29erUSA187
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Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:34 pm

Southwest's Demographics

Sun Feb 01, 2015 5:45 pm

Hello all,
This is something I have observed after flying WN at least 2 times a year for as long as I can remember. WN seems to cater to two types of people. Business Travelers in suits and ties sitting in the first few seats (Priority Boarding!), and Families. Maybe its just the routes I fly (SAN-MDW/BOS/MHT/BWI/SFO/PHX) but there seems to be no in between. I find it very frustrating to be near large amounts of families with small children (esp. when they can't control them).

I was just wondering, how does WN manage to appeal to both professional travelers and families flying on a budget? It seems like two totally different marketing worlds.

Any input is appreciated

-29er
 
CplKlinger
Posts: 326
Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2010 3:05 pm

RE: Southwest's Demographics

Sun Feb 01, 2015 7:02 pm

Quoting 29erUSA187 (Thread starter):
I was just wondering, how does WN manage to appeal to both professional travelers and families flying on a budget? It seems like two totally different marketing worlds.

Price. Pure and simple. It's all about who's got the lowest fare to where they are going. As long as the airline is safe, who ever has the best price and time, that's who I'm taking.

Quoting 29erUSA187 (Thread starter):
I find it very frustrating to be near large amounts of families with small children (esp. when they can't control them).

Then perhaps a car would be your choice? Or a different airline? Kids are everywhere, and as long as they aren't behaving like demon spawn, why is it frustrating?
 
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LAXintl
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RE: Southwest's Demographics

Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:05 pm

Per Southwest Airlines its traveler profile consist of following:

o Independent-Minded Business Travelers
o Value-Seeking Leisure Travelers
o Average Age is 46.7 Years
o Average household income is 26% higher than typical
o 59% have complete 4 year College and/or Graduate School
o 49% hold professional, executive or managerial positions
o Over 66% of all Fortune 500 companies are enrolled in SWABIZ

SWA growingly sees an ever more upscale and select clientele. No longer the trailer park budget client.

[Edited 2015-02-01 12:08:40]
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
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PITingres
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RE: Southwest's Demographics

Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:30 am

Quoting 29erUSA187 (Thread starter):
Maybe its just the routes I fly (SAN-MDW/BOS/MHT/BWI/SFO/PHX) but there seems to be no in between.

It must be the routes you fly. Or, maybe you don't recognize all those business travelers who aren't in suit and tie.

I fly WN when it's convenient and price appropriate, which is maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of my travel, and the pax on board look pretty much like any other domestic flight on any other airline to me.
Fly, you fools! Fly!
 
jetwet1
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Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2007 4:42 am

RE: Southwest's Demographics

Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:08 pm

Quoting CplKlinger (Reply 1):
Price. Pure and simple. It's all about who's got the lowest fare to where they are going. As long as the airline is safe, who ever has the best price and time, that's who I'm taking.

Not even close, the majority of the time WN is not the cheapest.

For me it was always the fact that if something went wrong, WN fixed it quickly with the least amount of hassle to me.

The seat pitch makes for a comfortable flight on short to mid haul. How you get more seat pitch on a one hour flight than a 10 hour flight on BA or VS is beyond me.

The FF program, while at the time limited, was actually pretty useful, way back when I was living in LAS, my now with was living in SMF, I think in the year we dated long distance I logged around 200 legs with WN, meaning we got the companion pass, she got to fly for free when we were flying together.

All of the above help keep WN customers loyal, from the guy heading to a meeting to the family heading off to the beach, WN has a good reputation (unlike most of the legacies) and they protect that.
 
CplKlinger
Posts: 326
Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2010 3:05 pm

RE: Southwest's Demographics

Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:56 pm

Quoting jetwet1 (Reply 4):
Not even close, the majority of the time WN is not the cheapest.

This is true to an extent, depending on your destination as well. WN was cheapest to Orlando for me coming up at the end of March, and is non-stop. For my wife's trip to MYR, the closest WN went was CHS or RDU, and to her it was worth the extra $300 to fly Delta right into MYR. For me when planing a trip, I'm always checking WN vs. everyone else. If the price or times work out better, I'd rather go WN, but I'm not going to ignore a better deal.

