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Iloveboeing
Topic Author
Posts: 478
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2005 11:02 am

WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 8:29 am

https://thepointsguy.com/news/exclusive ... -pandemic/

I was once told that when companies forget what made them great, it leads to their eventual downfall.

WN has historically not been a business airline. They were focused on offering low fares to families and making air travel more affordable. They were unconventional and that’s what people loved about them.

Now they’re trying to be more “business-like.” You can tell with the flight attendants’ new attire, with the men wearing suits and ties and the women wearing more dresses and pantsuits. What happened to the polos and khakis?

I think one thing that’s going to hurt WN in the long run is not equipping their aircraft with in-seat power outlets for all seats. I know they were trying to save money, but business travelers will definitely prefer power outlets. They rolled out their WiFi very well.

I pray they don’t start charging for bags.
 
flyiguy
Posts: 1010
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2004 2:21 pm

Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 8:39 am

Iloveboeing wrote:
https://thepointsguy.com/news/exclusive-southwest-wants-business-travelers-and-will-double-down-on-them-as-it-recovers-from-the-pandemic/

I was once told that when companies forget what made them great, it leads to their eventual downfall.

WN has historically not been a business airline. They were focused on offering low fares to families and making air travel more affordable. They were unconventional and that’s what people loved about them.

Now they’re trying to be more “business-like.” You can tell with the flight attendants’ new attire, with the men wearing suits and ties and the women wearing more dresses and pantsuits. What happened to the polos and khakis?

I think one thing that’s going to hurt WN in the long run is not equipping their aircraft with in-seat power outlets for all seats. I know they were trying to save money, but business travelers will definitely prefer power outlets. They rolled out their WiFi very well.

I pray they don’t start charging for bags.



WN looked at installing power outlets and even IFE screens when they updated their seats not too long ago. They looked at all the pros and cons and honestly they saw more cons since you can buy a power pack to keep items charged and most people now a days bring laptops and tablets to watch movies and play games. The weight and additional wiring cost to maintain outweighed the benefits of adding them.

As to the bag fees, Bob Jordan already stated when he takes over the CEO position from Gary Kelly he will not implement bag fees.

FLY
The opinions I post are of mine and mine alone, not of the airline I work for.
 
Lootess
Posts: 695
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Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 9:05 am

Considering Southwest has flights that are 5 hours like Hawaii, power will become a business issue because of tablets and notebooks. Most people have battery packs for phones, but they don't always leave the gate with full power on their notebooks. Bob can always revisit over time after more quarters of cash positivity. This is one thing that Alaska has that Southwest does not, since they can claim they have power at every seat on every aircraft.

Dish and IFE on personal devices is fine, same mindset as Alaska. But Southwest is a little ahead of Alaska because of live TV on all aircraft, and they offer free wifi to the highest rapid rewards tier. But again, longer flights in the network now mean they should help customers keep these toys alive.

Assigned seating, well they keep testing this idea every few years so obviously it's being requested by some of their business clients. In a way it's good they did because it allowed them to come up with what they have today with number boarding, and business select being guaranteed 1-15 for last minute sells.
 
MIflyer12
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Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 11:03 am

'Simply focusing on distribution' is the key phrase.

What he means is that Southwest wants the high average fares paid by business travelers- but really isn't prepared to give business travelers what they want: assigned seats, power, F and Y+, free same day confirmed, and lounges. WN is frequency-competitive on some routes but really lacking on many. It is way behind in domestic destination count and a joke internationally. They really need hubs - banked, 400+ flight per day ops - to address frequency and destinations.
 
davidjohnson6
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Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 11:27 am

Are lounges, assigned seats and premium class seats really that necessary for attracting corporate accounts ? For most corporations, on a flight under about 5 hours, the important things are cost, reliability and suitable flight times.

If a company set a travel policy as an experiment over a limited period of 12 months of "Fly Southwest and we give you a $75 voucher at a supermarket, or fly AA/DL/UA - employee and their boss get to choose" - what would employees pick ? After 12 months corporation can review (and modify) their travel policy...

On a 3 hour flight, a person might spend max 1.5 hours using a laptop after allowing for no-laptop times like taxiing, ascent, descent and eating food. A laptop battery will last at least 2 hours before recharging

The CFO or COO of a company doesn't care if an employee misses out on an hour in a lounge
 
Vicenza
Posts: 374
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2020 3:21 pm

Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 11:48 am

MIflyer12 wrote:
'Simply focusing on distribution' is the key phrase.

What he means is that Southwest wants the high average fares paid by business travelers- but really isn't prepared to give business travelers what they want: assigned seats, power, F and Y+, free same day confirmed, and lounges. WN is frequency-competitive on some routes but really lacking on many. It is way behind in domestic destination count and a joke internationally. They really need hubs - banked, 400+ flight per day ops - to address frequency and destinations.


No, that is only your opinion of what he means, nothing more.
 
Vicenza
Posts: 374
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2020 3:21 pm

Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 11:53 am

davidjohnson6 wrote:
Are lounges, assigned seats and premium class seats really that necessary for attracting corporate accounts ?

The CFO or COO of a company doesn't care if an employee misses out on an hour in a lounge



I would have to agree with that, and there is no reason whatsoever why they should. A lounge etc, is certainly not in the least bit important for the purpose of the flight.
 
Cubsrule
Posts: 15268
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 12:13 pm

Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 12:16 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
'Simply focusing on distribution' is the key phrase.

What he means is that Southwest wants the high average fares paid by business travelers- but really isn't prepared to give business travelers what they want: assigned seats, power, F and Y+, free same day confirmed, and lounges. WN is frequency-competitive on some routes but really lacking on many. It is way behind in domestic destination count and a joke internationally. They really need hubs - banked, 400+ flight per day ops - to address frequency and destinations.


Business travelers also want nonstop flights (WN excels here in many non-fortress hubs), a consistent experience (probably WN’s biggest selling point), no bad seats (the reality for anyone with even lowest-tier status on WN), and easy changes and cancellations. Certainly WN’s product is a little different but for those of us live in larger WN stations it’s not an objectively bad product.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
USAirALB
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Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 12:30 pm

Not showing up in corporate travel platforms is probably a big detriment.

For me, I think the hardest thing about WN would be that AFAIK their frequent flyer program lacks any international partners or ability to use points to travel overseas.
RJ85, F70, E135, E140, E145, E70, E75, E90, CR2, CR7, CR9, 717, 732, 733, 734, 735, 73G, 738, 739, 744ER, 752, 753, 762, 763ER, 772, 77E, 77W, 789, 319, 320, 321, 332, 333, 343, 359, 388
 
Ziyulu
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Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 12:35 pm

Speaking of no power outlets. Are power banks allowed to be used in flight?
 
capejet
Posts: 141
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2012 9:08 pm

Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 12:38 pm

Southwest canceled 307 flights yesterday (Saturday June 26) while AA canceled 82, United canceled 9 and Delta canceled 2. If this trend continues, in my opinion, business traffic will be flocking to United and Delta.
 
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scbriml
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Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 12:45 pm

Iloveboeing wrote:
https://thepointsguy.com/news/exclusive-southwest-wants-business-travelers-and-will-double-down-on-them-as-it-recovers-from-the-pandemic/

I was once told that when companies forget what made them great, it leads to their eventual downfall.

WN has historically not been a business airline. They were focused on offering low fares to families and making air travel more affordable. They were unconventional and that’s what people loved about them.

Now they’re trying to be more “business-like.” You can tell with the flight attendants’ new attire, with the men wearing suits and ties and the women wearing more dresses and pantsuits. What happened to the polos and khakis?

I think one thing that’s going to hurt WN in the long run is not equipping their aircraft with in-seat power outlets for all seats. I know they were trying to save money, but business travelers will definitely prefer power outlets. They rolled out their WiFi very well.

I pray they don’t start charging for bags.


