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enilria
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WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:33 pm

Forgetting any elite FFP issues, I find that in my own travel needs I avoid WN because they are more expensive for me than anybody else. If I was taking a family with me and checking bags I'd probably check them first, but if I'm going alone I don't even check their prices because I know they are charging somewhat more to allow for their free bag fees. I've found that to be the case in most instances I've ever compared.

So, do other people do that too? How much do you think that hurts them because carry-on only travelers tend to be business travelers which is exactly the passenger they want?

Also, how does this impact the FL-WN merger? Transitioning FL to the WN model scares away more carry-on only travelers? Or does it not matter because there are more bag-checkers to gain and carry-on people to lose?
 
jreuschl
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:36 pm

They do have the advantage in not charging for change fees (except whatever the current fare is).

Hint: Book a round trip in separate legs, so if you do change a flight it doesn't change pricing on the 2nd leg  

Certainly, I will still compare with other carriers.
 
Cubsrule
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:54 pm

Quoting enilria (Thread starter):
So, do other people do that too?

Nope, because so much of my travel is necessarily on refundable tickets, where they are often comparable if not cheaper. (I just booked BNA-MSP-BNA one way on WN and one way on DL, my refundable DL ticket was over twice the price of my business select WN ticket.)
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SEPilot
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:57 pm

I just flew BDL-RSW between Christmas and New Year's on quite short notice; WN was CONSIDERABLY cheaper than any other option.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
joeljack
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:07 pm

I've NEVER checked a bag for a domestic flight. This service is no benefit to me and most business travelers. Even if I travel for a week. I really wish that southwest charged for baggage so their fares could be lower. Why punish those who have no need to check a bag and travel very lightly?

At a maximum, southwest should only allow for a single checked bag...as an owner of WN stock, this issue really bothers me!
 
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par13del
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:19 pm

Quoting enilria (Thread starter):
because I know they are charging somewhat more to allow for their free bag fees. I've found that to be the case in most instances I've ever compared.
Quoting joeljack (Reply 4):
I really wish that southwest charged for baggage so their fares could be lower. Why punish those who have no need to check a bag and travel very lightly?

So it is a general consensus that WN fares are now higher due to their offsetting the bags fly free campaign versus them not having as much fuel hedges so they have raised fares?
Or, if true, what about the other carriers, did they lower their fares when they started charging for bags or are their fares now comparable to WN because of their Chpt.11's and WN raising fares due to fuel?

The reality of the fare is a given, if the other carrier is cheaper and you have no bags or need the security of being able to make changes in your travel plans by all means avoid WN, I just think the reason for the difference is fares todays is not simply as a result of them making up for their bags fly free campaign.
As with all a.net speculation, I could be wrong  
 
atrude777
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:24 pm

No, no reason to avoid Southwest.

The lack of change fees, being able to cancel my ticket without paying a cancellation fee, being able to apply the funds towards another ticket without paying a fee, is worth the cost and price of any SWA ticket (unless of course it is hundreds of dollars more).

I pay more on Southwest (which is actually rare out of STL for the destinations I am flying to) on purpose even if other carriers are cheaper simply for the EASE of knowing that no matter what happens I am not going to be punished for it.

Not to mention I am a FFP Member, which you did say disregarding so I won't add that.

Quoting enilria (Thread starter):
don't even check their prices because I know they are charging

Not to pick on you, but if you DON'T check southwest then no, you do NOT know that Southwest is charging more every single time you need to fly without comparing first.

Quoting jreuschl (Reply 1):

Hint: Book a round trip in separate legs, so if you do change a flight it doesn't change pricing on the 2nd leg

Shouldn't matter. I booked a round trip and had to change the outbound of my trip, all I did was select which leg I needed to change, it kept my inbound price the same, and the outbound I had to change, easy as pie.

Quoting joeljack (Reply 4):
I really wish that southwest charged for baggage so their fares could be lower.

God, I don't! What if a Family Travels and they all check bags? SWA usually is a lifesaver for them.

Quoting joeljack (Reply 4):
Why punish those who have no need to check a bag and travel very lightly?

I don't feel like I am being punished. Let's say I booked Delta because they were cheaper to fly by 50 dollars. I am not checking a bag, oops, gotta change my flight or cancel it on Delta, that's 150 dollars I now have to pay. Don't worry! I saved 50 bucks by booking Delta because I didn't check a bag. That 150 dollars I spent to cancel my ticket just made the justification of booking Delta a wash.

Southwest Charge to Cancel?: $0. It's worth it to me to pay extra to fly SWA bags or no bags for that "insurance" I can do what I want without paying for it.

Alex
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airbazar
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:39 pm

Yes I find them to be more expensive than the rest but that was the case way back when no one was charging for checked bags too. They're not more expensive to make up for the lack of anciliary fees. They're more expensive because their operating model is one of chasing profits, not market share.
 
