Chemist wrote:jetmatt777 wrote:Mboyle1988 wrote:
Ah. It may be surprising to you but there’s actually a lot of business that happens in the heartland. The world doesn’t actually end at the Potomac.
Of course there is. But there is a finite amount. Southwest’s model is based on expansion. They are running out of business markets that they have a natural edge in, and there are significant product challenges in breaking into existing business markets where they have little brand awareness, or a subpar product offering for those business travelers.
As I said, they have done a good job. But they are too stubborn to change - they want business travelers to change to fit their model; they are incapable of changing to attract those business travelers.
They have a natural edge in the heartland markets because the flights are short so amenities don’t matter; the have a network that has good coverage in those areas so they can often compete on schedule. That is great and all, but those markets only supply a finite amount of passenger volume. There is a reason they have moved into the large markets over the past 20 years - they need the passenger volume that the heartland doesn’t supply.
The discussion here is conflicting on a few assumptions.
Who says WN should be going after the upgrade/transcon/bus class/lounge crowd? The companies offering those perks have all had bankruptcy and wild swings in profits/losses. WN doesn't need to grab or imitate those markets. Their differentiation is why they've been successful.
Posters here seem to be saying that the market is changing and the old formula won't work any longer for WN, so start imitating the legacy 3. But the more WN offers first class, lounges, assigned seats, and hubs, the more they look like AA or UA or DL, and then they're just another one of those, with all of the pitfalls of that approach.
I know that I like WN a lot. I don't feel the need to continue flying AA for example, even though I'm a million miler, as they've continued to devalue my FF miles and shrink my measly coach legroom. I'd rather fly WN. Yet I also don't want anything to do with Frontier/Spirit/Allegiant. In fact, WN has the best traditional coach legroom of all the airlines in the US.
So the real question is - is WN in such competitive trouble that they need to do something urgent to change their formula? Or is the comment made by WN really just that they want to make minor changes/additions to grab a bit bigger slice of business? Because they already have a big slice of business -- just not the transcon/lounge business. And IMHO that's best left to other airlines as that's not WNs formula.
Wonderful post. The framing of WN attracting ‘more’ business travels doesn’t mean emulating the legacies. They are going to expand the adjacent possible from their current model, not copy the historically less successful legacies.