QXatFAT
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Southwest, Any Competition At All?

Mon Oct 30, 2006 10:44 am

So I was thinking today, is any airline giving Southwest Airlines compition anywhere? Is any airline challenging them as a whole? Who is winning the flights out of PHX, LAS, DEN, Chicago Area, Dallas Area....so on. Or does it seem like Southwest is running the show in the United States?
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jcavinato
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RE: Southwest, Any Competition At All?

Mon Oct 30, 2006 10:45 am

Any other airline that doesn't crate a cattle environment is strong competition for them. I go out of my way to ride carriers on which I can get seat assignments. That is an element of certainty that is important to me. And, to those with a little more seat pitch.
 
Matt D
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RE: Southwest, Any Competition At All?

Mon Oct 30, 2006 10:57 am

Southwest has achieved what can only be described as a wet dream for everyone else:

Half of their pax book them because they are the lowest fare.

The other half book because they THINK Southwest has the lowest fare.
 
QXatFAT
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RE: Southwest, Any Competition At All?

Mon Oct 30, 2006 11:04 am

Quoting Matt D (Reply 2):
The other half book because they THINK Southwest has the lowest fare.

Please inform me on what you mean.

WN would be running the show on flights like PHX-LAS, CHI-LAS, PDX-LAX, DEN-MCI and probably others right?
Don't Tread On Me!
 
steeler83
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RE: Southwest, Any Competition At All?

Mon Oct 30, 2006 11:09 am

Well, at PIT, the only thing WN seemed to do was just to lower US' fares out of there... Although, one would argue that they did more than that. Let's see, they're now the number 2 carrier there. Impressive, however... They've carried 117k pax in AUG, compared to 400K-plus that US flew. They are a distant 2, but they should be adding destinations soon...

At PHL, they gave US a scare, have taken quite a stronghold there. I suppose there is competition at PHL, but not too terribly much at PIT... PHL is a fortress hub for PHL and is a major station for WN. I would have to think that there is competition there...
Do not bring stranger girt into your room. The stranger girt is dangerous, it will hurt your life.
 
Matt D
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RE: Southwest, Any Competition At All?

Mon Oct 30, 2006 11:14 am

What I mean is that there are [most likely] lots and lots of people out there who simply assume that Southwest has the lowest fare (which it may or may not be) and don't bother shopping around before booking.
 
AirTranTUS
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RE: Southwest, Any Competition At All?

Mon Oct 30, 2006 11:18 am

Quoting Jcavinato (Reply 1):
And, to those with a little more seat pitch.

Southwest has 32"-33" of pitch and the other carriers in the US have 31"-33", so there is little difference except that the other carriers are more concentrated in the 31"-32" range.
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steeler83
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RE: Southwest, Any Competition At All?

Mon Oct 30, 2006 11:24 am

Quoting Matt D (Reply 5):
What I mean is that there are [most likely] lots and lots of people out there who simply assume that Southwest has the lowest fare (which it may or may not be) and don't bother shopping around before booking.

Right, they don't realize that the other carrier(s) serving those routes would lower their fares to match those of WN... Let's see now... US did this at both PHL AND PIT to retain pax...

I wonder what UA is doing at DEN and IAD regarding WN's presence at both locations...
Do not bring stranger girt into your room. The stranger girt is dangerous, it will hurt your life.
 
LawnDart
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RE: Southwest, Any Competition At All?

Mon Oct 30, 2006 11:28 am

Southwest is not as invulnerable as people like to believe. They are truly efficient, and financially healthy, however...

They have fuel hedging that has shielded them from increasingly expensive labor contracts. The fuel hedges will probably start to be less of a protection in the future, and the labor costs will start to impact their bottom line more.

Also, their "vaunted" strategy of using secondary airports is beginning to hurt...the reason they are heading in to PHL and DEN is because MHT/PVD and ISP were undercut by the likes of FL and B6 in places like BOS and JFK. So they are going in to more "mainline" markets for the revenue, but at a cost to their efficiency.

And that is where WN will find the competition...AirTran, JetBlue and Frontier, to name a few...newer airlines with lower costs. Much like WN in comparison to the legacy carriers.

