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WN And Low Fares

Posted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 8:23 pm
by DTWLAX
So much is talked about WN and low fares and how they boast of bags flying free.

Random round trip PHX-BWI (2 cities where WN is strong) from 4/28 to 5/4:
Lowest fare for those days:

CO - $239
Air Tran - $254 (red-eye is $241)
DL - $260
US - $309, ($299 nonstop)

WN - $320 ($299 - nonstop)

I fail to see how fares on WN are cheaper.
I chose the route since WN is strong in the 2 cities and may have an advantage over other airlines.
I have never found WN to be cheaper whenever I have searched for flights multiple times.

WN also makes a big deal about bags flying free. What about the $10 charge each way they take for auto check-in?
The auto check-in claims to give a better boarding position but will not guarantee an A boarding position!!!

Since their fares are not really lower than other airlines, the only bragging point is the free bags. That has become old and it does not even appeal to the masses anymore. This is just my personal point of view.

[Edited 2010-04-04 13:32:35]

RE: WN And Low Fares

Posted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 8:29 pm
by NWA330nut
Quoting DTWLAX (Thread starter):
I have never found WN to be cheaper whenever I have searched for flights multiple times.

I agree. It's odd how they brag about cheap flights when I have usually found FL to be my choice especially since cost is the main driver for my choice.

RE: WN And Low Fares

Posted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 8:32 pm
by HeeseokKoo
You're missing another huge advantage of WN: free to change flight. This is so great even though the fund is valid only for one year. No baggage fee means people boards with less number of bags, so faster boarding and de-boarding, no annoying baggage-gate-check; although checkin takes more time than other airlines because everybody checks in baggages. Well, the other thing is that WN's flight is less extreme timing, i.e. only a few flights leaves before 7am, while for many other airline, I have to take flights between 5:30-6:30am (this is case-by-case, at least here in Austin.)

And yes, WN is no more cheapest option. Still appealing to many people.

RE: WN And Low Fares

Posted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 8:38 pm
by DTWLAX
Quoting HeeseokKoo (Reply 2):
You're missing another huge advantage of WN: free to change flight. This is so great even though the fund is valid only for one year. No baggage fee means people boards with less number of bags, so faster boarding and de-boarding, no annoying baggage-gate-check; although checkin takes more time than other airlines because everybody checks in baggages. Well, the other thing is that WN's flight is less extreme timing, i.e. only a few flights leaves before 7am, while for many other airline, I have to take flights between 5:30-6:30am (this is case-by-case, at least here in Austin.)

We are talking about fares incl. taxes when puchasing..... not talking about additional charges.
The low fare bragging point was always related to purchased cost of ticket.

Anything before 7am may be extreme for you.... not for everybody. Everybody has their own preferences.

RE: WN And Low Fares

Posted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 8:40 pm
by atrude777
Quoting DTWLAX (Thread starter):

I fail to see how fares on WN are cheaper.
I chose the route since WN is strong in the 2 cities and may have an advantage over other airlines.
I have never found WN to be cheaper whenever I have searched for flights multiple times.

It's called matching the competition and sometimes undercutting, take WN and any LCC out of the market, and boom the fares go up. WN and other LCC keeps the fares in check.

WN has low fares, other airlines simply dropped their fares and matched WN or lowered it so that WN becomes more expensive.

It has been this way for years, WN used to have an ad that said "We'd love to match the other airlines "low fares" but it means we'd have to raise ours!" In a way it is still true.

Another slogan is "We have a love/hate relationship with other airlines, they hate the way we have lowered the fares, but they'd love to have you think it was their idea"

Fact of the matter is, yes other airlines can be and are cheaper than WN, however if it wasn't for WN in the first place, those fares would not be lowered at all.

Quoting DTWLAX (Thread starter):

WN also makes a big deal about bags flying free. What about the $10 charge each way they take for auto check-in?
The auto check-in claims to give a better boarding position but will not guarantee an A boarding position!!!

That is not a forced fee either, you don't have to pay that, I never do, I get online my phone or online, check in at the 24 hr mark and get an A Boarding card every time and don't pay a single cent for it.

Quoting DTWLAX (Thread starter):

Since their fares are not really lower than other airlines, the only bragging point is the free bags. That has become old and it does not even appeal to the masses anymore. This is just my personal point of view.

Free bags, lack of change fee, no cancellation fee, it plays a bit into it.

I almost always book WN even if they are more expensive because I have the mind set knowing that if the trip doesn't work out, I can cancel it (not pay a fee for it) and apply it to another WN flight to take credit off, and pay the fare difference if it is more expensive, and once again not have to pay a change fee.

Again going back to the old LFC versus LCC. WN hasn't really bragged about being a LOW FARE AIRLINE (LFC) they are a LOW COST AIRLINE (LCC).

