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illinoisman
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WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 2:11 am

http://www.jsonline.com/business/sou...n-milwaukee-957b3ai-176103431.html

"Kelly said Southwest will look at eventually adding new nonstop service from Milwaukee.

"We have a number of significant destinations that we serve across the country which will all be logical nonstop considerations for us," he said. "We'll be looking at that very carefully over the next couple of years.

"We know what you want in the market."

Southwest has been profitable for 39 straight years.

"We have a history of being a very stable force in a market," Kelly said. "You should expect from us that we are going to be here, we're going to be consistent."

But exactly what the airline may eventually look like here is an open question.

"I've always felt like Milwaukee had the prospect of being a 50-flight a day market," Kelly said. "Whether it ends up at 35 or 75, who knows?"

Don't look for Southwest to go crazy raising prices in Milwaukee on routes where it is dominant, Kelly and an industry analyst say."


Say hello to the cattle car flights MKE...Is this how low Milwaukee has sunk, that WN is now the "desired" airline in the city? Yes, YX is gone, mostly because people are only after "cheap" and not good. If you thought the service on F9 was bad, try flying this airline. I have yet to be on a flight of WN that is on time, or where anyone at the gate or on the plane was friendly, or even polite. For me, I'll choose DL every time, even if it means changing planes.
 
ouboy79
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 2:51 am

Quoting IllinoisMan (Thread starter):
Say hello to the cattle car flights MKE...Is this how low Milwaukee has sunk, that WN is now the "desired" airline in the city? Yes, YX is gone, mostly because people are only after "cheap" and not good. If you thought the service on F9 was bad, try flying this airline. I have yet to be on a flight of WN that is on time, or where anyone at the gate or on the plane was friendly, or even polite. For me, I'll choose DL every time, even if it means changing planes.

Hmm...I can understand people having strong feelings towards an airline of their choice. I just find it interesting that you never met a polite person on WN. Just seems odd you would run into any airline without a polite person. Sounds like like another biased opinion. I've flown nearly every major airline in the US and have always met polite and friendly people.

As far as MKE...good news for them.
 
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mariner
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 2:54 am

Quoting IllinoisMan (Thread starter):
Say hello to the cattle car flights MKE

Where - exactly - does he say he has "ambitious" plans for MKE?

I've read the article three times and all I see is that Southwest will stay in MKE and may (or may not) add some flights - one day.

mariner
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LoneStarMike
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:10 am

Quoting mariner (Reply 2):
Where - exactly - does he say he has "ambitious" plans for MKE?

It's the caption of the photo of Gary Kelly

Quote:
Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly has ambitious plans for Milwaukee. He was in Milwaukee last week to meet with employees, customers and media.

LoneStarMike
 
LV
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:12 am

Hum, this could scuttle my theory that WN is destined to expand at STL. I always figured it was going to be MKE or STL and sounds like it's going to be MKE.
Or this is just Kelly knowing his audience and playing up to them and my theory could still be right!
 
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mariner
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:14 am

Quoting LoneStarMike (Reply 3):
It's the caption of the photo of Gary Kelly

I know that - but Mr. Kelly doesn't say it.

The newspaper is editorialising, expressing its own hopes, perhaps, but I think it is wrong to attribute it to him without any support from what he actually says.

mariner
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:24 am

Quoting LV (Reply 4):
Hum, this could scuttle my theory that WN is destined to expand at STL. I always figured it was going to be MKE or STL and sounds like it's going to be MKE.
Or this is just Kelly knowing his audience and playing up to them and my theory could still be right!

I think you're right   I dont see MKE being anything more than 50 flts/day. STL is just about to crack 100 and now has become a top 10 airport for SWA. I think STL will always be bigger than MKE. IMHO.
 
jporterfi
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:37 am

I agree that MKE is not destined to be a top destination for WN. Many airlines have tried and failed to make it a hub. Also, WN has a huge presence at MDW, which is relatively close to MKE. While I think MKE has potential for flights to BWI, HOU, STL, LAS, and possibly ATL, I wouldn't look for WN to expand service beyond cities where it already has a large presence. On the other point the OP brought up, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, so I'll share mine. WN flight crews, and in general my fellow passengers on WN flights, have always been very pleasant and professional. I'd take WN over DL (or pretty much any other carrier) any day, particularly for shorter routes where full-service airlines wouldn't have IFE, which is the only reason that I would choose another airline over WN. But that's just me.
 
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:40 am

Quoting mariner (Reply 2):
Where - exactly - does he say he has "ambitious" plans for MKE?
Quoting mariner (Reply 5):
The newspaper is editorialising, expressing its own hopes, perhaps, but I think it is wrong to attribute it to him without any support from what he actually says.

He didn't say the exact word, but some of the other things he said seem to hint towards some kind of "ambitious" plan.

"My hope is that we can sustain that in the near term and grow that in the longer term."

"We are doing combat with an inconsistent economy and also high fuel prices. That's the only thing that tempers my enthusiasm here in the near term."

"I think we have a great product for business travelers. We'll need that support from Milwaukee. We're going to work hard to earn it. That I'll guarantee."

"I do think there is a very good opportunity here. But in the end, we're going to have to make it happen. We're going to have to serve the market. We're going to have to have the flights. We're going to have to win the business. And then, business is going to have to support us. I have very high hopes for our success here."
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mariner
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:44 am

Quoting mke717spotter (Reply 8):
He didn't say the exact word, but some of the other things he said seem to hint towards some kind of "ambitious" plan.

