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Veigar
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Why didn't WN ever operate the 737-400?

Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:51 pm

Given the amount of MAX/738's they have now... you'd think they were long time users of the -400, the predecessor of both aircraft, but no, they didn't. Anyone know why?
Last edited by SQ22 on Sat Apr 06, 2019 7:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Title changed
 
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Stitch
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:54 pm

Probably too large for their network at the time it was available. They have historically preferred to stay at or below 150 seats and the 737-400 at that density would have wasted cabin floor area and raised CASM vis-a-vis the 737-300 (which they did operate).
 
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TWA772LR
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Thu Apr 04, 2019 11:04 pm

They've operated the 200, 300, 500, 700, 800, MAX 8, and soon MAX 7. As well as the small 727 fleet leased from Braniff.
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DocLightning
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Thu Apr 04, 2019 11:19 pm

At the time, WN's model was based around operating aircraft mostly of the same size so that frames could be easily swapped. They did depart from that a bit by ordering the -500. But the -700 was about the same size as the -300 it replaced. It was only in the last few years that WN started ordering -800s and realized that this larger size actually suited their network and offered better efficiency than the -700.
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xdlx
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Thu Apr 04, 2019 11:22 pm

TWA772LR wrote:
They've operated the 200, 300, 500, 700, 800, MAX 8, and soon MAX 7. As well as the small 727 fleet leased from Braniff.


They also operated a few Super 80 when they acquired Muse Air.... way way back in the 80's
 
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Thu Apr 04, 2019 11:25 pm

xdlx wrote:
TWA772LR wrote:
They've operated the 200, 300, 500, 700, 800, MAX 8, and soon MAX 7. As well as the small 727 fleet leased from Braniff.


They also operated a few Super 80 when they acquired Muse Air.... way way back in the 80's


And the 717 for AirTran... people tend to forget this.
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Thu Apr 04, 2019 11:45 pm

DocLightning wrote:
At the time, WN's model was based around operating aircraft mostly of the same size so that frames could be easily swapped. They did depart from that a bit by ordering the -500. But the -700 was about the same size as the -300 it replaced. It was only in the last few years that WN started ordering -800s and realized that this larger size actually suited their network and offered better efficiency than the -700.



Well, technically the -500's size was pretty close to the 737-200, so it wasn't too much of a departure.
 
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Thu Apr 04, 2019 11:50 pm

FlyingMSY wrote:
DocLightning wrote:
At the time, WN's model was based around operating aircraft mostly of the same size so that frames could be easily swapped. They did depart from that a bit by ordering the -500. But the -700 was about the same size as the -300 it replaced. It was only in the last few years that WN started ordering -800s and realized that this larger size actually suited their network and offered better efficiency than the -700.



Well, technically the -500's size was pretty close to the 737-200, so it wasn't too much of a departure.


Exactly. It’s somewhat of a myth that WN couldn’t handle different sizes of planes. Ever since their first 737-300 was delivered (and maybe even the 727s if they were before the 733), they have operated multiple sizes of airplanes. That’s nearly 80% of their entire history.
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luckyone
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Thu Apr 04, 2019 11:58 pm

Wasn’t their scheduling structure standardized around staffing? Until they introduced the 738, all of their flights could be operated with 3 crew members. 738 capacity requires 4. So not just an easy swap from a size perspective, but also from a staffing perspective.
 
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Fri Apr 05, 2019 12:10 am

luckyone wrote:
Wasn’t their scheduling structure standardized around staffing? Until they introduced the 738, all of their flights could be operated with 3 crew members. 738 capacity requires 4. So not just an easy swap from a size perspective, but also from a staffing perspective.


This. Introducing the 800 required a whole new negotiation with the union, if memory serves. Perhaps the $$ advantages of the 400 over the 300 were not as evident as they are on the 800 vs the 700.
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Fri Apr 05, 2019 12:19 am

xdlx wrote:
TWA772LR wrote:
They've operated the 200, 300, 500, 700, 800, MAX 8, and soon MAX 7. As well as the small 727 fleet leased from Braniff.


