quickmover
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Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Fri Dec 01, 2006 5:10 am

I tried to book a flight for late Feburary and everything is going through ATL again. I'm surprised that these heavily traveled routes didn't work out.

Is FL backing up on MDW expansion plans?
 
RL757PVD
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Fri Dec 01, 2006 5:21 am

Air Tran seems to be having a tough time pushing west, MDW nor DFW seemed to have worked too well for them. We'll have to see if IND works out for them.

Otherwise how bout a 3 way merger between Air Tran, Midwest and Alaska! ATL, MKE and west coast...heh
Experience is what you get when what you thought would work out didn't!
 
Chi-town
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Fri Dec 01, 2006 5:27 am

im surprised....the only carrier that flies MDW-DFW is Southwest (operated by ATA)
 
quickmover
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Fri Dec 01, 2006 5:28 am

Quoting RL757PVD (Reply 1):
Otherwise how bout a 3 way merger between Air Tran, Midwest and Alaska! ATL, MKE and west coast...heh


Sounds good to me. They don't seem to be able to get a 2nd hub/focus city going on their own. Maybe they are planning something if the USAir/Delta thing happens.
 
gr8slvrflt
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Fri Dec 01, 2006 5:37 am

It's seasonal. Both MDW-EWR and MDW-DFW will be back in May. AirTran can make a lot more money running those planes to Florida over the winter.
I work for Southwest, but the views expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent those of Southwest.
 
PVD757
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Fri Dec 01, 2006 5:40 am

I find it hard to believe that MDW-EWR is seasonal...

not that I'm doubting that that's what they are doing with those airplanes, but EWR-MDW is a huge market any month of the year!
 
quickmover
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Fri Dec 01, 2006 5:44 am

Quoting PVD757 (Reply 5):
I find it hard to believe that MDW-EWR is seasonal...

I agree.
No doubt that Florida is good in the winter, but if they want to establish any type of business traveler loyalty, they need to stick with it.
 
CALMSP
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Fri Dec 01, 2006 6:03 am

i seem to agree as well, i think Mr. CEO Lloyd Christmas will be paying more money to fly MDW-EWR, than Mrs. Claus traveling to florida.
 
Midway2AirTran
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Fri Dec 01, 2006 6:17 am

Quoting Gr8SlvrFlt (Reply 4):
It's seasonal. Both MDW-EWR and MDW-DFW will be back in May. AirTran can make a lot more money running those planes to Florida over the winter.

As far as I remember, this has been seasonal too; there are only but so many multi-million dollar a/c to go around.

Quoting Quickmover (Reply 6):
No doubt that Florida is good in the winter, but if they want to establish any type of business traveler loyalty, they need to stick with it.

Its all about putting a/c where the money is made which FL has done quite well for the most part. Plus AirTran doesn't charge the $1000 fares to subsidize the flight for a few business travelers, so its obvious to send the a/c to Florida. Lower/flexable fares and a business class product availability do well enough in AirTran's Strategy, which is what they should "stick with".

Also keep in mind the several cut-backs from other carriers to Florida, allowing AirTran more opportunity there.
"Life is short, but your delay in ATL is not."
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Fri Dec 01, 2006 6:25 am

Quoting Chi-town (Reply 2):
im surprised....the only carrier that flies MDW-DFW is Southwest (operated by ATA)

The semantics of that don't quite work. ATA is the only airline on MDW-DFW and Southwest has a codeshare agreement allowing them to sell tickets for certain ATA routes.

WN does sell their own tickets on DAL-MDW with a stop in either STL or MCI
 
quickmover
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Fri Dec 01, 2006 6:32 am

Quoting Midway2AirTran (Reply 8):
there are only but so many multi-million dollar a/c to go around.

They can't use that excuse any more when they are delaying deliveries.
 
MAH4546
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Fri Dec 01, 2006 6:41 am

Seasonal or not, there is no excuse to drop business routes to "seasonal" status. It shows the flights have performed poorly. I was at Midway airport this morning, and while waiting for Northwest flight to Detroit to board, I watch the morning flight to Newark on airTran board. The flight was so empty, that the PA announcement was "Since there are so few people aboard are flight this monring, everybody is now welcome to board."

I doubt they will come back, even though they are bookable starting in late April.
a.
 