Yes, I read all of that - three times. But I also read:

"I've always felt like Milwaukee had the prospect of being a 50-flight a day market," Kelly said. "Whether it ends up at 35 or 75, who knows?"

That doesn't read as "ambitious" to me - it reads as completely open-ended, covering all his bases, as he should.

mariner

[Edited 2012-10-27 20:45:59]
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:48 am

I hope those ambitious plans include BDL. I would be a happy camper if I could get from BDL-MKE. I like MKE airport a ton. It is a good size airport but not big enough to where one can get lost. The Chicago airports are great for nonstops. But getting from the gate to the rental car is a breeze at MKE. But like mentioned above, how much are they really going to do there with MDW just what, an hour away?
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:16 am

Maybe we'll finally see a return of MKE-OMA!
 
jpetekyxmd80
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:26 am

Am I supposed to see anything here other than the general affirmation of the status quo?

MKE's growth and inroads in the Northern Illinois market was tied directly to price sensitivity. Delta and Southwest are each trying to carve out their own honey holes in the market. As the situation stands, they'll probably each be able to do reasonably well while maintaining reasonable fare levels (to them).

All this doesn't bode well for any long term sustainability of flow from the N. Illinois catchment area. Southwest's best bet at developing this is targeting passengers who are unfamiliar with them as an option and wouldn't bother with MDW to fly them. With a lack of much price incentive (from my experience), that is a tough sell and they're likely better off at ORD.

Quoting IllinoisMan (Thread starter):
YX is gone, mostly because people are only after "cheap" and not good.

I don't like it either, but it's a wee bit more complicated than that.

Quoting IllinoisMan (Thread starter):
Is this how low Milwaukee has sunk

Are we up on some kind of pedestal for you? What makes the MKE market radically different than any other kind of people in America? Are we supposed to be destined for and led by an insatiable lust for above average, luxurious air travel?

Quoting IllinoisMan (Thread starter):
If you thought the service on F9 was bad, try flying this airline. I have yet to be on a flight of WN that is on time, or where anyone at the gate or on the plane was friendly, or even polite.

And i've flown Southwest precisely once, and I got the f/a famous for his rapping on youtube. I'm going to go out on a limb and say you have a very limited sample size. Clearly Southwest has done well relative the industry in this department, regardless of our limited anecdotes.

And by the way, if anyone hasn't noticed, the "Southwest effect" has become the inverse, so really don't believe a word their management says when they talk low fares. David has become Goliath.

Quoting IllinoisMan (Thread starter):

Don't look for Southwest to go crazy raising prices in Milwaukee on routes where it is dominant, Kelly and an industry analyst say


Does anyone believe this? Prices have raised on routes where they've become dominant. Significantly. Why would anyone expect any different? They're not the benevolent Goliath spreading the freedom of mobility to the masses, they're a business operating on the market principles. "Go crazy" is a bit relative..

[Edited 2012-10-27 21:34:11]

[Edited 2012-10-27 21:37:49]
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airliner371
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:38 am

Quoting jpetekyxmd80 (Reply 12):
the "Southwest effect" has become the inverse

Thats not exactly true. When WN adds service to a small city it is still the Southwest effect but recently SWA has been adding large cities (LGA, EWR, ATL) and all of those already had really low fares so they can't lower it anymore. In no way does SWA raise prices though.

Quoting IllinoisMan (Thread starter):
Say hello to the cattle car flights MKE...Is this how low Milwaukee has sunk, that WN is now the "desired" airline in the city? Yes, YX is gone, mostly because people are only after "cheap" and not good. If you thought the service on F9 was bad, try flying this airline. I have yet to be on a flight of WN that is on time, or where anyone at the gate or on the plane was friendly, or even polite. For me, I'll choose DL every time, even if it means changing planes.

This is so funny. I remember someone saying the same thing about F9 a few weeks ago. Had the same name and everything... oh wait... Just another biased opinion from the anti every airline but Midwest and Delta user.
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:42 am

Quoting airliner371 (Reply 13):
In no way does SWA raise prices though.

Really? They haven't wanted to eliminate competition in MKE to gain control of markets and raise prices?

In Denver?


Of course every situation and city is different, but how can you say they do not raise prices?

More power to them, but don't think they're not usually the bullier now and not the bullied.

[Edited 2012-10-27 21:43:29]
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:45 am

Quoting jpetekyxmd80 (Reply 14):
but how can you say they do not raise prices?

They raise prices for a ticket but the Southwest effect is Southwest entering a market and lowering fares. Southwest doesn't enter a market and raise fares and if they have it is extremely rare.
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:31 am

"we might add a new destination to MKE" = "ambitious plans for MKE?"  
Ironically I have never flown a Delta MD-90 :)
 
iowaman
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:08 am

Interesting article, but I'm just not seeing WN allocating much more for flights to MKE when capacity is tight trying to get FL cities converted over. Capacity system-wide is also to remain flat until profit margins are improved. I wouldn't read a lot into this as Kelly states they could be at "35 or 75" daily flights in the future. This news story if nothing else is nice free advertisement hype for WN.