They also operated a few Super 80 when they acquired Muse Air.... way way back in the 80's


Muse also flew DC-9-50s... but they never entered the WN fleet, the MD80s were "traded" to Continental for 737-200s (ex-Frontier) leases and some 737-300 order spots. The DC-9-50s and other MD80s were returned to the lessors when TranStar was shut down.

I mean you could claim the AirTran 717 and DC-9 fleets if you want... but WN itself in WN colors: 727-200, 737-200, 737-300, 737-500, 737-700, 737-800, 737-MAX8 to date as stated by TWA772LR.
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Fri Apr 05, 2019 12:30 am

I was wondering that like, yesterday.

Operating it must’ve been like having a 737-800. Although now the -8 seems to be their newer main airplane than the -7.
 
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Fri Apr 05, 2019 12:43 am

Gulfstream500 wrote:
xdlx wrote:
TWA772LR wrote:
They've operated the 200, 300, 500, 700, 800, MAX 8, and soon MAX 7. As well as the small 727 fleet leased from Braniff.


They also operated a few Super 80 when they acquired Muse Air.... way way back in the 80's


And the 717 for AirTran... people tend to forget this.


WN never operated the 717. They all went straight to DL via sublease. No 717 ever saw a WN livery or operated a WN flight. Operating for a carrier owned by WN doesn’t really count.
Last edited by DarthLobster on Fri Apr 05, 2019 12:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
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FlyPIJets
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Fri Apr 05, 2019 12:43 am

This. Introducing the 800 required a whole new negotiation with the union, if memory serves. Perhaps the $$ advantages of the 400 over the 300 were not as evident as they are on the 800 vs the 700.


This is the correct answer as far as I remember. Until LGA, WN felt they didn't need a +150 seater. With LGA they wanted the capacity and had to get Pilots and FAs to agree, which they did promptly. Now that they have the -800 they "see" the benefits and use it lots of places.
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Fri Apr 05, 2019 12:48 am

IIRC, and may be my faulty memory, the driving force behind the -400 was Piedmont & USAir. They were pushing for FD commonality with performance that could match or exceed the 3 person cockpit 727s. Like others pointed out, WN contracts and scheduling/dispatch systems at the time made operating a 4 F/A subfleet difficult if not impossible.

So basically, the 400 was designed knowing WN would have no interest.
 
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Fri Apr 05, 2019 12:53 am

DarthLobster wrote:
Gulfstream500 wrote:
xdlx wrote:

They also operated a few Super 80 when they acquired Muse Air.... way way back in the 80's


And the 717 for AirTran... people tend to forget this.


WN never operated the 717. They all went straight to DL via sublease. No 717 ever saw a WN livery or operated a WN flight. Operating for a carrier owned by WN doesn’t really count.


AirTran was a virtual airline for the months before their merger.

http://web.archive.org/web/201412252138 ... Hartsfield–Jackson_Atlanta_International_Airport

(Scroll to airlines and destinations; I think that they did not actually operate flights for very long)
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Fri Apr 05, 2019 12:53 am

Also, the 737-400 in a standard Y configuration similar to what WN would operate is only 156 seats - so a 4th FA for just 6 passengers is not really something that fits the WN model. The 737-400 was sold as a 727-200 replacement, so I'm not sure Boeing even tried very hard to sell it to Southwest.
xx
 
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Fri Apr 05, 2019 2:35 am

Italianflyer wrote:
IIRC, and may be my faulty memory, the driving force behind the -400 was Piedmont & USAir. They were pushing for FD commonality with performance that could match or exceed the 3 person cockpit 727s. Like others pointed out, WN contracts and scheduling/dispatch systems at the time made operating a 4 F/A subfleet difficult if not impossible.

So basically, the 400 was designed knowing WN would have no interest.

