jcs17
Topic Author
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Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:23 am

This weekend I was waiting for a flight to ISP at BWI and was listening to gate announcements while waiting to get on the cattle car (in this case, a rundown 733). Why does WN have three or four stop flights that no one in their right mind would take when they simply could connect at a "hub" and be there seven hours earlier? It's kind of funny. How many people actually board that Southwest flight from BWI-MDW-MCI-LAS-AUS with the intention of getting to Austin?

It's not like Southwest is on any GDS, so there is no advantages in listings. Nor does Southwest have any codeshare partners where the idea might pop in a schedulers at HQs head, "Oh crap, were running out of four digit flight numbers."
America's chickens are coming home to rooooost!
 
DCA-ROCguy
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:33 am

Ah, the Southwest love at our site. A warm, glowing coal that never seems to cool. Nice on these cool fall evenings.

A search might have been helpful. Southwest's hopscotch-type route network has been widely discussed over the years here. Southwest has a somewhat different model from the network carriers. WN's largest stations function as hubs, but somewhat loosely. The airline keeps its aircraft in the air more hours per day by not tying them to bank schedules at hubs, which is a key element of their profit strategy. Espcially with oil expensive and a mature, highly-paid work force.

WN also gets the flexibility to route people over many routings--through large hub stations or medium-size focus cities of 50-100 flights, even through outstations. You'd be amazed how many people fly multistop WN routings to save money, or stay on one plane, or have a mainline a/c. I for one am glad to land once or twice if it saves me money (and I comparison shop to be sure).

Once I flew to see friends in Dallas and went BWI-STL-TUL-DAL. An extra 90 minutes saved me over $100. On that trip, it was worth it. On another trip, my return flight from MSY to BWI landed for 25 minutes in BHM. 25 minutes in Alabama went by very quickly with a book to read. Again, the flight was much cheaper than other options I shopped for that trip.

If it offends you so badly to land a couple of times, network carriers for hubs are available. And as I always say in response to the "cattle car" comments--I'll take a WN 73G with its 32-inch seat pitch any day.

Jim
Need a new airline paint scheme? Better call Saul! (Bass that is)
 
26point2
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:39 am

Quoting jcs17 (Thread starter):
How many people actually board that Southwest flight from BWI-MDW-MCI-LAS-AUS with the intention of getting to Austin?

Oooh, Oooh, I know! How about no one?
 
WNCrew
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:41 am

Quoting jcs17 (Thread starter):
the cattle car

Really?...still...

Quoting jcs17 (Thread starter):
Why does WN have three or four stop flights that no one in their right mind would take when they simply could connect at a "hub" and be there seven hours earlier? It's kind of funny. How many people actually board that Southwest flight from BWI-MDW-MCI-LAS-AUS with the intention of getting to Austin?

VERY few people actually go as far as a flight number is listed... so they're not really sold that way. I've never had a pax on more than 3 legs. I've seen flight numbers than run through the Midwest, down to Florida then UP the East Coast. Obviously nobody is going to go that way, but as it's been explained to me, it's got something to do with cargo and paying taxes (if it's on the same flight number with no change they don't pay the same amount... I'm not certain).

The company has asked us not to announce beyond the 4th or so city because that's just ridiculous. I think our employees sometimes think it's amusing to do that but that Ops Agent shouldn't have made the PA that way. You're right, nobody would (nor is it sold) for you to go BWI-MDW-MCI-LAS-AUS. If you were going to AUS you'd likely fly BWI-MDW-AUS if you had to make a connection, of BWI-HOU-AUS, OR you could take the nonstop BWI-AUS.

Our number of transfer pax is actually quite low when compared to the other majors, which means MOST of WN's pax are in-fact, flying NS or direct with no connection.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
steex
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:42 am

Often times the longer routes that seem to make no sense are simply following an aircraft for a day. In your example of BWI-MDW-MCI-LAS-AUS, the first four stations make perfect sense. Obviously BWI-MDW is a major route on its own, and BWI-MDW-MCI provides an additional same-plane BWI-MCI frequency (even though there is a stop). Probably relatively few people originate in BWI and travel even all the way to LAS (though some will), however, MDW-MCI-LAS similarly provides an additional same-plane MDW-LAS frequency. So if the above are what WN is trying to accomplish, there is nowhere along the BWI-MDW-MCI-LAS route to change the flight number without abandoning one of those goals.

Now, obviously there will be virtually nobody selecting a route from MCI (or before) bouncing off LAS all the way back to AUS. But since they have the same aircraft scheduled, what's the impetus to change the flight number? Personally, I prefer that method since you can very frequently check the status of your incoming WN plane by simply searching your flight number.
 