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enilria
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:46 pm

Quoting jreuschl (Reply 1):
They do have the advantage in not charging for change fees (except whatever the current fare is).

That's a good point that somewhat offsets the bag issue for business travelers.

Quoting jreuschl (Reply 1):
Hint: Book a round trip in separate legs, so if you do change a flight it doesn't change pricing on the 2nd leg  

I'll try that.

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 2):
(I just booked BNA-MSP-BNA one way on WN and one way on DL, my refundable DL ticket was over twice the price of my business select WN ticket.)

That's kind of an oddball. First, it is a Delta hub so they charge crazy fares and also it is non-stop on DL and connect on WN, so you chose price over convenience already.

Quoting joeljack (Reply 4):
Why punish those who have no need to check a bag and travel very lightly?

My thoughts exactly

Quoting par13del (Reply 5):
So it is a general consensus that WN fares are now higher due to their offsetting the bags fly free campaign versus them not having as much fuel hedges so they have raised fares?

It is definitely mine and I think it is pretty clearly born out both by observation and by the DOT reporting, although you have to compare WN to another LCC to really see it because the majors have first class and such giving them a fare premium.

Quoting par13del (Reply 5):
Or, if true, what about the other carriers, did they lower their fares when they started charging for bags

Well, that's a complicated answer. In essence fuel went way up and WN raised fares more than the other airlines. I would say that in months like SEP that the other airlines have definitely lowered fares and now depend heavily on the bag fees. There is also a short-haul/long-haul component because fares are scaled by distance more/less and bag fees are flat.

It is my belief that WN is charging what the market will bear for their additional bag fees and they say routinely in their Wall Street conference calls that they believe they get more revenue per passenger by not charging bag fees. That also validates my comments. I think if the other guys are charging $200 RT and the bag fees on that airline are $50, they are probably charging something like $230 and coming out ahead...unless they are lying to shareholders and not actually coming out ahead.

Quoting enilria (Thread starter):
I've found that to be the case in most instances I've ever compared.
Quoting Atrude777 (Reply 6):
Not to pick on you, but if you DON'T check southwest then no, you do NOT know that Southwest is charging more every single time you need to fly without comparing first.

You ignored the very next sentence to make a point, not really very sporting old chum...

Quoting Atrude777 (Reply 6):
God, I don't! What if a Family Travels and they all check bags?

As I said for families, WN is clearly better. The question was what about everybody else? Airlines don't really even want families anyway, they want business passengers.
 
rfields5421
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:48 pm

The last trip I booked on AA was about $100 cheaper for the round trip to Seattle from DFW.

That's $200 for my wife and myself. We each checked two bags for the cruise - $65 each - $130 total.

We were forced to change our flight due to family issues - $175 each change fee and adjusted fare.

So the cheaper AA flight cost me $280 extra for the cheaper fare.

Though Southwest is always more hassle due to Wright limitations, and changing aircraft, the total experience is much better on WN than my last flights on AA, DL, CO, US.

For most of my business travel - WN was about 30% cheaper than a direct flight on AA - or a change planes in ATL on DL - the only other options for my destinations.

Yes, WN can be more expensive initially, but in the long run it works out better for me 90%+ of the time.

Quoting par13del (Reply 5):
did they lower their fares when they started charging for bags or are their fares now comparable to WN because of their Chpt.11's and WN raising fares due to fuel?

No airline lowered costs more than a few pennies when they started charging for bags. Regular fliers on other airlines pay just as much for bags as part of the load as they did before bag fees. They just don't pay the new extra fees.

WN's main difference is that they use a relatively simple cost structure for routes, with fixed prices that really don't change much. Bankruptcy, fuel hedges, etc - really have not changed fares much.

WN just doesn't play pricing games with their routes like almost all other airlines.

Their fare is their fare. If you want to book DEN-SEA for a flight today, it will be one price. If you want to book it for six months from now - it will be the same price for the same type service.

On WN that fare for tomorrow roundtrip is as low as $219.60. Same price in August.

On UA that fare for tomorrow is $529.60. In August the fare is $391.60

On Frontier the fare for tomorrow is $289.50. In August the fare is $219.59
 
DCA-ROCguy
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:12 pm

I fly whatever carrier offers the lowest total cost with the best schedule on the routes I need to fly, either business or personal. Checking bags isn't as much the question, as the cost of the whole. Also, time is money; sometimes I'll pay more for a better schedule. When the factors are close, I fly AirTran or Southwest as they most often meet my needs, and thus are where it's most worthwhile for me to build FF credit.

