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RIP to the 'Southwest effect'?

There were times in the recent past when industry analysts and journalists automatically added the words "America's low-fare leader" after the Southwest Airlines' name. Now it's safe to say those days are over -- perhaps permanently. ( More...

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Gene Nowak 6
Let us compare apples to apples. As noted in the bottom of the article are some "key facts" like they don't charge for the first two bags. Add that to the airfare of their competitor and see the results. More equitable!

Above and beyond airfare costs, I almost always consider complaints. Where is Southwest? Least complaints!
ken young 3
SWA entered the CLT market in march 2013. I can look on line and find that US fares are consistently lower than SWA's....Much lower. Sometimes $100 less.
For example a mid week departure and return( theoretically the cheapest days to fly) RT form CLT to ALB and back is about $260 on US. Some of those are non stop.
SWA is $70 to $100 more with one stop....The only advantage SWA has over US is that two bags fly free. Which of course would balance out the fares. SWA's peoplle are generally nicer and better at customer service. SWA does no assign seats. That sucks.
US does.
I fly SWA almost exclusively for 3 reasons. 1.) They fly in/out MDW instead of ORD so I spend less time delayed, pay less tolls to get there, and generally have no/low stress. 2.) Bags fly free. I'm a big guy (height not girth) and a bag with a weeks business clothes has to be checked. I never have to sweat that it's going to cost me an extra $50 to have the right amount and types of clothing. 3.) Wanna get away fares! Book far enough in advance, the fares are hard to beat.
Virgin America is cheaper and better quality hands down. And remember, those tickets you bought today on SWA, are sale tickets they just released today. Check back in a week, and I bet they are significantly higher.
Jeff Beard 3
If you're not flying to or from one of the major cities on coasts, Virgin America isn't even in the vacinity. I absolutely love the parent company for international travel, but Virgin America is still absent in most of the U.S.
matt jensen 1
Maybe better quality experience, but not less expensive and not as many destinations either. Jet Blue has got all of them beat
ken young 1
Jet Blue is a nice carrier. But their map does not suit my travel needs.
Although JBU does fly into Rutland VT, which is 45 mins from where I need to go, their fare is over $400 from CLT....I can get to ALB on US for $150 less.
Geoff Cook 2
I have only used Southwest once for a round trip - that was in 2006 from Providence to Las Vegas, and because my girlfriend wanted to get there nonstop! I have never felt they had a great fare advantage against other airlines.I will usually sit on Northwest/Delta or US Airways because for the slight price difference as at least I get airmiles!
Jeff Beard 1
SWA has a frequent flyer program as well, so I'm not sure what you're referring to with "at least I get airmiles". There's no net difference in the programs. You travel, you accumulate points, you earn tickets/rewards.
Ric Wernicke 3
This problem now is finding an honestly priced ticket. With all the side fees included Southwest is many times the better deal. I hate the AA and DL websites, they jerk the price up and down, hide the fine print, and only a true seat guru can find the flat lowest prices.
prcraptor 2
Good, maybe now they can "afford" to assign seats. Does anyone know how much it would really add per ticket to have a seat reservation system? I know they think bus-style loading is part of their image, and it is...just happens to be the bad part, IMO. Traveling with a family means having to pay the stupid Early Bird Check-In. Unfortunately, they are still the cheapest by far for my routes.
Pat Barry 1
The result of airline consolidation is that fares and fees go higher, yet the majors (Delta, UA, AA) hide the bag fees and change fees, all unethical fees, designed to 'hook' a customer. How about the stunt where a passenger arrives early and could go on an earlier flight where seats are available and the majors want a few hundred bucks for the privilege of filling an empty seat earlier? The remaining airlines have no loyalty to their customers, so why should we have loyalty to them?
SW, on the other hand, doesn't hook for bags, and allows a change without a direct penalty (they require that you pay the going rate for the alternate date). SW is an ethical carrier - they don't lie, they don't 'hook, and I like their service. So I skip the others.
As for the fares narrowing, I just had a last minute trip - on Kayak UA and AA were over a grand for a west coast to Little Rock - SW had a senior fare for $330. I'm staying with SW.
They don't need more money. There is more to life like job security and a pension plan owned 100% by the employee after 5years.
Jeff Beard 1
I've never worked for any large company in which you weren't 100% vested in 5 years or less. My current company completely vests in 4 years. Are you saying it's different at SWA?
Matt Hauke 1
This article is coming out now? Southwest hasn't had the lowest fairs in over 5 years.
The single, most important benefit to using SWA is the no-change-fee policy, worth up to $150 per ticket. And best customer service around. Fares have increased, yes, but I'll take SWA over any other airline whenever possible.
Jeff Beard 2
That's a $200 change fee now. It was increased from $150 this year on all the major airlines. I've been hit by it on tickets that were themselves less than $200. It's a huge advantage Southwest provides, and combined with the lack of bag fees, will continue to make SWA worth the trouble when feasible, particularly for business travel where meeting times frequently change beyond your control.
The single greatest reason I fly SWA unless they don't go where I need to get is that in 20 years I have never had to sleep in an airport lounge or hotel I didn't want to.
They also seem to be pleased to see me and take my money and understand that I paid for the service I am getting. Every Major I have flown except Air France seems to resent the fact that I expect to leave and arrive on time and may ask for coffee.
mikechambers 1
Today I bought 3 tickets DAL-LGA on SWA for $774. Expedia offered their lowest at $1,600 on Delta, AA is over $2,000. Same dates, travel in December. The Southwest effect is alive and well.
but swa u don't get assigned seats
blackjax 1
On Aa/United/Delta without status, I am pretty much guaranteed a middle seat between two large businessmen. With Southwest, even without status if you check in exactly 24 hrs in advance, you can get an aisle, window or other seat next to someone smaller. I'll take my chances.
Jeff Beard 1
I personally hate the lack of assigned seating when flying by myself, but when trying to travel with my family of four it's MUCH easier for getting four seats together on the plane. I had overlooked that advantage until recently.
Gary Bennett 0
Not even the point.
josh homer 2
Always check fares directly from the airline website. Southwest has been way more expensive for me than AA. Plus, SW is like riding on a bus. One class with peanuts and humor to make up for the cattle call? No thanks.
rdlink 2
And so tell me what is so special about the treatment you get on AA, or any other legacy carrier? They treat you like cattle and tell you they're not, thereby relying on your gullibility for a romancitc way of air travel that doesn't exist anymore, and probably never did.