JayDub
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:47 am

My all-time favorite WN cabin crew announcement is:

"Welcome aboard Southwest flight 1234, Luvjet service to Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, Oakland, and Seattle. If your final destination is Seattle, you need to find a new travel agent."
"Travel is only glamorous in retrospect." - Paul Theroux
 
blueflyer
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:51 am

Actually, I think that if you try and book one such flight online, you won't even find it. Online reservations will come up instead with a connection that totals up to less stops.
All Hail King Donald
 
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drerx7
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:51 am

Back in 1990 I flew WN432 from Houston to San Diego on a 73S. HOU-MAF-ABQ-LAS-SAN. It was pretty fun...but I was also young.
HOUSTON, TEXAS
 
dadoftyler
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 4:29 am

Hi folks. Bill Owen from Southwest Airlines Network Planning here. WNCrew is right--we seldom carry people on flights further than 3 legs--we don't sell itineraries with more than 2 stops. However, we will publish flight numbers with up to 8 legs because imbedded in those flights are (usually) 7 attractive onestop, no-change-of-plane itineraries. We prevent the sale of itineraries of more than 2 stops internally by suppressing them in our res system and externally by use of traffic restrictions in our SSIM file (and yes, jcs17, we are in two GDS', Sabre and Apollo). For example, our flight 725 tommorrow operates BUF-BWI-BNA-BHM-DAL-AUS-PHX-ONT-OAK. All of those are quite viable onestop itineraries--so why not sell them, and prevent display of the itinerary combinations that we don't want?

Just answering the question. Have a great rest-of-the-week!

Bill
 
rampart
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:29 am

I used to not mind the through-plane stops just to see an airport I'd never seen. But, I never made more than 2 stops on a WN flight.

The original local service carriers, and then some of their regional airline replacements, used to offer these types of flights as well. On Frontier I could get from COS to MEM on one plane with stops in DEN, Lawton, OKC, and LIT, or to Farmington via Alamosa, Durango, and Cortez. Actually, any of the original major carriers did as well right until Deregulation. You used to see flights listed in timetables with 3 stops on CO, BN, NW, DL. WN therefore qualfies as a "Legacy" carrier, a throwback!  

Didn't WN's frequent flier program used to count segments rather than miles? I seem to remember having a card that was stamped every time I went through a gate. That may have been one incentive not to list and sell hopscotches.

-Rampart
 
KELPkid
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:40 am

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 6):
Actually, I think that if you try and book one such flight online, you won't even find it. Online reservations will come up instead with a connection that totals up to less stops.

When my wife and I got stranded at ELP on the day after Christmas (by another airline), I called 1-800-I-FLY-SWA in the face of the other airliner's ticket agent when she told me "Well, I can get you to Houston at 9 PM" (when our destination was PDX!    ). The WN agent on the phone took pity on us, and ticketed us on a flight which originated elsewhere in Texas, but the segment was ELP-LAX-SMF-RNO-PDX. If you tried to book that on the website, you wouldn't even be offered the choice of that flight, even though it was the same flight number all the way through. It was all that was available that day, though.
Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
 
jcs17
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:43 am

Quoting dadoftyler (Reply 8):
(and yes, jcs17, we are in two GDS', Sabre and Apollo)

You might be in them, but I can't buy the ticket unless I go to your site. It's a ridiculously outdated penny-pinching move from the 1970s and 1980s, like your refusal to sign interline transfer agreements. FL competes with Delta furiously at ATL and they had the foresight to sign interline agreements.

Quoting DCA-ROCguy (Reply 1):
Ah, the Southwest love at our site. A warm, glowing coal that never seems to cool. Nice on these cool fall evenings.

I didn't buy the ticket. If I had it would've been DL JFK-IAD-JFK. I would've had an assigned seat and wouldn't have needed to queue up to board a 733 that had seen better days.

No one ever answered the question of why this (the ridiculous routings) happens.
America's chickens are coming home to rooooost!
 
707lvr
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:48 am

I'd love to take the entire flight 725 and spend a full day seeing a good part of the US of A.
 
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christao17
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:58 am

Quoting jcs17 (Reply 11):
No one ever answered the question of why this (the ridiculous routings) happens


Your question was answered in reply #4. The flight numbers generally follow the aircraft's activity for the day. There is no particular need to change flight numbers and, as was explained in reply #8, WN benefits from having the same flight number because that increases the number of one-stop, same aircraft connections that can be sold in their reservations system.

Consider this: BWI-MDW-MCI listed as flight 1234 and then the same plane continues MCI-LAS-SAN as flight 5678. With two different flight numbers, a booking for MDW-MCI-LAS will show as a connecting flight, not as a one-stop with same plane service. By listing the entire routing as one flight number, WN has one additional one-stop that it can offer in its reservation system.

If anything, one wonders why more airlines don't do this.
More than a dozen years flying in and around Asia...
 
WNCrew
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:59 am

Quoting jcs17 (Reply 11):
No one ever answered the question of why this (the ridiculous routings) happens.

Actually Bill Owen himself from route planning answered your question quite well, but you've already made up your mind about WN in many ways so I'm not quite sure an ANSWER is what you'r eloping for. Maybe just someone to agree with you.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
RamblinMan
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:05 am

Quoting jcs17 (Reply 11):
No one ever answered the question of why this (the ridiculous routings) happens.

