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newhaven
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Why No Red-Eye/Overnight Eastbound Flights On WN?

Sat Jan 11, 2014 2:47 am

For an airline that loves to keep their planes moving and to keep them on the ground for as short a time as possible, I;ve always wondered why Southwest doesn't have any red-eyes. Certainly would help aircraft utilization .. and pretty much all the majors keep much of their fleet moving overnight.

I know overnight maintenance might be performed on some of their planes, but not the entire fleet as they're parked up overnight.

Especially out of Las Vegas and how big WN is there ... what gives with ZERO red-eyes eastbound schedules on WN ever ??
 
mhkansan
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RE: Why No Red-Eye/Overnight Eastbound Flights On WN?

Sat Jan 11, 2014 3:03 am

I think something in WN's pilot contract had a provision for no redeyes. Definately not a problem for the early intra-TX carrier, but now with many transcontinental routes it seems like a no-brainer!
 
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ssteve
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RE: Why No Red-Eye/Overnight Eastbound Flights On WN?

Sat Jan 11, 2014 3:11 am

FWIW, it's NOT because their steam-powered vacuum tube   computer system can't handle them. It can.
 
srbmod
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RE: Why No Red-Eye/Overnight Eastbound Flights On WN?

Sat Jan 11, 2014 3:41 am

In the end, it boils down to $$$. WN obviously feels that there isn't enough money to be made off of redeyes, especially since they typically have the lowest fares in order to get people to fly on those flights. Some redeyes are likely money losing flights for an airline because of the lower fares as well as possible low load factors. Southwest has a really good fleet utilization without having to offer redeyes.

Just because a plane isn't haven't maintenance done on it overnight doesn't mean stuff isn't being done to it. Planes get a good cleaning and I assume an exterior washing if necessary (Years ago when I worked at FL, any planes that was RON at ATL were washed and the interiors cleaned by a cleaning contractor.).
 
PEK777
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RE: Why No Red-Eye/Overnight Eastbound Flights On WN?

Sat Jan 11, 2014 3:57 am

I find it hard to believe there is no money in red eye flights. I spend plenty of time in Vegas and make efforts to catch 'red-eye' flights or early morning flights. not everyone can afford to waste a whole day traveling.
I now make it a point to fly on the 'red eye' Air China flight out of Houston. Getting into PEK at 5:00am after 12 hours of sleep on a 777 is the tops.
 
blueflyer
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RE: Why No Red-Eye/Overnight Eastbound Flights On WN?

Sat Jan 11, 2014 6:16 am

I think this is most likely far closer to the truth. Since Southwest doesn't have a true hub, most red-eye flights have to survive on O/D, which means any given city may see very few, perhaps as little as one or two, and it would get pretty expensive to bring in a complete set of ground crew to handle just one or two flights inbound or outbound scheduled hours away from other flights.

[Edited 2014-01-11 10:00:04 by SA7700]
 
LV
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RE: Why No Red-Eye/Overnight Eastbound Flights On WN?

Sat Jan 11, 2014 6:45 am

I thought at one time WN tried red eye LAX-BWI and it didn't work out so well.
 
usflyguy
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RE: Why No Red-Eye/Overnight Eastbound Flights On WN?

Sat Jan 11, 2014 3:46 pm

Quoting newhaven (Thread starter):
Especially out of Las Vegas and how big WN is there ... what gives with ZERO red-eyes eastbound schedules on WN ever ??

It also gives WN time to "reset" the system each night and start the next day with most all of their planes in the correct place.
My post is my ideas and my opinions only, I do not represent the ideas or opinions of anyone else or company.
 
MIflyer12
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RE: Why No Red-Eye/Overnight Eastbound Flights On WN?

Sat Jan 11, 2014 3:46 pm

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 11):
Since Southwest doesn't have a true hub, most red-eye flights have to survive on O/D, which means any given city may see very few, perhaps as little as one or two, and it would get pretty expensive to bring in a complete set of ground crew to handle just one or two flights inbound or outbound scheduled hours away from other flights.

LAX and LAS are plenty big enough WN stations - and sources of O&D traffic - that one would think they could do LAX/LAS-BWI/MDW/HOU/MCO. They may not find 100 workable city pairs for redeyes but they could be testing ten on five or more days a week.
 
usflyguy
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RE: Why No Red-Eye/Overnight Eastbound Flights On WN?

Sat Jan 11, 2014 4:37 pm

I can see all of the following routes possibly having red-eyes at some point...

