Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > Alaska Airlines | Mileage Plan
Reload this Page >

Blogger on thinly-veiled AS/WN Battle for California

Blogger on thinly-veiled AS/WN Battle for California

Old Oct 13, 17, 2:52 pm
  #31  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Northern Calif./Eastern Ida.
Programs: Flying whoever is most convenient
Posts: 16,264
Originally Posted by ucdtim17 View Post
WN has built in demand by way of a huge FF base in California, so I think they'll be just fine. AS has benefited by not having WN competition to Hawaii but once WN starts they'll likely take very large chunks of AS business from SMF, OAK, SJC, and SAN.
depends on city pairs and frequencies, i'd say. not sure if i see WN cutting into the crowded LAX-HNL market, but SAN/SJC-HNL has got to be on their minds and this would certainly hurt AS i'd have to believe.

i'm not taking WN to Hawaii if it requires a connection vs an AS or HA nonstop. but, if they're a price leader and all the other options are also forcing a connection, then play that game i shall.

i'd kill for a nonstop anyone SMF-LIH, but i don't see that happening or certainly not daily frequency anytime soon.
PV_Premier is offline  
Old Oct 13, 17, 3:28 pm
  #32  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: La Jolla, Ca
Programs: AA 2MM LT PLT; AS MVP Gold; HHonors Diamond; IHG PLT
Posts: 3,077
Originally Posted by ucdtim17 View Post
WN has built in demand by way of a huge FF base in California, so I think they'll be just fine. AS has benefited by not having WN competition to Hawaii but once WN starts they'll likely take very large chunks of AS business from SMF, OAK, SJC, and SAN.
AS has a built-in base of loyal customers, willing to pay a small premium:
1. Y+ or first class seats
2. Reserved, premium seating
3. Elites, who generally do not shop solely on price
4. Customers with companion pass from BofA credit card

The balance will select a carrier primarily on price, AS will have some extra $$ from the above to discount (where necessary) just enough seats to fill the plane, still enjoy a profit; much less so for WN.

It will also take some time for WN to build the fleet (and staff) required to provide the same level of service. In the short term, WN may be able to service a few west coast gateways to HNL and possibly OGG, leaving a nice chunk of business to AS.
diver858 is offline  
Old Oct 13, 17, 3:53 pm
  #33  
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Programs: Hyatt LT Globalist, Marriot LT Titanium, UA 2.4MM, HH Gold, AS MVPG
Posts: 3,186
Originally Posted by diver858 View Post
AS has a built-in base of loyal customers, willing to pay a small premium:
1. Y+ or first class seats
2. Reserved, premium seating
3. Elites, who generally do not shop solely on price
4. Customers with companion pass from BofA credit card

The balance will select a carrier primarily on price, AS will have some extra $$ from the above to discount (where necessary) just enough seats to fill the plane, still enjoy a profit; much less so for WN.

It will also take some time for WN to build the fleet (and staff) required to provide the same level of service. In the short term, WN may be able to service a few west coast gateways to HNL and possibly OGG, leaving a nice chunk of business to AS.
100% - for as many as love WN there are as many (me) that hate them. I can barely tolerate flying them from the Bay Area to So. Cal, and will not fly them to Hawaii.
SF1K is offline  
Old Oct 13, 17, 4:26 pm
  #34  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,478
Originally Posted by diver858 View Post
AS has a built-in base of loyal customers, willing to pay a small premium:
1. Y+ or first class seats
2. Reserved, premium seating
3. Elites, who generally do not shop solely on price
4. Customers with companion pass from BofA credit card

The balance will select a carrier primarily on price, AS will have some extra $$ from the above to discount (where necessary) just enough seats to fill the plane, still enjoy a profit; much less so for WN.

It will also take some time for WN to build the fleet (and staff) required to provide the same level of service. In the short term, WN may be able to service a few west coast gateways to HNL and possibly OGG, leaving a nice chunk of business to AS.
Originally Posted by SF1K View Post
100% - for as many as love WN there are as many (me) that hate them. I can barely tolerate flying them from the Bay Area to So. Cal, and will not fly them to Hawaii.
As needs to be pointed out occasionally here, FTers are not normal fliers and don't represent the bulk of people that fill these planes. WN is the biggest domestic airline and the biggest in CA for a reason - they offer a good (the best?) product for people who don't care about extra legroom or first class but who do want free bags, no change fees, open seating and the largest network from large secondary airports like SMF, OAK, SJC and SAN.
ucdtim17 is offline  
Old Oct 13, 17, 5:36 pm
  #35  
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: TPE, SF, DC
Programs: UA Lifetime GS 4mm
Posts: 843
Originally Posted by ucdtim17 View Post
As needs to be pointed out occasionally here, FTers are not normal fliers and don't represent the bulk of people that fill these planes. WN is the biggest domestic airline and the biggest in CA for a reason - they offer a good (the best?) product for people who don't care about extra legroom or first class but who do want free bags, no change fees, open seating and the largest network from large secondary airports like SMF, OAK, SJC and SAN.
Seems LUV can do no wrong in your eyes. I find they are often not the cheapest. Even the negatives like no extra legroom and no assigned seats can be dismissed. But plenty of people object to this.