Piedmont was the launch customer
 
CATIIIevery5yrs
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Fri Apr 05, 2019 3:20 am

Because they are old school and don't like change. Can't say I blame them. Look at all the change now. Place isn't what it used to be.
 
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:47 am

Gulfstream500 wrote:
DarthLobster wrote:
Gulfstream500 wrote:

And the 717 for AirTran... people tend to forget this.


WN never operated the 717. They all went straight to DL via sublease. No 717 ever saw a WN livery or operated a WN flight. Operating for a carrier owned by WN doesn’t really count.


AirTran was a virtual airline for the months before their merger.

http://web.archive.org/web/201412252138 ... Hartsfield–Jackson_Atlanta_International_Airport

(Scroll to airlines and destinations; I think that they did not actually operate flights for very long)


To my knowledge, the 717 was never operated under the Southwest operating certificate and were withdrawn from service before SOC.
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Fri Apr 05, 2019 5:53 am

This needs historical context, too many posters are trying to apply their knowledge of modern day WN to justify the decision.

WN was a much different airline in the 1990s than it is today. For starters, it was much smaller and focused primarily on alternate airports and secondary markets. And instead of being the hub-and-spoke carrier it is today (yes, it days away from that term), it flew a schedule of mostly “direct” flights that involved stops. Sometimes a lot — a 1995 timetable, for example, showed the majority of flights between DTW/CLE and LAX to be mostly 3 and some 2-stops (no one stops). WN’s load factors were in the low-60s, and its annual report mentioned they specialized in short-haul service.

Into the 2000s, WN’s strategy shifted. It was now serving primary airports and had entered many competive, high volume routes. It had grown into the largest domestic carrier by passengers carried, its LF had grown into the 80s, and it had maxed out its gates at key airport. By this point, WN had to add a larger aircraft to continue to grow and remain competitive.
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:00 am

compensateme wrote:
WN was a much different airline in the 1990s than it is today... instead of being the hub-and-spoke carrier it is today (yes, it days away from that term), it flew a schedule of mostly “direct” flights that involved stops. Sometimes a lot — a 1995 timetable, for example, showed the majority of flights between DTW/CLE and LAX to be mostly 3 and some 2-stops (no one stops).


Aviation pet peeve: when people use “direct” incorrectly in place of “nonstop.”

For example:

Cause of pet peeve: “I flew Seattle to Miami direct.”
Me: “Oh wow. How many stops did you make?”
Cause of pet peeve: [confused expression] “None. I flew direct.”
 
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:28 am

Did this multi stop approach knock up the number of cycles significantly.
 
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:00 am

JBo wrote:
Gulfstream500 wrote:
DarthLobster wrote:

WN never operated the 717. They all went straight to DL via sublease. No 717 ever saw a WN livery or operated a WN flight. Operating for a carrier owned by WN doesn’t really count.


AirTran was a virtual airline for the months before their merger.

http://web.archive.org/web/201412252138 ... Hartsfield–Jackson_Atlanta_International_Airport

(Scroll to airlines and destinations; I think that they did not actually operate flights for very long)


To my knowledge, the 717 was never operated under the Southwest operating certificate and were withdrawn from service before SOC.


Nope. WN operated the 717s on the their certificate under the AirTran name in AirTran livery.

March 01, 2012 - FAA Issues Single Operating Certificate to Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways

July 09, 2012 - Southwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and Boeing Capital Reach Agreement to Lease or Sublease Airtran Boeing 717 Fleet

Per Airfleets.net WN parked and stored the 717s in December 2014, but the last one, N992AT, didn't make it over to Delta until June 2016.
 
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:06 am

questions wrote:
compensateme wrote:
WN was a much different airline in the 1990s than it is today... instead of being the hub-and-spoke carrier it is today (yes, it days away from that term), it flew a schedule of mostly “direct” flights that involved stops. Sometimes a lot — a 1995 timetable, for example, showed the majority of flights between DTW/CLE and LAX to be mostly 3 and some 2-stops (no one stops).


Aviation pet peeve: when people use “direct” incorrectly in place of “nonstop.”