Change is the only constant in life. How you deal with change defines you.
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana!
There are 10 types of people in the World - those that understand binary and those that don't.
 
smokeybandit
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Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 12:46 pm

USAirALB wrote:
Not showing up in corporate travel platforms is probably a big detriment.

For me, I think the hardest thing about WN would be that AFAIK their frequent flyer program lacks any international partners or ability to use points to travel overseas.


My company's travel booking site has WN, and we're encouraged to book WN.
 
AAIL86
Posts: 495
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Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 12:48 pm

For me, this is does seem to be a good short to medium term play for them.

- Much of AA/DL/UA's appeal to many large companies (and even plenty of SMEs as well) is the comprehensive international network so the average high end business traveler doesn't have to split time (or points). International travel will be sparse for at least a year, so a good time for them to sell customers on their model.

- GDS distribution will help some. Many prefer agencies because dealing with a dedicated agent or team is, in their view better, then hit and miss service from rank and file employees (and lets be honest, all the majors have low performers, even WN). Also, see the 8 hour wait times the majors have all been having lately. Which means even your Exec Plats and 1ks might have some lengthy waits when they (or their admins) call.

Some of you guys are discounting how important lounges and reserved seats are to many hardcore business travelers. Of course, some don't care but in my experience of 20 years in the industry a sizeable majority do.When you travel 100/150/200+ days a day, predictably in seating and lounges with decent or good wifi, workstations, maybe showers are big draw. And of course if you have the budget for that much travel, a $500 annual membership is nothing. Plus don't forget lounge access is included in many corporate contracts.

Southwest knows all this of course, but no airline can cover the entire market. They know their business and they are very good (this summer excluded) at managing it.
" Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness ... Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime. ” - Mark Twain, 1869
 
joeblow10
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Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 1:04 pm

The no change fee thing used to be the reason I’d book WN whenever possible - people are discounting the fact that COVID has really leveled the playing field on that now.

I do agree - I see no reason business travelers in DEN or CHI for example would book WN over UA when they can get no change fees on both and instead get lounge access and potentially upgraded on UA.
 
av8tiongeek
Posts: 165
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Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 1:10 pm

Back in the day I held many executive assistant roles and it didn't matter if WN offered free flights the executives wanted an assigned seat in business class, if available, and access to a lounge. Most of them flew American or United and had buckets of points and elite status. Rushing from a meeting to the airport is bad enough, but having to locate an empty seat only to find one middle seat available is agonizing. Then there's no pre-departure beverage to ease the stress level.

There are many things that make WN great, but if they truly want to steal business travelers from the other carriers it's going to take a whole lot more than what they're currently offering.

I say acquire JetBlue and keep the assigned seats and business class.
 
JohanTally
Posts: 361
Joined: Tue Jun 18, 2019 3:44 am

Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 1:19 pm

Ziyulu wrote:
Speaking of no power outlets. Are power banks allowed to be used in flight?

They are allowed but they need to be removed from luggage. IMHO these power banks are quite often a danger because they aren't regulated very well.
 
afcjets
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Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 1:25 pm

I wish the only thing Southwest would change is add a small First Class cabin and allow seat assignments only there and not offer any upgrades. Over time they can expand the cabin and/or raise the fares enough to compensate for fewer coach seats. It might not even be necessary for them to cater it beyond snacks and it might still be better than their competitors on most flights.
Last edited by afcjets on Sun Jun 27, 2021 1:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
 
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Midwestindy
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Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 1:27 pm

AAIL86 wrote:
For me, this is does seem to be a good short to medium term play for them.

- Much of AA/DL/UA's appeal to many large companies (and even plenty of SMEs as well) is the comprehensive international network so the average high end business traveler doesn't have to split time (or points). International travel will be sparse for at least a year, so a good time for them to sell customers on their model.

Some of you guys are discounting how important lounges and reserved seats are to many hardcore business travelers. Of course, some don't care but in my experience of 20 years in the industry a sizeable majority do.When you travel 100/150/200+ days a day, predictably in seating and lounges with decent or good wifi, workstations, maybe showers are big draw. And of course if you have the budget for that much travel, a $500 annual membership is nothing. Plus don't forget lounge access is included in many corporate contracts.

Southwest knows all this of course, but no airline can cover the entire market. They know their business and they are very good (this summer excluded) at managing it.


Outside of those monopoly focus city markets, for many business travelers I think the value proposition of WN loyalty is not strong.

WN consistently ranks towards the bottom on airline rewards program rankings.

My company pays for First/Business on anything over 90 minutes, so it obviously makes no sense to be loyal to WN. But even if they didn't do that, WN loyalty would be a tough sell.

For one, I better hope I charged my computer before getting onboard...
ORD & IND

AA & DL
 
Flflyer83
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Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 1:55 pm

Iloveboeing wrote:
https://thepointsguy.com/news/exclusive-southwest-wants-business-travelers-and-will-double-down-on-them-as-it-recovers-from-the-pandemic/

I was once told that when companies forget what made them great, it leads to their eventual downfall.

WN has historically not been a business airline. They were focused on offering low fares to families and making air travel more affordable. They were unconventional and that’s what people loved about them.

Now they’re trying to be more “business-like.” You can tell with the flight attendants’ new attire, with the men wearing suits and ties and the women wearing more dresses and pantsuits. What happened to the polos and khakis?

I think one thing that’s going to hurt WN in the long run is not equipping their aircraft with in-seat power outlets for all seats. I know they were trying to save money, but business travelers will definitely prefer power outlets. They rolled out their WiFi very well.

I pray they don’t start charging for bags.


WN started the business giving away liquor with the tickets… to businessmen. High frequency, P2P routes aren’t for leisure travelers.
 
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vhtje
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Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 1:59 pm

davidjohnson6 wrote:
Are lounges, assigned seats and premium class seats really that necessary for attracting corporate accounts ? For most corporations, on a flight under about 5 hours, the important things are cost, reliability and suitable flight times.

If a company set a travel policy as an experiment over a limited period of 12 months of "Fly Southwest and we give you a $75 voucher at a supermarket, or fly AA/DL/UA - employee and their boss get to choose" - what would employees pick ? After 12 months corporation can review (and modify) their travel policy...

On a 3 hour flight, a person might spend max 1.5 hours using a laptop after allowing for no-laptop times like taxiing, ascent, descent and eating food. A laptop battery will last at least 2 hours before recharging

The CFO or COO of a company doesn't care if an employee misses out on an hour in a lounge


As a senior executive who travels extensively - as in, every week, pre-Covid - I very much disagree with you. Lounges are important because we spend time in airports and they offer a space where work can be undertaken. For example, I can leave my bag at a desk and get a coffee, and it is fairly secure. I wouldn't dare do that in a foodcourt in an airport. Sometimes one spends more time at an airport than originally planned (delays, etc) and again, having access to a private, quiet space where work can be done, phone calls made, devices charged, or even just relax and perhaps sleep, is very important.

Lounge access is an important perk for my employees, and I wouldn't dare deprive them of that, so yes, I do care that they get access to a decent lounge to get food and water. Airports are crowded, unpleasant places, particularly in the US, and the lounge provides them with a sanctuary. It is particularly important as they are usually travelling on their own time.

Assigned seating is important, as nobody wants the stress of possibly being stuck in the middle seat in row 30 right next to the lavatories. I also hate the WN boarding system, although admittedly when I flew WN both flights were very lightly loaded, so it was okay, but I could see that if the flight had been full, all that jockeying and standing around would be unpleasant. All that nonsense about checking in precisely at T-24 in order to get the right boarding group. Business travellers do not have time for that. No thanks.

I do however agree with you on business class. While nice, I do not see that as a necessity on the routes WN fly. (I typically do not fly Business class on routes less than five hours).

If WN wants to attract business passengers, it needs to also consider scheduling. Business travellers do not like to travel in the middle of the day, or the middle of the night. We like frequency, and we like choice. One thing WN might do is offer free same-day flexibility on business tickets. U2 do that here in Europe, and I have used it often. Meeting finished early? Great, change my flight and get me home sooner. It's a great convenience and it is something U2 have over BA, which is typically very inflexible unless you whip out your credit card and pay huge fees.
I only turn left when boarding aircraft. Well, mostly. All right, sometimes. OH OKAY - rarely.
 