Quoting DTWLAX (Thread starter):
DL - $260
US - $309, ($299 nonstop)

WN - $320 ($299)

Check one bag, you pay 50 dollars extra round trip, tack the 50 bucks to the 260 on DL, that is now 310 r.t, all of a sudden WN and DL's fares are a bit closer.

If you're not checking bags then of course CO is the cheapest and go by that, shoot even I would too!

Alex

RE: WN And Low Fares

Posted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 8:48 pm
by unmlobo
Why would you quote a price of $320 for a connecting flight when the lowest price is $299 for a nonstop flight. Who pays more for a connecting flight?

When you factor in checking a bag each way the CO and FL fares come within $15 of WN so they are pretty comparable. WN doesn't claim to have the lowest fares, they only claim to have LOW fares. I would say $299 roundtrip for a near transcon is low.

RE: WN And Low Fares

Posted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 8:55 pm
by DTWLAX
Quoting unmlobo (Reply 5):
Why would you quote a price of $320 for a connecting flight when the lowest price is $299 for a nonstop flight. Who pays more for a connecting flight?

Well... because not all nonstop flights cost $299. Some are higher than those with connections.
Also I quoted the lowest fare available for those days. The lowest nonstop flight timings may not suit everybody

RE: WN And Low Fares

Posted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 9:10 pm
by swalifebtw
I just found WN for $299.40 after taxes and charges. Same dates $149.70 each way nonstop. Thats not bad.

[Edited 2010-04-04 14:11:57]

RE: WN And Low Fares

Posted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 9:18 pm
by DTWLAX
Quoting swalifebtw (Reply 7):
I just found WN for $299.40 after taxes and charges. Same dates $149.70 each way nonstop. Thats not bad.

Did I quote anything different??

RE: WN And Low Fares

Posted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 9:21 pm
by flybeq400
So from the info above you have Southwest as the joint cheapest non-stop flights at $299 with the free baggage allowance??

Quoting DTWLAX (Thread starter):
I fail to see how fares on WN are cheaper.

$299 is the cheapest non-stop available on those dates, exact same price as US Air / United.

Or connect at IAH and save $60 with CO...

RE: WN And Low Fares

Posted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 9:30 pm
by Cubsrule
Quoting unmlobo (Reply 5):
WN doesn't claim to have the lowest fares, they only claim to have LOW fares.

This is a very important point. At the same time, though, the public perceives that WN has the lowest fares, and WN doesn't do much to encourage comparison shopping (i.e. not listing on the likes of Orbitz or Expedia). WN tells passengers "if you come to us, you will get a fair price." They don't do anything more than that - and they hold up their end of the bargain. Often, though, WN is not cheapest.

RE: WN And Low Fares

Posted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 9:47 pm
by Flytravel
I find their fares low(est) on nonstop short haul flights. For example for nonstops to BUF from the Mid Atlantic , BWI-BUF fares are a lot lower than US' PHL-BUF, or CO's EWR-BUF. And because they offer a nonstop to CLE from BWI and relatively low BWI-CLE fares, CO's BWI-CLE fares are matched, and are generally low, and noticeably lower in fare than CO's PHL-CLE fares, or US's PHL-CLE.

In a nutshell, because WN is big in BWI, fares tend to be lower out of BWI, than PHL. Of course, if you want to reach GSP nonstop, you can't do that via an LCC/LFC in BWI.

For connection based transcons, atleast from PHL and on cursory observation on some routes from BWI, I find their fares just moderate in price, but the extras (free bags, etc.) should count for something.

[Edited 2010-04-04 14:56:03]

RE: WN And Low Fares

Posted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 10:37 pm
by Dreadnought
Quoting DTWLAX (Thread starter):
I fail to see how fares on WN are cheaper.

I've flown them a lot, and they are frequently MUCH cheaper, but not always.

But remember that they are no longer the airborne bus service they were before, because of all the latest regulations and security requirements. I started flying them in the early 80s, and they were great! Show up, pay the flat $40 or whatever, get a plastic boarding card, get on, pick your seat and off you go. you got through the airport in 10-15 minutes.

RE: WN And Low Fares

Posted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 11:11 pm
by iowaman
Quoting FlyBeQ400 (Reply 9):
$299 is the cheapest non-stop available on those dates, exact same price as US Air / United.

Or connect at IAH and save $60 with CO...

But with US Air, you can't change your ticket without incuring a fee, you don't have free snack packs, you pay nearly $50 R/T for one checked bag, or the whole carry-on bag thing. No brainer for me. CO isn't worth the hassle of going to IAH if you have a checked bag, or you're on a time schedule.