For example:

Cause of pet peeve: “I flew Seattle to Miami direct.”
Me: “Oh wow. How many stops did you make?”
Cause of pet peeve: [confused expression] “None. I flew direct.”


They still have some flights with stops. I flew AUS-DAL-BOS in 2017. It was one stop without deboarding the plane. The great thing is that once we got to DAL, my wife and I could move to better seats after all the passengers who were deboarding at DAL got off. I think they had a nonstop later in the day, but our flight was the first available that day. WN has several flights like that to the east coast from AUS especially to DCA and LGA as AUS is beyond the perimeter for both those airports. Direct flights allow getting around the perimeter rule and not having to connect means checked luggage is less likely to be misplaced enroute.
 
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:13 am

DocLightning wrote:
At the time, WN's model was based around operating aircraft mostly of the same size so that frames could be easily swapped. They did depart from that a bit by ordering the -500. But the -700 was about the same size as the -300 it replaced. It was only in the last few years that WN started ordering -800s and realized that this larger size actually suited their network and offered better efficiency than the -700.


I didn't think they departed from their philosophy when ordering the -500, because actually the -500 has the exact same size has the -200, which was the airplane they started with and which they based their early route network on.

So I think all future airplane decisions were simply based on what they needed and factored growth in. The -500 replaced the -200 on routes that would not grow much bigger, the -300 then was used for routes that had outgrown the -200 and also for when they started flying longer routes. In the next step, when the NG came out, the -700 was the logical replacement for the -300, as both are the same size. The -600 was the size of the -500, but just had gotten too heavy considering how much weight the NG series had gained compared to the 737 classic series. So they used the -700 as the mainstay of their fleet for the old -500 and -300 routes, and later, where growth allowed it, added the -800.

They still fly many thin routes until these days, that's why they are one of the very few airlines which ordered the -max8 to replace their -700s and the -max8 to replace the -800s. I find that all very sensible. They don't jump on the bandwagon too quickly and order hundreds of -9s and -10s, considering that not many routes might fill them. If ordering the -max7 was a right decision? I guess time will tell...
 
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Fri Apr 05, 2019 11:10 am

flyingclrs727 wrote:
questions wrote:
compensateme wrote:
WN was a much different airline in the 1990s than it is today... instead of being the hub-and-spoke carrier it is today (yes, it days away from that term), it flew a schedule of mostly “direct” flights that involved stops. Sometimes a lot — a 1995 timetable, for example, showed the majority of flights between DTW/CLE and LAX to be mostly 3 and some 2-stops (no one stops).


Aviation pet peeve: when people use “direct” incorrectly in place of “nonstop.”

For example:

Cause of pet peeve: “I flew Seattle to Miami direct.”
Me: “Oh wow. How many stops did you make?”
Cause of pet peeve: [confused expression] “None. I flew direct.”


They still have some flights with stops. I flew AUS-DAL-BOS in 2017. It was one stop without deboarding the plane. The great thing is that once we got to DAL, my wife and I could move to better seats after all the passengers who were deboarding at DAL got off. I think they had a nonstop later in the day, but our flight was the first available that day. WN has several flights like that to the east coast from AUS especially to DCA and LGA as AUS is beyond the perimeter for both those airports. Direct flights allow getting around the perimeter rule and not having to connect means checked luggage is less likely to be misplaced enroute.


Yes, but it’s not as prevalent as it was in years past. In the 1990s, the majority of WN passengers not traveling N/S flew on a direct flight. If you were traveling on a direct, three-stop flight from the Midwest to the West Coast, you were required to remain on the aircraft at each stop (although you were allowed to change seats) as WN saught to turn over the flight in 20 minutes.

