GSP psgr wrote:
Looks like GSP is still there. Flights available in July.
WN should give GSP-BWI a second chance with 2x daily, or 3x daily and just run BWI service and not ATL. If BWI can get the government gateway traffic, connecting traffic, O&D traffic that bleeds to CLT, and from the north it can get traffic that would otherwise use DCA or PHL, it should have a chance.
When GSP originally opened, WN offered a number of flights but connections weren't necessarily routed through BWI, with BNA, HOU and MDW involved. Then the FL acquisition happened, and WN was serving CLT-BWI and ATL-BWI - GSP was second fiddle to those airports. WN tinkered with GSP-BWI as 1x daily in the evening (mistake there) and then cut GSP-BWI altogether. The route was diluted, then trimmed to a crappy schedule. Meanwhile it's compared to CHS (the success story) and GSP gets the bad rap as if it's the failure of the market.
IIRC, they finally upped GSP-BWI back to 2x daily, bringing back the AM flight just before they cut it. Which was bizarre.
WN made a few mistakes at GSP:
1) They let Allegiant beat them there. I think WN would have cleaned up with their daily MCO service, but Allegiant established themselves in the market first.
2) WN tried to do too much at once when they started. Instead of starting with 7 flights and 5 markets (HOU, MDW, BWI, MCO, BNA), they'd have been better off starting with maybe 5 flights to 3 markets (BWI, MDW, and one of BNA/HOU). As I recall, the BNA flight was not all that well timed either, which probably contributed to it being a dog.
3) WN almost immediately undercut GSP by adding both CLT and ATL.
Adding to the difficulties is the fact that they lack a clear cut massive Southern operation, like exists at DEN (mountain west), MDW (Midwest), BWI (Mid-Atlantic). When they bought FL, ATL was that size, but they've since shrunk it by about a third, and it has relatively limited International and West Coast service and some holes to Northeastern markets. BNA's growing, but isn't yet as big as ATL (once concourse D is built and AA moved from C, it might get there). BWI's a tad far North to serve flows to Florida, which ATL allows them to do.
Honestly, I'd be happy to see WN grow to something like (AM flights to ATL, MDW, BWI; noon to ATL; PM to BWI and ATL). More realistically, an AM to MDW or HOU would fill out most of the big holes Westbound at least.
Southwest actually needed GSP-HOU nonstop service when it started service out of GSP since DAL was still subject to Wright Amendment restrictions when Southwest first started service out of GSP, since Southwest could connect passengers going between GSP and DAL through HOU, and since Southwest did not operate under the Southwest brand in ATL when it first started service out of GSP. Southwest can actually now connect passengers from GSP to DAL through ATL with the repeal of the Wright Amendment, with the completion of the integration of AirTran into Southwest, with Southwest adding DAL-ATL nonstop service, and with Southwest adding ATL-GSP nonstop service.
Southwest has nonstop international service to SJD, PVR, MEX, BZE, LIR, and SJO from HOU but not from ATL, and Southwest was able to connect passengers from GSP to these international destinations through HOU for a few months. Even though Southwest no longer needs GSP-HOU nonstop service to connect passengers to DAL, AUS, and SAT with the addition of GSP-ATL nonstop service, Southwest could provide easier access to international destinations from GSP if it brings back GSP-HOU nonstop service.
MDW was one of the top destinations at GSP right before Southwest discontinued MDW-GSP nonstop service, and there was actually more demand to MDW than there was to ORD back in March 2016 (according to the BTS statistics for GSP). Southwest should not have dropped MDW-GSP nonstop service and Southwest probably should bring back MDW-GSP nonstop service if it is planning on continuing service out of GSP. In addition, Southwest could connect passengers to OMA, SLC, SEA, PDX, and SMF from GSP through MDW when it served MDW nonstop from GSP, but Southwest is not able to connect passengers to these destinations from GSP with a single connection when it discontinued GSP-MDW nonstop service.
There are many destinations in the Northeast that Southwest serves nonstop from BWI but not from ATL, including BUF, ROC, ALB, ISP, BDL, PVD, MHT, and PWM, and Southwest is no longer able to connect passengers to these destinations with a single connection with the discontinuation of BWI-GSP nonstop service.
Southwest actually did lose business, market share, and connecting opportunities at GSP by dropping nonstop service from GSP to MDW, BWI, and HOU. On the other hand, Southwest could provide easier connections from GSP to its DAL home base, plus MCI, STL, IND, and MKE in the Midwest, plus JAX, MCO, TPA, RSW, PBI, and FLL in Florida, plus PHL and RIC on the East Coast by adding GSP-ATL nonstop service.
I do agree that Southwest did make some mistakes at GSP, and I do agree that Southwest serving only ATL nonstop from GSP is one of those mistakes, especially with ATL being only 154 miles from GSP, with Southwest's GSP-ATL nonstop service going head-to-head with Delta Air Lines, with Delta able to connect passengers from GSP to the very same destinations through its main ATL hub, with Southwest not serving destinations other than ATL nonstop from GSP, and with Southwest losing business and market share at GSP by only serving ATL nonstop from GSP.