I'm sure once everything is converted over to WN equipment only MKE will be handling a noticeable amount of connecting traffic, particularly out of DCA, LGA, and BOS to WN cities in the west/mid-west.

Quoting CIDFlyer (Reply 6):
I think you're right I dont see MKE being anything more than 50 flts/day. STL is just about to crack 100 and now has become a top 10 airport for SWA. I think STL will always be bigger than MKE. IMHO.

Looks like MKE is at 50 a day next month. I would be very surprised to see WN ever get close to the size of the STL operation.

Here's a run down of the MKE schedule after the new schedule Nov. 4:

2x BOS
4x BWI
2x DEN
2x MCI
1x LAX
4x LAS
5x MSP
4x LGA
1x MCO
3x PHX
2x STL
1x SFO
1x TPA
1x SEA
1x FLL
6x ATL (FL equipment)
2x MCO (FL equipment)
1x TPA (FL equipment)
3x RSW (FL equipment)
4x DCA (FL equipment)

Total: 50 daily, 16 of them on FL equipment.

The next "logical" stations I can see being added from MKE are BNA, SAN, or HOU, but those aren't huge fish to fry either. DAL may also work once 2014 rolls around. MSY, PHL, PDX, SAT, SAN, CLT (CLT is unlikely for obvious reasons) are the larger markets not currently served by WN out of MKE (along with SAN and HOU).

Quoting rj777 (Reply 11):
Maybe we'll finally see a return of MKE-OMA!

I'm going to rain on the parade and say unlikely. When FL flew it, there was only around 60 O&D passengers a day IIRC.

Quoting jetblueguy22 (Reply 10):
I hope those ambitious plans include BDL. I would be a happy camper if I could get from BDL-MKE. I like MKE airport a ton.

At only around 100 passengers a day I just don't see this either. There are too many other places with higher amounts of traffic to place their aircraft right now.

Quoting DeltaMD90 (Reply 16):
"we might add a new destination to MKE" = "ambitious plans for MKE?"

[checkmark]

Quoting airliner371 (Reply 15):
They raise prices for a ticket but the Southwest effect is Southwest entering a market and lowering fares. Southwest doesn't enter a market and raise fares and if they have it is extremely rare.

While they seem to always keep fares reasonable, it'd be interesting to compare routes in DEN to comparable distance routes at other stations where they have the majority of the market share.
 
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:44 am

Folks in MKE should be extremely happy to be getting all the WN service that they are! Was I the only one in a state of absolute shock when WN announced that it would be taking on FL routes like MKE-SFO and MKE-MSY?!? I thought for sure those were goners. Now that WN picked up NK's DCA slots to offer a 2x daily STL-DCA service, I think they'll even keep MKE-DCA, albeit at reduced frequency*. Assuming they also elect to keep MKE-ATL, MKE-RSW, and MKE-CUN - I can't imagine why they would cut any of those popular routes - they will have kept every single mainline route that FL was flying from MKE at the time of the acquisition. WN did not see a business case for any of the OO/FL regional routes, except for MKE-STL. While there certainly is some demand for stuff like MKE-OMA and MKE-PIT, 737s are simply not appropriate aircraft for such routes. That won't change. Perhaps the only expansion I could see from MKE would be something like BNA, perhaps DAL after the Wright Amendment expires, maybe seasonals to PDX and SAN. It really comes down to aircraft availability and O&D for such flights. I should think most, if not all, viable LCC mainline markets from MKE are already very well served today.

*WN could start a 5x daily MDW-DCA service with 2 MKE-DCA slots, 2 ATL-DCA slots, and the MCO-DCA slot. That would result in an offering from DCA of 5x daily MDW, 2x daily STL, 2x daily MKE, 4x daily ATL, 1x daily RSW (using an AIR-21 slot that cannot be transferred without government permission), and 1x daily AUS.
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 2:32 pm

Quoting IllinoisMan (Thread starter):
If you thought the service on F9 was bad, try flying this airline. I have yet to be on a flight of WN that is on time, or where anyone at the gate or on the plane was friendly, or even polite. For me, I'll choose DL every time, even if it means changing planes.

Really? While the service on F9 is not as quite as good as it was on Midwest; it is as good or better than the other airlines (excluding Midwest) that I have flown in the last decade. In fact F9 is my preferred airline for flying west of Milwaukee (which I do periodically - and I completed my last trip to and from Seattle last Monday).

As for your comparison to Delta. F9 has done something for me that Delta (and NW before them) has only rarely been able to do. Get me there and back on time (and I count "on time" as arriving within several hours of the planned arrival times - and F9 has never been more that 1/2 hour late on any of the trips I have taken). I am not saying that it has never happened with NW or Delta; but its like once every 10 trips or something like that (and I am not kidding - I can really list all of my trips and how bad either the outbound or the return trip was - and only a few of them were major weather or in flight medical emergencies which I understand). My last trip with Delta had two planes in a row go tech on my return leg and Delta then told me that they could no longer even get me back to Milwaukee that day (this was like at 10 AM after the 2nd plane went tech). I asked them if they could get me to Chicago and I would rent a car and drive to Milwaukee (which I did). I was transferred to American for a flight to Chicago. But, Delta forgot to transfer my luggage even though there was a several hour wait for the AA flight - and it took almost a week for my luggage to be found and returned to me.