Jonboi252009
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Nov 21, 2019 8:46 am

Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 2:01 pm

Midwestindy wrote:
AAIL86 wrote:
For me, this is does seem to be a good short to medium term play for them.

- Much of AA/DL/UA's appeal to many large companies (and even plenty of SMEs as well) is the comprehensive international network so the average high end business traveler doesn't have to split time (or points). International travel will be sparse for at least a year, so a good time for them to sell customers on their model.

Some of you guys are discounting how important lounges and reserved seats are to many hardcore business travelers. Of course, some don't care but in my experience of 20 years in the industry a sizeable majority do.When you travel 100/150/200+ days a day, predictably in seating and lounges with decent or good wifi, workstations, maybe showers are big draw. And of course if you have the budget for that much travel, a $500 annual membership is nothing. Plus don't forget lounge access is included in many corporate contracts.

Southwest knows all this of course, but no airline can cover the entire market. They know their business and they are very good (this summer excluded) at managing it.


Outside of those monopoly focus city markets, for many business travelers I think the value proposition of WN loyalty is not strong.

WN consistently ranks towards the bottom on airline rewards program rankings.

My company pays for First/Business on anything over 90 minutes, so it obviously makes no sense to be loyal to WN. But even if they didn't do that, WN loyalty would be a tough sell.

For one, I better hope I charged my computer before getting onboard...



That is definitely not true. WN’s Rewards program is constantly ranked near the top.
 
PSU.DTW.SCE
Posts: 8903
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2002 11:45 am

Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 2:21 pm

WN is a good value prop for a certain swath of corporate travel in certain markets.
Basically shorter flights out of WN quasi-hubs.
Also appealing for people who travel some but not hardcore road warrior types-those that don’t qualify for status and / or lowest tier elites that are on the bottom rung. Basically once a month or less travelers.

If you are doing near weekly travel, trust me lounge access, assigned seats, upgrades, WiFi, seat power, and predictability make it tolerable.
 
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SuseJ772
Posts: 1063
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 11:13 am

Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 2:38 pm

vhtje wrote:
davidjohnson6 wrote:
Are lounges, assigned seats and premium class seats really that necessary for attracting corporate accounts ? For most corporations, on a flight under about 5 hours, the important things are cost, reliability and suitable flight times.

If a company set a travel policy as an experiment over a limited period of 12 months of "Fly Southwest and we give you a $75 voucher at a supermarket, or fly AA/DL/UA - employee and their boss get to choose" - what would employees pick ? After 12 months corporation can review (and modify) their travel policy...

On a 3 hour flight, a person might spend max 1.5 hours using a laptop after allowing for no-laptop times like taxiing, ascent, descent and eating food. A laptop battery will last at least 2 hours before recharging

The CFO or COO of a company doesn't care if an employee misses out on an hour in a lounge


As a senior executive who travels extensively - as in, every week, pre-Covid - I very much disagree with you. Lounges are important because we spend time in airports and they offer a space where work can be undertaken. For example, I can leave my bag at a desk and get a coffee, and it is fairly secure. I wouldn't dare do that in a foodcourt in an airport. Sometimes one spends more time at an airport than originally planned (delays, etc) and again, having access to a private, quiet space where work can be done, phone calls made, devices charged, or even just relax and perhaps sleep, is very important.

Lounge access is an important perk for my employees, and I wouldn't dare deprive them of that, so yes, I do care that they get access to a decent lounge to get food and water. Airports are crowded, unpleasant places, particularly in the US, and the lounge provides them with a sanctuary. It is particularly important as they are usually travelling on their own time.

Assigned seating is important, as nobody wants the stress of possibly being stuck in the middle seat in row 30 right next to the lavatories. I also hate the WN boarding system, although admittedly when I flew WN both flights were very lightly loaded, so it was okay, but I could see that if the flight had been full, all that jockeying and standing around would be unpleasant. All that nonsense about checking in precisely at T-24 in order to get the right boarding group. Business travellers do not have time for that. No thanks.

I do however agree with you on business class. While nice, I do not see that as a necessity on the routes WN fly. (I typically do not fly Business class on routes less than five hours).

If WN wants to attract business passengers, it needs to also consider scheduling. Business travellers do not like to travel in the middle of the day, or the middle of the night. We like frequency, and we like choice. One thing WN might do is offer free same-day flexibility on business tickets. U2 do that here in Europe, and I have used it often. Meeting finished early? Great, change my flight and get me home sooner. It's a great convenience and it is something U2 have over BA, which is typically very inflexible unless you whip out your credit card and pay huge fees.


This is spot on and the exact perspective I had as an executive. Assigned seating, schedule, boarding hierarchy and lounge is a must. First/business class is a nice to have (domestically), not a must have.

To expand one point. I used to fly a lot by leisure standard but not a lot by business standards (say 4 times a year). I didn’t care about the boarding procedure / zone then. But as soon as you start flying more than a couple times a month, you care very much about boarding procedure.

Free checked bag means nothing as most business travelers (myself included) were carrying on bags long before the masses were.
Currently at PIE, requesting FWA >> >>
 
Drafran
Posts: 72
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2020 5:55 pm

Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 2:43 pm

They might also consider using third party booking platforms again. Myself, when planning travel the first place I go is ITA Matrix. Since WN is not there, WN is not considered. I don't want to have to check a myriad of websites to book travel: Matrix--airline website to book--done.
 
Jshank83
Posts: 4455
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2016 2:23 pm

Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 2:46 pm

Cubsrule wrote:
MIflyer12 wrote:
'Simply focusing on distribution' is the key phrase.

What he means is that Southwest wants the high average fares paid by business travelers- but really isn't prepared to give business travelers what they want: assigned seats, power, F and Y+, free same day confirmed, and lounges. WN is frequency-competitive on some routes but really lacking on many. It is way behind in domestic destination count and a joke internationally. They really need hubs - banked, 400+ flight per day ops - to address frequency and destinations.


Business travelers also want nonstop flights (WN excels here in many non-fortress hubs), a consistent experience (probably WN’s biggest selling point), no bad seats (the reality for anyone with even lowest-tier status on WN), and easy changes and cancellations. Certainly WN’s product is a little different but for those of us live in larger WN stations it’s not an objectively bad product.


Agree on this. Living in a larger WN station almost everyone I know who flies for business flies a lot of WN. Nonstops matter and their companies aren’t going to pay business class seats on legacies anyway if they choose them. My wife’s company will pay for early bird seating if they aren’t already a-list. Mine won’t pay for anything extra except bag fees if you fly non southwest.

I will say once you get to markets where WN maybe isn’t as strong I can see business travelers wanting legacies because eventually they can get upgrades if they fly enough even if the company won’t pay for anything extra.
 
AAIL86
Posts: 495
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 6:00 am

Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 2:53 pm

Midwestindy wrote:
AAIL86 wrote:
For me, this is does seem to be a good short to medium term play for them.

- Much of AA/DL/UA's appeal to many large companies (and even plenty of SMEs as well) is the comprehensive international network so the average high end business traveler doesn't have to split time (or points). International travel will be sparse for at least a year, so a good time for them to sell customers on their model.

Some of you guys are discounting how important lounges and reserved seats are to many hardcore business travelers. Of course, some don't care but in my experience of 20 years in the industry a sizeable majority do.When you travel 100/150/200+ days a day, predictably in seating and lounges with decent or good wifi, workstations, maybe showers are big draw. And of course if you have the budget for that much travel, a $500 annual membership is nothing. Plus don't forget lounge access is included in many corporate contracts.

Southwest knows all this of course, but no airline can cover the entire market. They know their business and they are very good (this summer excluded) at managing it.


Outside of those monopoly focus city markets, for many business travelers I think the value proposition of WN loyalty is not strong.