WN no longer provides the percentage of passengers traveling direct, but given the lion’s shares of its itineraries involve a flight change, no doubt it’s lower. And today, on direct flights, stops are scheduled longer than 20 minutes and you’re welcome to exit the aircraft (but you don’t have to).
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Fri Apr 05, 2019 12:37 pm

Somebody already stated it but the main reason that WN didn't have the 737-400 at the time was because it would require 4 FA instead of 3. One less FA x that by 40k a year or more x the # of flights they had was cost effective at the time. With passenger numbers increasing every year after 9/11 it was either add capacity or add more flights.
 
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Fri Apr 05, 2019 1:50 pm

compensateme wrote:
This needs historical context, too many posters are trying to apply their knowledge of modern day WN to justify the decision.

WN was a much different airline in the 1990s than it is today. For starters, it was much smaller and focused primarily on alternate airports and secondary markets. And instead of being the hub-and-spoke carrier it is today (yes, it days away from that term), it flew a schedule of mostly “direct” flights that involved stops. Sometimes a lot — a 1995 timetable, for example, showed the majority of flights between DTW/CLE and LAX to be mostly 3 and some 2-stops (no one stops). WN’s load factors were in the low-60s, and its annual report mentioned they specialized in short-haul service.

Into the 2000s, WN’s strategy shifted. It was now serving primary airports and had entered many competive, high volume routes. It had grown into the largest domestic carrier by passengers carried, its LF had grown into the 80s, and it had maxed out its gates at key airport. By this point, WN had to add a larger aircraft to continue to grow and remain competitive.


I believe this is the reason. People are saying it is because of the number of flight attendants, but in reality it was their network. They flew to secondary airports point to point. There also was a lot more competition from airlines back then going after fewer passengers. There simply wasn’t need for higher capacity planes.

To this day a core of WNs network is short haul point to point, which is why they still need many sub 150 seat planes. The transition to hub and spoke and big cities requires some bigger planes, but the point to point network also needs small planes.
 
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Fri Apr 05, 2019 2:14 pm

usxguy wrote:
Also, the 737-400 in a standard Y configuration similar to what WN would operate is only 156 seats - so a 4th FA for just 6 passengers is not really something that fits the WN model. The 737-400 was sold as a 727-200 replacement, so I'm not sure Boeing even tried very hard to sell it to Southwest.


The 400 may have had the seating capacity to replace a 727-200, but it didn't have the field performance or range. The leased 727-200's from BN allowed WN to expand to and in California faster than it otherwise could have if they had to wait for the 737-300's to join the fleet. The 737-800, the stretched successor to the 737-400, really benefited from the NG rewinging of the 737. It could do transcons so could not only replace 727-200 but could be used on on longer missions. With the short field package available a few years after introduction, the 800 could be used for situations where the 727-200 field performance was necessary.
 
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Fri Apr 05, 2019 2:33 pm

flyingclrs727 wrote:
usxguy wrote:
Also, the 737-400 in a standard Y configuration similar to what WN would operate is only 156 seats - so a 4th FA for just 6 passengers is not really something that fits the WN model. The 737-400 was sold as a 727-200 replacement, so I'm not sure Boeing even tried very hard to sell it to Southwest.


The 400 may have had the seating capacity to replace a 727-200, but it didn't have the field performance or range. The leased 727-200's from BN allowed WN to expand to and in California faster than it otherwise could have if they had to wait for the 737-300's to join the fleet. The 737-800, the stretched successor to the 737-400, really benefited from the NG rewinging of the 737. It could do transcons so could not only replace 727-200 but could be used on on longer missions. With the short field package available a few years after introduction, the 800 could be used for situations where the 727-200 field performance was necessary.