Frontier, for example, offers a superior product from an in-flight perspective. And the few flights of WN that I witnessed at DEN were very lightly loaded. Granted, I only was there for a few hours on one day, but it was a Sunday afternoon (usually a heavily booked time period), and the flights were to PHX, LAS and MDW...Southwest strongholds.

Also, the legacy carriers are bringing their costs more in line with the LCCs, plus they have the added revenue streams of international and RJ services.
 
supa7E7
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RE: Southwest, Any Competition At All?

Mon Oct 30, 2006 11:58 am

In some cases, WN is untouchable. Their model, point-to-point, is a killer innovation that no one has fully copied.

BNA, SLC, DEN. Check out how many destinations you get when WN comes to your town. WN routes planes in a unique way. They have a route map about the size of Frontier (i.e., quite limited). To serve that many cities hub-spoke style, you need 100 planes. To serve it WN style, you need about 500 planes.

The downside is WN can't operate into small cities. Or maybe they could, but they are not curious enough to try, using E175s for example. WN is a nationwide 737 system. They could start a E175 system to grow alongside their 737s. But it's practically starting a new airline if they do.

Instead of building hubs, WN has a NETWORK. If any one city goes down, the network readjusts just like a spider web. Quite unique. But again, it requires a ton of planes. It's an inferior design in some ways, but WN executes it well. It has no competitor in the true sense.

Where WN is weak is small cities, large cities, and many US business travel routes - WN prefers to avoid hustle bustle of NYC, ATL, SFO (Business areas with a dozen airline choices). WN surrenders the top in order to control the middle. They are the best in the world at what they do.
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hawaiian717
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RE: Southwest, Any Competition At All?

Mon Oct 30, 2006 12:06 pm

I don't think any one airline challenges WN everywhere, but they face competition at most of their major markets. At PHX and LAS they have HP/US, within California they have UA, at DAL they have AA down the road at DFW, at MDW they have UA and AA over at ORD, and so forth.

It's also a myth that they avoid the busiest airports. They have been at LAX for a long time, and they dropped SFO because of the weather problems, instead choosing to focus on OAK (an equally good alternative to SFO) and SJC. Of course, they've been on the west coast a long time, and have a long established presence to build on, whereas on the east coast they have more work cut out for them if they tried to break into the fortress hubs.

[Edited 2006-10-30 04:06:27]
 
mpdpilot
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RE: Southwest, Any Competition At All?

Mon Oct 30, 2006 12:14 pm

Quoting QXatFAT (Reply 3):
WN would be running the show on flights like PHX-LAS, CHI-LAS, PDX-LAX, DEN-MCI and probably others right?

I am not sure about all of ther routes above but one the PHX to LAS route Southwest and US Airways are about even, with both frequencies and price, which doesn't seem like southwest is running the show. Also even though southwest may have their largest operation at PHX, US Airways/America West have an even larger one, with almost double the destinations. Also US Airways is the largest low cost airline out there, isn't that their slogan.
One mile of highway gets you one mile, one mile of runway gets you anywhere.
 
CentPIT
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RE: Southwest, Any Competition At All?

Tue Oct 31, 2006 6:20 am

Quoting Steeler83 (Reply 7):
Right, they don't realize that the other carrier(s) serving those routes would lower their fares to match those of WN... Let's see now... US did this at both PHL AND PIT to retain pax...

US is even cheaper than WN in PIT sometimes. I have noticed this before on routes such as:

PIT-ORD
PIT-TPA
PIT-PHX
PIT-LAS
PIT-MCO

US is of course not always cheaper than WN in PIT, but every once in a while, they are!
Pittsburgh International: US Airways---160 daily departures! (52 destinations)
 
PlanesNTrains
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RE: Southwest, Any Competition At All?

Tue Oct 31, 2006 6:57 am

Quoting Steeler83 (Reply 4):
Well, at PIT, the only thing WN seemed to do was just to lower US' fares out of there... Although, one would argue that they did more than that. Let's see, they're now the number 2 carrier there. Impressive, however... They've carried 117k pax in AUG, compared to 400K-plus that US flew. They are a distant 2, but they should be adding destinations soon...

If they now have nearly one-third the passengers of US in a US-stronghold airport like PIT, I would say they've done very well. While distant, US strengths are the FF base, name recognition, and the proliferation of smaller cities served from PIT,though it seems that that number has diminished over the last several years.

