intotheair wrote:STT757 wrote:UA, and before them CO, and WN have had a somewhat complimentary relationship.
In Denver UA and WN seem to co-exist very well, UA stated it had become it's most profitable hub even in the face of WN's exponential growth.
WN and UA co-exist in Chicago, Denver, Oakland/ San Francisco, Houston and Baltimore/Washington. I would look for WN to grow in LGA.
"Co-exist" is a very kind way of saying "fierce competitors."
By my count Southwest serves 90 stations in the 50 U.S. states while United serves 238. So yes Southwest and United compete head-to-head getting folks between Denver and Los Angles or between Chicago and Houston. But there's a lot of places they don't compete:
- Anybody trying to travel to/from small/medium-sized cities in the U.S. doesn't have Southwest as an option
- Anybody who's interested in status on an airline who ever needs to visit a small/medium-sized city is going to have to think hard about flying Southwest in markets Southwest does serve
- Southwest isn't competing for passengers who care about premium cabins, lounges, or things like that
- Southwest isn't a threat when it comes to anybody flying to international destinations that aren't resort Caribbean or Latin America destinations
Even though Southwest is the largest U.S. airline by domestic passengers transported, there are massive swaths of the market they don't compete for at all. American and Delta, however, are fighting over all of those market segments.
In the Kirby era, we've seen all sorts of small-market stations added, all of which Southwest doesn't serve, many of which American and Delta don't serve, which I assume is an effort to insulate United against competition and bolster the value proposition of "United should be your airline of choice because it can get you anywhere better than anyone else can."
Is Southwest a competitor? Absolutely. Is it the most direct competitor? No.