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TSA125
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Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 6:03 am

For a while, I've observed that WN rarely ever fits into the "low-cost carrier" requirements, at least in terms of airfare.

In most instances, it is far more expensive to fly WN than Spirit/Frontier. And more interestingly, it's often cheaper to fly the US3 legacy carriers than WN! This is based on several roundtrip airfares I've looked at from MDW, however, it also applies to most of WN's hubs.

Even in its advertising of "cheap fares," one-way tickets are marketed as maybe $69 on a good day for one short route. Whereas the other aforementioned carriers have far greater and more frequent deals.

Is WN that great at selling seats that it need not discount its airfare as heavily as the other LCCs and the US3's Basic Economy products? Is it right to consider WN an LCC in the first place?
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 6:14 am

No, they're not. They once were, but now they're just a full service airline. Their pricing is reasonable, but not the very cheapest like Spirit and Frontier.

I guess you can consider Southwest a LCC if you need all additional extras. If you need checked luggage Southwest might just be cheaper than the competition, but they're not keeping up with modern development. Today people don't need luggage anymore and just by excluding that airlines like Spirit and Frontier are able to be cheaper than Southwest.
 
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TWA772LR
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 6:18 am

Low cost means low operating/business costs.
PatrickZ80 wrote:
but they're not keeping up with modern development.

Dont get me started...
When wasn't America great?


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rutankrd
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 6:22 am

TWA772LR correct LCC is a business model based on out sourcing just about everything including crew in extreme cases .

What people confuse is the front end .

Almost all these companies operate a complex algorithm for fare modelling - they are far better called flexible fares carriers imho.

LCC does not mean LOW fares never did - that’s just marketing !

And ULCC is ever more meaningless
 
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compensateme
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 6:26 am

Another topic that comes up weekly... WN is very much a LCC. There is an LA Times article from 1989, discussing the demise of PSA and quoting the CEO of USAir as describing OW$100 — then the new lowest fare on LAX/OAK-SFO-SJC — as being “fair priced.” Then WN became the 800 lb. gorilla in the market and 29 years later, you can regularly purchase tickets for $39-$59. Just because other airline have adapted, doesn’t mean WN still doesn’t have an impact.

It goes beyond fares. WN permits two free checked bags + one full sized carryon, and does not charge a change fee. The legacies’ lowest fares are often Basic Economy, which permits NO changes.
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TWA772LR
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 6:33 am

rutankrd wrote:
TWA772LR correct LCC is a business model based on out sourcing just about everything including crew in extreme cases .

What people confuse is the front end .

Almost all these companies operate a complex algorithm for fare modelling - they are far better called flexible fares carriers imho.

LCC does not mean LOW fares never did - that’s just marketing !

And ULCC is ever more meaningless

Southwest actually doesnt have that much outsourced work. Granted some smaller stations are outsourced, but there is a threshold to be met to gain direct-hire employees. And as far as HDQ goes, there is a fair bit of temp workers, and a lot of them hire on after their term/project ends.

And Thanks :)
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N415XJ
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 7:11 am

PatrickZ80 wrote:
Today people don't need luggage anymore

? Unless you're some sort of packing wizard or are going on a trip of longer than about 3 days you're going to need checked luggage. No matter how advanced our fancy new tech age gets people are still going to be going on long trips where they'll need more than what you can fit in a carry on.
Or maybe I've misunderstood your point.
 
pdp
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 7:55 am

N415XJ wrote:
PatrickZ80 wrote:
Today people don't need luggage anymore

? Unless you're some sort of packing wizard or are going on a trip of longer than about 3 days you're going to need checked luggage. No matter how advanced our fancy new tech age gets people are still going to be going on long trips where they'll need more than what you can fit in a carry on.
Or maybe I've misunderstood your point.


The girlfriend and I regularly pack for 5-7 nights in a standard euro LCC carry on... It's possible with some tight packing!

LCCs do not equal cheap, just cheaper than the legacies.
 
alesfr
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 8:28 am

If we talk of fares and services provides, I wonder what's the difference today between low cost and majors. I can talk about Europe, where I regularly fly Air France, British, KLM or Lufthansa because their fares are very competitive with those proposed by EasyJet for example. Other times low cost are better because for the same price they take you from A to B without stopover. You can chose wether to pay for checked luggage or not, and their aircraft are more comfortable (talking of cabin aspect and cleanliness).

If we look at the corporate structure and airline operations things change completely I suppose...
A318 A319 A320 A320N A321 A333 ATR72 BAE146 B735 B737 B738 B742 B753 B763 B772 B773 B789 CRJ200 CRJ700 CRJ1000 DASH8 ERJ135 ERJ145 E170 E190 F100 MD82 S2000
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 8:33 am

N415XJ wrote:
? Unless you're some sort of packing wizard or are going on a trip of longer than about 3 days you're going to need checked luggage. No matter how advanced our fancy new tech age gets people are still going to be going on long trips where they'll need more than what you can fit in a carry on.
Or maybe I've misunderstood your point.