Most of the time, I find that AirTran or Southwest cost less than legacy alternatives, after I tally up the costs of: fares + baggage fees on a legacy alternative for that itinerary; driving to BWI rather than using DCA, etc. One must price the whole trip as if it were a package. At least in my own experience, as a result, I'm not "paying more for no baggage fees."

Jim
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AWACSooner
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:14 pm

I fly WN over all other airlines whenever I can for the following reasons:
1. Their ancillary fees are significantly limited compared to the other airlines.
2. NO CHANGE FEES! This works out to my advantage big time because if I book a ticket at one fare, then find it cheaper a few weeks later, I can change it to that lower fare for free, and then use that credit for future travel.
3. Since they're not a pure "hub and spoke" airline, it makes it easier to re-route me whenever there are system disruptions. It's saved my *** on many instances.
4. I know most of us hate the no seat assignment policy, but I like it...I can book a ticket with 24 hours notice and still get my window seat!
5. The best part...all the employees genuinely enjoy their jobs. Sure, the singing FA's can get annoying at times, but the overall experience is THAT MUCH BETTER when you have employees who act like they want to be there!
 
atrude777
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:15 pm

Quoting enilria (Reply 8):

You ignored the very next sentence to make a point, not really very sporting old chum...

You made a contradictory statement, that's why I ignored it.

Regardless

Quoting enilria (Reply 8):

I'll try that.

Again, you don't need to. I explained it above.

Quoting Atrude777 (Reply 6):

Shouldn't matter. I booked a round trip and had to change the outbound of my trip, all I did was select which leg I needed to change, it kept my inbound price the same, and the outbound I had to change, easy as pie.

I just tested it again and it allowed me to choose which leg I needed to change.

Quoting enilria (Reply 8):

That's a good point that somewhat offsets the bag issue for business travelers.

Absolutely, if we're to JUST focus on the bag situation then almost no one would be flying SWA simply because other airlines are cheaper (using your situation) However due to surrounding circumstances, ie no change or cancellation fees, this makes SWA for me personally more attractive and an add "insurance" to do what I want without being hit by the fees. That alone outweight the price of booking WN over another carrier.

Alex
Good things come to those who wait, better things come to those who go AFTER it!
 
Cubsrule
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:21 pm

Quoting enilria (Reply 8):
so you chose price over convenience already.

Yes and no. Time is money. I can't pay $600 more for an itinerary that is 2 hours or so shorter. My time is valuable, but not that valuable.

Though if the time/money situation were equal, I might pick the WN connection over 2 plus hours on a CRJ.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
alphascan
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:18 pm

Quoting enilria (Reply 8):
Quoting joeljack (Reply 4):
Why punish those who have no need to check a bag and travel very lightly?

My thoughts exactly

Well its a logical thought. However, it just isn't anywhere near reality in the airline business.

Airline pricing is all about supply and demand and maximizing revenue on any given flight. It has nothing to do with the fixed or variable costs of transporting passengers or cargo from one place to another. So to conclude that a passenger w/o a bag is being punished or subsidizing those with bags is not accurate. If anything, bag fees penalize those passengers with bags.

To make it all about you Joel, if bags were prohibited altogether, your fare would not go down. It would have absolutely no effect on the fare
"To he who only has a hammer in his toolbelt, every problem looks like a nail."
 
mrskyguy
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:25 pm

Quoting Atrude777 (Reply 6):
The lack of change fees, being able to cancel my ticket without paying a cancellation fee, being able to apply the funds towards another ticket without paying a fee, is worth the cost and price of any SWA ticket (unless of course it is hundreds of dollars more).

I pay more on Southwest (which is actually rare out of STL for the destinations I am flying to) on purpose even if other carriers are cheaper simply for the EASE of knowing that no matter what happens I am not going to be punished for it.

Spot on. I have a suitcase full of examples where I either flew SWA and avoided a train-wreck of an experience, or chose another carrier and paid for it heavily downstream.

SWA is insurance for business travelers, and its why I prefer them. I only wish they had in-seat power and a few more meal options, but those can be mitigated.
"The strength of the turbulence is directly proportional to the temperature of your coffee." -- Gunter's 2nd Law of Air
 
ikramerica
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:34 pm

I avoid WN because of T1 at LAX and the security line during peak times. With my DL and UA credit cards, I also get a checked bag free and on UA. I don't travel much for business, so don't have to make flight changes, and when I do travel it's last minute and there also will not be any changes needed.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
blueflyer
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:45 pm

I genuinely am glad Southwest is around because it gives passengers an option and the airline seems to take a load off the other carriers of leisure customers who, let's face it, can be a nuisance if they fly only once or twice a year and are clueless.