RE: WN And Low Fares

Posted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 11:41 pm
by DocLightning
Quoting DTWLAX (Thread starter):
I fail to see how fares on WN are cheaper.

You know, I've rarely found WN to be *that* much cheaper than others, but I've found them to be better. Friendly staff, decent on-time record (they've had their slips), and an excellent safety record, to boot. They run a good business and they consistently turn a profit, which is rare. I'll pay a premium for that.

RE: WN And Low Fares

Posted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 11:45 pm
by par13del
Quoting DTWLAX (Thread starter):
Since their fares are not really lower than other airlines, the only bragging point is the free bags. That has become old and it does not even appeal to the masses anymore. This is just my personal point of view.

How about the walk up fares for those who don't have the luxury of booking two weeks etc. in advance, say an emergency, what's WN fare compared to the others?

RE: WN And Low Fares

Posted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 11:50 pm
by Osubuckeyes
I agree that WN is generally cheaper on shorter routes. Lets take PHX-SLC, PHX-LAX, and PHX-DEN for example. PHX-SLC WN is $257 after taxes, US $238, and DL $240, if you need to check a bag pick WN, if not then US or DL. PHX-LAX US and WN are $119 roundtrip, UA is $177, again WN is the same or the cheapest if you need to check a bag. PHX-DEN WN is $139, US is $187, UA is $307, F9 is $273, so here WN is considerably cheaper than every other option. I think it is safe to say that on the shorter route most of the time WN is in the ballpark of other airlines with bag fees. Lets do one more but a bit longer, PHX-CLE WN is $393 with 1 stop no change, CO is $369 nonstop, US is $368 with a change in CLT, AA and DL are both $390 and UA is $430. So again WN is in the ballpark after you factor in bag fees similarly to on the PHX-BWI route.

I would think that PHX-BWI isnt the best example, I fly it a few times a year and have never bought a fare more than about $240 and WN was always very comparable in price even though i chose to fly DL because of my FF status.

Also, I think part of the current WN strategy isn't always to have the definite lower fare, but as a part of their marketing no bag fees have the fare in a ballpark range of what the bag fees would be for the competitors roundtrip. I think it is pretty smart. Customer A sees free bag commercial, next time he goes to fly he looks up WN to see what the price is, now takes into account bag fees for competitors. Customer A then proceeds to purchase ticket on WN because their pricing is in the ballpark/cheaper of (insert airline that charges for bags).

RE: WN And Low Fares

Posted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:22 am
by staralliance38
In my opinion, is also depends on the market. For example, where I live, US seems to be the cheapest option. Living here all my life, US has been my airline for a good majority and over time I've developed a loyalty to them.

Even compared to WN, US is still the cheapest. I don't travel with bags except my carry-on, so baggage is no problem for me. Talking with peers and family, they've always flown with US with the exception of going to Asia.

Though WN advertises itself as THE low fare airline, that hasn't been the case for me.

RE: WN And Low Fares

Posted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:52 am
by AUSisAWESOME
Last tine I checked, B6 has fares just as cheap (if not, cheaper), free bags, free DirecTV on their aircraft, unlimited snacks and drinks, and free XM radio, I am not trying to boast B6, but there are definetly, in my opinion a better option than WN and would fly them any day over WN.

RE: WN And Low Fares

Posted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 3:06 am
by sw733
I fly WN a lot, they are the biggest airline at my current home airport (MCI). Flew them about 2 weeks ago on a BWI roundtrip, and will fly them next weekend on an MDW round trip. Here are my thoughts as a frequent WN customer:

No, they are NOT always the cheapest. In fact, yeah, many times they are NOT the cheapest. However, when you focus on "bang for your buck", in my book they win most times. I truly ENJOY flying with them most of the time...friendly staff and crews, comfortable planes, snacks, relatively on-time. In my book, all is well.

I do fly other airlines - I am AA Exec Plat, for example. I almost exclusively fly those two domestically in the USA (and AA's partners abroad when I can). Yeah, a lot of times AA is cheaper...but I will still take WN because of another major issue - nonstops. From MCI, I can get to two places on AA nonstop (DFW and ORD). With WN, I can get to 20 places nonstop. That is worth a few extra bucks in my book...

RE: WN And Low Fares

Posted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 3:09 am
by FlyWhisperjets
There are many people who think that major LCC offer lower fares and so they purchase tickets on them. The truth is if you check fares on legacy carriers and LCC's for the same route, you probably will find that legacy carriers are often offering lower fares than the LCC. One thing that I notice is LCC will fly you out for $99.00 and then it costs $179.00 for the return. Many times the fare on a legacy carrier with a baggage fee is less or the same as the fare on the so called "LCC" with a free bag. You reall need to do your home work and look at the over all cost/benefit ratio.