I should have said price is a consideration, but only a part of that equation. I'd rather fly WN and go to MCO non stop than have to go through ATL and have bad timings, even if the price was cheaper.
 
afcjets
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RE: Southwest's Demographics

Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:18 pm

Quoting 29erUSA187 (Thread starter):
I was just wondering, how does WN manage to appeal to both professional travelers and families flying on a budget? It seems like two totally different marketing worlds.

First of all I agree WN is not always the cheapest. However, the reason it appeals to business travelers is there are no change fees on WN, while other airlines charge $200, and business travel plans often change, clients reschedule, meetings get out early, etc. Families may prefer WN because they do not have baggage fees. Families tend to take longer vacations than single people, couples, and young adults who go for weekend getaways, especially those who fly, so carryon is not always sufficient for them. So that saves $50 per piece of luggage roundtrip. Also, especially for families with small children, they may not want to deal with carryon when they have kids to carry also.
 
SPREE34
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Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:09 am

RE: Southwest's Demographics

Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:04 am

Quoting 29erUSA187 (Thread starter):
I was just wondering, how does WN manage to appeal to both professional travelers and families flying on a budget? It seems like two totally different marketing worlds.

Expence accounts aren't what they used to be. Employees have to fly the best deal.

Quoting 29erUSA187 (Thread starter):
I find it very frustrating to be near large amounts of families with small children (esp. when they can't control them).

That's what First and Business are for. Worth every dime. As well as what you mentioned, not sanwiched in between two larger people, not hearing the iPod of the cretin next to you, not having someone's knees in your back, there's room in the overhead, generally no line at the Lav, get on/get off without waiting for someone to gather their life possessions.

I flew SWA twice with a friend last year. SWA does what they do better than anyone else, and, I was reminded of why I had been up front for the last few years.
I don't understand everything I don't know about this.
 
Osubuckeyes
Posts: 1830
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2004 10:05 am

RE: Southwest's Demographics

Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:04 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):

Per Southwest Airlines its traveler profile consist of following:

o Independent-Minded Business Travelers
o Value-Seeking Leisure Travelers
o Average Age is 46.7 Years
o Average household income is 26% higher than typical
o 59% have complete 4 year College and/or Graduate School
o 49% hold professional, executive or managerial positions
o Over 66% of all Fortune 500 companies are enrolled in SWABIZ

SWA growingly sees an ever more upscale and select clientele. No longer the trailer park budget client.

It would be interesting to see this comparison between the other majors. In my circle of folks WN is viewed in a similar light as Apple, which means go with WN regardless of what else is out there. My circle is recently employed grads.
 
Cubsrule
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RE: Southwest's Demographics

Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:50 pm

Quoting LPDAL (Reply 9):
From watching all the episodes, I've learned a lot about the WN clientele. Seems like the managers deal with DYKWIAs, drunks, families with out of control children, miscreants, you name it....Airline USA is definitely very entertaining to watch.

The show should give you a good idea of the people that use WN.

Did it occur to you that perhaps the miscreants are the ones who interact with the managers and may not be representative of the clients writ large? That's probably true on all carriers.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
Yflyer
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RE: Southwest's Demographics

Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:06 pm

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 11):
Did it occur to you that perhaps the miscreants are the ones who interact with the managers and may not be representative of the clients writ large?

Not to mention the producers of a television show are trying to make a show that's entertaining, not creating a realistic documentary of WN's operations. That means they're selecting the most "interesting" passengers to feature on the show, not the typical ones. Can you imagine how boring a show where a bunch of passengers board a flight with no drama would be?

At risk of straying into non-aviation territory, as another example check out the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop's eBay store sometime. Most of the stuff they're selling isn't the interesting historical artifacts they feature on Pawn Stars, it's fairly boring stuff like video game consoles, TVs, computers, CDs, jewelry, etc.

[Edited 2015-02-03 12:11:02]

[Edited 2015-02-03 12:11:37]
 
Cubsrule
Posts: 13858
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RE: Southwest's Demographics

Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:16 pm

Quoting Yflyer (Reply 12):
Not to mention the producers of a television show are trying to make a show that's entertaining, not creating a realistic documentary of WN's operations. That means they're selecting the most "interesting" passengers to feature on the show, not the typical ones.