This being said, I don't fly Southwest because I like to know where I am going to sit whether I am first or last to board, and I like being able to board more or less when I want. However overcrowded they can be at times, having access to a lounge is nice too, if only because they are marginally less crowded and more comfortable than the concourse. That is setting aside the FFP Elite thing and the fact my employer doesn't have a contract with Southwest, of course...
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roseflyer
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:58 pm

There fares aren't necessarily higher because of bag fees. WN usually does a pretty good job of matching fares of other airlines. It is just the price variability as the plane fills up that can change things a lot. A large percentage of bags checked don't earn fees because of elite status, international connections, other perks such as credit card perks, or it is a business traveler that can expense it. The revenue from bags is genuine, but WN also has typically lower costs, so they don't necessarily need to compensate for the lower revenue.

When I book a trip, I will look at them if they fly nonstop. If the price is the same, I will choose another airline due to frequent flyer loyalty. Personally, I get free bags and upgrades due to elite status, so that's a benefit which will always steer me to my preferred airline and its partners over Southwest if the price is the same. I also appreciate that seats are held back for elite members so I always get a good seat and don't have to play the Southwest check in & boarding game.

If Southwest is significantly cheaper, I'll fly them. I won't for the same price.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
 
RamblinMan
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 8:12 pm

I rarely check bags. But I also actively seek out WN, and will only book elsewhere if the price difference is huge, or if WN's times suck. The customer experience is just better...no change fees, no regional jets, and the beer is cheaper.
 
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enilria
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 8:28 pm

Quoting DCA-ROCguy (Reply 10):

I fly whatever carrier offers the lowest total cost with the best schedule on the routes I need to fly, either business or personal.

Agreed and since I don't check luggage and generally only fly non-stop, it is never Southwest I fly on because it is my experience they are only cheaper if they are connecting and the other guy is non-stop or you are checking bags.

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 18):
There fares aren't necessarily higher because of bag fees. WN usually does a pretty good job of matching fares of other airlines.
Quoting alphascan (Reply 14):
Well its a logical thought. However, it just isn't anywhere near reality in the airline business.

The reality is that WN tends to take fare premiums for the bag fee. They admit it in their quarterly conference calls. That just doesn't work for me. It doesn't mean I like Spirit and their carry on fee.  (((

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 17):

I genuinely am glad Southwest is around

Of course, and if I traveled somewhere often like LAS-LAX where they fly umpteen times per day that would be another selling point.
 
TomFoolery
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 8:39 pm

I have flown WN a few times, and found the folks there quite friendly and welcoming. Checking bags or not, generally, their fares are very reasonable, as are the change conditions.

If, for example, a traveller does not see value in the product an airline offers, as a consumer, they have every right to find an airline which meets their needs.

If you need IFE, avoid them;
If you demand a specific assigned seat, avoid them;
If you expect a discount for not checking bags, avoid them;
If you dont care, and just want the best price; shop around

I love them for short hops, as long as they are reasonably direct (or better, non-stop). Get on, get off. I never had an issue. I do not want to have to go through ATL on my way to BOS from BWI, (unless it is to beef up my miles, then we go whole hog and connect via SLC 

In other words, if you are craving KFC, dont go to McDonalds with high expectations.
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DCA-ROCguy
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:35 pm

Quoting enilria (Reply 20):
Agreed and since I don't check luggage and generally only fly non-stop, it is never Southwest I fly on because it is my experience they are only cheaper if they are connecting and the other guy is non-stop or you are checking bags.

Different experiences...I usually find WN less overall expensive on most of the routes I search with them, mostly out of BWI. When they aren't, I suspect, it's what RoseFlyer said--they may sell out of their lower fare buckets sooner. Legacies have no motive to undersell them or offer larger volume of lower-far buckets on most routes, since with extensively-discussed exceptions like some US PHL routes, legacies aren't going to drive WN out of most routes. I'd be curious to see the exact language from WN's conference call where they "admit" they charge more to make up for no bag fees.

But...like others here, I don't always find WN to be the least expensive. With airlines in general, I've seen that air fares on my routes have in the past 2-2/12 years shot up much farther than, for instance, oil costs could justify, WN included. As we have discussed at length at this site, WN's costs are rising. They will need to address their costs at some point, probably in the next few years.

Jim

[Edited 2012-02-02 13:44:49]
Need a new airline paint scheme? Better call Saul! (Bass that is)
 
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ADent
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:59 pm

I prefer SWA over the other large airline in town (UA).

- WN has better seating for us non-elites.
- WN employees don't make me feel like I am a burden on them.
- Loading and unloading can be faster. The overheads on WN are less full than UA and this goes faster and the repetitive announcement about full bins that repeats again and again on UA are really annoying.
- No change fees. I can just call the airline and rebook if I have a full fare ticket (we usually don't get approval to travel until a couple of days before the trip), which is often on WN. On UA I have to call travel then they rebook and cover the change fee and after hour travel agent fee on the expense report and with management.
- On time performance feels much better with WN
- No CRJ200s with WN. Most of the UA flying here is really UAX.
- Better service. On WN I get a drink and a snack. On UA/UAX I don't get anything, not even a single mini-pretzel.


