretty expensive from CLE to FL, to me it is a vastly underserved market in the winter, I've never understood why WN didn't capitalize. Why is, say CMH to FL attractive to them when CLE to FL not-- I'm not sure. I really doubt it's landing fees-- it that was the case WN would leave CLE altogether.

They have something like 25 flights out of 4 gates-- plenty of capacity for more flights.
 
luvfa
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RE: Southwest In DTW And CLE

Thu Jan 05, 2006 11:19 am

The lack of Non-stops from CLE - FL has always surprised me. However the lack of a n/s from DTW- BWI surprises me more. By offering service to BWI there is more opportunity to connect to the Northeast which are higher-yield markets.
 
N702ML
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RE: Southwest In DTW And CLE

Fri Jan 06, 2006 10:48 am

I also used to work in MCO before we opened the new terminal and before it was a base. We had three gates, 5, 7L and 7R, and we managed to push almost 40 flights a day out of them. Granted, in the afternoon it was crunch time with most gates scheduled to handle a different flight every 20-30 minutes. We were often borrowing an ATA or Continental gate when things were running late, especially during storm season when we would often shut down and have flights divert to JAX or TPA only to come back. The point is, with 4 gates in CLE, we could definitely handle more than the 20-some flights a day we have there.

As far as fares in Florida, I recall, as a ticket agent in CLE, suggesting Customers drive 2 hours to Columbus to take nonstop and cheaper flights to Florida destinations.

I recall CMH, as an airport, used the slogan "The drive is worth the price," or something silimar. I don't know why it is that CMH attracts more Florida service than CLE or DTW on WN.

Maybe CMH is just, as a market, more prone to people wanting low fares to Florida. Look at People Express....they chose to serve CMH before CLE and/or DTW (if they ever served DTW).

CLE, like most other cities in the WN midwest system, have lost STL frequencies. I always thought CLE-MCI would be a prime route based on the number of people that tend to travel the route.

Just my thoughts.

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The opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Southwest Airlines.