The reason nobody's explained it is because it doesn't need explaining...They don't actually sell the things you mentioned, at least under normal circumstances. In fact, it's been discussed on here how an a.nutter would have to call to reserve one of these crazy routings if he wanted to take one. If you try to book BWI-AUS, the route you mentioned, you get options for nonstops, 1 stop with a plane change, or 2 stops with no plane change. The longest duration option is 7 hours total, incl. connection in DEN. Not unreasonable at all really.

Quoting jcs17 (Reply 11):
I didn't buy the ticket. If I had it would've been DL JFK-IAD-JFK. I would've had an assigned seat and wouldn't have needed to queue up to board a 733 that had seen better days.

However you would have used one of the most delay-prone airports in the world, and had the choice of only 3 different flights instead of 5. To each his own I guess.

Quoting rampart (Reply 9):
Didn't WN's frequent flier program used to count segments rather than miles?

It still has nothing to do with miles. Technically the old program counted one-way flights flown (meaning origin to destination and ignoring stops/connections.) Now it counts dollars spent and fare type.
 
bluejuice
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:16 am

From in operational standpoint, it's pretty darn smart. Besides the previously mentioned utilization benefit, there is also more chances to sell. Each leg is a chance to earn revenue on early bird check-in, extra checked bags, beverages, UM, etc.
Not biased against vacuum flush.
 
furlough
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:35 am

I am sure someone from WN can can answer this question. If I listed for one of these crazy routings by calling reservations that had 4 or 5 legs... and there were seats on each segment that were open, could I conceivably be cleared all the way through starting and the origin city? You never know when useless information like this can save the day when non-revving.
 
blueflyer
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:49 am

Quoting dadoftyler (Reply 8):
we will publish flight numbers with up to 8 legs because imbedded in those flights are (usually) 7 attractive onestop, no-change-of-plane itineraries.

Very interesting explanation, thanks. Always figured it had to do with assigning as few flight numbers per aircraft per day for some technical reason, never thought of the sales angle. Pretty nifty.

Quoting christao17 (Reply 13):
If anything, one wonders why more airlines don't do this.

I can think of two reasons. One is that other airlines have hubs where most flights begin and end (yes, there are exceptions). The other is that it wouldn't work within their hub-and-spoke network, they'd have to have several point-to-point routes instead, since hubs are linked by non-stop flights usually. Take AA for example, it wouldn't make sense for a ELP-DFW-LIT-ORD-DTW, since DFW passengers can as easily take a non-stop to ORD or DTW and vice-versa.
All Hail King Donald
 
WNCrew
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:50 am

Quoting Furlough (Reply 17):
If I listed for one of these crazy routings by calling reservations that had 4 or 5 legs... and there were seats on each segment that were open, could I conceivably be cleared all the way through starting and the origin city?

Yes! In fact, last year after running an endurance race, I was trying to get to the East Coast on standby and I was routed PDX-SJC-DEN-MDW-BOS... it was the long way 'round but I got there!
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
furlough
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:54 am

Quoting WNCrew (Reply 19):
Yes! In fact, last year after running an endurance race, I was trying to get to the East Coast on standby and I was routed PDX-SJC-DEN-MDW-BOS... it was the long way 'round but I got there!

Thanks for the answer and the good news. WN is usually the airline that ends up saving my behind, especially during heavier travel periods. This creates many new opportunities. I enjoy flying WN a lot, I will happily take 4 or 5 legs if it gets me there with out getting bumped.
 
shnoob940
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 7:28 am

Quoting JayDub (Reply 5):
My all-time favorite WN cabin crew announcement is:

"Welcome aboard Southwest flight 1234, Luvjet service to Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, Oakland, and Seattle. If your final destination is Seattle, you need to find a new travel agent."

  

I once heard, Welcome aboard Southwest flight ... to Midland/Odessa, then onwards to Dallas, then... uhhh... some place else!

In my opinion, I don't mind it. 5 flights for the price of one? Absolutely  

gibbo
 
rfields5421
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 12:28 pm

Quoting christao17 (Reply 13):
If anything, one wonders why more airlines don't do this.

Some of us are old enough to remember when it was very common on most airlines.

What changed was the introduction of the regional jet and the ability to do a hub-spoke system.

For example Delta used to fly (and I've flown it several times) ATL-MGM-MEI-JAN-MLU-SHV-DAL in a DC-9 or B727. It moved to DFW after that airport opened. The flight wasn't for ATL-DAL passengers but if you were destined to or originating from one of the mid-flight cities - that was the only way to get there.

I also remember a flight JFK-BUF-IND-MEM-LIT-DAL-IAH.

Passengers for long legs flew the entire route. I once left DAL-SAN military standby on a AA B707, while at the gate right beside me another military standby passenger I knew took a flight DAL-ABQ-PDX-SAN on a AA B727. I got there about 3 hours before he did.