RE: WN And Low Fares

Posted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 3:26 am
by acjflyer
Quoting DTWLAX (Reply 6):
may not suit everybody

Very true! That is why i am curious as to why you are attacking anyone that is trying to explain their view on WN. For someone that would like people to see things his way you are sure turning the blind shoulder to their view and opinions. Careful with the hypocrisy.

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 10):
This is a very important point. At the same time, though, the public perceives that WN has the lowest fares, and WN doesn't do much to encourage comparison shopping (i.e. not listing on the likes of Orbitz or Expedia). WN tells passengers "if you come to us, you will get a fair price." They don't do anything more than that - and they hold up their end of the bargain. Often, though, WN is not cheapest.

Well, the marketing works. I was at a restaurant in Boston the other night and was speaking to my waiter explaining that I flew in on WN and his immediate response was "Oh the airline where bags fly free right?" Marketing at WN has done a phenomenal job at marketing their product. Whether they have the lowest fare or not it doesn't really matter because that us what most people think.

Quoting AUSisAwesome (Reply 18):
Last tine I checked, B6 has fares just as cheap (if not, cheaper), free bags, free DirecTV on their aircraft, unlimited snacks and drinks, and free XM radio, I am not trying to boast B6, but there are definetly, in my opinion a better option than WN and would fly them any day over WN.

Yes, you are right that they offer a different product. BUT, you have to remember that one of the reasons WN is so popular is that they serve so many more destinations and have a much higher frequency of flights to many destinations. WN makes it very easy to adapt to people's schedule because they have so many options each day to get to your destination.

RE: WN And Low Fares

Posted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 3:32 am
by sccutler
Perception is one thing, but Southwest never claims to be the cheapest.

What they do, however, is offer sound value all the time, and they never, ever gig you. Never.

Your ticket never turns to dust, you never lose a cent if your plans change. This is the fundamental reason why they have consistently built their growth on business travelers, rather than occasional "backpacker" travelers. In addition, of course, you get sufficient frequency to accommodate changing schedules, and reliability of completion which is the envy of lesser carriers.

Inmost instances, I find their value to be superior to other carriers, while their cost is always in the neighborhood of the lowest. Put another way, you can always buy your ticket on Southwest, and know that you won't find that they stuck it to you.

RE: WN And Low Fares

Posted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 3:32 am
by beryllium
Quoting DTWLAX (Thread starter):

Airlines adjust fares several times a day.
Usually, it is a "matching game": airline A matches fares of airline B (sometimes, not because airline A needs that, but just because airline B has that).
In the markets where WN operates usually everyone follows WN, and matches cent-for-cent whatever fare WN has there. It is a pain for everyone, because WN brings very low fares into the market. That's why every other airline hates them so much (they do not allow other airlines to get good yields).
Let's take Spokane - Seattle, for example.
WN very recently had a fare sale over there at $39 one-way, which is very cheap, very low-yielding.
AS (and probably UA) groaned, but had no other option but to match it. They would love to sell more expensively, but WN's presence and pricing activity prevents that. (If they don't match, passengers take theor business to WN, because the choice on price is always the easiest one). Thus, they have to maintain what is called "competitive fare structure" in that market, and match WN.
Now, once in a while, some airline might see that the loads suck in this or that market, and in order to boost them the airline can initiate some pricing action (sale, for a limited period of time, and applicable on certain dates only) which would result in fare levels that would undercut even those of WN. That does not happen too often, but sometimes it happens. That could be the case that you have come across. But that is more of an exception than the rule...

And the baggage fee is a pretty big thing, too.
While other airlines are nickel-and-diming, trying to squeeze every penny from the customer, WN still does not do that, and smart travellers factor that in their calculations nowadays...

RE: WN And Low Fares

Posted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 3:49 am
by coronado
I respect WN's fair one way fares. As parent of a college student there are occasions when I want to purchase a one way fare since I may want to drive daughter back to college. DAL quotes 470.00 one way. WN quotes 169.00 one way. I think the decision is fairly simple.

RE: WN And Low Fares

Posted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 4:10 am
by frmrCapCadet
Need a ticket at the last minute, have to change flight times, something comes up and you need to check 2 bags of something or other. Most other airlines play "gotcha", and really overcharge compared to those low ticket prices they lure you on with. Want a glass of wine, $7 most airlines, $4 WN.

I have wanted to fly BlueJet but all (?) of their flights out of Seattle are redeye - may appeal or be just right for some.

RE: WN And Low Fares

Posted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 4:33 am
by 0newair0
There was a study done not too long ago.. I believe that I have actually referenced it before in these forums... that showed Southwest is more likely to have higher fares than the competition within 7 days of the flight and that greater than 7 days out from the flight everyone was about even.