WN consistently ranks towards the bottom on airline rewards program rankings.

My company pays for First/Business on anything over 90 minutes, so it obviously makes no sense to be loyal to WN. But even if they didn't do that, WN loyalty would be a tough sell.

For one, I better hope I charged my computer before getting onboard...


100% true. For me personally, in 15+ years of business travel I have rarely flown them, occasionally on a route like HOU-DAL. But I'd never give them my business full time.
For the WN fans out there that can't fathom that many road warriors out there feel this way, just remember they are low fare/leisure carrier that has always tried to skim business travelers where they can.
This approach has worked very well for them and I can't fault them for it. Like I said before, no airline can capture 100% of the market, unless we're talking Aeroflot in the Soviet days :lol:
" Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness ... Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime. ” - Mark Twain, 1869
 
Triple7Lr
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Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 3:02 pm

vhtje wrote:
As a senior executive who travels extensively - as in, every week, pre-Covid - I very much disagree with you. Lounges are important because we spend time in airports and they offer a space where work can be undertaken. For example, I can leave my bag at a desk and get a coffee, and it is fairly secure. I wouldn't dare do that in a foodcourt in an airport. Sometimes one spends more time at an airport than originally planned (delays, etc) and again, having access to a private, quiet space where work can be done, phone calls made, devices charged, or even just relax and perhaps sleep, is very important.

Lounge access is an important perk for my employees, and I wouldn't dare deprive them of that, so yes, I do care that they get access to a decent lounge to get food and water. Airports are crowded, unpleasant places, particularly in the US, and the lounge provides them with a sanctuary. It is particularly important as they are usually travelling on their own time.


Bingo!!

For travelers with a demanding travel schedule such as yourself a lounge is a necessity for all of the reasons you mentioned. My wife travels at a similar pace and has spent much time in lounges working or just staying away from the over crowded general areas. Her company offers lounge access as perk due to the travel demand.
 
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Midwestindy
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Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 3:14 pm

Jonboi252009 wrote:
Midwestindy wrote:
AAIL86 wrote:
For me, this is does seem to be a good short to medium term play for them.

- Much of AA/DL/UA's appeal to many large companies (and even plenty of SMEs as well) is the comprehensive international network so the average high end business traveler doesn't have to split time (or points). International travel will be sparse for at least a year, so a good time for them to sell customers on their model.

Some of you guys are discounting how important lounges and reserved seats are to many hardcore business travelers. Of course, some don't care but in my experience of 20 years in the industry a sizeable majority do.When you travel 100/150/200+ days a day, predictably in seating and lounges with decent or good wifi, workstations, maybe showers are big draw. And of course if you have the budget for that much travel, a $500 annual membership is nothing. Plus don't forget lounge access is included in many corporate contracts.

Southwest knows all this of course, but no airline can cover the entire market. They know their business and they are very good (this summer excluded) at managing it.


Outside of those monopoly focus city markets, for many business travelers I think the value proposition of WN loyalty is not strong.

WN consistently ranks towards the bottom on airline rewards program rankings.

My company pays for First/Business on anything over 90 minutes, so it obviously makes no sense to be loyal to WN. But even if they didn't do that, WN loyalty would be a tough sell.

For one, I better hope I charged my computer before getting onboard...



That is definitely not true. WN’s Rewards program is constantly ranked near the top.


I'm sure there are some rankings that put WN higher, but I wouldn't consider it consistent by any means.

Not top 5
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/31/these-t ... trip-.html

Only beating F9, NK, and HA
https://travel.usnews.com/rankings/trav ... e-rewards/

https://theluxurytravelexpert.com/2021/ ... -programs/

vhtje wrote:
davidjohnson6 wrote:
Are lounges, assigned seats and premium class seats really that necessary for attracting corporate accounts ? For most corporations, on a flight under about 5 hours, the important things are cost, reliability and suitable flight times.

If a company set a travel policy as an experiment over a limited period of 12 months of "Fly Southwest and we give you a $75 voucher at a supermarket, or fly AA/DL/UA - employee and their boss get to choose" - what would employees pick ? After 12 months corporation can review (and modify) their travel policy...

On a 3 hour flight, a person might spend max 1.5 hours using a laptop after allowing for no-laptop times like taxiing, ascent, descent and eating food. A laptop battery will last at least 2 hours before recharging

The CFO or COO of a company doesn't care if an employee misses out on an hour in a lounge


As a senior executive who travels extensively - as in, every week, pre-Covid - I very much disagree with you. Lounges are important because we spend time in airports and they offer a space where work can be undertaken. For example, I can leave my bag at a desk and get a coffee, and it is fairly secure. I wouldn't dare do that in a foodcourt in an airport. Sometimes one spends more time at an airport than originally planned (delays, etc) and again, having access to a private, quiet space where work can be done, phone calls made, devices charged, or even just relax and perhaps sleep, is very important.

Lounge access is an important perk for my employees, and I wouldn't dare deprive them of that, so yes, I do care that they get access to a decent lounge to get food and water. Airports are crowded, unpleasant places, particularly in the US, and the lounge provides them with a sanctuary. It is particularly important as they are usually travelling on their own time.

Assigned seating is important, as nobody wants the stress of possibly being stuck in the middle seat in row 30 right next to the lavatories. I also hate the WN boarding system, although admittedly when I flew WN both flights were very lightly loaded, so it was okay, but I could see that if the flight had been full, all that jockeying and standing around would be unpleasant. All that nonsense about checking in precisely at T-24 in order to get the right boarding group. Business travellers do not have time for that. No thanks.

I do however agree with you on business class. While nice, I do not see that as a necessity on the routes WN fly. (I typically do not fly Business class on routes less than five hours).

If WN wants to attract business passengers, it needs to also consider scheduling. Business travellers do not like to travel in the middle of the day, or the middle of the night. We like frequency, and we like choice. One thing WN might do is offer free same-day flexibility on business tickets. U2 do that here in Europe, and I have used it often. Meeting finished early? Great, change my flight and get me home sooner. It's a great convenience and it is something U2 have over BA, which is typically very inflexible unless you whip out your credit card and pay huge fees.


Agreed, realistically business travelers don't have time to be waiting around for T-24 to ensure they aren't stuck in a middle in row 30. I'm sure some have assistants who could do it for them, but again that's just adding in another layer of hassle to the journey. If I'm traveling for work on any of the US3 I can just check-in during the car ride to the airport.

For example, I got a new flight 2 hours before its expected departure this week on a US3, and I was able to, no hassle, get an assigned seat in First Class and be the first one onboard the plane. On multiple levels you would never be able to do that with WN.

Power outlets, first class, assigned seating, lounges, full meals, international network, codeshares/alliances, it's an easy choice for me.

Jshank83 wrote:
Agree on this. Living in a larger WN station almost everyone I know who flies for business flies a lot of WN. Nonstops matter and their companies aren’t going to pay business class seats on legacies anyway if they choose them. My wife’s company will pay for early bird seating if they aren’t already a-list. Mine won’t pay for anything extra except bag fees if you fly non southwest.

I will say once you get to markets where WN maybe isn’t as strong I can see business travelers wanting legacies because eventually they can get upgrades if they fly enough even if the company won’t pay for anything extra.


MGMT consulting and larger investment banks pay for First normally if it is upwards of 90 minutes-2 hours, which is what my company does.

Then again WN isn't really big in any of the locations where that sort of travel is happening at scale. Only place would be Chicago, but AA & UA have a hold of a big chunk of the corporate travel budgets in Chicago.

They also can't operate routes at the same frequency the US3 can, so even in Chicago they only are flying major routes like Chicago-NYC at half or a 1/3rd of the frequency of AA/UA/DL
ORD & IND

AA & DL
 
Jshank83
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Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 3:35 pm

vhtje wrote:
If WN wants to attract business passengers, it needs to also consider scheduling. Business travellers do not like to travel in the middle of the day, or the middle of the night. We like frequency, and we like choice. One thing WN might do is offer free same-day flexibility on business tickets. U2 do that here in Europe, and I have used it often. Meeting finished early? Great, change my flight and get me home sooner. It's a great convenience and it is something U2 have over BA, which is typically very inflexible unless you whip out your credit card and pay huge fees.