I understand that most people seem to have better luck on average with Delta. But I really no longer plan on getting there and back anywhere near on time when I am sent on a trip with Delta by my employer.

Have a great day,
 
neveragain
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:00 pm

Quoting mariner (Reply 2):
Where - exactly - does he say he has "ambitious" plans for MKE?
Quoting LoneStarMike (Reply 3):
It's the caption of the photo of Gary Kelly
Quoting mariner (Reply 5):
I know that - but Mr. Kelly doesn't say it.

  

All in all it appears Kelly gave quite the honest, direct interview without any fluff. That's hard to come by from airline executives when asked questions like the ones it appears he was asked. The piece itself was also relatively restrained, with the exception perhaps of this paragraph and its implication:

If history is any indication, Southwest is likely to expand its presence in Milwaukee. In cities where it has become the dominant carrier - St. Louis, Kansas City, Mo., Baltimore, Nashville, Tenn., San Diego to name a few - the airline has started small and grown almost exponentially.

Quoting LV (Reply 4):
Hum, this could scuttle my theory that WN is destined to expand at STL. I always figured it was going to be MKE or STL and sounds like it's going to be MKE.

I think you read way too much into the article.


Quoting mke717spotter (Reply 8):
He didn't say the exact word, but some of the other things he said seem to hint towards some kind of "ambitious" plan.
Quoting mariner (Reply 9):
That doesn't read as "ambitious" to me - it reads as completely open-ended, covering all his bases, as he should.

I agree.

Quoting mke717spotter (Reply 8):
"My hope is that we can sustain that in the near term and grow that in the longer term."

I'd sure as hell hope so. And I'd expect he'd say that about every market.

Quoting mke717spotter (Reply 8):
"We are doing combat with an inconsistent economy and also high fuel prices. That's the only thing that tempers my enthusiasm here in the near term."

"Adding service with these fuel prices is probably a stretch."

Quoting mke717spotter (Reply 8):
"I think we have a great product for business travelers. We'll need that support from Milwaukee. We're going to work hard to earn it. That I'll guarantee."

"Since we have all of this service in Milwaukee, it probably makes sense to try to fill the seats. I think we do a pretty good job. I hope Milwaukee sees it. And we're going to do our best--as we do in every market we serve--to earn the loyalty of local travelers."

Quoting mke717spotter (Reply 8):
"I do think there is a very good opportunity here. But in the end, we're going to have to make it happen. We're going to have to serve the market. We're going to have to have the flights. We're going to have to win the business. And then, business is going to have to support us. I have very high hopes for our success here."

"I hope we succeed in Milwaukee and that people here like us."

Quoting mariner (Reply 9):
"I've always felt like Milwaukee had the prospect of being a 50-flight a day market," Kelly said. "Whether it ends up at 35 or 75, who knows?"

This says it all and is why I have respect for the guy. Instead of wanting to give the newspaper a quote that says, "Sure, if conditions are right, we could have 100 flights a day here," (which is essentially saying the same thing as the above) only to be quoted 2 years later when the number of flights hasn't changed, he has, as mariner said, covered all his bases. Who knows what the airline operating environment in 2 years will look like? I'm sure Kelly has some pretty good, well informed guesses, but even he knows he doesn't know the answer to that question.
 
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:23 pm

Quoting iowaman (Reply 17):
50 daily

So they're at 50 today, Kelly said he sees MKE as a "50 a day market," and the ambitious plans are… where? 50 flights plus or minus 15 seems to be pretty much business as usual, no?
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ouboy79
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:02 pm

Quoting N766UA (Reply 21):
So they're at 50 today, Kelly said he sees MKE as a "50 a day market," and the ambitious plans are… where? 50 flights plus or minus 15 seems to be pretty much business as usual, no?

One thing to keep in mind is that when Kelly is speaking in this context, he is likely speaking about WN-branded operations. So going by the list above, that would imply those 16 FL flights will get replaced by a number close to that on the WN side. I'm sure the destination will change some, but capacity will probably see an equal trade off.
 
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:06 pm

Quoting jpetekyxmd80 (Reply 12):
I'm going to go out on a limb and say you have a very limited sample size. Clearly Southwest has done well relative the industry in this department, regardless of our limited anecdotes.

MKE's airline service has gone from 'controlled boarding with class' to 'cattle car no-class' within 4 years. The typical, a few times a year flyer will not be flocking to WN unless there is no other option.

Quoting jpetekyxmd80 (Reply 12):
Does anyone believe this? Prices have raised on routes where they've become dominant. Significantly. Why would anyone expect any different?

Unlike other carriers that have gouged passengers on routes that they dominated (YX & NW, for example), WN has not demonstrated that behaior. This may be why they are so highly regarded by others, have been profitable for 39 straight years, and have grown to the largest US carrier. While your premise is that big business is bad for the consumer, WN proves just the opposite. One of the reasons that MKE fares are lower than most markets is due to WN's presence.
 
iowaman
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:15 pm

Quoting SurfandSnow (Reply 18):
Was I the only one in a state of absolute shock when WN announced that it would be taking on FL routes like MKE-SFO and MKE-MSY

SFO has healthy enough O&D to/from MKE to maintain a couple daily no problem. MKE-MSY can support one flight a day at most probably. I guess SFO doesn't surprise me but MSY was nice to see kept. OAK would offer significantly more connections, however (especially southern California and PDX/SEA) but it does not appear OAK has many connecting passengers from MKE, and WN stated their primary goal is O&D not connecting passengers. One more thing to consider is It would seem reasonable to assume MKE-OAK would be a substitute for many if it offered instead of MKE-SFO.