Now that regional jets are so cheap, and airline can make a profit running five RJs from ATL to MGM, MEI, JAN, MLU, SHV and back - rather than trying to add enough O&D pax from each of those stops to try and fill a larger mainline aircraft.
 
stlgph
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 1:11 pm

i flew Southwest Hartford-Baltimore-Birmingham-St Louis once on the same plane. didn't bother me really ... total travel time was 5 minutes less (published) than making connections in Detroit, Atlanta, Washington DC, etc. etc. and the flights were all early, in essence, I arrived 15 minutes beforehand anyway.

for Christmas Southwest has a 2 stop routing to Midway coming in less than $100. it honestly has me departing NYC at the time I want to fly and arriving in Chicago at exactly the right time I want to arrive .... wouldn't bother me to book it despite their other 5 or 6 nonstop offerings.
if assumptions could fly, airliners.net would be the world's busiest airport
 
ckfred
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:10 pm

Before deregulation, most airlines had flights with multiple stops. Now, AA and UA wouldn't have 5 or 6 stops on a flight. UA might have had ORD-SLC-SFO, and AA might have had LGA-DTW-DFW. DL might have had ORD-BNA-MSY-MAI.

On the other hand, Hughes Air West (RW) would have had LAX-LAS-SLC-TWF-BOI-GEG-SEA. No one boarded at LAX for SEA with 5 intermediate stops.
 
Markam
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:16 pm

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 22):
Some of us are old enough to remember when it was very common on most airlines.

What changed was the introduction of the regional jet and the ability to do a hub-spoke system.

Indeed, and actually many arilines in non-hub-and-spoke environments (e.g. most of Africa) still do this a lot. For example, I flew 2J (Air Burkina) from OUA (Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso) to LFW (Lomé-Tokoin, Togo) via COO (Cotonou, Benin) as a one-stop, and the aircraft would go on to ACC (Accra-Kotoka, Ghana) and back to OUA. All was with the same flight number, and you could book OUA to ACC with two stops. I was told that this way Air Burkina catters to the local, one-segment market, but also can sustain other pairs of cities that would be otherwise economically unfeasible. Again, this is mainly possible because few if any other airlines fly the direct routes, and because the low demand would not support hub-and-spoke for many of those pairs of cities, nothing to do with low-cost structure (Air Burkina is technically a legacy).

As a sidenote, in this kind of market environment tag-on flights are also very common, even with global legacy carriers which otherwise use a hub-and-spoke strategy. For example, LH used to fly (probably still does, but not sure) FRA-ACC, and then go on to LBV (Libreville-Leon M'ba, Gabon) and back to FRA via ACC again. Also, SA flights from JNB to LOS used to have a tag-on segment to ACC and back (again, probably still the case, but not sure). Same thing in many routes for AF, EK and others in the region.
 
ScottB
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:17 pm

Quoting stlgph (Reply 23):
i flew Southwest Hartford-Baltimore-Birmingham-St Louis once on the same plane. didn't bother me really

Yep, I've flown PVD-BWI-JAN-HOU, MHT-MDW-LIT-HOU, and MHT-MDW-BNA-HOU. The extra stop (versus connecting with anyone else) was no big deal, and I got to see a couple of airports that I would have never otherwise had any reason to visit.

Quoting jcs17 (Reply 11):
No one ever answered the question of why this (the ridiculous routings) happens.

Bill Owen did, so clearly you are just trolling. The guy from Southwest's Network Planning department is probably going to have the right answer as to why Southwest schedules that way.

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 22):
For example Delta used to fly (and I've flown it several times) ATL-MGM-MEI-JAN-MLU-SHV-DAL in a DC-9 or B727.

Ya know, the JAN-MLU-SHV-DAL part of THAT route was flown by Delta Air Service with Travel Airs back in 1929.
 
planespotting
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:29 pm

From my experience, non-revjing employees use this same plane/multiple stop service far more than any paying passengers. I once went DAL-LIT-STL-MDW on the same plane (different flight number after the LIT turn because of the Wright Amendment), but on a non-rev pass.

But two stops isn't really a big deal - I know a few WN employees who've meandered from DAL to SEA (or another similarly long distance) via three or more stops in between, usually on family vacation trips where they've had to pick flights that were guaranteed to have four or more empty seats. Fun for the kids, long and arduous for the parents.
Do you like movies about gladiators?
 
JAAlbert
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:32 pm

I once used my SWA FF miles to book a trip from SAN to SWA's new destination Baltimore. The plane hopscotched across the country, from SAN - Kansas City - Midway - Someplace in Tennasee or Kentucky - and finally Baltimore. I think the flight took something like 11 hours. I prepared myself for SWA's onboard service - I packed several sandwiches, fruit and other life sustaining supplies and a backpack filled with magazines and books. There actually were a few of us traveling the entire distance - By the time we hit Midway, I was selling sandwiches, and bananas at a substantial profit!