Biggest WN problem is they don't fly some of the cities I travel to (HSV) and the don't offer non-stops to others (DEN-CLE). Lastly they tend to be a few bucks more and our system causes hassles for a fare difference of even $1 (and bag fees don't count).
 
aklrno
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:07 pm

Basing your choice on a fare difference of $20 or $30 on a trip that overall (airfare, ground transport, hotel, whatever) costs many hundreds is what has driven the race to the bottom in air service. If you make those decisions, I hope you don't complain about fees and service.

We'd be better off if everyone was willing to pay a bit for quality, whatever they perceive that to be. I usually choose on schedule first, airline second, price third. I'm happy to fly WN with my carry on, knowing that others are checking a bag for free because that makes my onboard experience just a fraction better. Faster boarding, exiting, more space for my carry on if others want to check theirs. And as others have pointed out, WN makes it cheap and easy to cancel or change a flight. I do that several time a year and that more than makes up for the bit extra I may pay in the base fare. And as a bonus the crew doesn't make feel like I spoiled their day just because I showed up.
 
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LAXintl
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:45 pm

No problem with Southwest, nor any reason to avoid them.

And no, I dont find them more expensive. They tend to be just as cheap and competitive as anyone. Sure sometimes they might sell out of lower bucket fares, however such happens with everyone.

And I'd even be willing to pay a few dollars more to fly Southwest out here on the West Coast due to the fact for the sheer number of flights they offer (they virtually are the "company plane" as they advertise) offering great convenience and flexibility in schedules and ability to make change.

Also I guess it worth mentioning, SWA did not become America's largest domestic airline by people avoiding them. They know what they are doing, and do it well.
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
LXa332
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:35 pm

I almost never check a bag, but I still love Southwest. No change fees, and I've never dealt with a crew member who didn't seem to enjoy his/her job.
 
Mir
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:43 pm

Quoting joeljack (Reply 4):
as an owner of WN stock, this issue really bothers me!

As an owner of WN stock, you've probably done better than an owner of stock in another airline. So I wouldn't be criticizing from the sidelines.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
texan
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:13 am

No, the only airline I prefer to not fly on is United. But I tend to pick my flights with my wallet in mind. If WN is cheaper than the others--or the same price--and gets me to my destination in about the same amount of time, or if I think I may need to change my flight, then I go with them when I'm back home. The one complicating factor is Wright. But DAL is so much more convenient and less hassle than DFW that I'll even take WN sometimes when they are more expensive and I have to make two stops.

Texan
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cschleic
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:08 am

Quoting joeljack (Reply 4):
as an owner of WN stock, this issue really bothers me!

Airline stocks probably are influenced more by the price of oil than whether or not they charge a bag fee, since one of their largest costs is pegged to oil. And WN has been profitable for...decades now...vs. the other guys.

Like lots of things, I've found them to be more expensive in some cases, less in others.

I'd be interested in how much additional fare revenue they get from ticket changes. While there aren't any fees, I would think changes based on same-day pricing could add up well for them.
 
mcg
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Fri Feb 03, 2012 3:14 am

I only fly SWA when I have bags (typically skiis) to check. Otherwise I really try to avoid Southwest.
 
ghifty
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:48 am

I avoid WN, period.

Typically on the routes I fly, they're either marginally cheaper or more expensive than fares on DL/AS. Never has the cheaper cost justified me to purchase one of their tickets. The idea of battling against people to get to my seat is ridiculous, and I don't want to pay that extra fee to get an *earlier* opportunity to fight for my seat.

Aside from that, their "bags fly free" and "fees don't fly here" campaigns really tick me off. Especially the court room scenes where they villainise the bigger airlines. I suppose those ads appeal to the market that flies with them anyways, the people who preach flying WN because they "have no extra fees." I usually have a good laugh when my friends/family buy WN tickets, only to find out they paid *more* with "no fees" than they would have with a normal airline, but whatever..

Another factor that keeps me away from WN planes are all those videos on YouTube with the f/a rapping/singing/joking. Those antics just don't appeal to me in the air.

Quoting cschleic (Reply 29):
Airline stocks probably are influenced more by the price of oil than whether or not they charge a bag fee, since one of their largest costs is pegged to oil. And WN has been profitable for...decades now...vs. the other guys.