I can easily go for a week or longer on a hand luggage size suitcase, done so quite a few times. It's all a matter of priorities and whatever you can buy at your destination you don't need to bring along. Once met a guy who went for a couple of weeks with no luggage at all, just a passport and that's it. If he needed something on the way he bought it locally. That included clothes as well.

That's the modern age and Southwest never adapted to it. They still think the old-fashioned way by including everything for "free". Of course it's not really free, it's included in the ticket price. That ticket price could be lower if it wasn't free.

A real LCC does everything to offer the lowest possible price. Any expenses that can be cut are being cut. Any extra income that can be generated is generated. Southwest doesn't do that, therefor they're no LCC.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 8:41 am

pdp wrote:
LCCs do not equal cheap, just cheaper than the legacies.


Actually it's the legacies that adapted their prices to the LCCs.

In my opinion there's one airline that can be called the king of LCCs, that's Ryanair. Ryanair has set an example, lead the way for other LCCs. Both in Europe and in other parts of the world. Air Asia for example have shaped their business model after Ryanair. Wizzair is almost identical to Ryanair. And in the USA you see Spirit and Frontier more or less following what Ryanair is doing in Europe. But Southwest doesn't follow Ryanair, they stick to their own business model. Michael O'Leary may have looked at Southwest when he came up with the idea for the business model for Ryanair, but he improved it. Southwest was never improved.
 
Cubsrule
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 12:15 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
A real LCC does everything to offer the lowest possible price. Any expenses that can be cut are being cut. Any extra income that can be generated is generated. Southwest doesn't do that, therefor they're no LCC.


This definition makes no sense because “LCC” refers to costs, not pricing. Putting that aside, though, WN has never met your definition. They outsource less than just about anybody. WN pilots and flight attendants operate every WN flight and always have. WN rampers and CSAs handle well more than 95 percent of WN flights. You evidently think those are bad things. I applaud WN for them.
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MIflyer12
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 12:18 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
No, they're not. They once were, but now they're just a full service airline.


Carriers without premium cabins, seat assignments, meal service or even buy-on-board food are not full-service airlines. Maybe your expectations have been dumbed-down by Ryanair.
 
BerenErchamion
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 12:25 pm

rutankrd wrote:
TWA772LR correct LCC is a business model based on out sourcing just about everything including crew in extreme cases .

What people confuse is the front end .

Almost all these companies operate a complex algorithm for fare modelling - they are far better called flexible fares carriers imho.

LCC does not mean LOW fares never did - that’s just marketing !

And ULCC is ever more meaningless


"Low cost" doesn't mean "low price."

"Low cost" means that they've managed to keep their operating costs relatively low, which means that they can (but don't have to) offer significantly lower fares than competitors when doing so makes business sense.
 
kalvado
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 12:52 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
PatrickZ80 wrote:
No, they're not. They once were, but now they're just a full service airline.


Carriers without premium cabins, seat assignments, meal service or even buy-on-board food are not full-service airlines. Maybe your expectations have been dumbed-down by Ryanair.

Carries without real service to passengers, such as US3, are not really full service as well.
Premium cabin services are used by single digits percentage of passengers, while small pitch and routine disconnects are fed to majority.
 
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compensateme
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 1:06 pm

These threads are always really silly. Don’t think WN is a LCC? Look at CVG-CHI — before WN entered then market, the lowest OW fares were in the mid-$200 range, but after WN arrived, they dropped below $100. After WN withdrew from DAY, the reverse happened.

Fact is, WN has never been “always the cheapest,” nor will it ever be. That’s because once it enters a market, the legacies drop their fares, and whoever’s the lowest can vary based upon inventory. That’s basic business — one can only reign in cost leadership for so long.

But that doesn’t mean WN isn’t the 800 lb. gorilla in driving airfares in the USA. If WN upped its lowest fares/sale fares, you can bet your booty the legacies will too.
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Aliqiout
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 1:45 pm

N415XJ wrote:
PatrickZ80 wrote:
Today people don't need luggage anymore

? Unless you're some sort of packing wizard or are going on a trip of longer than about 3 days you're going to need checked luggage. No matter how advanced our fancy new tech age gets people are still going to be going on long trips where they'll need more than what you can fit in a carry on.
Or maybe I've misunderstood your point.

My family of four takes two 10-21 day intercontinental trips with carry on bags only, not to mention numerous domestic trips. The last time anyone in my family checked a bag was when we were moving.