PVD757
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Fri Dec 01, 2006 6:52 am

Quoting MAH4546 (Reply 11):
Seasonal or not, there is no excuse to drop business routes to "seasonal" status.

thats exactly what I was getting at. CHI, NYC, and metro DFW to each other are not seasonal no matter how you look at it IMHO. Here today, gone tomorrow service in these markets will not work in the long run.
 
N908AW
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Fri Dec 01, 2006 6:55 am

Quoting Chi-town (Reply 2):
im surprised....the only carrier that flies MDW-DFW is Southwest (operated by ATA)

LOL...because ATA doesn't deserve to be called the carrier on that route?

Let's see..they've only flown that route for 15 years...



But yeah, this is one of the flagship routes for ATA, and the WN codeshare can't hurt. TZ pulls a lot more connections out of MDW than does FL.
'Cause you're on ATA again, and on ATA, you're on vacation!
 
JayDavis
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Fri Dec 01, 2006 7:20 am

AirTran is a JOKE in Dallas !!

That is all there is to it. They were going to be operating 30 to 40 flights a day out of here according to their former Sales Director. They had flights from DFW-LAS, DFW-LAX and both of those have already been dropped. They also had DFW-MCO I don't know if that one still is running or not.

I know AA is throwing everything they can at them, but the kitchen sink but gosh, you would hope that they could stay in the city pairs long enough to get more people to start flying them.

Aadvantage miles is also a hard thing for other airlines to overcome at the mighty DFW, aka "American's Airport".  Smile
 
ScottB
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Fri Dec 01, 2006 7:25 am

Quoting PVD757 (Reply 12):
Quoting MAH4546 (Reply 11):
Seasonal or not, there is no excuse to drop business routes to "seasonal" status.

thats exactly what I was getting at. CHI, NYC, and metro DFW to each other are not seasonal no matter how you look at it IMHO. Here today, gone tomorrow service in these markets will not work in the long run.

I have to agree with both of you here, too. Even if you manage to make more money by using the aircraft seasonally on other routes (like additional flying to Florida), there's a significant cost when you try to re-establish the route afterwards. Business travelers won't stay loyal because they can't depend on the service to operate year-round. Leisure travelers will forget AirTran operates the route, so a significant percentage of the passengers they'd get would be people who stumbled across it at one of the booking engines.

I suspect that the bookability of the service in May is part wishful thinking and part trial balloon. In the unlikely event that they get good advance bookings, the routes will return -- but otherwise, they'll just rebook people through ATL.
 
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TZTriStar500
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Fri Dec 01, 2006 8:00 am

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 9):
The semantics of that don't quite work. ATA is the only airline on MDW-DFW and Southwest has a codeshare agreement allowing them to sell tickets for certain ATA routes.

WN does sell their own tickets on DAL-MDW with a stop in either STL or MCI

You've almost got it right. WN and TZ have a bit more than just a codeshare agreement. In addition to ata.com, WN sells ALL TZ flights through their website as well including both connecting service and O/D (with the exception of CUN and GDL, no international...yet). For example, you will see MDW-DFW flights on southwest.com.
35 years of American Trans Air/ATA Airlines, 1973-2008. A great little airline that will not be soon forgotten.
 
commavia
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Fri Dec 01, 2006 8:33 am

Quoting JayDavis (Reply 14):
I know AA is throwing everything they can at them, but the kitchen sink but gosh, you would hope that they could stay in the city pairs long enough to get more people to start flying them.

I remember AirTran's Joe Leonard talking about 2-3 years back about how AirTran was not an airline to enter markets and quickly exit, because their operating economics and business model are so superior to competitors that they could compete in the markets they entered. How times change in this whacky business!

Quoting JayDavis (Reply 14):
Aadvantage miles is also a hard thing for other airlines to overcome at the mighty DFW, aka "American's Airport"

That, and the fact that AirTran had/has 2-3 flights per day up against 14-15 on American. In high-value business markets, frequency is a big differentiator.
 
quickmover
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Fri Dec 01, 2006 10:59 am

I think this company needs to do more marketing on new routes. They have a good product, but I don't think I have ever seen an Airtran TV commercial, billboard, or heard a radio ad.
 
bonanzaair
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Fri Dec 01, 2006 2:08 pm

Quoting JayDavis (Reply 14):
They were going to be operating 30 to 40 flights a day out of here according to their former Sales Director.