+1. I see no correlation between free checked bags and the airlines' stock index.
Fly Delta (Wid)Jets

Comments made here reflect only my personal opinions.
 
rscaife1682
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:08 am

I find that SWA is almost twice as much as other airlines when I fly out of BWI. I think it is because I am booking 3-4 days in advance and I am taking flights that have connections. For example, I just got home from a BWI-MSP-MKE-CVG-BWI on Delta for 370.54. Flight from BWI-MKE on FL and SWA was almost 530.00. I do not mind making a connection as 8 out of 10 times everything goes well and if the S*** hits the fan I just find a restaurant/bar and relax and catch up on work e mails.  

Another example. next week I am flying BWI-MSP-OMA-ATL-BWI for 499.58 SWA even with a connection is 685.70 this seems like a big difference to me.

RYAN
 
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DocLightning
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:02 am

What attracts me to WN is that they have a corporate culture of doing good business and treating their customers fairly and honestly.

All airlines are essentially the same when things go well. It's when there are delays, cancellations, and other issues that airlines differ. On a lot of majors, you get the runaround. On WN, you get straight talk, honest and timely updates, and they'll even rebook you on other carriers if necessary. That peace of mind goes a long way in my book.
-Doc Lightning-

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HPRamper
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:38 am

Interesting. I've myself wondered if anyone else did that too. I normally only travel with a backpack and a satchel sort of thing which I've always gotten by with as a personal item, so no need to check anything, and all else being equal, I do normally avoid WN. Usually for price issues, but other times for schedule or routing reasons. If nothing else, I'll take a warm cookie on F9 over cheesy jokes on WN.
 
Cubsrule
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:14 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 33):
On WN, you get straight talk, honest and timely updates, and they'll even rebook you on other carriers if necessary. That peace of mind goes a long way in my book.

  

Quick story on this: I was stuck at MDW in a snowstorm last winter on a 733 booked to 100 passengers or so headed to BNA. Around the time they started determining which 30 passengers they'd bump, a supervisor on the ground at MDW (note: not a dispatcher) realized they had a 73G headed to RDU with only 30 or 35 passengers. On that supervisor's initiative, both pilots and dispatch approved the aircraft swap, we switched airplanes, and everyone got where they needed to go. That simply does not happen on other carriers.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
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enilria
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:04 pm

Quoting HPRamper (Reply 34):
Interesting. I've myself wondered if anyone else did that too. I normally only travel with a backpack and a satchel sort of thing which I've always gotten by with as a personal item, so no need to check anything, and all else being equal, I do normally avoid WN. Usually for price issues, but other times for schedule or routing reasons.
Quoting rscaife1682 (Reply 32):
Another example. next week I am flying BWI-MSP-OMA-ATL-BWI for 499.58 SWA even with a connection is 685.70 this seems like a big difference to me.

These are identical to my experiences and beliefs with WN. I think that the answer is different regionally to some extent because WN does not have the same strategy in every airport. In some places they are in a dominant position and take advantage of it just like Delta or American would, while in other places they are in market share war and are very concerned about being competitive.

One thing that I think has definitely changed is that back in "the day", WN used to price like Walmart. They would obtain the product as cheaply as possible and apply a standard profit margin. "Always the low price". Now, they charge what the market will bear. Maybe Walmart does too these days. I get that in order to make the most money you may have to do that, but it has changed perceptions about Southwest IMHO.
 
atrude777
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:04 pm

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 35):

Quick story on this: I was stuck at MDW in a snowstorm last winter on a 733 booked to 100 passengers or so headed to BNA. Around the time they started determining which 30 passengers they'd bump,

Why on earth did they have to bump 30 people off? It was only booked to 100, and it holds 137 on a -300?

Quoting ghifty (Reply 31):
The idea of battling against people to get to my seat is ridiculous, and I don't want to pay that extra fee to get an *earlier* opportunity to fight for my seat.

I spent over 15 hours at the PHX Airport last weekened and observed quite a few SWA Boarding flights. Honest to god, didn't see one single passenger "fighting" for the seat.

It is the most orderly boarding process I have seen, and I flew Delta in and out of PHX where it was a little chaotic and everyone was standing around the gate to board.

It's simple on Southwest, wait for them to call your group for boarding, you line up in your reserved spot, then you get on board. I won't deny the no assigned seating, that's not for everyone.

Quoting ghifty (Reply 31):
only to find out they paid *more* with "no fees" than they would have with a normal airline, but whatever..

That's really not the debate though? If you're bringing up the no fees then and such, what happens when they have to cancel on SWA, that family, guess what, it doesn't cost them a cent to do so. Whereas most if not any airline you have to pay to cancel OR change the ticket, regardless of what the fare difference, if applicable is.