Southwest offers same day changes for no charge for business/anytime tickets. They also offer it for A-list.
 
usflyer msp
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Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 3:37 pm

Flflyer83 wrote:
Iloveboeing wrote:
https://thepointsguy.com/news/exclusive-southwest-wants-business-travelers-and-will-double-down-on-them-as-it-recovers-from-the-pandemic/

I was once told that when companies forget what made them great, it leads to their eventual downfall.

WN has historically not been a business airline. They were focused on offering low fares to families and making air travel more affordable. They were unconventional and that’s what people loved about them.

Now they’re trying to be more “business-like.” You can tell with the flight attendants’ new attire, with the men wearing suits and ties and the women wearing more dresses and pantsuits. What happened to the polos and khakis?

I think one thing that’s going to hurt WN in the long run is not equipping their aircraft with in-seat power outlets for all seats. I know they were trying to save money, but business travelers will definitely prefer power outlets. They rolled out their WiFi very well.

I pray they don’t start charging for bags.


WN started the business giving away liquor with the tickets… to businessmen. High frequency, P2P routes aren’t for leisure travelers.


Thank you. Just what I was about to write. WN didn't fly Dallas-Houston 30+ times a day so the kids could see grandma. The entire premise of this article is off.
 
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aemoreira1981
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Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 3:37 pm

Wi-Fi and USB power ports would be a start, especially given that WN and B6 have the roomiest Y seats in the industry.
 
allegiantflyer
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Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 3:45 pm

"Power banks" are very quickly going to be considered an outdated way to travel. Bring your own power? yes this was considered the norm in 2010 but the universal USB power outlet is everywhere.

Yes you can still bring your own power bank, but everyone claiming that this is "ok" will be the same individuals cheering when WN eventually makes the move for inseat power. Its imminent so lets' not make excuses for why it isn't already fulfilled.
 
WayexTDI
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Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 3:58 pm

Jonboi252009 wrote:
Midwestindy wrote:
AAIL86 wrote:
For me, this is does seem to be a good short to medium term play for them.

- Much of AA/DL/UA's appeal to many large companies (and even plenty of SMEs as well) is the comprehensive international network so the average high end business traveler doesn't have to split time (or points). International travel will be sparse for at least a year, so a good time for them to sell customers on their model.

Some of you guys are discounting how important lounges and reserved seats are to many hardcore business travelers. Of course, some don't care but in my experience of 20 years in the industry a sizeable majority do.When you travel 100/150/200+ days a day, predictably in seating and lounges with decent or good wifi, workstations, maybe showers are big draw. And of course if you have the budget for that much travel, a $500 annual membership is nothing. Plus don't forget lounge access is included in many corporate contracts.

Southwest knows all this of course, but no airline can cover the entire market. They know their business and they are very good (this summer excluded) at managing it.


Outside of those monopoly focus city markets, for many business travelers I think the value proposition of WN loyalty is not strong.

WN consistently ranks towards the bottom on airline rewards program rankings.

My company pays for First/Business on anything over 90 minutes, so it obviously makes no sense to be loyal to WN. But even if they didn't do that, WN loyalty would be a tough sell.

For one, I better hope I charged my computer before getting onboard...



That is definitely not true. WN’s Rewards program is constantly ranked near the top.

According to US News, they are 6th out of 9.
According to Wallet Hub. they are 8th out of 10.
I wouldn't call that being near the top...
 
Cubsrule
Posts: 15268
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 12:13 pm

Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 4:01 pm

Midwestindy wrote:
vhtje wrote:
If WN wants to attract business passengers, it needs to also consider scheduling. Business travellers do not like to travel in the middle of the day, or the middle of the night. We like frequency, and we like choice. One thing WN might do is offer free same-day flexibility on business tickets. U2 do that here in Europe, and I have used it often. Meeting finished early? Great, change my flight and get me home sooner. It's a great convenience and it is something U2 have over BA, which is typically very inflexible unless you whip out your credit card and pay huge fees.


Agreed, realistically business travelers don't have time to be waiting around for T-24 to ensure they aren't stuck in a middle in row 30. I'm sure some have assistants who could do it for them, but again that's just adding in another layer of hassle to the journey. If I'm traveling for work on any of the US3 I can just check-in during the car ride to the airport.

For example, I got a new flight 2 hours before its expected departure this week on a US3, and I was able to, no hassle, get an assigned seat in First Class and be the first one onboard the plane. On multiple levels you would never be able to do that with WN.

Power outlets, first class, assigned seating, lounges, full meals, international network, codeshares/alliances, it's an easy choice for me.

Jshank83 wrote:
Agree on this. Living in a larger WN station almost everyone I know who flies for business flies a lot of WN. Nonstops matter and their companies aren’t going to pay business class seats on legacies anyway if they choose them. My wife’s company will pay for early bird seating if they aren’t already a-list. Mine won’t pay for anything extra except bag fees if you fly non southwest.

I will say once you get to markets where WN maybe isn’t as strong I can see business travelers wanting legacies because eventually they can get upgrades if they fly enough even if the company won’t pay for anything extra.


MGMT consulting and larger investment banks pay for First normally if it is upwards of 90 minutes-2 hours, which is what my company does.

Then again WN isn't really big in any of the locations where that sort of travel is happening at scale. Only place would be Chicago, but AA & UA have a hold of a big chunk of the corporate travel budgets in Chicago.

They also can't operate routes at the same frequency the US3 can, so even in Chicago they only are flying major routes like Chicago-NYC at half or a 1/3rd of the frequency of AA/DL/UA.


About half of my intra-north America business travel is on WN, almost exclusively for schedule/frequency reasons, and several of the criticisms in this thread strike me as misguided.

Starting with frequency: why would anyone expect WN to match AA, UA, and DL in frequency in a market like CHI-NYC that is hub-hub for all of them but not WN? Look at CHI-HOU and the picture is much different.

My experience with close-in (2-4 hours before departure) bookings is that WN is much more consistent because status all but guarantees an aisle or window in the front half of the aircraft. Too often on legacies it’s a middle or a seat in the back because that’s all they have.

Passengers on full-fare tickets and/or with status gain nothing from checking in at T-24.

And while I have had lounge access on and off over the years for me it adds next to no value on the stage lengths WN flies. If I’m in the airport and not trying actively to get an earlier flight, I’m almost inevitably eating a meal or on a call/Zoom. Twenty years ago lounges were great for both of those activities but now, honestly, they aren’t suitable for either because of service reductions and crowds. It’s different for long haul but that’s not the sandbox WN plays in.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
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msp747
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Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 4:01 pm

I think there are two types of business travelers. The road warriors, which everyone here seems to be focused on, and the business that has a lot of employees traveling, but not all of the time. For instance, I worked for a company in DC that had a major office in the Metroplex. I made the trek 6 or 7 times my last year there, and I wasn't alone. While we had travelers making that trek almost daily, it was spread out over hundreds of different people. These are people sitting in coach, generally on the cheapest fares available at time of booking (although you could spend a little more for schedule), and not spending time in lounges. I think there are plenty of business travelers out there that fit this mold, and for them WN is just as good an option as the legacy carriers. WN was available for us, and there were people who took advantage of it because of LUV, vs DFW. I preferred to fly out of IAD, since it was close to home, so I was loyal to UA.

Also, people on here keep making a big deal about the WN check-in and boarding process, but if you have elite status or are on a Biz-Select fare (which a lot of last minute travelers would be), you get priority boarding... so it doesn't matter what time you check in. Their current process is also a lot less chaotic than the old days. When you get in line, you just go to the group of 5 that your number is. It's not like when someone with a high number would try to be first in line to try and beat out those with a lower number.
 