The fact that five years ago PIT was one of those airports that none of the other carriers really put much effort into due to US' strength, and today a carrier like WN is the number 2 (and the likes of AirTran and jetBlue are moving in) says a lot about the ability of the LCC's to nudge their way in on these strongholds.

Having said that, it appears the tide may be turning back in favor of the legacies now that their cost structures have been slashed.

-Dave
-Dave
 
QXatFAT
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RE: Southwest, Any Competition At All?

Tue Oct 31, 2006 7:01 am

So where can I get some numbers to see WN vs HP/US numbers for flights within the USA?

It would be interesting seeing that they both of have big focuses in LAS and PHX.

Thanks
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steeler83
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RE: Southwest, Any Competition At All?

Tue Oct 31, 2006 7:44 am

Quoting CentPIT (Reply 12):
US is even cheaper than WN in PIT sometimes. I have noticed this before on routes such as:

PIT-ORD
PIT-TPA
PIT-PHX
PIT-LAS
PIT-MCO

US is of course not always cheaper than WN in PIT, but every once in a while, they are!

No argument here. I have seen it a few times where US is a few bucks cheaper than WN (after taxes and fees)

Quoting PlanesNTrains (Reply 13):
If they now have nearly one-third the passengers of US in a US-stronghold airport like PIT, I would say they've done very well. While distant, US strengths are the FF base, name recognition, and the proliferation of smaller cities served from PIT,though it seems that that number has diminished over the last several years.

Hmm, good point. I didn't realize they had that much pax compared to those of US. Then again, US' pax numbers are/were shrinking as they cut more unprofitable service. And because US had such a massive presence at PIT, their cutbacks wound up affecting overall pax at the airport. Numbers have been tumbling since 2002, but now have seemed to level off some. The latest drop in overall pax was down only 3.5% from August 2005 to August 2006.

Quoting PlanesNTrains (Reply 13):
The fact that five years ago PIT was one of those airports that none of the other carriers really put much effort into due to US' strength, and today a carrier like WN is the number 2 (and the likes of AirTran and jetBlue are moving in) says a lot about the ability of the LCC's to nudge their way in on these strongholds.

AirTran did put an effort into PIT service, I think anyway, back in 2000 when they started service to PHL, LGA, and one or two other airports besides ATL, MCO, and FLL. Because of US' presence there, they removed daily service to PHL, LGA, and that other airport I can't think of (I think it was MDT), and now they're only left with 4X ATL, 1X MCO, and Saturday FLL returns in February. That's 5-6 flights daily depending on which day it is

Quoting PlanesNTrains (Reply 13):
Having said that, it appears the tide may be turning back in favor of the legacies now that their cost structures have been slashed.

Of course. The legacies have to cut their costs to lower faires to make money and compete against the LCC competitors at given markets. Who's Idea was it for US to merge with HP? Did Doug Parker offer to buy them out or did the former US CEO make some pitch. I cannot remember who did what in that regard...

If airlines didn't merge, then they trimmed their fleet a little bit, replaced some expensive planes with more efficient ones (The E70/E90), lowered wages, trimmed some hubs/focus cities and built others up to cut expenses and boost profits (DL with CVG and JFK respectively)...
Do not bring stranger girt into your room. The stranger girt is dangerous, it will hurt your life.
 
grantcv
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RE: Southwest, Any Competition At All?

Tue Oct 31, 2006 7:59 am

Quoting Matt D (Reply 5):
What I mean is that there are [most likely] lots and lots of people out there who simply assume that Southwest has the lowest fare (which it may or may not be) and don't bother shopping around before booking.

You know, I always fly on Southwest. I think that the convenience of their website has a lot to do with it. I get so frustrated shopping around on Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity. The options presented to me make little sense, and the fares change up and down by the minute. With Southwest, I punch in where I want to go and when and I always get some decent options. Who cares if they aren't the lowest fare. I know what I am getting and why. And when I want to check in, it is easy to do. I simply can't be bothered with all the legacy carriers varying schemes to make money anymore.

And as for having an assigned seat, I hate that now. Invariably, when I book on a legacy character I have to accept a lousy seat as everything else is gone. But with Southwest, if I check in the day before, I get A group and I get to choose my favorite seat. In fact, I pretty much always sit in the same place - a window seat right behind a seat that doesn't recline by the emergency exits.