Quoting N766UA (Reply 21):
daily
So they're at 50 today, Kelly said he sees MKE as a "50 a day market," and the ambitious plans are… where? 50 flights plus or minus 15 seems to be pretty much business as usual, no?

Nothing earth shaterring that's for sure. I would guess over the next few years we may see some of the following: HOU, DAL (once it is allowed), BNA, SAN, STL. Again the problem with some of these routes is there are "bigger fish to fry right now."

Kevin  
 
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:16 pm

Quoting IllinoisMan (Reply 23):
The typical, a few times a year flyer will not be flocking to WN unless there is no other option.

Quite the contrary. I personally don't fly WN for the same reasons as many others (and have the same strong, probably irrational reaction to flying WN), but they carry more domestic passengers than any airline in the country. They are quite a convenient and desirable option for people who do not fly frequently, even more so these days because of the absence of checked bag fees.

Quoting IllinoisMan (Reply 23):
Unlike other carriers that have gouged passengers on routes that they dominated (YX & NW, for example), WN has not demonstrated that behaior. This may be why they are so highly regarded by others, have been profitable for 39 straight years, and have grown to the largest US carrier. While your premise is that big business is bad for the consumer, WN proves just the opposite. One of the reasons that MKE fares are lower than most markets is due to WN's presence.

You seem to contradict yourself here.
 
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mariner
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:38 pm

Quoting IllinoisMan (Reply 23):
Unlike other carriers that have gouged passengers on routes that they dominated (YX & NW, for example), WN has not demonstrated that behaior.

Southwest has either initiated or validated all the fare price hikes of the past two years. If Southwest doesn't go along with a price hike started by another airline, it gets rescinded:

http://www.dallasnews.com/business/c...tage-in-southwest-airlines-2.0.ece

"Passenger revenue growth has been huge since the recession, a tribute to Southwest’s ability to expand and dictate prices. It’s increased fares five times this year, following eight increases last year."

The one thing that was clear from the Airtran/Frontier battle was that passengers will flock to MKE - if the fares are low enough. The price was high, as we saw in Q1, 2011, when both airlines reported operating losses of tens of millions of dollars.

The last thing Southwest wants, these days, is that same situation, because of its own internal issues - it's costs are too high.

From the above, very well written article:

"Southwest’s big problem is on the expense side of the ledger. Pilots, for instance, are paid twice as much, on average, as a decade ago, the result of good raises and 10 more years of seniority.

In 2001, Southwest’s labor costs were significantly lower than those of its legacy rivals. Last year, Southwest paid more than every other carrier except American Airlines — and American is in the process of slashing that measure with the help of a New York court.

Southwest’s “unit costs have now increased for 10 straight years, and we don’t expect that trend to change anytime soon,” analyst Hunter Keay wrote this month."


Southwest is fully aware of the problem, it's planning to cut $100 million from the debit side and has put the brakes on growth:

"One final advantage that’s faded: growth. After decades of expansion, Southwest has trimmed seats from its schedule through the first nine months of the year. And Kelly said that won’t change until results improve."

I have little doubt that Southwest will achieve its goals but it is why I find the unrealistic comments of the JS article so unfortunate, as is this:

http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee...teman-airport-has-hitched-its.html

"Bateman: Airport has 'hitched its wagon' to Southwest

Southwest Airlines represents the present and future of nonstop air service out of General Mitchell International Airport, airport director Barry Bateman said Wednesday.

“Our wagon is really hitched to Southwest for future nonstop service"


Where does that leave, say, Delta, which like Northwest before it, has shown a clear intention to reinforce its presence at MKE?

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GentFromAlaska
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:50 pm

Quoting LV (Reply 4):
this could scuttle my theory that WN is destined to expand at STL
Quoting CIDFlyer (Reply 6):
I dont see MKE being anything more than 50 flts/day.
Quoting jporterfi (Reply 7):
I agree that MKE is not destined to be a top destination for WN.

With eighty miles separating MKE-MDW I see this as a realization MDW with WN significant presence may be nearing capacity with MKE serving serve as an overflow market.
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Cubsrule
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:43 pm

Quoting neveragain (Reply 25):
They are quite a convenient and desirable option for people who do not fly frequently, even more so these days because of the absence of checked bag fees.

For folks who do fly frequently and live in their larger cities, they are a vital option as well.

And even when someone else has a similar schedule, I may fly WN. At least I know they will treat me like a human being and - unlike AA - are likely to be fairly punctual.
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mke717spotter
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:38 pm

Quoting jporterfi (Reply 7):
Also, WN has a huge presence at MDW, which is relatively close to MKE.
Quoting jetblueguy22 (Reply 10):
But like mentioned above, how much are they really going to do there with MDW just what, an hour away?
Quoting GentFromAlaska (Reply 27):
With eighty miles separating MKE-MDW I see this as a realization MDW with WN significant presence may be nearing capacity with MKE serving serve as an overflow market.