You don't really need all that stuff.
 
DesertAir
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 1:49 pm

This summer I needed to cancel a vacation trip, use the funds for a family issue, rebook and then cancel. All of this without change fees. For me, WN is an LCC.
 
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compensateme
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:21 pm

Aliqiout wrote:
My family of four takes two 10-21 day intercontinental trips with carry on bags only, not to mention numerous domestic trips. The last time anyone in my family checked a bag was when we were moving.

You don't really need all that stuff.


You don’t need to take two 10-21 day intercontinental trips per year, either; you do it because you want to. Just like most people want to dress up — many people, especially women, enjoy wearing a different swimming suit every day of their vacation and different outfit at night when they go out for dinner.

Even women who work for Big 4 and take 3 night/4 day wok trips regularly bring 2 bags, since unfortunately our society judges us on the way we dress and they feel obligated to be ready for the occasion.

US airlines collected 4.5 BILLION in bag fees last year, and that number will swell as UA, AA (and probably DL eventually) increase Econ Basic.
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Yossarian22
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:34 pm

compensateme wrote:
These threads are always really silly. Don’t think WN is a LCC? Look at CVG-CHI — before WN entered then market, the lowest OW fares were in the mid-$200 range, but after WN arrived, they dropped below $100. After WN withdrew from DAY, the reverse happened.

Fact is, WN has never been “always the cheapest,” nor will it ever be. That’s because once it enters a market, the legacies drop their fares, and whoever’s the lowest can vary based upon inventory. That’s basic business — one can only reign in cost leadership for so long.

But that doesn’t mean WN isn’t the 800 lb. gorilla in driving airfares in the USA. If WN upped its lowest fares/sale fares, you can bet your booty the legacies will too.


Exactly, in the last year I have flown UA from ORD-CVG for $45, WN from CVG to MDW to $60, and just last week WN from MDW to CVG for $69. Short of a few Friday night last minute deals on United, it was hard to find a round trip between CVG and CHI for less than $400, before WN.

WN may not be the cheapest, but they charge an honest fare.

To put it into perspective, on a similar length flight, CVG to DTW which is only operated by Delta, a one way ticket on August 17th costs $229, on the same day CVG-CHI, is $70-80 depending on the airline. Even more notably are same day fares, if you want to fly to Detroit today, it costs about $500 on Delta, want to fly to Chicago today, it costs $220 on WN, UA, AA, and DL.
 
Yossarian22
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:43 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
pdp wrote:
LCCs do not equal cheap, just cheaper than the legacies.


Actually it's the legacies that adapted their prices to the LCCs.

In my opinion there's one airline that can be called the king of LCCs, that's Ryanair. Ryanair has set an example, lead the way for other LCCs. Both in Europe and in other parts of the world. Air Asia for example have shaped their business model after Ryanair. Wizzair is almost identical to Ryanair. And in the USA you see Spirit and Frontier more or less following what Ryanair is doing in Europe. But Southwest doesn't follow Ryanair, they stick to their own business model. Michael O'Leary may have looked at Southwest when he came up with the idea for the business model for Ryanair, but he improved it. Southwest was never improved.


Southwest hasn’t had an unprofitable year in 3 decades. I’m an LCC guy, in the last year I’ve flown AirAsia, AirAsia X (all the way from HNL to KUL), Malindo, Lao Skyways, Wow (over the Atlantic), and Ural Airlines. I am not an airlines snob. But, when in the U.S., I’ll pick Southwest. Last week, after a cheap long haul flight on Hainan, Southwest was able to get me from Chicago to Cincinnati for cheap. Plus, this being a chance to restock supplies before another year in China, I was traveling with bags. But, even last winter, I paid a few more bucks for a Southwest flight when I was in the middle of 8 weeks of backpacking, because it is more than free bags on Southwest. There ticket changing fees are very customer friendly.

I find ticket change fees much more maddening than bag change fees. What is worse, an airline makes some operational changes and has to move your flight two hours, do you think they are paying you their $150 change fee? No, it is a-symmetrical power. Southwest is just a more customer-friendly airline.

I’m not really sure what Southwest has to improve, they make money every year. They made money even during the dark times of 9/11, late-aught fuel spikes, the housing crisis, etc. Rather than every airline doing the same, there is value in brand differentiation.
 
Miamiairport
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:54 pm

I think WN has proven a company in general can be both customer and employee friendly and still be consistently profitable. I have always respected their willingness to avoid the Wall Street wolves that think successful companies need to be ruthless. Since lounges and occasional upgrades are important to me I rarely ever fly them but many business travelers could care less about those kinds of extras.
 