I feel we're all getting a bit off topic here because people are bringing up no assigned seating, boarding, FFP and such. The OP is specifically asking between two airlines that price a ticket..and you don't have to check bags, who will you fly? Though to be fair, I think almost anyone will book the cheapest ticket regardless if we're basing it on no bags, other factors weigh in, and if the OP is excluding those factors it's really hard to make a justified decision on any airline if we're focusing only on the no bag aspect.

Alex
Good things come to those who wait, better things come to those who go AFTER it!
 
rfields5421
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:14 pm

Quoting Atrude777 (Reply 37):
Why on earth did they have to bump 30 people off?

Possibly reduced runway braking action due to the snowstorm limited the weight capacity of the aircraft? I don't have the numbers with me, but the short runway at MDW could have been the factor.
 
Cubsrule
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:17 pm

Quoting Atrude777 (Reply 37):
Why on earth did they have to bump 30 people off? It was only booked to 100, and it holds 137 on a -300?

Short, contaminated runways. If it's snowing at MDW, the 733 cannot get out anywhere near full.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
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GSPFlyer
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:28 pm

My home Airport (GSP) just got WN service last year, and I flew them for the first time in July (GSP-MDW-PHL-BNA-GSP). I originally booked a one-way ticket, and WN was slightly more expensive than a UA flight via IAD, but since there was a bag fee on UA, WN was cheaper. Now, since I flew them, and have flown the UA GSP-IAD-PHL a few times before we had WN service, I can honestly say that I will fly WN, whether I check a bag or not. Even if it costs a little more, I think it would still be worth it.

On UA, the short IAD-PHL leg (about one hour) has no snack or drink service. I wasn't expecting the service on the one hour BNA-GSP leg on WN, but to my surprise, we got snacks and drinks. The Flight Attendants took our drink orders while we were on the ground in BNA to assure that they had enough time to serve them while we were in the air. It was a pleasant surprise!

Other reasons I would pay a small premium for a WN flight;
1) No RJ's! Big deal to me, as someone who is around 6' tall/Average build. I have to hunch down to see out a CRJ's window. If you want to avoid RJ's in GSP, you either fly WN (any of their flights) or DL (a few of their daily runs to ATL).
2) Early Bird check in, love this feature. My position was automatically reserved on the GSP-MDW and MDW-PHL legs 24-hours prior to departure. Got window seats both times, in the first and second row.
3) The cheerful staff, I see how it could be annoying, but there isn't anything wrong with having a little chuckle. Definitely makes the flight more enjoyable, as long as they don't go overboard with it.
4) No change fees.
 
runzel
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:43 pm

Because I don't have a long or comprehensive travelling history or experience, I really enjoy reading the posts from people who obviously do possess great experience. Within the United States my travel is over a couple of periods of a few weeks at most, a couple or three times each year. Coming trans-Pacific invariably my domestic US flights start from SFO LAX or YVR. I use Star Alliance carriers because - except for domestic Australia - it is the best alliance with UA NZ AC direct and longer/slower options via Asia.

If the average poster in this forum is a regular, frequent, experienced traveller, as I infer from enumeration of so many and detailed journeys, and the extensive knowledge aired, I would believe that many would have achieved elite status, with a carrier or alliance. Or more than one. At times I have complicated itineraries like, say, YVR YYZ BOS/NYC PBI OKC/ICT LAX, sometimes with some back-tracking for meettings not fun, and then home, unless business dictates a hop over the little pond to FRA. I compare all the fare/service options. Only infrequently and usually if I have a requirement like ABQ AMA ABQ, do I find SWA an easy choice. Mostly because I can plan and book at least some weeks before travel, I can find flights on Star carriers that fit, in most if not all respects. And at prices where any differential is usually inconsequental. Being the cheapest is not necessarily an imperative.

Always I have a bag to check, sometimes two. Star gold gives me two or three pieces free. And other benefits. If routing changes arise there is invariably a good reason, and $275 gets insurance that covers just about anything for 30 days. Travel - business or leisure - invariably involves commercial risk. And I do not like LCCs. At home I don't use DJ or JQ unless I must. I have a hearty dislike of the money-grubbing, penny-pinching. Paying for water to wash down medication, and for just about everything. Not to mention the presumptious casual familiarity, and hugely aggravating spurious bonhomie delivered with little attempt at sincerity.

That's about all I have to say. It matters not whether anyone agrees with me; it is simply the way I feel. No, I don't avoid SWA for their fare construction.
 
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Tomassjc
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:09 pm

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 9):
The last trip I booked on AA was about $100 cheaper for the round trip to Seattle from DFW.

That's $200 for my wife and myself. We each checked two bags for the cruise - $65 each - $130 total.

We were forced to change our flight due to family issues - $175 each change fee and adjusted fare.