SEA-MDW/BWI/ATL/HOU, SFO-MDW/BWI/ATL, LAX-MDW/BWI/ATL/HOU, SAN-MDW/BWI/HOU/MCO/ATL, LAS-MDW/BWI/ATL/BUF/MCO/TPA/FLL, PHX-MDW/BWI/ATL, DEN-BWI/ATL and then, of course, international flights to/from northern points in S. America.

AirTran currently does LAX-ATL, SFO-ATL, LAS-ATL, LAS-BWI, and DEN-ATL (starting soon).
My post is my ideas and my opinions only, I do not represent the ideas or opinions of anyone else or company.
 
blueflyer
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RE: Why No Red-Eye/Overnight Eastbound Flights On WN?

Sat Jan 11, 2014 5:01 pm

Quoting MIflyer12 (Reply 14):
LAX and LAS are plenty big enough WN stations - and sources of O&D traffic - that one would think they could do LAX/LAS-BWI/MDW/HOU/MCO

But you're considering only one end of my suggestion. Sure there are probably enough red-eyes out of LAX and LAS to justify having a crew on site to send them out. Do BWI, MDW, HOU and MCO have enough inbound red-eyes for a full crew complement to be onsite and receive them without lots of down (read wasted/unproductive) time?

For example, a red-eye leaving LAS at midnight arrives at MDW around 5 am. When is the first departure out of MDW, around 6:30? Does the red-eye bring in enough revenue to justify keeping a ground crew idle between the two flights?
 
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jfklganyc
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RE: Why No Red-Eye/Overnight Eastbound Flights On WN?

Sat Jan 11, 2014 5:18 pm

Here's the skinny on red eyes from an airline pilot: they're an unnecessary risk in a domestic operation.

In the case of international flights spanning oceans, a group of pilots is dedicated to the fleet with adequate rest and preparation because this is all they fly.

When you get on a red eye domestic flight, understand the following:

1. Your pilot has likely not had adequate rest

2. Your pilot was likely doing daytime flying the day before with a late flight to the destination followed by 24 hours of rest in which he/she was supposed to not only rest but reset his/her body clock to

3. This is not possible for most humans

4. Your pilot will likely be pulling an all nighter and will likely be going to sleep as soon as he/she lands

5. Your pilot is likely going to "nod-off" at some point during your 6 hour, quiet transcon

6. Something most people don't know but is a physiological fact: YOUR PILOT WILL BE MOST FATIGUED ONCE THE SUN RISES. THIS IS NOT PSYCHOLOGICAL BUT PHYSIOLOGICAL. This occurs just before the most critical phase of flight approach and landing.


I am sure these factors, combined with lack of long flights, factor into WN thinking
 
laca773
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RE: Why No Red-Eye/Overnight Eastbound Flights On WN?

Sat Jan 11, 2014 6:21 pm

Quoting LV (Reply 12):
I thought at one time WN tried red eye LAX-BWI and it didn't work out so well.

They did and I believe LAX-PHL as well. I think what you're saying is correct, and thus the redeyes were axed.

If any city has the potential to do well with redeyes, I'd say it would be LAS out west.
LAX already has many eastbound redeyes. Perhaps WN doesn't want to go into some markets where this is well covered already?
 
MIflyer12
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RE: Why No Red-Eye/Overnight Eastbound Flights On WN?

Sat Jan 11, 2014 6:38 pm

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 10):
But you're considering only one end of my suggestion. Sure there are probably enough red-eyes out of LAX and LAS to justify having a crew on site to send them out. Do BWI, MDW, HOU and MCO have enough inbound red-eyes for a full crew complement to be onsite and receive them without lots of down (read wasted/unproductive) time?

For example, a red-eye leaving LAS at midnight arrives at MDW around 5 am. When is the first departure out of MDW, around 6:30?

AA 1056 departs LAS at 12:25 AM and is scheduled to arrive ORD at 5:50AM. Has WN grown slow and lazy to the point they can't compete with AA on ground crew productivity per labor dollar?  

UA 1695 departs LAX at 12:25 AM and arrives IAH at 5:33. WN's first scheduled departure from HOU is 6:00AM on this Monday.

Southwest and its employees are going to have to do a little more to return to the historic rates of growth that kept a big fraction of employees off the top of the wage scale.
 
ZBBYLW
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RE: Why No Red-Eye/Overnight Eastbound Flights On WN?

Sat Jan 11, 2014 7:07 pm

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 11):

In the case of international flights spanning oceans, a group of pilots is dedicated to the fleet with adequate rest and preparation because this is all they fly.