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zackary747
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 3:20 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
No, they're not. They once were, but now they're just a full service airline. Their pricing is reasonable, but not the very cheapest like Spirit and Frontier.

I guess you can consider Southwest a LCC if you need all additional extras. If you need checked luggage Southwest might just be cheaper than the competition, but they're not keeping up with modern development. Today people don't need luggage anymore and just by excluding that airlines like Spirit and Frontier are able to be cheaper than Southwest.


Yes WN is a LCC.

DL, UA, AA are legacies.

WN is a LCC

G4, F9, NK are ULCCs.

I would consider AS and B6 to be full service airlines that aren't legacies.
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 3:46 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
PatrickZ80 wrote:
No, they're not. They once were, but now they're just a full service airline.


Carriers without premium cabins, seat assignments, meal service or even buy-on-board food are not full-service airlines. Maybe your expectations have been dumbed-down by Ryanair.

Legacy is a better term. LCC has lower costs and profits off fees and anxillary revenue.

WN, like JetBlue, is in a middle.
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anstar
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 3:55 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:

I can easily go for a week or longer on a hand luggage size suitcase, done so quite a few times. It's all a matter of priorities and whatever you can buy at your destination you don't need to bring along. Once met a guy who went for a couple of weeks with no luggage at all, just a passport and that's it. If he needed something on the way he bought it locally. That included clothes as well.

.


So if you buy all these things in your destination how do you get them back if you don't have checked luggage?
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 4:06 pm

Yossarian22 wrote:
I’m not really sure what Southwest has to improve, they make money every year. They made money even during the dark times of 9/11, late-aught fuel spikes, the housing crisis, etc. Rather than every airline doing the same, there is value in brand differentiation.


Sure they're making money, but they can make more money.

I've heard several people here praise Southwest for their convenience and service. Don't people realise that convenience and service cost money? As an airline you want to keep this down to a minimum, or even better, turn it into a profit. So by all means, charge for it! Charge for changing a booking. First of all this is because changing a booking costs the airline money, and it's only fair that the customer should pay those costs. Second, as an airline you want to discourage your passengers from changing their booking. It means inconvenience to you, so the number of changed bookings should be kept to a minimum.

Also Southwest allows for two pieces of checked luggage for free. What reasonable thinking LCC does that? Checked luggage costs an airline money, so charge for it! Same reasons as above, earn your costs back and discourage your passengers.

Another thing about LCCs in America versus Europe is that in America they fly out of the major airports, making use of services like jetways and such. The reason? Convenience. Don't those airlines realise that convenience costs money? In Europe LCCs use "alternative" airports that are smaller and a bit out of the way to save on these costs. When Southwest was just small they did this, they flew out of Dallas Love Field instead of Dallas - Fort Worth and Houston Hobby instead of Houston Intercontinental. But they didn't keep up with it. Ryanair did, they made a lot of smaller airports in Europe succesful. On a side note, they even make a profit by contracting local transfer companies (PlusAirportLine for example) to sell transfers for them between the airports they serve and the cities. Ryanair gets a share of each transfer they sell. In America only Allegiant has a similar policy, but they don't make the most out of it. They don't sell transfers like Ryanair does. Closest thing in America is the bus service for Norwegian at New York Stewart airport, that was set up after European example.

Thinking like this, there's a lot more income that can be generated. Southwest just never gave it a thought and in that they're no LCC.
 
planecane
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 4:17 pm

DesertAir wrote:
This summer I needed to cancel a vacation trip, use the funds for a family issue, rebook and then cancel. All of this without change fees. For me, WN is an LCC.


This is the biggest "low cost" aspect of WN for the consumer. If there is any chance you'll need to change your plans, they are the only carrier that you won't get charged prohibitive fees when using a reasonably priced fare.

Sometimes, you even get credit back!

I've probably taken adavantage of this an average of twice a year.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 4:21 pm

DesertAir wrote:
This summer I needed to cancel a vacation trip, use the funds for a family issue, rebook and then cancel. All of this without change fees. For me, WN is an LCC.


No, they're not. An LCC would have charged you for all of those things. They didn't, that's missed income for them. It's real good service of them doing all of that for free with them taking the costs for it, but that makes them a full service airline.
 
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TWA772LR
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 4:46 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
DesertAir wrote:
This summer I needed to cancel a vacation trip, use the funds for a family issue, rebook and then cancel. All of this without change fees. For me, WN is an LCC.


No, they're not. An LCC would have charged you for all of those things. They didn't, that's missed income for them. It's real good service of them doing all of that for free with them taking the costs for it, but that makes them a full service airline.