On Southwest everyone agrees we're all on a bus in the air, and everyone has a good attitude about it. The planes are clean and well maintained. The staff is not surly, and is usually quite pleasant. The service is efficient.

I was a UA Mileage Plus member for many years, and finally got tired of the lies about how much they cared about me. I'll take SWA any day. I know that, once you figure baggage fees, change fees and easier reward travel into the mix they are a much more valuable proposition.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Jack M 1
I still don't think it's over but than again what do I know
sparkie624 1
RIP Nothin.. No respect here...
Ups and fedex pilots make as much if not more, although they work lousy shifts
Jack M 0

[This poster has been suspended.]

Or terrorize gas station attendants in Burbank...
Jeff Beard 1
I had the opportunity to see that on the ground. It was hilarious (given that no one was injured).

[This poster has been suspended.]

Musketeer1 10
Southwest is one of the highest paying airlines in the World...
Bryce Johnson 2
In comparing just the 737 series, Southwest is one of the highest paying airlines. However, when you factor in the widebody fleets that the Legacies (Delta, United, US Air, FedEx, UPS, etc.) and International carriers (Emirates, JAL, Qantas, Cathay Pacific) have, they would be lucky to break the Top 10 in pay. That being said...Southwest is one of the highest sought after jobs in the industry.
Musketeer1 3
Let me rephrase the point I'm trying to make for you. Southwest is in the 95th or better percentile of pilot pay in the World. Southwest is not one of the airlines with pay issues.
matt jensen 0
When was the last time you bought a ticket for UPS or FedEx?

[This poster has been suspended.]

I'm confused. If the pilots flying for SWA are taking the job knowing what the pay is, then they ARE getting what it is worth, by definition. If an airline offers so little pay that no pilots will take the job, you will know they are offering less than the job is worth.

That is my argument against minimum wage increases. If the jobs were WORTH more than minimum wage, they would pay more. Not everyone agrees what is too little to be paid to do a job. A single mother with four kids who can't live on minimum wage needs to do something else. I've never worked for minimum wage in my life. I could always find something to do that paid more, even when I was a teenager...
Musketeer1 5
Compared to other airlines around the World.


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