It may only be around 80-90 miles that separate the two, but its a two hour drive, if not more, so I think the cannibalization effect is minimal. Someone who lives in Milwaukee probably isn't going to drive down to MDW, and the same thing could be said about those on the south side of Chicago in regards to MKE.
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jpetekyxmd80
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:58 pm

Quoting IllinoisMan (Reply 23):
MKE's airline service has gone from 'controlled boarding with class' to 'cattle car no-class' within 4 years.

We get it, you don't like their boarding. It has pros and cons. Not really sure what point you are trying to make other than reminding us they have different procedures than Midwest, Frontier and AirTran.

Quoting IllinoisMan (Reply 23):
Unlike other carriers that have gouged passengers on routes that they dominated (YX & NW, for example)

Clearly NW was very protectionist in their big markets. But i'm confused, on one hand you bemoan a high-class, high-service airline like YX not being able to continue success in the 21st century, but then also call them gougers? Clearly their traditional model required a premium. Which is it?

Quoting IllinoisMan (Reply 23):
WN has not demonstrated that behaior.

Historically, no. Today..yes! All over. Only logical given their progression.

Quoting IllinoisMan (Reply 23):
While your premise is that big business is bad for the consumer, WN proves just the opposite.

That' not exactly my premise. Market domination and protectionism are bad for the consumer. WN strives for both these days, when they can. That's why they've been explicitly trying to kill Frontier for years. They're no saints, they're like other big airlines now. They have certainly not grown to be the exception to the rule. I can't decide; do you love WN or hate WN ?

I like competition, I like underdogs keeping the big guys honest. I just worry the 'next' Southwest will be a lot crappier than the original. Obviously besides Midwest's survival, I'd most have liked to have seen what AirTran would've done stand alone.

Quoting IllinoisMan (Reply 23):
One of the reasons that MKE fares are lower than most markets is due to WN's presence.

Sorry, that's not even remotely true. The only way you could claim that is if we made a hypothetical after eliminating YX, F9 and FL from our collective consciousness like they never existed.
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Cubsrule
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:51 pm

Quoting jpetekyxmd80 (Reply 30):
That's why they've been explicitly trying to kill Frontier for years. They're no saints, they're like other big airlines now.

On which of WN's monopoly routes are refundable tickets in excess of $4 per mile?

WN may be more like legacies than they used to be as far as "anticompetitive" behavior. There's still a gulf of difference, however.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
jpetekyxmd80
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:59 pm

I was referring more to predatory practices than fare structure, but you're right on that account, that is an advantage of their presence in a market.
The Best Care in the Air, 1984-2009
 
jporterfi
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:34 pm

Quoting mke717spotter (Reply 29):

I was more referring to having two hubs with a large percentage of connecting passengers so close together by air, not necessarily to cannibalization. Of course there's nothing wrong with doing that, but as has been discussed, that's not the only thing stopping WN from growing MKE into an MDW-size operation.
 
airliner371
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:40 pm

Quoting IllinoisMan (Reply 23):
The typical, a few times a year flyer will not be flocking to WN unless there is no other option.

Yeah, the largest domestic airline in the world won't get any infrequent flyer.

Quoting IllinoisMan (Reply 23):
MKE's airline service has gone from 'controlled boarding with class' to 'cattle car no-class' within 4 years.

ANOTHER biased opinionated post from you. We get it, you don't like any airline other then Midwest or Delta. You don't have to keep repeating yourself.

[Edited 2012-10-28 16:42:38]
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aa777lvr
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Mon Oct 29, 2012 12:51 am

Quoting IllinoisMan (Thread starter):
Say hello to the cattle car flights MKE...Is this how low Milwaukee has sunk, that WN is now the "desired" airline in the city? Yes, YX is gone, mostly because people are only after "cheap" and not good. If you thought the service on F9 was bad, try flying this airline. I have yet to be on a flight of WN that is on time, or where anyone at the gate or on the plane was friendly, or even polite. For me, I'll choose DL every time, even if it means changing planes.

Spoken like a true entitled prick. True, WN is never going to kiss your hmmm..... Platinum or Diamond Medallion ass. The thing I appreciate about WN (and fly them any chance I can get out of MKE) is that they''re fair to the masses. Their fares are reasonable, the lack of bag charges are a perk (especially for a family traveling with kids' crap), their crews were pleasant (moreso than the majority at AA I was used to when I worked there), their snacks are perk and their WiFi charges at $5 are equally reasonable. Their planes are comfortable (even for those who never see a cabin any further aft than first/business class on DL). Their planes are mostly on-time and their boarding process is efficient and fair.

Illinois man....there's a reason those of us north of the state line refer to you from the Land of Lincoln as FIBS.

-AA777LVR
 
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TVNWZ
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:06 am

Quoting IllinoisMan (Reply 23):
MKE's airline service has gone from 'controlled boarding with class' to 'cattle car no-class' within 4 years. The typical, a few times a year flyer will not be flocking to WN unless there is no other option.

Nonsense. I fly DL a lot and WN a few times. I find the gate lice situation at Delta to be a lot more 'cattle car no-class' boarding process than WN. You literally have to push your way past everyone lined up at the gate to get aboard if you are in the PREM or SKY zone. It's amazing how many people try to sneak aboard before their zone is called. It can be, literally, a free for all. Part of this is because everyone is paranoid that they will not get the overhead space they need and want to get any leg up on their fellow travelers that they can get.