What differentiates WN from the others is the service. Every Southwest flight has a comfy seat with good legroom. Every (for the most part) WN employee loves what they do and will do anything for the customer. Im a CSA for WN and worked a delayed flight recently; to liven the mood, i played gate games with the customers which included a paper airplane contest. An 8 year old girl was the winner and i gave her the same thing i would've given Herb, Colleen or Gary if they won, a $25 LUV voucher.

People dont come to WN for the low fares (wanna get away fares are the first to go, always). They come for the ease, simplicity, and Hospitality of the service. Ive had UA 1k's say they made the jump to Southwest to become A-List(Preferred) and theyve never looked back.
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n471wn
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 4:57 pm

Had to get family down to the San Francisco Bay Area from Portland this week on 3 days notice. SWA and Alaska were $630 RT but thanks to Allegiant I flew them down for $180 RT out of Eugene and flight was full and on time. Shame on SWA for not having reasonable walk-up fares. So on that basis alone they are no longer an LCC
 
LovePrunesAnet
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:06 pm

N415XJ wrote:
PatrickZ80 wrote:
Today people don't need luggage anymore

? Unless you're some sort of packing wizard or are going on a trip of longer than about 3 days you're going to need checked luggage. No matter how advanced our fancy new tech age gets people are still going to be going on long trips where they'll need more than what you can fit in a carry on.
Or maybe I've misunderstood your point.


no luggage needed if you wear all your luggage contents at once
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jplatts
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:10 pm

While WN's fares on most of its routes are often more expensive than they were in the past, WN is still referred to as a LCC for historical reasons.
 
airzona11
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:16 pm

I would classify the US market as Legacies (AA DL UA AS), LCC - B6 and WN, and ULCC- Spirit Frontier etc.
WN sit between them all, quite nicely. ULCC are not the new LCC, they are a new tier. WN has not changed, others around the have.
 
zakuivcustom
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:36 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
DesertAir wrote:
This summer I needed to cancel a vacation trip, use the funds for a family issue, rebook and then cancel. All of this without change fees. For me, WN is an LCC.


No, they're not. An LCC would have charged you for all of those things. They didn't, that's missed income for them. It's real good service of them doing all of that for free with them taking the costs for it, but that makes them a full service airline.


There are still things that distinguished WN from being a true "FSC", i.e. lack of catering in general (other than snack), no lounge, no premium class. Fare system is still LCC-like (i.e. basically round-trip fare is two one-way ticket, rather than FSC's one-way ticket being way more expensive).

For me, operation-wise WN is still run more like a LCC than a FSC. Single fleet type, single class, simple fare structure. Yes, they're not necessarily "cheap" anymore, and their base cost (CASM) is only slightly lower than that of the legacies (and way higher than G4/F9/NK). Ultimately, WN is WN, and they're almost one of a kind in which they're supposively a LCC that actually provided better services than FSCs.
 
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flyingclrs727
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:46 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
Another thing about LCCs in America versus Europe is that in America they fly out of the major airports, making use of services like jetways and such. The reason? Convenience. Don't those airlines realise that convenience costs money?


Southwest has always used jetways. They allowed Southwest to turn their planes faster. That's part of being a low cost carrier. When they came to CRP in 1977, no gates had jetways. They built one at their gate from ground level up to the door level of a 737.
Actually they did more than just add a jetway. They enclosed the waiting area at their gate, carpeted and air conditioned it. None of the other airlines at CRP had a jetway or even a enclosed waiting area at their gates till the new terminal was opened in 2002. I suspect every other small market airport they served got the same gate upgrades.
 
MO11
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Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 6:08 pm

zackary747 wrote:

Yes WN is a LCC.

DL, UA, AA are legacies.

WN is a LCC

G4, F9, NK are ULCCs.

I would consider AS and B6 to be full service airlines that aren't legacies.


    2017 CASM

    AA/UA/DL over 12 cents
    WN 11.48 cents
    B6 10.76 cents
    AS 9.92 cents
    G4 9.38 cents
    NK 7.63 cents

Of course, there are no cut-offs which define LCC and ULCC, so one would have to consider if between AS and G4, either is a ULCC.
 
kalvado
Posts: 3041
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2006 4:29 am

Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 6:14 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
DesertAir wrote:
This summer I needed to cancel a vacation trip, use the funds for a family issue, rebook and then cancel. All of this without change fees. For me, WN is an LCC.


No, they're not. An LCC would have charged you for all of those things. They didn't, that's missed income for them. It's real good service of them doing all of that for free with them taking the costs for it, but that makes them a full service airline.