It was a fun adventure, but not a flight I'd take if I had to be somewhere.
 
BRJ
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:38 pm

Quoting Markam (Reply 25):

The FRA-ACC and FRA-LBV are separate flights now (both operated by PrivatAir 737s) as is the JNB-ACC and JNB-LOS flights.

However, you the Air Burkina routes are still the same. And you see this alot in Africa. ASKY flights are multi-stops, for example. Some Air Nigeria and Arik Air flights are as well. And then you also have flights on MEA that route such as BEY-KAN-ACC-ABJ.

My apologies, I know this is getting slightly off topic.
 
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AirlineCritic
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:42 pm

Quoting jcs17 (Reply 11):
I can't buy the ticket unless I go to your site. It's a ridiculously outdated penny-pinching move from the 1970s and 1980s, like your refusal to sign interline transfer agreements.

To each his own. You do not like the fact that an airline sells tickets only on their website. Fine. I have plenty of issues with other types of airlines, too. But at least WN is honest about their strategy, and it seems to work for them. I like them, it is a great airline!

Quoting WNCrew (Reply 14):
Actually Bill Owen himself from route planning answered your question quite well, but you've already made up your mind about WN in many ways so I'm not quite sure an ANSWER is what you'r eloping for. Maybe just someone to agree with you.

  

Quoting shnoob940 (Reply 21):
In my opinion, I don't mind it. 5 flights for the price of one? Absolutely  

My thoughts exactly.
 
gators312
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:48 pm

Quoting jcs17 (Reply 11):
...to board a 733 that had seen better days.

Sure the 733 is my least favorite WN equipment, but to insinuate that DL has no older birds "that have seen better days" is just silly. Obviously there is more to the story of why WN seems illogical to you.

Since we are talking WN 733s, will these frames get WiFi? I always assumed due to their age and expected replacement with the next WN order the investment wouldn't be made on them. They do make up 1/3 of the fleet though?
 
m11stephen
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:29 pm

Quoting jcs17 (Reply 11):
You might be in them, but I can't buy the ticket unless I go to your site. It's a ridiculously outdated penny-pinching move from the 1970s and 1980s, like your refusal to sign interline transfer agreements. FL competes with Delta furiously at ATL and they had the foresight to sign interline agreements.

If you don't like WN then don't fly WN! I don't like them thus the reason why I don't fly them. I WISH airlines only sold tickets on their own websites. Websites like Cheaptickets, Cheapoair, Orbitz, Expedia, etc. drive me insane as a CSA. These websites cause nothing but problems. I can not tell you how many times I have gone to check in one of these passengers and there is no eTicket linked to the reservation meaning I can't check them in. I tell them, "Call Orbitz, Cheaptickets, etc. get a ticket number and come back and see me." They then stare at me and I proceed to tell them in the kindest way possible, "It is not my job to sit on the phone for hours with some third party travel agency because you were too cheap to fork over the $50 and buy the ticket directly from the airline."

Interline agreements also just cause problems as well. I had one passenger fly CDG-FRA on AF, FRA-JFK on LH, have a one hour connection in JFK that they barely made, then fly JFK-IAD-ORD-MKE-DEN on UA and then fly DEN-SAN on F9 all to save $100. What people don't realize is that if your first flight on airline A from point A to point B is late causing you to miss your second flight on airline B from point B to point C airline A isn't liable to accommodate you or rebook you since all they were liable to do is to get you from point A to point B. Also, your connection from airline A to airline B at point B may require a tram ride, change of terminals and require you to re-clear screening which just isn't going to happen with the 30 minute connection time you are allotted. Also airline A may not have a baggage agreement with Airline B meaning you may arrive at your final destination only to be told that you were suppose to claim and recheck your bags with airline B at your layover city.

I just want to hit some of these passengers over the head for being so cheap. The $50 you saved is not worth all the frustration, pain and agony you will go through. Long story short I applaud WN for not participating in these insane practices.
My opinions, statements, etc. are my own and do not have any association with those of any employer.
 
redflyer
Posts: 3905
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2005 3:30 am

RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:32 pm

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 22):
What changed was the introduction of the regional jet and the ability to do a hub-spoke system.

I started flying WN almost exclusively years ago because I hated the hub-and-spoke system of other carriers. My colleagues never understood why I gave up the ability to get upgrades just to fly "cattle car". Frankly, with all the flying I do, my #1 priority is to get to my destination as quickly as possible and with as little time as possible spent in airports waiting for connecting flights. For me, THAT was and remains one of the biggest selling point of WN. (Far fewer delays and cancellations as the flights don't rely as much on feeder traffic from other flights.) As their network has grown to encompass almost every major metro area in the nation, it's only become more of a convenience. I'll take straight-through flying with stops over connections at busy hubs any day of the week (and twice on Sundays!).