Meanwhile, at WN I have found everyone lines up by the numbers. Nice, neat and single file and just file on when their group and numbers are called. No reason to push, step on, or shove anyone out of the way. I understand the old days with the plastic boarding cards when everyone pushed to get aboard. But with the numbered system now in use, it has always been orderly and methodical when I must travel them. And, since they don't charge a baggage fee, there appears to be smaller, and fewer, bags being dragged on board. Hmmm.

It appears to me that you don 't really go to the airport much and fly the airlines you are talking about even less.
 
WNCrew
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:50 am

Quoting TVNWZ (Reply 36):
It appears to me that you don 't really go to the airport much and fly the airlines you are talking about even less.

Obviously.... ; )

...but it's "COOL" to refer to WN as "cattle-car" despite the facts..... sigh...
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
iFlyLOTs
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:26 am

Quoting IllinoisMan (Reply 23):
The typical, a few times a year flyer will not be flocking to WN unless there is no other option.

My guess is thats who they're really targeting. You get a seat, friendly service and you don't have to pay for bags, why not fly WN if you're just going to fly with them a few times a year. It typically works out to be cheaper with a low cost carrier..  
"...stay hungry, stay foolish" -Steve Jobs
 
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illinoisman
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:16 am

Quoting mariner (Reply 26):
The one thing that was clear from the Airtran/Frontier battle was that passengers will flock to MKE - if the fares are low enough. The price was high, as we saw in Q1, 2011, when both airlines reported operating losses of tens of millions of dollars.

The last thing Southwest wants, these days, is that same situation, because of its own internal issues - it's costs are too high.

In WN's case, I think their declining financial results have something to do with rapid expansion + ending of fuel hedges made years ago = lower profits. It could only be a matter of time before the executives grow WN into a legacy carrier. They now have the highest labor costs in the industry and it wouldn't surprise me to see them to go through bankruptcy just like everyone else. Even with their rosy relationship with the employees I doubt the workforce will give up their hard earned salaries and benefits without a fight.

Quoting jpetekyxmd80 (Reply 30):
I can't decide; do you love WN or hate WN ?

I really don't like WN's open-seating policy, their attitude, or their ugly color scheme. Maybe if they would stop treating us like cattle, I'd give them another chance. "Now boarding Group B, everyone rush to your seat and climb over people."

Quoting airliner371 (Reply 34):
We get it, you don't like any airline other then Midwest or Delta. You don't have to keep repeating yourself.

Well, I really do miss the old YX. Their 717s with signature seating were great. An FL hub at MKE would've been the next best thing. They had Wifi/XM radio on EVERY flight, the lowest baggage mishandle rate in the industry, fewer passenger complaints, newer planes, and better reliability. Where are all the short-sighted folks who thought it was a bad idea for FL to acquire YX? The scenario played out predictably. FL promised to expand at MKE with or without YX and guess what - they did. YX had a perfect "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" opportunity but corporate and community pride got in the way.

Quoting TVNWZ (Reply 36):
Nonsense. I fly DL a lot and WN a few times. I find the gate lice situation at Delta to be a lot more 'cattle car no-class' boarding process than WN.

While some will always believe saving $15-$25 a trip is worth all the inconveniences of flying WN, I and others avoid it like the plague. I just think that for a city like Milwaukee who grew to appreciate the service and comfort of YX, WN is on the opposite end of the spectrum and I for one think Milwaukee deserves better.
 
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mariner
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:32 am

Quoting IllinoisMan (Reply 39):
Where are all the short-sighted folks who thought it was a bad idea for FL to acquire YX? The scenario played out predictably. FL promised to expand at MKE with or without YX and guess what - they did. YX had a perfect "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" opportunity but corporate and community pride got in the way.

And where is Airtran now?

mariner
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jpetekyxmd80
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:32 am

Quoting IllinoisMan (Reply 39):
Well, I really do miss the old YX. Their 717s with signature seating were great. An FL hub at MKE would've been the next best thing. They had Wifi/XM radio on EVERY flight, the lowest baggage mishandle rate in the industry, fewer passenger complaints, newer planes, and better reliability. Where are all the short-sighted folks who thought it was a bad idea for FL to acquire YX?

That's the problem. It was best thing vs. next best thing. But the next best thing needed to topple the best thing. I'm one of those people you speak of, and you seem like you'd have been as well. In retrospect the way things worked out with Republic/Frontier, heck yeah I wish I had felt differently. But fortunately or unfortunately, it seems like we arrived at the same destination either way. I do not think a combined FL/YX would have prevented a WN takeover. It would have ultimately only increased the size of AirTran by 20% or less.

[Edited 2012-10-28 21:33:57]
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airliner371
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:34 am

Quoting IllinoisMan (Reply 39):
While some will always believe saving $15-$25 a trip is worth all the inconveniences of flying WN, I and others avoid it like the plague.
Quoting IllinoisMan (Reply 39):
"Now boarding Group B, everyone rush to your seat and climb over people."

So the last time you flew was 2007; because thats the last time they used the boarding you describe? A lot of things have changed since then, including their boarding process. No one can get you to try WN but you are living in the past. And to the inconveniences of flying WN.... clearly their aren't many since SWA is the largest domestic airline. People wouldn't fly them if they felt inconvenienced. If you are going to live in 2007 and prior and not update your knowledge or in this case dated opinions then no one will respect you or your posts.
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mke717spotter
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:40 am

Quoting IllinoisMan (Reply 39):
I just think that for a city like Milwaukee who grew to appreciate the service and comfort of YX, WN is on the opposite end of the spectrum and I for one think Milwaukee deserves better.