I think we still need to separate concepts of cost and service a bit better. Yes, some services do cost extra and an be sold for profit, sometimes greedy pays twice instead of being paid.
Low underlying cost have little to do with certain aspects of service. And baseline costs - fuel and aircrew - cannot be trimmed below certain level. Aircraft - somewhat, e.g. with simple fleet and large orders; but cost is still there and cannot be eliminated (well, FR could do that to some extent)
Backoffice, however, is more flexible. In case of WN, user friendly approach - cancellation with credit for next flight, or upgrade for standby, probably reduces (expensive) phone support personnel - e.g. costs.
So it is entirely possible to be a high service level low cost airline (cancellation policies ARE part of service) or be a full cost low service AAirline.

WN seems to pick those service aspects many ordinary folks like. Yes, they don't have J/F; but I never flown up front, and that is not a factor for me. And getting B15 as line number certainly beats getting boarding management card instead of boarding pass.
 
WBM
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2018 4:48 pm

Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 6:26 pm

I think Southwest is still an LCC despite the fact that they make a different set of trade offs than other LCC and ULCCs. The answer to the question is not as clear as it once was. There are some things that the early low cost carriers did that make so much sense, that they are copied by all carriers including the FSCs. There are also new entrants to the market that offer a lower cost for a much lower level of service.

The thing that I think makes Southwest an LCC is the customer they are targeting. They are still targeting the economy customer. As far as I can tell they are not targeting the big spenders at all. They still do a lot of things to cut costs, but unlike the ULCCs, they channel some of those cost savings into providing a better level of service.

For Southwest there are definitely costs to offering the level of service that they do. There are also big benefits for them as well. As an anecdote earlier this year I took a trip with my family to Europe that included a self connecting flight to and from LAX on Southwest. I knew the self connecting part was a gamble, so I made sure to choose Southwest. On they way home from Europe my plane was delayed. I missed my final flight home on Southwest by minutes. I went to the ticket counter, and they booked me on the next flight with no additional charges. Was there a cost to Southwest to put me on the next flight, of course. How much was it really though? The next flight was not completely full, and if it was they would have made me wait for empty seats on another flight. Without their change policies, it is unlikely I would have chosen them. In this case it cost them, in that they had to trade empty seats on one flight for empty seats on another.
 
kiowa
Posts: 821
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:37 am

Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 6:30 pm

They did cut peanuts out of their budget recently and spun it as a a good thing. But really, who cares what they call themselves?
 
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PatrickZ80
Posts: 4456
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:33 am

Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 7:42 pm

TWA772LR wrote:
What differentiates WN from the others is the service. Every Southwest flight has a comfy seat with good legroom. Every (for the most part) WN employee loves what they do and will do anything for the customer. Im a CSA for WN and worked a delayed flight recently; to liven the mood, i played gate games with the customers which included a paper airplane contest. An 8 year old girl was the winner and i gave her the same thing i would've given Herb, Colleen or Gary if they won, a $25 LUV voucher.

People dont come to WN for the low fares (wanna get away fares are the first to go, always). They come for the ease, simplicity, and Hospitality of the service. Ive had UA 1k's say they made the jump to Southwest to become A-List(Preferred) and theyve never looked back.


Allright, you said it yourself. What attracts people to Southwest is service. Nothing wrong with that, but then don't call them an LCC. For an LCC, the thing that attracts people to them is the low price. Southwest may occasionally be the cheapest, but that goes for every airline. They're not unique in that, neither is it a goal by itself for them to be cheap.

Compare that to Ryanair, a true LCC. The thing that attracts people to Ryanair is the low ticket price, nothing else. Their main goal is to be cheap and in order to do so they exclude all unnecessary costs. Giving away a price for a paper plane contest? Not on Ryanair! Everything has to be as cheap as possible in order to have the lowest fares, that's the low-cost spirit. Southwest doesn't have that, they have a service-oriented business spirit. In that they're different from LCCs.

WBM wrote:
The next flight was not completely full, and if it was they would have made me wait for empty seats on another flight. Without their change policies, it is unlikely I would have chosen them. In this case it cost them, in that they had to trade empty seats on one flight for empty seats on another.


So there were empty seats. That's another difference with Ryanair, by far most of their flights are full and if they're not they're at least nearly full. How do they do that? For every seat they don't sell they lower the price in order to sell it. Better sell a seat at a loss than not sell it at all. If it's cheap enough there'll always be someone who'll buy it. The seats they sell at a loss, and those exist on every flight, make good commercial to them. They serve to keep up the name that Ryanair is cheap.

Southwest would never sell seats at a loss and as a result lots of seats stay empty. A missed opportunity, empty seats don't make money.
 
TSA125
Topic Author
Posts: 127
Joined: Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:56 pm

Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 7:59 pm

compensateme wrote:
These threads are always really silly. Don’t think WN is a LCC? Look at CVG-CHI — before WN entered then market, the lowest OW fares were in the mid-$200 range, but after WN arrived, they dropped below $100. After WN withdrew from DAY, the reverse happened.