Regards
A government big enough to take away a constitutionally guaranteed right is a government big enough to take away any guaranteed right. A government big enough to give you everything you need is a government big enough to take away everything you have.
 
RamblinMan
Posts: 1027
Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2010 3:57 pm

RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:59 pm

Quoting m11stephen (Reply 32):
Long story short I applaud WN for not participating in these insane practices.

  
No doubt if they sold tickets on orbitz, then orbitz would create connections with other airlines and create all sorts of hassle. I remember years ago WN used to show up in travelocity...I'm sure it was no accident they stopped doing that.

Unless I get a deep-discount package which makes the hassle worth it, I stopped using expedia in 2005 when they had me going SNN-PHL on US, then PHL-ORD on UA, then ORD-BNA on AA. The schedule for the middle segment was changed, leaving a 25 minute connection. I called expedia and had to argue for 30 minutes through 2 levels of supervisors to get it changed.

The only time I've ever had to call WN was once when I was on the way to MDW, realized I had time to catch an earlier flight, and had a biz select ticket anyway, so I gave them a call and they had me taken care of in less than 5 minutes. So, if refusing to sell through orbitz, expedia, etc keeps their reservation system more efficient, I'll live with it!
 
JHCRJ700
Posts: 230
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 4:05 pm

Everyone always compares WN's planes to cattle cars, but they must have never flown Ryanair or some of the other ultra LCC because Southwest isn't THAAT bad. And if you don't like them so much then don't fly them.
Keep close to Nature’s heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.
 
txjim
Posts: 252
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 1:44 pm

RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 4:14 pm

Quoting jcs17 (Reply 11):
You might be in them, but I can't buy the ticket unless I go to your site. It's a ridiculously outdated penny-pinching move from the 1970s and 1980s

Let me get this straight.... Selling tickets on the internet is a stale leftover from the 70s?

I have a prediction for the future.... Someday, people will have computers in their house! These computers will have the ability to communicate with different information sites in these things called Windows (much like the Xerox CAD station does today, although I hear a company called Apple is working on something similiar). They will be able to look at the SWA site as well as other sites at the same time!!!!

[Edited 2011-10-19 09:22:14]
 
NathanH
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 2:40 pm

RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 4:18 pm

Quoting JHCRJ700 (Reply 35):

Everyone always compares WN's planes to cattle cars, but they must have never flown Ryanair or some of the other ultra LCC because Southwest isn't THAAT bad. And if you don't like them so much then don't fly them.

Moreover, with the [A,B,C] + Number system, I find it much more pleasant to get on the flights. So what if I have an assigned seat if I have to fight through the mass of people trying to get on the plane to find a tiny amount of overhead space that you get with the legacies these days. To me that is way more of a cattle car than an orderly line where I then get to pick any available seat.
 
delta2ual
Posts: 558
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 11:18 pm

RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 4:25 pm

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 22):
Some of us are old enough to remember when it was very common on most airlines.

Yes. My first flight was on DL DTW-IND-MEM-IAH.

Quoting m11stephen (Reply 32):
"It is not my job to sit on the phone for hours with some third party travel agency because you were too cheap to fork over the $50 and buy the ticket directly from the airline."

When I have to buy a ticket, I usually go to Orbitz, find the cheapest flight, then go directly to the airline's website and 99% of the time, it's actually cheaper to buy the ticket on the airline's website.

Quoting JHCRJ700 (Reply 35):
Everyone always compares WN's planes to cattle cars, but they must have never flown Ryanair or some of the other ultra LCC because Southwest isn't THAAT bad.

WN does not have cattle car anymore. You're given a number and stand in a line according to that number. For those people who don't like that-pay the extra 10 bucks to be in the first grouping. I did and it was worth every penny!  
From the world's largest airline-to the world's largest airline. Delta2ual
 
WNCrew
Posts: 988
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2006 11:22 pm

RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 4:32 pm

Our boarding process is FAR more organized than any other major US Carrier that I've flown on, and as an off-line commuter, I actually fly as a pax more on other carriers than on my own. At WN you get in line no sooner then 5 mins prior to boarding and you board according to number, at the other carriers everyone forms a HERD at the gate (you can't see the boarding agent) and they all sort of mush in together all vying to be FIRST on... regardless of their boarding number. OR you'll see a line snaking ridiculously out into the concourse (usually blocking foot traffic in the main hallway because people can't figure out how to make a sideways line).
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
trigged
Posts: 235
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2005 8:25 am

RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 4:37 pm

Quoting jcs17 (Reply 11):

No one ever answered the question of why this (the ridiculous routings) happens.
Quoting Furlough (Reply 17):

I am sure someone from WN can can answer this question. If I listed for one of these crazy routings by calling reservations that had 4 or 5 legs... and there were seats on each segment that were open, could I conceivably be cleared all the way through starting and the origin city? You never know when useless information like this can save the day when non-revving.
Quoting dadoftyler (Reply 8):

Hi folks. Bill Owen from Southwest Airlines Network Planning here. WNCrew is right--we seldom carry people on flights further than 3 legs--we don't sell itineraries with more than 2 stops. However, we will publish flight numbers with up to 8 legs because imbedded in those flights are (usually) 7 attractive onestop, no-change-of-plane itineraries. We prevent the sale of itineraries of more than 2 stops internally by suppressing them in our res system and externally by use of traffic restrictions in our SSIM file (and yes, jcs17, we are in two GDS', Sabre and Apollo). For example, our flight 725 tommorrow operates BUF-BWI-BNA-BHM-DAL-AUS-PHX-ONT-OAK. All of those are quite viable onestop itineraries--so why not sell them, and prevent display of the itinerary combinations that we don't want?