Jay - Didn't you work for Airtran in Dallas as the City Sales Manager?


Bonanza
 
thunder9
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Fri Dec 01, 2006 7:59 pm

Quoting Commavia (Reply 17):
That, and the fact that AirTran had/has 2-3 flights per day up against 14-15 on American. In high-value business markets, frequency is a big differentiator.

Commavia --

Not trying to completely  stirthepot , but I'm curious to know where you see AA's 14-15 dailies vs. FL's 2-3? I suppose you could consider CHI, but it's pretty well known that ORD is the business market, and MDW is the leisure market, so I don't think that is a real accurate comparison. Also, AA/Eagle left the DFW-MDW market back in September, so FL has had plenty of time to make that route work( or not, apparently), with only TZ as direct competition. And, AFAIK, AA hasn't added any real frequencies between DFW and ATL/LAS/LAX to run off FL. I got the impression from your post that this is what you were alluding to...

-J
"Keep thy airspeed up, less the earth come from below and smite thee." - William Kershner
 
MAH4546
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Fri Dec 01, 2006 8:13 pm

Quoting Thunder9 (Reply 20):
but it's pretty well known that ORD is the business market, and MDW is the leisure market,

No, it is not. Midway happens to have a "leisure" reputation thanks to it's collection of low-fare carriers, but is by no means a "leisure airport". It is quicker to get downtown from Midway most times of the day, and is extremely popular with business travelers, especially people form Chicago who live downtown and on the South Side, such as myself. There are plenty of flights to LaGuardia, Washington National, Atlanta, and other key business markets.
a.
 
commavia
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Fri Dec 01, 2006 10:55 pm

Quoting Thunder9 (Reply 20):
but I'm curious to know where you see AA's 14-15 dailies vs. FL's 2-3?

AA currently operates 17 daily departures from D/FW to Los Angeles, and 18 daily departures to O'Hare.

Quoting Thunder9 (Reply 20):
I suppose you could consider CHI, but it's pretty well known that ORD is the business market, and MDW is the leisure market, so I don't think that is a real accurate comparison.

As MAH said, that is completely false. Midway is a very competitive business airport, as it is closer to downtown Chicago than O'Hare.

Quoting Thunder9 (Reply 20):
And, AFAIK, AA hasn't added any real frequencies between DFW and ATL/LAS/LAX to run off FL.

That's because, as I said originally, they don't have to. When you're flying 17 daily flights to LAX, 18 to Chicago, and 10 to Las Vegas, and your competitor operates no more than three to any of them, there's not really much frequency adding required.
 
Indy
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Fri Dec 01, 2006 10:57 pm

They did the same thing here with IND-SFO/LAX. I think they are trying to run more routes than they have equipment for so they have to play the seasonal game to keep all the routes on the map. I can't admire a plan that sends your customers to the competition. MDW-ATL-EWR is just a pathetic route. Talk about MDW to EWR via the moon.
Indy = Indianapolis and not Independence Air
 
FlyHoss
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Sat Dec 02, 2006 1:41 am

Though the retired traveler is available to travel any day of the week, many leisure travelers fly on the weekends. So, isn't it possible to serve both the business traveler on Monday through Friday and the leisure traveler on the weekends?

There is a lot of competition between N.Y. and Chicago from the legacy carriers; I think the strength of their large networks and frequent flyer programs is telling in this case.
A little bit louder now, a lil bit louder now...
 
airtran717
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Sat Dec 02, 2006 2:43 am

I may also add that MDW has long been of interest to FL as a focus city. But MDW being situated the way it is, cannot expand much further, if at all. Certainly the new terminals are exceptional. But the runways and ramps and such can only handle so much saturation. And while I was still flying for FL, Southwest gave us problems with gate space up there. And, while some travellers see this market as a no-brainer, it's not as simple as filling the plane. The seats may be full, but the profit yield % is what the bean counters look at. Knoxville is an example. We were oversold on those flights, (and I know since I worked those flights from beginning to end) but we still didn't make money with the route. So they pulled service and sent those planes to Fla. ATA has never really been much competition for us. Unless it's changed, last I knew ATA had only a limited scheduled service and much of thier business was charter. But that was over a year ago when I was in the loop. Anyway... not often you can hear it from the horse's mouth around here. So I thought I'd interject some knowledge.