That has nothing to do with whether WN is an LCC or not. When you have multiple carriers entering or exiting a market, regardless of who it is, the existing competitors are able to fluctuate their pricing.
No not that TSA.
 
777PHX
Posts: 962
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2015 4:36 am

Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 8:27 pm

TWA772LR wrote:
What differentiates WN from the others is the service. Every Southwest flight has a comfy seat with good legroom. Every (for the most part) WN employee loves what they do and will do anything for the customer. Im a CSA for WN and worked a delayed flight recently; to liven the mood, i played gate games with the customers which included a paper airplane contest. An 8 year old girl was the winner and i gave her the same thing i would've given Herb, Colleen or Gary if they won, a $25 LUV voucher.

People dont come to WN for the low fares (wanna get away fares are the first to go, always). They come for the ease, simplicity, and Hospitality of the service. Ive had UA 1k's say they made the jump to Southwest to become A-List(Preferred) and theyve never looked back.


People aren't paying a premium to have gate agents and F/As sing stupid songs to them, sorry.

PatrickZ80 wrote:
For an LCC, the thing that attracts people to them is the low price. Southwest may occasionally be the cheapest, but that goes for every airline. They're not unique in that, neither is it a goal by itself for them to be cheap.


I've lived in two big WN cities(STL and PHX), and I've never flown them because they've never been the cheapest.

These threads always amaze the hell out of me because of how few airline fanboys actually understand the meaning of low......cost........carrier.
 
flyabr
Posts: 869
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2003 11:42 am

Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 8:38 pm

Who cares if WN is referred to as an LCC or Legacy carrier! What counts is that I don't get charged to put a bag in the belly or overhead biin; and if I have to change my ticket, I don't get charged an exorbitant fee!
 
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flyingclrs727
Posts: 2732
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 7:44 am

Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 8:50 pm

TWA772LR wrote:
People dont come to WN for the low fares (wanna get away fares are the first to go, always). They come for the ease, simplicity, and Hospitality of the service. Ive had UA 1k's say they made the jump to Southwest to become A-List(Preferred) and theyve never looked back.


The advance fares can be really inexpensive. My wife and I flew from AUS to BOS via DAL for just $98 each back in December buying the tickets 3 weeks in advance.

Also, senior discounts are still available even after all the Wanna Get Away fares are gone. I usually do the booking for my Mom's trips. Even though the Wanna Get Away prices are usually lower, it is quite helpful that I can get the senior discount for her closer to the day of the flight. The 2 free bags come in handy if she is flying by herself. If she doesn't have 2 full sized bags, I have her check the roll aboard that she normally uses as a carry on. That way, she only has to carry her personal item and boarding pass to connect between flights. Before she had both of her knees replaced, I had requested wheelchair assistance for her, and it was very helpful. I would have qualms about putting her on some of the other carriers by herself.

I recently sent my wife on a trip to Florida on Spirit Airlines in part to check it out, but also I didn't have knowledge of the trip dates far enough in advance to get the flights cheaper on Southwest. By the time you add in a 40 pound bag, IAH-FLL was about $100 more expensive than SAT-FLL if I had booked that just a few days earlier. Not only do they limit the bag to 40 pounds for $30, it's another $30 for a bag between 40 and 51 pounds.

I had been curious about Spirit, because KAYAK had generated some potential round the world iteneraries that included legs on on Spirit. The connections all had several hours or even overnight stops between flights, because Spirit doesn't interline. The baggage policies alone make that totally untenable. I'm pretty sure everyone on the trip would be traveling with 2 50lb bags plus a carry on. That's $155 in baggage fees per person for one flight in addition to the airfare. Also, Spirit only guarantees availability of space for one checked bag. Under those conditions, there's no way I would ever consider including legs on a long international trip on Spirit. Considering such a trip would have a long lead time, I could get flights on Southwest including bags for less than the baggage fees alone on Spirit.

Southwest is also quite convenient for transporting my in laws around the US when they come to the US to visit us and some of their friends in other parts of the US. Due to the generous baggage limits, they can bring everything without incurring additional baggage fees. The next time they come here, I will have them get their international tickets issued from Europe to NYC, and returning home, IAH to Europe. All the travel in between will be on separate tickets mostly on Southwest. I like the idea of the international legs being separate, because that easy any screw up on domestic legs won't cause the cancellation of the return trip.
 