When you get on a red eye domestic flight, understand the following:

1. Your pilot has likely not had adequate rest

2. Your pilot was likely doing daytime flying the day before with a late flight to the destination followed by 24 hours of rest in which he/she was supposed to not only rest but reset his/her body clock to

3. This is not possible for most humans

4. Your pilot will likely be pulling an all nighter and will likely be going to sleep as soon as he/she lands

5. Your pilot is likely going to "nod-off" at some point during your 6 hour, quiet transcon

6. Something most people don't know but is a physiological fact: YOUR PILOT WILL BE MOST FATIGUED ONCE THE SUN RISES. THIS IS NOT PSYCHOLOGICAL BUT PHYSIOLOGICAL. This occurs just before the most critical phase of flight approach and landing.

Spot on. I find the red eyes hard myself. Usually try and grab a 2-3 hour nap prior to departure if the flight leaves late enough. If it's an earlier departure though (around 2200 it's really tough to get sleep in, to get up in time for pick up) I usually just toss and turn in bed and then shower and shave and off I go. How I love starbucks and a triple shot  .

The one leg red eyes from the west coast/parts of NA to the east coast are hard but are nothing compared to a red eye turn where you start on the east coast at around 7-10 PM and arrive back on the east coast at 6 the next morning. These are probably the toughest you can do, about 8-9 hours in the air and a 10-12 hour duty day right through that time of day your body is asking for bed time. If you have a de-ice in the middle and you start getting closer to your duty limits it makes it even tougher. Why airlines do these turns are obviously strictly a profit based decision and in my opinion do not set you up well at all.
Keep the shinny side up!
 
b747400erf
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RE: Why No Red-Eye/Overnight Eastbound Flights On WN?

Sat Jan 11, 2014 7:24 pm

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 11):
When you get on a red eye domestic flight, understand the following:

No different than an early morning flight. I wonder how much quality sleep a commuter pilot for example had last night when they have a 6am departure.
 
discovery1
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RE: Why No Red-Eye/Overnight Eastbound Flights On WN?

Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:20 pm

I was under the impression that redeyes aren't as attractive as they were in the past due to higher fuel prices.

If a larger share of the aircrafts cost is due to expenses that accure even while it is sitting on the ground, say the interest on the loan used to buy the aircraft, then it makes sense to fly them around the clock. But costs that only accure when flying are a bigger chunk, say fuel costs, then flying them all the time doesn't work out as well, especially if you have to sell tickets at a discount to get people to fly at an inconvienent time.
 
flymia
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RE: Why No Red-Eye/Overnight Eastbound Flights On WN?

Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:34 pm

Quoting discovery1 (Reply 16):
especially if you have to sell tickets at a discount to get people to fly at an inconvienent time.

I think this is a misconception, at least for West Coast- East coast U.S. flights. I doubt these flights don't make any money or else the airlines would not fly them. Plenty of people prefer red-eyes, flying from LA to Miami takes almost a whole day when you take the time difference into account. If you actually want to have a day in NY or a day in Miami from LA you either need to leave at 6am or 11pm. Many prefer 11pm. I do. Also these flights can over overnight cargo and for large hubs its a good way to get people to the east coast hub and their connecting destination within a reasonable amount of time. When I am in LA for only a few days I usually prefer a red-eye to make most of my time.



Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 11):
Here's the skinny on red eyes from an airline pilot: they're an unnecessary risk in a domestic operation.

Interesting. I guess the same could be said for cargo pilots too but they would be more used to the time of work. I guess it would not be possible to have a "red-eye bid" for a month to have pilots more accustomed to the times because there are no red-eyes from the East to the West.

Quoting ZBBYLW (Reply 14):
The one leg red eyes from the west coast/parts of NA to the east coast are hard but are nothing compared to a red eye turn where you start on the east coast at around 7-10 PM and arrive back on the east coast at 6 the next morning.

Wow. Did not know airlines did this. I always wondered if the pilots on my DL LAX-MIA redeye came in from SFO on a flight before or something like that. I always assumed with 5hr + flights it would be the pilots only flight of the day/night.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Why No Red-Eye/Overnight Eastbound Flights On WN?

Sun Jan 12, 2014 12:27 am

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 11):
In the case of international flights spanning oceans, a group of pilots is dedicated to the fleet with adequate rest and preparation because this is all they fly.

Would you mind educating me about how the schedule for an international pilot flying, say, LHR-SFO/SFO-LHR would accommodate better alertness?
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
QANTAS747-438
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RE: Why No Red-Eye/Overnight Eastbound Flights On WN?

Sun Jan 12, 2014 12:34 am

Quoting laca773 (Reply 12):
Quoting LV (Reply 12):
I thought at one time WN tried red eye LAX-BWI and it didn't work out so well.