  

And WN's IT is such that "boring" passengers need to interact with staff somewhat less than at other carriers. For instance, cancelling a DL flight for which you've checked in requires human interaction. On WN, it requires two taps on the app.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
MaverickTTT
Posts: 153
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2014 4:28 am

RE: Southwest's Demographics

Wed Feb 04, 2015 12:11 am

Quoting osubuckeyes (Reply 8):
In my circle of folks WN is viewed in a similar light as Apple, which means go with WN regardless of what else is out there. My circle is recently employed grads.

My wife flies often for business (about 120 flights per year) and is incredibly loyal to WN due, in large part, to their simple policies and structure. She and her fellow co-workers are free to fly their preferred carriers, so long as a certain parameters are met (price, schedule, etc.). With this freedom to choose, the vast majority fly WN (even when another carrier has a non-stop to their worksite that week) because they like the way they're treated by WN staff and know that, when things don't go as planned, they will at least be made right. When you fly that often, you're bound to have the occasional bad experience, and WN has been no exception...but, overall, she feels taken care of & valued by WN and her company appreciates the fact that last-minute walk-up fares aren't astronomical.

[Edited 2015-02-03 16:17:59]
 
Osubuckeyes
Posts: 1830
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2004 10:05 am

RE: Southwest's Demographics

Wed Feb 04, 2015 2:28 pm

Quoting MaverickTTT (Reply 12):

I think for those reasons they are very attractive for people in the 21-31 age bracket, who are single and want to be flexible with their plans without being subject to all sorts of fees and complex pricing structures.
 
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LHRBFSTrident
Posts: 574
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RE: Southwest's Demographics

Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:11 am

Admittedly it's been a few years since I commuted from CA > TX but even as a legacy network carrier mileage/status fiend (those were the years I was Plat on CO and AA), I would find myself on WN about 50% of the time - price was always a factor but also the convenience of the schedules.

From LAX my destinations were most frequently SAT and AUS (plus HOU, DAL, LBB, ELP, HRL, MFE, MAF fairly frequently) and WN always had the most convenient schedules and even with CO's nonstop to SAT, the timings were so bad for the business traveller - 12n ex-SAT and 15:00 ex-LAX that WN's schedule was far more desirable (the other carrier that had excellent CA > TX schedules in those days was HP...)

Plus you could always create your own connections (LAX-ELP/ELP-DAL on 2 tickets was a favorite of mine) and the booking engine would throw up 2-stop connections easily (PHX or LAS + ELP) while the legacy carriers' hub and spoke system meant you were generally limited to 1 departure+connection for any given city pair at any given time - invariably at an extortionate fare.

...and yes I was 1 of the suits who always sat inbetween families going to SeaWorld, Six Flags, Universal Studios, etc. but their business model worked well for all of us...
 
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rmoore7734
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RE: Southwest's Demographics

Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:52 pm

Quoting AFCJETS (Reply 6):
the reason it appeals to business travelers is there are no change fees on WN, while other airlines charge $200, and business travel plans often change, clients reschedule, meetings get out early, etc.

That is exactly my reason i choose them.
Avoid another night in a hotel room & come back early without penalty
 
DesertAir
Posts: 1412
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2006 1:34 am

RE: Southwest's Demographics

Sun Feb 15, 2015 2:53 pm

I fly monthly between SAN and SMF. They are the only airline with nonstop service. The alternative is take UAX, Eagle or DLConnection to LAX, and transfer to a flight to SMF. This increases travel time and flights on RJs. With their Chase Visa, Budget and La Quinta relationships, I usually pay for only one way each month. WN works for me.
 
blueflyer
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RE: Southwest's Demographics

Sun Feb 15, 2015 11:18 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):
Average household income is 26% higher than typical

Higher than typical what? Overall income, income of individuals traveling by air, something else? Just curious.
The Trump/Johnson special relationship: Special people on both sides of the Atlantic
 
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falstaff
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RE: Southwest's Demographics

Mon Feb 16, 2015 2:03 pm

My dad has been a frequent business traveler since 1973. Dad's priority is can they get him where he needs to go when he needs to go with minimal connections. Right now WN out of STL fits the bill. The other thing my dad likes about them is that he knows he won't have to fly on a regional jet.

The no RJ thing is something I like too. RJs are fine planes until you have to sit next to somebody.
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