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BigOrange
Topic Author
Posts: 2297
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2004 2:20 am

Light Loads on Southwest Flights?

Wed Sep 06, 2006 2:02 am

I have just completed 3 flights on Southwest in the past week and none were full.

My flight out last Wednesday PHL-CMH had only 40 people on it. On Sunday IND-MDW had only 60 people on it and this was a continuation flight. The fullest flight was MDW-PHL with about 20 empty seats.

How do Southwest fly virtually empty and still make money?? Surely this can't go on forever???  Wink
 
kaitak
Posts: 9996
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 1999 5:49 am

Light Loads on Southwest Flights?

Wed Sep 06, 2006 2:05 am

Southwest's LF is among the highest in the business; it's costs - arising from its high utilisation and single aircraft type - are among the lowest. So, it has the odd empty flight, but frankly, if WN were on the way out (which it isn't - not by a long shot), there's damn-all chance for any of the others.
 
RL757PVD
Posts: 3223
Joined: Fri Dec 03, 1999 2:47 am

RE: How Long Before Southwest Go Under?

Wed Sep 06, 2006 2:09 am

Quoting Kaitak (Reply 1):
Southwest's LF is among the highest in the business

Actually its the opposite! WN's LF is usually on the lower end of the bunch, yet their cost control and yeild management (and fuel hedges!) lead them to be one of the most profitable. While expensive fuel will complicate things in the future, WN will simply adjust fares accordinly and optomize their route network as they have been doing.

Love or hate southwest, you have to respect their management and they arent going anywhere anytime soon.
Experience is what you get when what you thought would work out didn't!
 
Cadet57
Posts: 7170
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2005 2:02 am

RE: Light Loads On Southwest Flights?

Wed Sep 06, 2006 2:09 am

Quoting BigOrange (Thread starter):
I have just completed 3 flights on Southwest in the past week and none were full.

Did you travel during slow parts of the day, IE afternoon?
Doors open, right hand side, next stop is Springfield.
 
BigOrange
Topic Author
Posts: 2297
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2004 2:20 am

RE: Light Loads On Southwest Flights?

Wed Sep 06, 2006 2:37 am

Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 3):
Did you travel during slow parts of the day, IE afternoon?

I traveled out Wednesday evening and back Sunday afternoon!

Quoting Kaitak (Reply 1):
if WN were on the way out (which it isn't - not by a long shot), there's damn-all chance for any of the others.



Quoting RL757PVD (Reply 2):
Love or hate southwest, you have to respect their management and they arent going anywhere anytime soon.

Anyone notice the winking smiley????

I decided to post this tongue in cheek remark, since everyone is predicting the demise of B6!
 
Bridogger6
Posts: 667
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2005 11:21 am

RE: Light Loads On Southwest Flights?

Wed Sep 06, 2006 2:41 am

To be honest, it's not just WN right now... most of the airlines are experiencing some rather light loads. The holiday travel season is over.. this is the period of lull for the airlines from now until about Thanksgiving, with few exceptions.
 
Silver1SWA
Posts: 4722
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2004 6:11 pm

RE: Light Loads On Southwest Flights?

Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:08 am

For about two weeks now, loads have been a bit lighter. I guess you could say it corresponds with schools starting within the last 2-3 weeks. The summer travel season has now ended with this past holiday weekend being the last big spurt. Yesterday was actually quite heavy...out of SAN at least.

It also depends on the frequency of the route. Take SAN-OAK for example. We have something like 20 daily SAN-OAK flights. It is very common for one flight to be oversold and the next flight, scheduled 30 minutes later to be maybe half full...or vice versa. Like today, browsing my online company tool to assist me in nonrev travel, todays SAN-OAK booking projections range from 0 seats available to 55 seats available. Typically, high frequency routes have greater variation while 2x daily routes are usually always close to full. The nature of the route and the times are also a factor. For example, SAN-SJC and SAN-OAK on a Monday morning are almost always full because that is a heavy time for business travel on those routes. By noon on a Monday, flights are typically less full.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
EWRandMDW
Posts: 447
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2006 5:28 am

RE: Light Loads On Southwest Flights?

Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:43 am

So far this year I've been on 8 WN flights, between MDW and RDU, PHL, SJC, and SEA. Of these I'd say 6 were at least 90% full. Of the 2 others, MDW-RDU was about 2/3 full and MDW-SJC was basically empty. I think on that one everyone boarded in the "A" group. It happens. My flight to SJC might have been on a Tuesday, which seems to be a light travel day. But usually when waiting at the airport to get on my flight I look at surrounding gates and find it difficult to say those flights are going out empty, given the crowds waiting to board, whether it's to MCO or OMA or anywhere else WN goes.
 
ntspelich
Posts: 740
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2003 2:35 am

RE: Light Loads On Southwest Flights?