IPFreely
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Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 4:05 pm

Southwest: 48 years of profitability. No bankruptcy. No layoffs. Good return for long term investors exceeding every publicly traded airline except ALK by a lot.

Legacy Airlines: Years of profitability offset with years of staggering losses. Bankruptcy reorganizations, some multiple times. Many many rounds of layoffs, pay cuts, and reduced or lost pensions. Horrible return for long term investors.

Airliners.net logic: Southwest will fail unless they start copying from the legacy airlines.

Priceless.
 
cledaybuck
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Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 4:08 pm

aemoreira1981 wrote:
Wi-Fi and USB power ports would be a start, especially given that WN and B6 have the roomiest Y seats in the industry.

WN already has WiFi.
As we celebrate mediocrity, all the boys upstairs want to see, how much you'll pay for what you used to get for free.
 
PSU.DTW.SCE
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Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 4:10 pm

Cubsrule wrote:
Midwestindy wrote:
vhtje wrote:
If WN wants to attract business passengers, it needs to also consider scheduling. Business travellers do not like to travel in the middle of the day, or the middle of the night. We like frequency, and we like choice. One thing WN might do is offer free same-day flexibility on business tickets. U2 do that here in Europe, and I have used it often. Meeting finished early? Great, change my flight and get me home sooner. It's a great convenience and it is something U2 have over BA, which is typically very inflexible unless you whip out your credit card and pay huge fees.


Agreed, realistically business travelers don't have time to be waiting around for T-24 to ensure they aren't stuck in a middle in row 30. I'm sure some have assistants who could do it for them, but again that's just adding in another layer of hassle to the journey. If I'm traveling for work on any of the US3 I can just check-in during the car ride to the airport.

For example, I got a new flight 2 hours before its expected departure this week on a US3, and I was able to, no hassle, get an assigned seat in First Class and be the first one onboard the plane. On multiple levels you would never be able to do that with WN.

Power outlets, first class, assigned seating, lounges, full meals, international network, codeshares/alliances, it's an easy choice for me.

Jshank83 wrote:
Agree on this. Living in a larger WN station almost everyone I know who flies for business flies a lot of WN. Nonstops matter and their companies aren’t going to pay business class seats on legacies anyway if they choose them. My wife’s company will pay for early bird seating if they aren’t already a-list. Mine won’t pay for anything extra except bag fees if you fly non southwest.

I will say once you get to markets where WN maybe isn’t as strong I can see business travelers wanting legacies because eventually they can get upgrades if they fly enough even if the company won’t pay for anything extra.


MGMT consulting and larger investment banks pay for First normally if it is upwards of 90 minutes-2 hours, which is what my company does.

Then again WN isn't really big in any of the locations where that sort of travel is happening at scale. Only place would be Chicago, but AA & UA have a hold of a big chunk of the corporate travel budgets in Chicago.

They also can't operate routes at the same frequency the US3 can, so even in Chicago they only are flying major routes like Chicago-NYC at half or a 1/3rd of the frequency of AA/DL/UA.


About half of my intra-north America business travel is on WN, almost exclusively for schedule/frequency reasons, and several of the criticisms in this thread strike me as misguided.

Starting with frequency: why would anyone expect WN to match AA, UA, and DL in frequency in a market like CHI-NYC that is hub-hub for all of them but not WN? Look at CHI-HOU and the picture is much different.

My experience with close-in (2-4 hours before departure) bookings is that WN is much more consistent because status all but guarantees an aisle or window in the front half of the aircraft. Too often on legacies it’s a middle or a seat in the back because that’s all they have.

Passengers on full-fare tickets and/or with status gain nothing from checking in at T-24.

And while I have had lounge access on and off over the years for me it adds next to no value on the stage lengths WN flies. If I’m in the airport and not trying actively to get an earlier flight, I’m almost inevitably eating a meal or on a call/Zoom. Twenty years ago lounges were great for both of those activities but now, honestly, they aren’t suitable for either because of service reductions and crowds. It’s different for long haul but that’s not the sandbox WN plays in.

Aren't you BNA - based? If I were a BNA flyer, I'd definetly be flying WN a lot, especially if my travel had me mostly in the Eastern and Central timezone and I had nonstops.
I wouldn't play the roulette wheel of connections through ATL / CLT / ORD unnecessarily if WN had good options.

There are markets where WN honestly is as good if not better than the legacies based on certain travel patterns.
WN is well positioned to leverage and capture business travel in markets like DAL, AUS, BNA, BWI, MDW, MCI, STL, DEN and numerous west coast markets.
 
Brickell305
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Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 4:13 pm

vhtje wrote:
davidjohnson6 wrote:
Are lounges, assigned seats and premium class seats really that necessary for attracting corporate accounts ? For most corporations, on a flight under about 5 hours, the important things are cost, reliability and suitable flight times.

If a company set a travel policy as an experiment over a limited period of 12 months of "Fly Southwest and we give you a $75 voucher at a supermarket, or fly AA/DL/UA - employee and their boss get to choose" - what would employees pick ? After 12 months corporation can review (and modify) their travel policy...

On a 3 hour flight, a person might spend max 1.5 hours using a laptop after allowing for no-laptop times like taxiing, ascent, descent and eating food. A laptop battery will last at least 2 hours before recharging

The CFO or COO of a company doesn't care if an employee misses out on an hour in a lounge


As a senior executive who travels extensively - as in, every week, pre-Covid - I very much disagree with you. Lounges are important because we spend time in airports and they offer a space where work can be undertaken. For example, I can leave my bag at a desk and get a coffee, and it is fairly secure. I wouldn't dare do that in a foodcourt in an airport. Sometimes one spends more time at an airport than originally planned (delays, etc) and again, having access to a private, quiet space where work can be done, phone calls made, devices charged, or even just relax and perhaps sleep, is very important.

Lounge access is an important perk for my employees, and I wouldn't dare deprive them of that, so yes, I do care that they get access to a decent lounge to get food and water. Airports are crowded, unpleasant places, particularly in the US, and the lounge provides them with a sanctuary. It is particularly important as they are usually travelling on their own time.

Assigned seating is important, as nobody wants the stress of possibly being stuck in the middle seat in row 30 right next to the lavatories. I also hate the WN boarding system, although admittedly when I flew WN both flights were very lightly loaded, so it was okay, but I could see that if the flight had been full, all that jockeying and standing around would be unpleasant. All that nonsense about checking in precisely at T-24 in order to get the right boarding group. Business travellers do not have time for that. No thanks.

I do however agree with you on business class. While nice, I do not see that as a necessity on the routes WN fly. (I typically do not fly Business class on routes less than five hours).

If WN wants to attract business passengers, it needs to also consider scheduling. Business travellers do not like to travel in the middle of the day, or the middle of the night. We like frequency, and we like choice. One thing WN might do is offer free same-day flexibility on business tickets. U2 do that here in Europe, and I have used it often. Meeting finished early? Great, change my flight and get me home sooner. It's a great convenience and it is something U2 have over BA, which is typically very inflexible unless you whip out your credit card and pay huge fees.

The thing is WN isn't necessarily aiming for business travel in the biggest markets. It's not like they want to get the NYC-LAX crowd. They are aiming more for the mid-sized cities where they are already big. And for that market, they really don't need to provide lounge access. In fact, US airlines don't generally provide access to lounges even for passengers booked in business for domestic flights outside of the biggest markets e.g. on AA it's JFK-LAX, JFK-SFO, MIA-LAX. Anyone visiting a lounge who wasn't a member would have to pay otherwise. Furthermore, many companies don't allow business class travel under a set distance which in many cases would likely exceed the market WN is looking to serve here. The biggest knock against WN IMO is the lack of power at every seat. Other than that, they have great flexibility with regards to schedule changes, allow complimentary checked bags which means people generally don't overcrowd the overhead bins and have pretty strong P2P from many mid-sized cities.
 