I luv Southwest for that.
 
steeler83
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RE: Southwest, Any Competition At All?

Tue Oct 31, 2006 8:06 am

Quoting Grantcv (Reply 16):
And as for having an assigned seat, I hate that now. Invariably, when I book on a legacy character I have to accept a lousy seat as everything else is gone. But with Southwest, if I check in the day before, I get A group and I get to choose my favorite seat. In fact, I pretty much always sit in the same place - a window seat right behind a seat that doesn't recline by the emergency exits.

I luv Southwest for that.

I agree. I prefer the unreserved coach approach to boarding as opposed to assigned seating. Check in early, get an A pass, have any seat of your choice.

ASSigned seating sucks; it's a pain in the ass. The last time my girlfriend used US to fly PHL-MCO, they practically boarded at random. She was one of the last ones to board...

Although, I think there are airlines (DL) that let you book your seat online. That I like. Although I have never flown DL before...
Do not bring stranger girt into your room. The stranger girt is dangerous, it will hurt your life.
 
ScottB
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RE: Southwest, Any Competition At All?

Tue Oct 31, 2006 8:26 am

Quoting MPDPilot (Reply 11):
I am not sure about all of ther routes above but one the PHX to LAS route Southwest and US Airways are about even, with both frequencies and price

Price? Absolutely. Frequency? Nowhere near close. US/HP offers 12-14 daily round-trips while WN offers 19. There's no contest in market share, either; WN holds nearly 80% of PHX-LAS O&D traffic.

Quoting MPDPilot (Reply 11):
Also US Airways is the largest low cost airline out there, isn't that their slogan.

I think it was their slogan but Southwest is considerably larger than US+HP in terms of passengers and RPM's. US+HP beats Southwest in total system revenues but is about 10% smaller in mainline passenger revenues.

Quoting Matt D (Reply 2):
Half of their pax book them because they are the lowest fare.

The other half book because they THINK Southwest has the lowest fare.

I'm not so sure that people book Southwest just because they "think" Southwest offers the lowest fare; rather, they have confidence that even if WN isn't offering the absolute lowest fare, they're probably not going to walk away feeling cheated. In general, Southwest's ticketing policies also tend to be far less onerous than most of their competitors'.

Quoting LawnDart (Reply 8):
And the few flights of WN that I witnessed at DEN were very lightly loaded. Granted, I only was there for a few hours on one day, but it was a Sunday afternoon (usually a heavily booked time period), and the flights were to PHX, LAS and MDW...Southwest strongholds.

Well, just going from a back-of-the-envelope calculation, WN's DEN load factor in August was around 68% -- which doesn't seem half-bad considering they added 12 daily round-trips at DEN (a 30% increase in capacity) between July 17 and August 4 and considering the events in the U.K. which led to increased security hassles here.
 
CentPIT
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RE: Southwest, Any Competition At All?

Tue Oct 31, 2006 9:54 am

Quoting PlanesNTrains (Reply 13):
The fact that five years ago PIT was one of those airports that none of the other carriers really put much effort into due to US' strength, and today a carrier like WN is the number 2 (and the likes of AirTran and jetBlue are moving in) says a lot about the ability of the LCC's to nudge their way in on these strongholds.

AirTran is not even close to being in the top five of PIT's carriers. Here are the year-to-date numbers for Pittsburgh International:


US Airways: (3,644,587)

Southwest Airlines: (766,690)

Delta Air Lines: (495,032)


AirTran: (#8) (213,244)


I think FL has a long way to go, they aren't going to do it with 5 daily flights! B6 is currently the number 11 carrier.
Pittsburgh International: US Airways---160 daily departures! (52 destinations)
 
Matt D
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RE: Southwest, Any Competition At All?

Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:17 am

even if WN isn't offering the absolute lowest fare, they're probably not going to walk away feeling cheated.

I see.

That's like saying [to use a hypothetical example] Southwest's $49 ONT-LAS fare is "fair" whereas America West's $49 ONT-LAS is a "ripoff".

I know that there are a lot of people out there who are lacking common sense, but I don't think most of them are THAT naiive.
 
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falstaff
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RE: Southwest, Any Competition At All?

Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:31 am

On the STL-DTW route WN and NW have the only non-stops. They usually have the same price or very close. I choose NW, because I like the World Gateway and I want the miles. My mom and dad come to visit from STL from time to time and fly either NW or WN, based on who has the cheapest ticket at the time. Dad prefers NW and Mom likes WN. It looks to me that when WN has a cheap flight on that route NW will match it a day or two later and if NW has a cheap flight WN will match that one.

Quoting Matt D (Reply 2):
The other half book because they THINK Southwest has the lowest fare.

A buddy of mine who used to fly DTW-STL all the time always booked WN because he thought they were always cheapest. Sometimes my tickets on NW were way less than his.

The least I have paid for a DTW-STL K class ticket on NW was $88, which was this past summer and the most was $220 which was a couple of years ago. I flew that route today and the ticket was $118. I am going to STL on Thanksgiving and it is $152

Mom and Dad have paid as low as $98 and has much as $210 on WN.
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ChiGB1973
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RE: Southwest, Any Competition At All?

Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:34 am

Quoting Jcavinato (Reply 1):
And, to those with a little more seat pitch



Quoting AirTranTUS (Reply 6):
Southwest has 32"-33" of pitch and the other carriers in the US have 31"-33", so there is little difference except that the other carriers are more concentrated in the 31"-32" range.

I thought he was wrong on that. Unless he was talking about business class?

M
 
Kevin777
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RE: Southwest, Any Competition At All?

Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:31 pm

Quoting Matt D (Reply 5):
What I mean is that there are [most likely] lots and lots of people out there who simply assume that Southwest has the lowest fare (which it may or may not be) and don't bother shopping around before booking.

True, there might be, but I'm sure there is also a lot of people who don't bother looking at other airlines' offers because they prefer going WN, even if they might be 10-20 dollars more expensive.. Looking at WN with European LCC-eyes, it's an all-business class airline!!

Quoting Supa7E7 (Reply 9):
The downside is WN can't operate into small cities. Or maybe they could, but they are not curious enough to try, using E175s for example. WN is a nationwide 737 system. They could start a E175 system to grow alongside their 737s. But it's practically starting a new airline if they do.

Downside? Yes, maybe, but it's a strategic choice they've made - the added revenue from serving smaller cities with i.e. 175s or 190s would not make up for the added costs of complexity in operations, brand confusion etc. WN cherry-picks the best routes, preferably O & D, and for growth they add frequencies. Yes, they miss out on smaller cities - and also on pax who want wider seats and free meals, and are willing to pay for it btw - but they've wisely chosen to respect the sound limits of their operation and business.

GOTTA LUV WN!  Smile

Kevin777
"I was waiting for you at DFW, but you must have been in LUV" CPH-HAM-CPH CR9
 
walter747
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RE: Southwest, Any Competition At All?

Wed Nov 01, 2006 6:57 am

Quoting CentPIT (Reply 19):
US Airways: (3,644,587)

i'm surprised because PIT isn't a hub for US anymore just a focus city
Hussel, Hussel, Husel, Grind, Grind, Grind
 
walter747
Posts: 1379
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RE: Southwest, Any Competition At All?

Wed Nov 01, 2006 7:50 am

well WN doesn't really have competition at PVD
Hussel, Hussel, Husel, Grind, Grind, Grind
 
CentPIT
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RE: Southwest, Any Competition At All?

Wed Nov 01, 2006 8:01 am

Quoting Walter747 (Reply 24):
i'm surprised because PIT isn't a hub for US anymore just a focus city

Why are you surprised? PIT is a large focus city, but the number of PAX US used to carry out of PIT yearly used to be very high!
Pittsburgh International: US Airways---160 daily departures! (52 destinations)
 
ScottB
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Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2000 1:25 am

RE: Southwest, Any Competition At All?

Wed Nov 01, 2006 8:23 am

Quoting Matt D (Reply 20):
That's like saying [to use a hypothetical example] Southwest's $49 ONT-LAS fare is "fair" whereas America West's $49 ONT-LAS is a "ripoff".

Actually, I'd guess it's more along the lines of PHX-DSM being $1098 round-trip for a walk-up on HP versus PHX-OMA being $536 round-trip for a walk-up fare. Or the walk-up fare on PVD-DCA being $648 round-trip as compared to $212 round-trip for PVD-BWI. Or PIT-PHL being $184 round-trip while PIT-BWI is $632.