Just answering the question. Have a great rest-of-the-week!

Bill

Just making sure people notice the reply numbers versus when the question was answered. Does anyone read more than the first 2 or 3 responses before jumping down to the Reply box?

When I was a kid (81-86), I used to fly Frontier from TUS-PHX-DEN or TUS-ABQ-DEN and never leave the plane. The only nonstop one I remember was a UA 722 from TUS-DEN and that was in either 84 or 85. If I could have made 5 or 6 stops back then, I would have loved it!

I may do a round trip on WN just to do a ton of takeoffs/landings one summer vacation.


Ahhh.... I miss the old colors of Frontier.
 
jcs17
Topic Author
Posts: 7376
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2001 11:13 am

RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 4:44 pm

Quoting RamblinMan (Reply 15):

However you would have used one of the most delay-prone airports in the world, and had the choice of only 3 different flights instead of 5. To each his own I guess.

You might want to tell Southwest to stop begging for slots at LGA and EWR. Two of the most delay prone airports in the world.

Quoting m11stephen (Reply 32):

If you don't like WN then don't fly WN!

I honestly try not to. The ticket was given to me by my father, who has some sort of odd infatuation with WN. He travels from Fairfax to BWI to stand in line like cattle and accrue miles to go to places like Orlando and Los Angeles (or Islip).
America's chickens are coming home to rooooost!
 
AirCalSNA
Posts: 397
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:35 pm

RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 4:50 pm

I would love to know how WN sets the different route and flight numbers in its network, since they don't follow the more easily conceived hub-and-spoke model. I imagine they use some sort of computer models to predict traffic-flow patterns and the experience of folks who have flown the network for years. WN often has hundreds of flights in the air, and from looking at Flightaware, they seem to blanket the country in a true "network" where "primary" routes are far less discernible than with other carriers.
 
n471wn
Posts: 1717
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2003 12:23 am

RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:05 pm

Quoting WNCrew (Reply 14):
Actually Bill Owen himself from route planning answered your question quite well, but you've already made up your mind about WN in many ways so I'm not quite sure an ANSWER is what you'r eloping for. Maybe just someone to agree with you.

So well said......As SWA grows and grows because people like us do not fly them only if they do not go to where we are headed, others are just plain envious ( and afraid) of their 40 year success
 
Markam
Posts: 324
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2008 6:17 am

RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:41 pm

Quoting BRJ (Reply 29):
The FRA-ACC and FRA-LBV are separate flights now (both operated by PrivatAir 737s) as is the JNB-ACC and JNB-LOS flights.

Thanks for the updated info, it is sad to see the FRA-ACC downgraded (it was great to fly there with LH mainline on the A330-300), but I am glad that Air Burkina are doing well, they were a surprisingly fine airline (always on or before time, great service), which is even more remarkable given the challenging environment they operate in.

Anyway, as you point out, this is getting slightly off topic, sorry for that!
 
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lightsaber
Moderator
Posts: 18805
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RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:47 pm

I'd much rather sit on one plane than connect through the major hubs. If one doesn't like WN, don't buy a 'tag on' routed ticket.

Quoting JayDub (Reply 5):
My all-time favorite WN cabin crew announcement is:

"Welcome aboard Southwest flight 1234, Luvjet service to Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, Oakland, and Seattle. If your final destination is Seattle, you need to find a new travel agent."

Best post of the thread. If one is flying 4 or more legs, one isn't looking for efficient routings or is desperate.

Quoting dadoftyler (Reply 8):
All of those are quite viable onestop itineraries--so why not sell them, and prevent display of the itinerary combinations that we don't want?

Thank you for the detailed explination and software limits on the ticket sales. It is a wise strategy that works. WN figured out years ago that tag on flights (one or two legs) increase yeild.

The question should be, 'why do other airlines return to the hub when a tag on leg would improve yeild?'

Quoting DCA-ROCguy (Reply 1):
Once I flew to see friends in Dallas and went BWI-STL-TUL-DAL. An extra 90 minutes saved me over $100. On that trip, it was worth it.

Most people's time is worth less than $1/minute...

Quoting WNCrew (Reply 3):
I think our employees sometimes think it's amusing to do that but that Ops Agent shouldn't have made the PA that way.