They did and I believe LAX-PHL as well. I think what you're saying is correct, and thus the redeyes were axed.

Uhh, no... WN never did any redeye out of LAX. No LAX-BWI redeye. No LAX-PHL redeye.

So many innacuracies in this thread!
My posts/replies are strictly my opinion and not that of any company, organization, or Southwest Airlines.
 
ZBBYLW
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RE: Why No Red-Eye/Overnight Eastbound Flights On WN?

Sun Jan 12, 2014 12:35 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 18):

Would you mind educating me about how the schedule for an international pilot flying, say, LHR-SFO/SFO-LHR would accommodate better alertness?

It does not. There is a threshold where a third (and even a forth) pilot will be carried which allows for a crew rest. On a 10 hour flight an individual pilot may get 3 hours or so which can help. I am not 100% sure of the FAA and how it governs crew rest but I do know it is more conservative that the CARS (Canadian).
Keep the shinny side up!
 
mark2fly1034
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RE: Why No Red-Eye/Overnight Eastbound Flights On WN?

Sun Jan 12, 2014 2:01 am

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 11):

To correct you on number 6 the body is most tired between 2-3 o'clock day or night, reason why most people get the 2 o'clock feeling at work.
 
flymia
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RE: Why No Red-Eye/Overnight Eastbound Flights On WN?

Sun Jan 12, 2014 5:28 am

I think the difference is a police officer will be on the night shift for a whole year or 6 months or I know some who have been their whole career. Doctors might do two weeks at night then two weeks during the day etc.. But for the most part they are in a shift for a certain amount of time. Where a pilot will do MIA-LAX Monday Morning and then Tuesday Night have to stay up all night flying. Then back to flying Thursday morning. I agree with you that flying at night is part of the job just like it is for a doctor who may be on call or the police detective.

[Edited 2014-01-15 04:38:08 by SA7700]
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
Sancho99504
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RE: Why No Red-Eye/Overnight Eastbound Flights On WN?

Sun Jan 12, 2014 6:26 pm

Quoting Mark2fly1034 (Reply 21):

When I start driving the overnight shift, usually a 22-2300 start, I don't get sleepy between 0200-0300, I get sleepy between 0500 and 0700, right around sunrise. As do most people who work shifts like that.
kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out-USMC
 
RobertS975
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RE: Why No Red-Eye/Overnight Eastbound Flights On WN?

Sun Jan 12, 2014 6:53 pm

Quoting flymia (Reply 23):
Doctors might do two weeks at night then two weeks during the day etc.. But for the most part they are in a shift for a certain amount of time.

Simply not true! There are ER docs and hospitalists where this may be true, but for the vast majority of MDs, we work all day and take the chance that we might have to respond to some emergency situation at night. And if we do, we often have to work the next day again.
 
flymia
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RE: Why No Red-Eye/Overnight Eastbound Flights On WN?

Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:37 am

Quoting roberts975 (Reply 25):
MDs, we work all day and take the chance that we might have to respond to some emergency situation at night. And if we do, we often have to work the next day again.

I was speaking about doctors working in the hospitals. I understand many doctors are on call. And early on they have crazy long shifts anyway.

I can see why pilots might not like red-eyes but it is part of the job. It is not some new invention. Flying overnight is just part of being a pilot, simple as that.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
RobertS975
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RE: Why No Red-Eye/Overnight Eastbound Flights On WN?

Tue Jan 14, 2014 12:06 am

West coast AM departure , late afternoon east coast arrival... same plane then departs late afternoon for west coast, arriving late evening on west coast... same plane becomes red-eye departure from west coast arriving next day early am east coast. Would the airline end up with having too many planes on the east coast in the morning.
 
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ssteve
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RE: Why No Red-Eye/Overnight Eastbound Flights On WN?

Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:02 am

Quoting flymia (Reply 23):
Doctors might do two weeks at night then two weeks during the day etc.. But for the most part they are in a shift for a certain amount of time. Where a pilot will do MIA-LAX Monday Morning and then Tuesday Night have to stay up all night flying. Then back to flying Thursday morning.

My wife is an ER doc AND does their scheduling. There's nothing impossible about this if the doctor is relatively low seniority and wants X number of shifts crammed into X number of days. And yes, she's done it and will agree that the day-night pingponging is the worst.

No offense to feeling bad for pilots, thought, but it's likely the same... low seniority and a desire for a 10-day vacation is going to make your work schedule worse. If you're senior, there's no way in hell you work that schedule unless you ask for it. And if you are senior, and they give you that sort of schedule, bitch about it.

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