Cubsrule
Posts: 15268
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 12:13 pm

Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 4:13 pm

PSU.DTW.SCE wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:
Midwestindy wrote:

Agreed, realistically business travelers don't have time to be waiting around for T-24 to ensure they aren't stuck in a middle in row 30. I'm sure some have assistants who could do it for them, but again that's just adding in another layer of hassle to the journey. If I'm traveling for work on any of the US3 I can just check-in during the car ride to the airport.

For example, I got a new flight 2 hours before its expected departure this week on a US3, and I was able to, no hassle, get an assigned seat in First Class and be the first one onboard the plane. On multiple levels you would never be able to do that with WN.

Power outlets, first class, assigned seating, lounges, full meals, international network, codeshares/alliances, it's an easy choice for me.



MGMT consulting and larger investment banks pay for First normally if it is upwards of 90 minutes-2 hours, which is what my company does.

Then again WN isn't really big in any of the locations where that sort of travel is happening at scale. Only place would be Chicago, but AA & UA have a hold of a big chunk of the corporate travel budgets in Chicago.

They also can't operate routes at the same frequency the US3 can, so even in Chicago they only are flying major routes like Chicago-NYC at half or a 1/3rd of the frequency of AA/DL/UA.


About half of my intra-north America business travel is on WN, almost exclusively for schedule/frequency reasons, and several of the criticisms in this thread strike me as misguided.

Starting with frequency: why would anyone expect WN to match AA, UA, and DL in frequency in a market like CHI-NYC that is hub-hub for all of them but not WN? Look at CHI-HOU and the picture is much different.

My experience with close-in (2-4 hours before departure) bookings is that WN is much more consistent because status all but guarantees an aisle or window in the front half of the aircraft. Too often on legacies it’s a middle or a seat in the back because that’s all they have.

Passengers on full-fare tickets and/or with status gain nothing from checking in at T-24.

And while I have had lounge access on and off over the years for me it adds next to no value on the stage lengths WN flies. If I’m in the airport and not trying actively to get an earlier flight, I’m almost inevitably eating a meal or on a call/Zoom. Twenty years ago lounges were great for both of those activities but now, honestly, they aren’t suitable for either because of service reductions and crowds. It’s different for long haul but that’s not the sandbox WN plays in.

Aren't you BNA - based? If I were a BNA flyer, I'd definetly be flying WN a lot, especially if my travel had me mostly in the Eastern and Central timezone and I had nonstops.
I wouldn't play the roulette wheel of connections through ATL / CLT / ORD unnecessarily if WN had good options.

There are markets where WN honestly is as good if not better than the legacies based on certain travel patterns.
WN is well positioned to leverage and capture business travel in markets like DAL, AUS, BNA, BWI, MDW, MCI, STL, DEN and numerous west coast markets.


Yup - you nailed it perfectly. I probably use WN most to the Central Time Zone because WN isn’t always the most sensible to the northeast and isn’t an option for some secondary southeast either. I do use WN a lot to non-LAX California, largely because I don’t go to San Francisco much and they are so strong is so many of the secondary airports.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
Brickell305
Posts: 1450
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2017 2:07 pm

Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 4:15 pm

Brickell305 wrote:
vhtje wrote:
davidjohnson6 wrote:
Are lounges, assigned seats and premium class seats really that necessary for attracting corporate accounts ? For most corporations, on a flight under about 5 hours, the important things are cost, reliability and suitable flight times.

If a company set a travel policy as an experiment over a limited period of 12 months of "Fly Southwest and we give you a $75 voucher at a supermarket, or fly AA/DL/UA - employee and their boss get to choose" - what would employees pick ? After 12 months corporation can review (and modify) their travel policy...

On a 3 hour flight, a person might spend max 1.5 hours using a laptop after allowing for no-laptop times like taxiing, ascent, descent and eating food. A laptop battery will last at least 2 hours before recharging

The CFO or COO of a company doesn't care if an employee misses out on an hour in a lounge


As a senior executive who travels extensively - as in, every week, pre-Covid - I very much disagree with you. Lounges are important because we spend time in airports and they offer a space where work can be undertaken. For example, I can leave my bag at a desk and get a coffee, and it is fairly secure. I wouldn't dare do that in a foodcourt in an airport. Sometimes one spends more time at an airport than originally planned (delays, etc) and again, having access to a private, quiet space where work can be done, phone calls made, devices charged, or even just relax and perhaps sleep, is very important.

Lounge access is an important perk for my employees, and I wouldn't dare deprive them of that, so yes, I do care that they get access to a decent lounge to get food and water. Airports are crowded, unpleasant places, particularly in the US, and the lounge provides them with a sanctuary. It is particularly important as they are usually travelling on their own time.

Assigned seating is important, as nobody wants the stress of possibly being stuck in the middle seat in row 30 right next to the lavatories. I also hate the WN boarding system, although admittedly when I flew WN both flights were very lightly loaded, so it was okay, but I could see that if the flight had been full, all that jockeying and standing around would be unpleasant. All that nonsense about checking in precisely at T-24 in order to get the right boarding group. Business travellers do not have time for that. No thanks.

I do however agree with you on business class. While nice, I do not see that as a necessity on the routes WN fly. (I typically do not fly Business class on routes less than five hours).

If WN wants to attract business passengers, it needs to also consider scheduling. Business travellers do not like to travel in the middle of the day, or the middle of the night. We like frequency, and we like choice. One thing WN might do is offer free same-day flexibility on business tickets. U2 do that here in Europe, and I have used it often. Meeting finished early? Great, change my flight and get me home sooner. It's a great convenience and it is something U2 have over BA, which is typically very inflexible unless you whip out your credit card and pay huge fees.

The thing is WN isn't necessarily aiming for business travel in the biggest markets. It's not like they want to get the NYC-LAX crowd. They are aiming more for the mid-sized cities where they are already big. And for that market, they really don't need to provide lounge access. In fact, US airlines don't generally provide access to lounges even for passengers booked in business for domestic flights outside of the biggest markets e.g. on AA it's JFK-LAX, JFK-SFO, MIA-LAX. Anyone visiting a lounge who wasn't a member would have to pay otherwise. Furthermore, many companies don't allow business class travel under a set distance which in many cases would likely exceed the market WN is looking to serve here. The biggest knock against WN IMO is the lack of power at every seat. Other than that, they have great flexibility with regards to schedule changes, allow complimentary checked bags which means people generally don't overcrowd the overhead bins and have pretty strong P2P from many mid-sized cities.


I also forgot to add that you never have to worry about being on a cramped regional jet either.
 
MohawkWeekend
Posts: 844
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:06 pm

Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

Sun Jun 27, 2021 4:18 pm

When I was in charge of booking our company's line employees (sailors), SW was our go to. The ability to change flights without a charge (ships were delayed all the time) and no bag fees was he game changer (crew had been on the boat for months and had a lot of gear). I remember paying other airlines 2 or 3 change fees for the same traveler due to vessel delays.

The comments by the corporate fliers about the frequent flier plans and lounges are exactly why the government should either make FF plans illegal or at least taxable. How is it different than a kickback? In addition, it stifles competition from new entrants and raises the cost of business for all companies regardless if their employees use the lounge. Just think how much it will cost to run those lounges when airlines finally have to pay the attendants a living wage. There are third party lounges in airports that you need to pay to get in.
    300 319 320 321 707 717 720 727 72S 737 73S 734 735 73G 738 739 747 757 762 ARJ B11 C212 CRJ CR2 CR7 CR9 CV5 D8S DC9 D9S D94 D95 D10 DH8 DTO EMB EM2 E135 E145 E190 FH7 F28 F100 FTRIMTR HRN L10 L15 M80 M90 SF3 SWM YS11
     
    usflyer msp
    Posts: 4294
    Joined: Tue May 23, 2000 11:50 am

    Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

    Sun Jun 27, 2021 4:20 pm

    Cubsrule wrote:
    PSU.DTW.SCE wrote:
    Cubsrule wrote:

    About half of my intra-north America business travel is on WN, almost exclusively for schedule/frequency reasons, and several of the criticisms in this thread strike me as misguided.

