I like Southwest, but I wish they'd just stop pretending to be anything other than an airline that caters primarily to USA-based passengers.
When have they ever claimed to be anything else? They don't seem to make any effort to market themselves outside the U.S. and while they are around fifth or sixth in the world in terms of revenue passenger miles, they generally only highlight their position as the largest domestic carrier.
There's still a disconnect between the folks on the ground and in the field who observe what is going on and those back on Love Field Drive who make the final decisions. Upper management had been advised from years past to invest in the CTO concept but to no avail as it didn't fit "The Southwest Way". It was a fundamental misinterpretation and misunderstanding of the local market, again, even with plenty of input from those who understood the market.
Even if they understand these issues with the market, there's still the question of whether it's actually worthwhile to make the investment in infrastructure which would support opening CTOs in Mexico and/or allowing sales in foreign currencies. Four daily round-trips into MEX equates to 0.2% of their system -- it's questionable whether committing to real estate, IT projects, etc. to support a market with larger foreign point-of-sale makes sense versus pursuing other opportunities with greater potential, especially given that WN doesn't seem to be the only carrier which has struggled with MEX. It is akin to why they took so long to commit to adding Hawaii service: They had other opportunities which offered greater rewards and/or less risk.
All these complexities are seen by middle management as poisoning the “keep it simple stupid” Southwest philosophy so there is not great enthusiasm for these projects and they either go slowly or die from suffocation before ever starting. They will get Hawaii going and it will do fine, but the slow pace of all these projects go to the core Southwest culture. Again, maybe those middle mnangement people are right. Maybe trying to change into something more complex will destroy the company. Idk. But that’s what’s happening.
The thing is, Southwest has been very successful by sticking to what they do well. Have they missed opportunities? Absolutely. But their measured pace also seems to lead to greater perseverance when adding new markets or just generally making changes to the business. I doubt, for example, that their foray into Hawaii will look like Allegiant's.