Unless they say to get a new travel agent.  
Quoting KELPkid (Reply 10):
but the segment was ELP-LAX-SMF-RNO-PDX. If you tried to book that on the website, you wouldn't even be offered the choice of that flight, even though it was the same flight number all the way through. It was all that was available that day, though.

Hey, in a pinch it was nice the software could be bypassed.

Quoting trigged (Reply 40):
Does anyone read more than the first 2 or 3 responses before jumping down to the Reply box?

I read them all.    But this discussion was over by a few dozen posts.

Quoting delta2ual (Reply 38):
When I have to buy a ticket, I usually go to Orbitz, find the cheapest flight, then go directly to the airline's website and 99% of the time, it's actually cheaper to buy the ticket on the airline's website.

Shhh, you're giving away my secrets.  
Quoting txjim (Reply 36):
much like the Xerox CAD station does today, although I hear a company called Apple is working on something similiar

  

Lightsaber
IM messages to mods on warnings and bans will be ignored and nasty ones will result in a ban.
 
ScottB
Posts: 6745
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2000 1:25 am

RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:04 pm

Quoting jcs17 (Reply 41):
I honestly try not to. The ticket was given to me by my father, who has some sort of odd infatuation with WN.

Then pay for your own ticket.

Quoting jcs17 (Reply 11):
It's a ridiculously outdated penny-pinching move from the 1970s and 1980s

It's not "penny-pinching" when GDS fees are upwards of $10 for a ticketed itinerary. And to a large degree, Southwest stumbled on to that strategy in the mid-1990's, not "the 1970s and 1980s," when United and Continental moved to kick Southwest off the reservations systems those airlines owned at the time. And in any event, if you don't want to fly Southwest, why do you even care how they choose to distribute their product?

Quoting jcs17 (Reply 11):
like your refusal to sign interline transfer agreements. FL competes with Delta furiously at ATL and they had the foresight to sign interline agreements.

Interline agreements have a cost. And they're generally not worthwhile to Southwest, since they are the largest carrier at most airports they serve, and with lower load factors than most competitors, they often have the ability to reroute on their own network.
 
EDTrauma
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:23 am

RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:16 pm

Quoting jcs17 (Thread starter):
cattle car

Just slightly redundant. SWA has enough loyal fans to see them through this rough economy and onto a solid future. Negative impressions on them have rarely affected them much.
 
XT6Wagon
Posts: 2726
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 4:06 pm

RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 7:09 pm

I think what the OP misses is that WN flys a "web" of flights attempting to maximize the non-stop and 1-stop flights while minimizing passengers connecting.

They also require a station to have a number of flights per day to be in the system and for small cities thats only possible by way of being the one stop between two larger markets.

This gives maximum frequency and flexiblity to the traveler, while still providing enough passengers per flight to make every segment (theoreticly) profitable.

So a city like spokane sees WN service largely due to the fact that its the "one stop" for many flights so the O&D can be far smaller than the number of seats WN sends there would normaly indicate. If 75% of the plane is continuing on, you only need to have the demand for that 25% left over. You "pay" for the extra stop with more customers flying your airline as its another destination, and extra frequencies between the major cities. Truth be told, even the flights between major cities that many book as non-stop are also the 1 stop trip for passengers flying longer trips, so no flight in the WN system is every really about just the demand for that city pair.

Its also ignoring the fact WN ranks at the top for utilization of its aircraft. It does this by quick turn times allowing for these large numbers of cities to be served in one day by one plane. If one company gets 3 flights a day from a 738 and WN gets 5 flights a day from its 73G, which hauled more passengers in a given day? Its a big deal when you are talking about the utilization of a $30M+ aircraft.
 
Rdh3e
Posts: 3587
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:09 pm

RE: Southwest's Illogical Multi-stop Flights

Wed Oct 19, 2011 7:58 pm

Quoting jcs17 (Thread starter):
Nor does Southwest have any codeshare partners where the idea might pop in a schedulers at HQs head, "Oh crap, were running out of four digit flight numbers."

How many flights does SA)">WN have daily? I know there are majors that are dangerously close to the 10k mark, but that does include codeshares etc.

Quoting christao17 (Reply 13):
because that increases the number of one-stop, same aircraft connections that can be sold in their reservations system.

No it does not. It increases the number of one stop SAME FLT NUMBER connections. You can still get a same aircraft connection with different flight numbers. I'm not sure if SA)">WN lets you stay on the aircraft during a stop, but that is the only advantage of using the same flight number. Has nothing to do with "same plane" connections.

Quoting BlueJuice (Reply 16):
From in operational standpoint, it's pretty darn smart. Besides the previously mentioned utilization benefit, there is also more chances to sell. Each leg is a chance to earn revenue on early bird check-in, extra checked bags, beverages, UM, etc.

Unless you have to get off the plane at every stop then no, it doesn't gain them any chance at more ancillaries in any meaningful sense.

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