    Starting with frequency: why would anyone expect WN to match AA, UA, and DL in frequency in a market like CHI-NYC that is hub-hub for all of them but not WN? Look at CHI-HOU and the picture is much different.

    My experience with close-in (2-4 hours before departure) bookings is that WN is much more consistent because status all but guarantees an aisle or window in the front half of the aircraft. Too often on legacies it’s a middle or a seat in the back because that’s all they have.

    Passengers on full-fare tickets and/or with status gain nothing from checking in at T-24.

    And while I have had lounge access on and off over the years for me it adds next to no value on the stage lengths WN flies. If I’m in the airport and not trying actively to get an earlier flight, I’m almost inevitably eating a meal or on a call/Zoom. Twenty years ago lounges were great for both of those activities but now, honestly, they aren’t suitable for either because of service reductions and crowds. It’s different for long haul but that’s not the sandbox WN plays in.

    Aren't you BNA - based? If I were a BNA flyer, I'd definetly be flying WN a lot, especially if my travel had me mostly in the Eastern and Central timezone and I had nonstops.
    I wouldn't play the roulette wheel of connections through ATL / CLT / ORD unnecessarily if WN had good options.

    There are markets where WN honestly is as good if not better than the legacies based on certain travel patterns.
    WN is well positioned to leverage and capture business travel in markets like DAL, AUS, BNA, BWI, MDW, MCI, STL, DEN and numerous west coast markets.


    Yup - you nailed it perfectly. I probably use WN most to the Central Time Zone because WN isn’t always the most sensible to the northeast and isn’t an option for some secondary southeast either. I do use WN a lot to non-LAX California, largely because I don’t go to San Francisco much and they are so strong is so many of the secondary airports.


    Yes. This article is a classic case of coastal bias - just because WN doesnt cater to Wall Street types in NYC and Boston means they don't serve business travellers. Hogwash.
     
    wnflyguy
    Posts: 2501
    Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2011 7:58 pm

    Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

    Sun Jun 27, 2021 4:25 pm

    capejet wrote:
    Southwest canceled 307 flights yesterday (Saturday June 26) while AA canceled 82, United canceled 9 and Delta canceled 2. If this trend continues, in my opinion, business traffic will be flocking to United and Delta.


    Yesterday unfortunately MDW had a good 7 hour stretch of
    Tornado warning,watches and severe Thunderstorms roll through tanking one of its biggest cities.

    Flyguy
    My Wings are clipped just another Retired Airline person. The Ultimate Armchair out of the loop airline industry geek. Aloha Mr Hand!
     
    usflyer msp
    Posts: 4294
    Joined: Tue May 23, 2000 11:50 am

    Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

    Sun Jun 27, 2021 4:33 pm

    wnflyguy wrote:
    capejet wrote:
    Southwest canceled 307 flights yesterday (Saturday June 26) while AA canceled 82, United canceled 9 and Delta canceled 2. If this trend continues, in my opinion, business traffic will be flocking to United and Delta.


    Yesterday unfortunately MDW had a good 7 hour stretch of
    Tornado warning,watches and severe Thunderstorms roll through tanking one of its biggest cities.

    Flyguy


    Wouldn't UA/AA have the same issue at ORD?
     
    alasizon
    Posts: 3040
    Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2007 8:57 pm

    Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

    Sun Jun 27, 2021 4:43 pm

    msp747 wrote:
    I think there are two types of business travelers. The road warriors, which everyone here seems to be focused on, and the business that has a lot of employees traveling, but not all of the time. For instance, I worked for a company in DC that had a major office in the Metroplex. I made the trek 6 or 7 times my last year there, and I wasn't alone. While we had travelers making that trek almost daily, it was spread out over hundreds of different people. These are people sitting in coach, generally on the cheapest fares available at time of booking (although you could spend a little more for schedule), and not spending time in lounges. I think there are plenty of business travelers out there that fit this mold, and for them WN is just as good an option as the legacy carriers. WN was available for us, and there were people who took advantage of it because of LUV, vs DFW. I preferred to fly out of IAD, since it was close to home, so I was loyal to UA.


    The in-frequent but volume business customers WN already caters to by offering so much P2P. Take a city like MCI for example.

    AA offers: AUS, CLT, DCA, DFW, LGA, MIA, PHL, PHX (+CUN seasonally)
    DL offers: ATL, BOS, DTW, LAX, LGA, MSP, SLC, SEA
    UA offers: DEN, EWR, IAH, ORD, SFO, IAD

    WN offers: ATL, AUS, BOS, BNA, BWI, DAL, DCA, DEN, FLL, HOU, IND, LAS, LAX, LGA, MCO, MDW, MKE, MSP, MSY, OAK, ORD, PHX, SAN, SAT, STL, TPA, VPS plus a slew of seasonal flights mostly to Florida and the southeast.

    For the infrequent business traveler with no status and for whom their company isn't paying for F, WN provides an equal option for them assuming the flight times match their needs. They don't meet everyone's flight time needs and I think that is okay - they don't need to get all of the road warriors (although there are a few that swear by WN they are the minority and I think we all can agree with that). In-seat power would go a long way for WN to be competitive in both the business and leisure markets.

    Coastal business cities have better options due to the location of legacy hubs in their respective city but for the rest of the US, WN comes in to play.
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    DenverTed
    Posts: 693
    Joined: Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:12 pm

    Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

    Sun Jun 27, 2021 5:15 pm

    afcjets wrote:
    I wish the only thing Southwest would change is add a small First Class cabin and allow seat assignments only there and not offer any upgrades. Over time they can expand the cabin and/or raise the fares enough to compensate for fewer coach seats. It might not even be necessary for them to cater it beyond snacks and it might still be better than their competitors on most flights.

    I don't think they need assigned seats, just more good seats than they sell boarding positions. This could be a section of four rows of 2-2, or four rows or 3-3 with extra pitch near the front of the aircraft, maybe with a blocked middle seat. I think usually they use the first two rows for early boards in wheelchairs etc, so those could be regular rows not saved for A1-15. That would be rows 3-6.
     
    chrisair
    Posts: 2230
    Joined: Fri Sep 01, 2000 11:32 pm

    Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

    Sun Jun 27, 2021 5:42 pm

    Iloveboeing wrote:
    WN has historically not been a business airline.


    That’s definitely not the case.

    msp747 wrote:
    I think there are two types of business travelers. The road warriors, which everyone here seems to be focused on, and the business that has a lot of employees traveling, but not all of the time.


    Pre-Covid I was a road warrior, typically ending up in the neighborhood of 150-190k BIS miles a year. I would look at airport (avoid LAX and DFW at all costs), schedule, and finally my preferred airlines (Alaska and WN). There are, or were in 2019 at least, way more road warriors on Southwest than people here like to think. They typically run a good operation that really gets you where you need with minimal fuss.
     
    Chemist
    Posts: 934
    Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 4:46 am

    Re: WN Wants To Attract Business Travelers

    Sun Jun 27, 2021 5:51 pm

    Jshank83 wrote:
    vhtje wrote:
    If WN wants to attract business passengers, it needs to also consider scheduling. Business travellers do not like to travel in the middle of the day, or the middle of the night. We like frequency, and we like choice. One thing WN might do is offer free same-day flexibility on business tickets. U2 do that here in Europe, and I have used it often. Meeting finished early? Great, change my flight and get me home sooner. It's a great convenience and it is something U2 have over BA, which is typically very inflexible unless you whip out your credit card and pay huge fees.


    Southwest offers same day changes for no charge for business/anytime tickets. They also offer it for A-list.


    Their seating process does provide one advantage.
    I got to the airport early for my flight once and there was an earlier flight to my destination. I went to the counter and was rebooked on the earlier flight at no charge.
    If I had been flying a legacy, I would have ended up in a center seat since I was so near to flight time. But as an A-lister, I still got to board at the end of the A group. I had a better seat than I would have had on a legacy in the same situation. Ignoring that their pitch is also better than say, AA.
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