717
 
airtran717
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Sat Dec 02, 2006 2:51 am

I would also like to add... from my humble experience... that when AirTran opened a new route, they never really marketed it as well as they should have. That was always a gripe I had. We opened a city with lack luster load factors simply because we failed to adequately advertise in that city. Sure, it was well marketed in ATL. But that won't do the customers in Kalamazoo ( not an actual market for FL. Merely an example) much good if we don't tell them we are coming.

717
 
quickmover
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Sat Dec 02, 2006 3:04 am

Quoting AirTran717 (Reply 26):
I would also like to add... from my humble experience... that when AirTran opened a new route, they never really marketed it as well as they should have.

I have never seen any Airtran adveristisements here in DEN. I can't believe they do as well as they do without advertisement.
 
airtran717
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Sat Dec 02, 2006 3:06 am

Quoting Quickmover (Reply 27):
I have never seen any Airtran adveristisements here in DEN. I can't believe they do as well as they do without advertisement.

My point exactly.

717
 
wjcandee
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Sat Dec 02, 2006 6:15 am

Quoting Quickmover (Reply 10):
Quoting Midway2AirTran (Reply 8):
there are only but so many multi-million dollar a/c to go around.

They can't use that excuse any more when they are delaying deliveries.

Well, I am surprised that nobody has commented on what seems a little more obvious reason to pull these flights in favor of Florida service: GATE SPACE. Airtran has limited gate space at MDW. Isn't it pretty-completely-utilized right now? If they want to put on what they believe will be more-profitable flights to Florida, won't they have to pull down some flights to somewhere else? Why not pull the lowest-performing flights, even if this will cause some traveler consternation? I don't think that it makes sense to put flights back in the computer for "wishful thinking" purposes later. I'm inclined to believe that if FL considers the reduction to be a seasonal one, that it probably is.

I guess we'll see.
 
Indy
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Sat Dec 02, 2006 6:34 am

Quoting AirTran717 (Reply 26):
I would also like to add... from my humble experience... that when AirTran opened a new route, they never really marketed it as well as they should have. That was always a gripe I had.

FL advertises a great deal here (IND). They are very active with race promotions and of course their local PR guy Peyton Manning. Everything they do here gets press. Maybe their advertising strategy here is the exception and not the rule.

Now when F9 started CUN service I don't remember seeing a single ad for it which I thought was strange.
Indy = Indianapolis and not Independence Air
 
JayDub
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Sat Dec 02, 2006 10:44 am

I wrote quite the rant earlier today in regards to FL at DFW. However, in a brief moment of newbie idiocy, I lost the entire post. Here goes my (much shorter, much less formal) second attempt.

FL can't seem to figure out just what the heck they're doing in DFW. It was always "We're going to expand DFW" until this past summer. That was when they gave DFW more than they could handle with no assistance as far as extra employees, TDY, or even working equipment. Corporate essentially came in and said "Well, we're going to adjust your schedule a little bit...you can't hire any more people...make it work".

There were 6 RON's with 6 EMO outbounds on 4 gates. This isn't a problem when you have a little time and staffing, but when you have 3 people scheduled on the overnight shift that have to bring in, download, clean 6 a/c and move 1 or 2 of those a/c to remote spots...it get's pretty rough. 98% of the time, the overnight shift was nowhere near done with their duties when the 0400 crew rolled in. Tack on the fact that many nights there was only 1 or 2 people (Most FL stations are plagued with chronic "sick callers", but most are so short staffed they can't really fire them), and things just got worse.

Those 5 of the 6 Early Morning Originators were due out in a time span of approx. 2 hours. Imagine working 6 flights at one time on one bagroom pier and having MAYBE 4 people on the ramp to load and push 4 full a/c in less than one hour.

I remember the first morning I worked that mess. It was the first morning of that schedule and they had called in the best staff to try to figure out where we were/when going to need to be staffed. I was in decent ramp shape (not the best, but decent) and I threw up twice from running gate to gate trying like hell to get the flights out on time. Eventually, those who worked that shift regularly gave up on trying...I can't blame them.

It wasn't just the ramp...ticket counter, gate agents, and baggage service folks were short staffed as well. So many pax, so few agents...do the math. The customer service was so bad because we had so few on staff for what we were having to deal with, I was emabrrassed to be admit I was part of that operation.