Wed Sep 06, 2006 4:27 am

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 6):
For about two weeks now, loads have been a bit lighter.

Ha! Maybe out there on the left coast, but BWI's been busy as usual. Loads were so light on Sunday due to the holiday sked that we were running.
United 717 heavy, you're facing the wrong way. Any chance you can powerback to get off of my deice pad?
 
steeler83
Posts: 7700
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2006 2:06 pm

RE: Light Loads On Southwest Flights?

Wed Sep 06, 2006 4:34 am

When I flew from PHL-PIT on New Years Day, the plane was less than half-ful, and I believe the plane was either a -300 or a -500. The 737 did not have winglets, as WN1968 did on Dec 28th going into PHL from PIT...

How many pax does WN's 733/5 seat? I guess around 120 or 130? so that means that roughly 60 people were on my flight...

Other than that, this is a rather light travel period we're coming into, as Bridogger6 has stated. Things won't pick up again until around Thanksgiving, the busiest travel holiday of the year, then things remain busy with Christmas right around the corner...
Do not bring stranger girt into your room. The stranger girt is dangerous, it will hurt your life.
 
oakjam
Posts: 178
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2005 9:22 am

RE: Light Loads On Southwest Flights?

Wed Sep 06, 2006 4:42 am

I just flew in to OAK from SAN and my flight was packed. My luggage was lost and I waited for the next flight and that flight was full also coming in to OAK. I find that all the flights from OAK tend to be very full at all times especially to SAN. So WN is doing very well here at OAK, and there 4 new gates are going to open in 3 weeks. More WN planes going to more places here at OAK. So they are making money here.
 
ntspelich
Posts: 740
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2003 2:35 am

RE: Light Loads On Southwest Flights?

Wed Sep 06, 2006 5:11 am

Quoting Steeler83 (Reply 9):
How many pax does WN's 733/5 seat? I guess around 120 or 130? so that means that roughly 60 people were on my flight...

300/700s seat 137
500s hold 122
United 717 heavy, you're facing the wrong way. Any chance you can powerback to get off of my deice pad?
 
steeler83
Posts: 7700
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2006 2:06 pm

RE: Light Loads On Southwest Flights?

Wed Sep 06, 2006 5:33 am

Quoting Ntspelich (Reply 11):
300/700s seat 137
500s hold 122

Thanks a lot, so I guess my numbers are in the ball park then...
Do not bring stranger girt into your room. The stranger girt is dangerous, it will hurt your life.
 
CentPIT
Posts: 978
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2005 4:48 am

RE: Light Loads On Southwest Flights?

Wed Sep 06, 2006 6:15 am

Quoting Steeler83 (Reply 9):
When I flew from PHL-PIT on New Years Day, the plane was less than half-ful, and I believe the plane was either a -300 or a -500. The 737 did not have winglets, as WN1968 did on Dec 28th going into PHL from PIT...

When I flew PIT-PHL, my flight was completely full. On the return flight (PHL-PIT) on July 4, 2006, my flight had roughly 70 people on it! New Years and July 4, aren't heavy travel days to my knowledge, so it is expected!
Pittsburgh International: US Airways---160 daily departures! (52 destinations)
 
vegasplanes
Posts: 711
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2005 2:22 pm

RE: Light Loads On Southwest Flights?

Wed Sep 06, 2006 6:55 am

Quoting BigOrange (Thread starter):
How do Southwest fly virtually empty and still make money??

Good yields, WN had alot of flights in business markets such as DAL-HOU, SAN-OAK, LAS-PHX, etc. A lot of those tickets are sold at the higher "last minute fare", which isn't that bad being around $ 100 each way last minute for the above flights.

As mentioned above, a lot of the markets where WN has 10 + flights daily are hit or miss, I have been bumped off of a PHX-LAS flight (3pm or so) which went out full along with the next three flights, the fourth flight I was able to get on was not even 1/2 full which left at 6:30 pm. It all depends on the day of the week and the time of day traveling occurs. Normally Monday mornings and Friday afternoons is when I find WN to be busiest.
 
LGAtoIND
Posts: 417
Joined: Sun Jan 23, 2005 5:32 am

RE: Light Loads On Southwest Flights?

Wed Sep 06, 2006 7:08 am

All of my WN flights out of and into DEN this summer were FULL.

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