So WN has 738s with the Short Field Package? I didn't realize.
Jack @ AUS
 
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Fri Apr 05, 2019 3:27 pm

*Why didn't WN ever operate the 737-400?*

Please fix the title
 
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Fri Apr 05, 2019 3:51 pm

Another factor that hasn't been mentioned so far is turn time. With <150 seat jets, WN could be more efficient with loading/unloading planes. With one jetway, 734s take longer to load/unload than 733s/735s.
IND ORD ATL MCO PIT EWR BUF CVG DEN RNO JFK DTW BOS BDL BWI IAD RDU CLT MYR CHS TPA CID MSP STL MSY DFW IAH AUS SLC LAS
 
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Fri Apr 05, 2019 5:56 pm

Western727 wrote:
flyingclrs727 wrote:
usxguy wrote:
Also, the 737-400 in a standard Y configuration similar to what WN would operate is only 156 seats - so a 4th FA for just 6 passengers is not really something that fits the WN model. The 737-400 was sold as a 727-200 replacement, so I'm not sure Boeing even tried very hard to sell it to Southwest.


The 400 may have had the seating capacity to replace a 727-200, but it didn't have the field performance or range. The leased 727-200's from BN allowed WN to expand to and in California faster than it otherwise could have if they had to wait for the 737-300's to join the fleet. The 737-800, the stretched successor to the 737-400, really benefited from the NG rewinging of the 737. It could do transcons so could not only replace 727-200 but could be used on on longer missions. With the short field package available a few years after introduction, the 800 could be used for situations where the 727-200 field performance was necessary.


So WN has 738s with the Short Field Package? I didn't realize.


I think so. Southwest operates from several airports that have short runways and need the extra performance. They got all their 738's well after the Short Field Package was available.
 
strfyr51
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:17 pm

WN probably didn't order the 737-400 for the same reason UA didn't order the 737-400. It didn't have much in Range. and didn't fly as far as the 737-300. And?
Boeing didn't want to come down on Price. AB heard about it ( as their chief salesman John Leahy had worked at United) and offered UAL the A320 on walkaway Leases. Once that door opened? The 737-400 was and t!! Boeing has since Maximized their offerings with the right wing for the right airplane AND? Damn near all of their models can fly transcon.
 
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Sat Apr 06, 2019 12:51 am

Trying not to deviate too far, but the -300/400/500s all have the exact same engine & core - which was very attractive to airlines at the time. Southwest was the initial launch airline for the -500, but after operating them for a short time, they realized the trip costs were nearly the same as the -300 and didn't opt to purchase anymore. The initial plan was to replace ALL the -200s with -500s. I'm not sure range was such a big issue, as USAir used them from Baltimore and Philly to the Caribbean on a handful of routes, and even some transcons - I have a feeling PI/US may have had some extra fuel cells, as these planes also had tvs hanging from the ceiling for inflight movies.

So I'd think they really did run the #s for the 400 and it just didn't fit their model at the time.
xx
 
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Sat Apr 06, 2019 3:33 am

strfyr51 wrote:
WN probably didn't order the 737-400 for the same reason UA didn't order the 737-400. It didn't have much in Range. and didn't fly as far as the 737-300. And?
Boeing didn't want to come down on Price. AB heard about it ( as their chief salesman John Leahy had worked at United) and offered UAL the A320 on walkaway Leases. Once that door opened? The 737-400 was and t!! Boeing has since Maximized their offerings with the right wing for the right airplane AND? Damn near all of their models can fly transcon.

Piedmont and US flew the 734 on transcons, we had an ACT in them, Swift is still flying some of our old 734s.
 
Boof02671
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Sat Apr 06, 2019 5:06 am

It’s called sarcasm.

And it’s also 30 years later since the 400 was introduced, WN isn’t the same airline that it was 30 years ago.
 
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SQ22
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Re: Why did WN never operate any 737-400?

Sat Apr 06, 2019 7:58 am

twicearound wrote:
*Why didn't WN ever operate the 737-400?*

Please fix the title


Title has been changed. Please use the reporting function for requests like this.
 
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enilria
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Re: Why didn't WN ever operate the 737-400?

Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:27 am

Veigar wrote:
Given the amount of MAX/738's they have now... you'd think they were long time users of the -400, the predecessor of both aircraft, but no, they didn't. Anyone know why?


Oringnally the -400 had limited range (they later gave it a thrust and MTOW bump) so I believe they didn’t want the operational restriction vs the rest of their fleet so they could freely swap with demand.

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