The station asked for more help...none ever came. No new hires, no TDY. Customer service/performance numbers went into the crapper...and now FL DFW is being reduced to 8 flights a day. Corporate killed DFW expansion.

Spoke with some DFW FL people the other day...apparently they finally got the people they needed...3 weeks after the hellish schedule was over. Just like the lav truck and 2 beltloaders they desperately needed that had been promised all summer long and showed up after the schedule had already been reduced. Now FL DFW apparently has to cut hours or get rid of people...and that new equipment (along with a pushback tractor) was in DFW for about 3 weeks before it was picked up and shipped to TPA.

It's sad really. FL could be a pretty good airline if they didn't work their employees like pack mules and figured out just what the heck they're doing instead of changing everything from month to month. There are some really great employees at FL...DFW and systemwide. And most jump at the chance to go to an F9, OO, or UA. There is little chance of advancement in FL. They always hire some retired NW person for station management instead of hiring more than capable people who understand the system from the inside.

They're screwing around with IND, BOS, and MDW as well. They expand the schedule without thinking of manpower or equipment...then morale goes so far in the tank, it's irreparable. I hate unions, and think that they are a huge reason this industry is in shambles, but I really believe that the only way FL is still around in 10 years is for their ground personnel to unionize. It's that bad. And mind you, I was a company man. I wanted to stay with FL, but saw no future in it...even with my operations expertise and a dispatch license (I'm a quick learner for 2 years in the industry).

FL really could have done something out of DFW had they given DFW the tools to succeed. Instead, corporate will just blame AA and DFW Airport and pretend they did all they could.

*** edit: Reading a little more above, I see questions regarding DFW-MDW loads. In the time I was there the I never saw the load factor above 70%...and that was on heavy days. ***

[Edited 2006-12-02 03:12:23]
"Travel is only glamorous in retrospect." - Paul Theroux
 
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zippyjet
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Sat Dec 02, 2006 11:06 am

Quoting Gr8SlvrFlt (Reply 4):
It's seasonal. Both MDW-EWR and MDW-DFW will be back in May. AirTran can make a lot more money running those planes to Florida over the winter.

We're adding flights from MDW to MIA right when this other service is temporarily discontinued.

Quoting Quickmover (Reply 6):
find it hard to believe that MDW-EWR is seasonal...

Almost any flights into the bottom feeder three, EWR, LGA and JFK most of the year are prone to bad ass delays due to congestion and lovely weather. So, why not fly to locales where people want to go, and not have to go. We can easily pack our birds for Florida flights. Late February believe it or not is even crazier thatn XMAS because the Northerners get their Winter break as well as Easter/Spring break.

Regarding DFW, I'm not sure if that demand is seasonal.
I'm Zippyjet & I approve of this message!
 
Indy
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Sat Dec 02, 2006 12:24 pm

Quoting JayDub (Reply 31):
I wrote quite the rant earlier today in regards to FL at DFW. However, in a brief moment of newbie idiocy, I lost the entire post.

LOL. I've done that a couple of times too. They always seem to be advertising for CSRs and ramp agents here. Despite a dismal on time record their reps are always very friendly. It is a shame they are having problems at DFW.
Indy = Indianapolis and not Independence Air
 
cjpark
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RE: Airtran Dropping MDW-DFW, EWR Nonstops

Sat Dec 02, 2006 12:43 pm

Quoting JayDavis (Reply 14):
AirTran is a JOKE in Dallas !!

That is all there is to it. They were going to be operating 30 to 40 flights a day out of here according to their former Sales Director. They had flights from DFW-LAS, DFW-LAX and both of those have already been dropped. They also had DFW-MCO I don't know if that one still is running or not.

I know AA is throwing everything they can at them, but the kitchen sink but gosh, you would hope that they could stay in the city pairs long enough to get more people to start flying them.

Aadvantage miles is also a hard thing for other airlines to overcome at the mighty DFW, aka "American's Airport".

Glad to see you have not lost your AA bias Jay.

Even with the drain on available passengers in this market created by the entrance of Southwest into the quasi long distance market everything is still Americans fault.
"Any airline that wants to serve the [region] can go to DFW today and fly anywhere they want," WN spokesman Ed Stewart