SWApilotfarmer
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Aug 15, 2017 12:48 am

Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 8:56 pm

I can’t believe there is a thread where people are arguing over whether WN is a LCC or not. Who cares? And to top it off someone is upset because we don’t nickel and dime all passengers for every possible thing that we can. I can’t tell you how many passengers have told me one reason they fly us is no change fees. So you say we are idiots for not charging for that. Well if we did charge for changes how do you know we would keep those customers. Again why does it matter if we are an LCC or not on A.net? Do we get a prize if we are?
 
phluser
Posts: 631
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 2:49 pm

Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:03 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
Allright, you said it yourself. What attracts people to Southwest is service. Nothing wrong with that, but then don't call them an LCC. For an LCC, the thing that attracts people to them is the low price. Southwest may occasionally be the cheapest, but that goes for every airline. They're not unique in that, neither is it a goal by itself for them to be cheap.


The industry has classified Southwest as an LCC as it's business model has a lower operating cost structure relative to the majors. It's not the traveling public that has coined the word or defines it by experience.
 
777PHX
Posts: 962
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2015 4:36 am

Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:15 pm

flyabr wrote:
Who cares if WN is referred to as an LCC or Legacy carrier! What counts is that I don't get charged to put a bag in the belly or overhead biin; and if I have to change my ticket, I don't get charged an exorbitant fee!


SWApilotfarmer wrote:
I can’t believe there is a thread where people are arguing over whether WN is a LCC or not. Who cares? And to top it off someone is upset because we don’t nickel and dime all passengers for every possible thing that we can. I can’t tell you how many passengers have told me one reason they fly us is no change fees. So you say we are idiots for not charging for that. Well if we did charge for changes how do you know we would keep those customers. Again why does it matter if we are an LCC or not on A.net? Do we get a prize if we are?


The title of the thread seems pretty clear. If you don't want to discuss the topic, you shouldn't have clicked the thread.
 
User avatar
flyingclrs727
Posts: 2732
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 7:44 am

Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:25 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
DesertAir wrote:
This summer I needed to cancel a vacation trip, use the funds for a family issue, rebook and then cancel. All of this without change fees. For me, WN is an LCC.


No, they're not. An LCC would have charged you for all of those things. They didn't, that's missed income for them. It's real good service of them doing all of that for free with them taking the costs for it, but that makes them a full service airline.


Missed income? Really? If you change your ticket, the seat freed up can be sold again. The closer to the date of the flight, the more that seat can be sold for. If you bought a ticket well in advance, the newly available seat can be sold for several times what it was originally sold for. Have you checked Southwest's prices for seats sold the same week as the flight?
 
User avatar
TWA772LR
Posts: 7532
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:12 am

Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:35 pm

777PHX wrote:
TWA772LR wrote:
What differentiates WN from the others is the service. Every Southwest flight has a comfy seat with good legroom. Every (for the most part) WN employee loves what they do and will do anything for the customer. Im a CSA for WN and worked a delayed flight recently; to liven the mood, i played gate games with the customers which included a paper airplane contest. An 8 year old girl was the winner and i gave her the same thing i would've given Herb, Colleen or Gary if they won, a $25 LUV voucher.

People dont come to WN for the low fares (wanna get away fares are the first to go, always). They come for the ease, simplicity, and Hospitality of the service. Ive had UA 1k's say they made the jump to Southwest to become A-List(Preferred) and theyve never looked back.


People aren't paying a premium to have gate agents and F/As sing stupid songs to them, sorry.

PatrickZ80 wrote:
For an LCC, the thing that attracts people to them is the low price. Southwest may occasionally be the cheapest, but that goes for every airline. They're not unique in that, neither is it a goal by itself for them to be cheap.


I've lived in two big WN cities(STL and PHX), and I've never flown them because they've never been the cheapest.

These threads always amaze the hell out of me because of how few airline fanboys actually understand the meaning of low......cost........carrier.

Thats why i dont sing. :)
When wasn't America great?


The thoughts and opinions shared under this username are mine and are not influenced by my employer.
 
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PatrickZ80
Posts: 4456
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:33 am

Re: Is Southwest Really a LCC?

Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:56 pm

flyabr wrote:
Who cares if WN is referred to as an LCC or Legacy carrier! What counts is that I don't get charged to put a bag in the belly or overhead biin; and if I have to change my ticket, I don't get charged an exorbitant fee!


Actually you do get charged for checked luggage, however not seperately. It's included in the ticket price, but that doesn't mean it's free. The difference is that if you don't have checked luggage you still get charged for it, you don't get a discount on the ticket price for not having checked luggage.

If you have to change your ticket it's "free". Of course it's not really free, the price of the ability to change your ticket is included in the ticket price. If you don't have to change your ticket you still pay for it, you don't get a discount if you just take the flight you originally booked.

Now what if I tell you the flight could be 30 dollars cheaper if those things weren't included. Wouldn't you want to save 30 bucks on a plane ticket? Of course if you need checked luggage you pay more and if you need to change your flight you pay more, but that's only fair to the people that don't.

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