So the cheaper AA flight cost me $280 extra for the cheaper fare

You should have flown with The Eskimo....  
Quoting joeljack (Reply 4):
I really wish that southwest charged for baggage so their fares could be lower

I keep hearing through the rumor mill at my airport that it's coming.... That an announcement will be made on Monday....but you know how rumors are in this industry!
When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the Earth with your eyes turned skyward -Leonardo DaVinci
 
HPRamper
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:15 pm

Quoting Atrude777 (Reply 37):
It's simple on Southwest, wait for them to call your group for boarding, you line up in your reserved spot, then you get on board. I won't deny the no assigned seating, that's not for everyone.

The only problem I've ever noticed is with that last group to board. The ones flying alone, maybe the last 15 or 20 pax to board. The first in line will go all the way to the back of the plane hoping to get a window or aisle, but of course none are left, and then they try to go the other way against the flow of people doing the exact same thing, to get as far FORWARD as possible. For that group, the boarding agent (and FA) should just direct them to take the first available seat. It could easily cut five to ten minutes off boarding, as far as I've observed.
 
Cubsrule
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:19 pm

Quoting HPRamper (Reply 43):
For that group, the boarding agent (and FA) should just direct them to take the first available seat. It could easily cut five to ten minutes off boarding, as far as I've observed.

Many - though not all - WN f/as do just that.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
atrude777
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:36 pm

Quoting Tomassjc (Reply 42):

I keep hearing through the rumor mill at my airport that it's coming.... That an announcement will be made on Monday....but you know how rumors are in this industry!

That Southwest is going to start charging for bags? That' the rumor you're hearing? Would go against everything SWA has announced, continued advertisements, keeping the bags fly free sticker on their planes, and announcing over and over to FL the bags fees would be dropped.

Lord I hope not.

Quoting joeljack (Reply 4):
I really wish that southwest charged for baggage so their fares could be lower.

Here's the thing, even if Southwest started charging, the fares are not going to drop, they just simply won't increase. Even then, did you see other airlines fares DECREASE when they announced the bag fees? Absolutely not, they just stayed the same or increased.


Quoting HPRamper (Reply 43):

As cubsrule mentioned, they DO that, whether Customers listen is anyone's guess, but they make the announcement quite often on the full flights I have taken with SWA.

Alex
Good things come to those who wait, better things come to those who go AFTER it!
 
ckfred
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:38 pm

Quoting joeljack (Reply 4):
At a maximum, southwest should only allow for a single checked bag...as an owner of WN stock, this issue really bothers me!

You sound like Wall Street analysts that tell WN management the same thing. Management responds that the money they would make from checked bag fees would be less than the money they lose from people taking their business elsewhere.

Think about this. If you stay at a hotel, it probably has a pool, a work-out room, and a business center. You may or may not use those facilities. Yet, your room rate is priced to contribute to the cost of those facilites. If you stay at a hotel like Hampton or Fairfield, you get a free breakfast. What if you have a breakfast meeting scheduled? Do you feel like you overpaid for that night?

Besides, I know a lot of business travelers who do check bags. My wife normally traveled for 3 or 4 nights on a trip. So, between her rollerboard, her rolling laptop case, and her purse, that was a lot of bags to deal with. Putting her purse in the laptop case was a pain for going through security. She has a bad back due to sports injuries, so she hates hoisting the rollerboard into the overhead. So, she routinely checked her rollerboard. Since she was AAdvantage Gold, her checked bags were free.
 
Cubsrule
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:07 pm

Quoting ckfred (Reply 46):
Besides, I know a lot of business travelers who do check bags.

  

I sometimes have so much paper with me that I have to check a bag. And I'm a fairly light packer, but I can't do a week in court in a carryon only (2 suits, 5 shirts, 5 ties, etc.)
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
AADC10
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:21 pm

Quoting enilria (Reply 36):
One thing that I think has definitely changed is that back in "the day", WN used to price like Walmart. They would obtain the product as cheaply as possible and apply a standard profit margin. "Always the low price". Now, they charge what the market will bear.

WN cannot do that anymore. They were at an operational loss a couple of years ago.

High oil prices and decline in service at the legacy carriers have moved them closer so they now have similar fares.
 
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Tomassjc
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RE: WN: If You Don't Check Bags, Do You Avoid Them?

Fri Feb 03, 2012 11:40 pm

Quoting Atrude777 (Reply 45):
That Southwest is going to start charging for bags? That' the rumor you're hearing?



Yes, just idle chatter overheard at the neighbor's ticket counter. I don't see any truth to it. BUT, I do believe that Southwest will need to do something intuitive to increase their profit margin. Although I'm sure they make a healthy amount on add collect ticket differences, it would not surprise me to eventually see WN start charging some type of fee.

Tom SJC
When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the Earth with your eyes turned skyward -Leonardo DaVinci

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