I'm glad WN is at MKE, and ever since they entered the market they've sort of been my airline of choice. I go to school in Arizona and whenever I come home for visits its usually on WN. That said, they may not be perfect, but if they bring more direct flights and lower fares, who can complain? Its a good thing I don't have to drive all the way down to MDW to fly them - the few times I did it was a nightmare trying to find parking!
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mariner
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:51 am

Quoting jpetekyxmd80 (Reply 41):
I do not think a combined FL/YX would have prevented a WN takeover.

Everyone seems to forget that the Airtran CEO said - after the event - that acquiring Midwest would probably have pushed Airtran into bankruptcy.

It would have paid nearly half a billion dollars for an insolvent Midwest just before the GFC struck and oil skyrocketed again.

We know what TPG thought Midwest was worth in 2009 - $6 million cash and a few shares in Republic.

We also know what Delta thought Midwest was worth in 2009 - a big fat zero.

mariner

[Edited 2012-10-28 21:58:20]
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jpetekyxmd80
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:58 am

That's a good point. AirTran ultimately accomplished most of what they wanted without taking on the baggage. Theres no way a merger would've left a combined entity better off.

I really dont like WN+FL. From a customer/enthusiast perspective.

[Edited 2012-10-28 21:59:48]
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ouboy79
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:06 am

Quoting IllinoisMan (Reply 39):
In WN's case, I think their declining financial results have something to do with rapid expansion + ending of fuel hedges made years ago = lower profits. It could only be a matter of time before the executives grow WN into a legacy carrier. They now have the highest labor costs in the industry and it wouldn't surprise me to see them to go through bankruptcy just like everyone else. Even with their rosy relationship with the employees I doubt the workforce will give up their hard earned salaries and benefits without a fight.

I doubt you'll see wage concessions at WN and the talk of bankruptcy right now is really premature. You'll see work rules concessions and probably buyouts again before anything else. Once you clear out a lot of the people that are topped out, it'll help bring costs back down a bunch. Not to mention the revenue benefits once the FL network is fully dissolved and all the cities are in the WN network.

Quoting IllinoisMan (Reply 39):
I really don't like WN's open-seating policy, their attitude, or their ugly color scheme. Maybe if they would stop treating us like cattle, I'd give them another chance. "Now boarding Group B, everyone rush to your seat and climb over people."

I've come across a couple cold attitudes on WN, but never anything that was rude. Just not warm and mushy. I've seen the same on the others all the time as well. If you are going to judge air service based on color scheme, then you are just grasping at straws, so I'll just pass over that one. The seating policy right now, which others are pointing out that you may not be aware of how it goes now, is pretty organized and straight forward. You get a boarding group letter and position number. A1-15, 16-30, 31-60, B1-30, etc...all board at their respective times. Very orderly and rarely have an issues with it. I don't see how it is any different than Zone boarding that other carriers do, except for the fact that people aren't grabbing the first available seat or a seat of their choice. They are having to wait for their seat 4 rows back for someone else in front of them. I find the WN boarding process to go a bit quicker. Granted there are much better options out there (back to front, windows to aisles, etc).

Quoting IllinoisMan (Reply 39):
While some will always believe saving $15-$25 a trip is worth all the inconveniences of flying WN, I and others avoid it like the plague. I just think that for a city like Milwaukee who grew to appreciate the service and comfort of YX, WN is on the opposite end of the spectrum and I for one think Milwaukee deserves better.

Which is your choice. WN is still the largest domestic airline. We aren't going to win everyone over. There are people that just simply don't like the product, and that's okay. However, when they are needing to get somewhere last minute and the full Y fare is nearly half of the next company's (and we can add in Business Select for $16 more for priority boarding, free drink, extra points, priority checking/security), then we'll treat them the same as our most loyal pax and get them to where they need to be safely.
 
737tdi
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:15 am

Quoting IllinoisMan (Reply 23):
MKE's airline service has gone from 'controlled boarding with class' to 'cattle car no-class' within 4 years. The typical, a few times a year flyer will not be flocking to WN unless there is no other option.




Well then, fly Delta! More power to you. IMO WN treats all of it's passengers as first class. No curtain to be drawn to shut out the scum, right? Why in the world would anyone pay for a first/business class seat for a intra-contienental flight? You don't need to sleep! It just amazes me that folks will pay at least triple the price of a ticket to ride in first class on a intermediate flight.

I don't think this post was made to point out the article. It was made to degrade LCCs at MKE. Just my opinion of course. WN provides a product just like any other business, if you like the product, use it, if not, don't. Not a difficult concept. Buy your tires from the Dealer or buy them from a discount tire place. The tires end up being the same in the end but one was way overpriced. See ya.
 
dlflynhayn
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RE: WN CEO: "Ambitious" Plans For MKE

Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:21 pm

Cattle drive haha!! I agree it's crowded at the gates sometimes for DL but I'll take that over WN any day. You can bend it anyway you want it's still a cattle drive when your in that plane trying to find a seat bumping in to each other that's irritating.

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