WN knows I'm UA 1k [from focus group market research] and take many flights annually from SJC/OAK/SFO to LAX and transcons. I have stopped taking WN flights in last 10 years after 3 mostly unpleasant WN flights with flight delays and boarding-seating process. I decline each year to take more of their flights even when they send me offers of A1 status match and bonus miles offers.

I have taken AS a few times this year and like it well enough that I status matched to AS MVP75.
npei is offline  
Old Oct 13, 17, 6:00 pm
  #36  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: SEA, but up and down the coast a lot
Programs: OneSky Alliance Elite+ with Zirconium and oak leaf cluster, Braniff Unobtainium
Posts: 18,120
Originally Posted by diver858 View Post
AS has a built-in base of loyal customers, willing to pay a small premium:
Originally Posted by diver858 View Post
The balance will select a carrier primarily on price
WN has a built-in base of loyal customers, willing to pay a small premium:

1. Best schedule for intra-CA and shorthaul/midhaul flights, especially for LGB/SMF/OAK, but even true SFO/SJC/BUR/SNA/LAX/SAN. WN's service to places like DEN, PHX and MDW is big here.
2. No requirement for a credit card OR elite status to get 2 free pieces of checked luggage.
3. No requirement for elite status to avoid the "here's a stupid $125 fee to change your flight to stack with an add-collect because we can" customer gouge.
4. No RJs (right now AS's regional ops on QX are a complete omnishambles).
5. Customers with the WN companion pass.
6. A KISS loyalty program that doesn't require spending hours reading FlyerTalk or mileage runs to be able to maximize.

For people who want a coach product, and couldn't possibly care less about sitting in extended legroom/first class on an hour flight, or redeeming their miles to go to fancy exotic places half a world away in fancy exotic seats to drink fancy exotic cocktails in a fancy exotic hotel, WN has some serious advantages. I know way too many people who can tell excrement from Shinola, fly and travel plenty, and are happy WN customers because they offer a solid coach product that's perfectly fine for their needs. These people will be happy to fly WN out of SJC/OAK/BUR/LGB/SMF/LAX to HNL or other points on the Islands. AS has a real fight on their hands here. There is probably an equilibrium where both can co-exist in California, but it won't shock me to see AS withdraw Hawaii service out of SMF/OAK to concentrate their firepower in SJC/SAN/SFO/LAX at some point.
notquiteaff likes this.
eponymous_coward is offline  
Old Oct 13, 17, 6:09 pm
  #37  
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: SEA
Programs: Hilton/Marriott Gold, Accor Silver
Posts: 2,031
Originally Posted by npei View Post
Seems LUV can do no wrong in your eyes.
Since when is acknowledging potential positives for the average domestic traveler expressing devotion to an airline?

I flew WN for the first time in ten years back in June because the routing and timing were (according to the schedule, at least) more convenient than the alternatives on AA and the price was reasonable; I wound up having an absolutely miserable experience involving a 3.5-hour delay on my connection from MDW and winding up with the middle next to me being taken by a C-group boarder who clearly wasn't using deodorant. My experience was miserable, and I have no intention of flying them anytime soon unless they're the only reasonable option to get to my destination... but I know plenty of non-FTers who actually enjoy flying with them, including the unassigned seating. And none of my experiences flying them up and down the west coast as a kid were bad except for the connections in mediocre airports like OAK and SMF. To each his own.
jinglish is offline  
Old Oct 13, 17, 6:34 pm
  #38  
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 1,061
regardless of whether or not you like WN. This is a great thing for the market. Ticket prices to Hawaii from west coast is ridiculously high. LAX-HNL is only 200 miles longer than LAX-FLL. I saw many $200 R/T fares on B6 and VX for FLL-LAX last month. There weren't anything like that from LAX-HNL. This will be great for customers and probably not so good for airlines, but that's what competition is all about.
spamman808 likes this.
tphuang is offline  
Old Oct 13, 17, 8:25 pm
  #39  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: La Jolla, Ca
Programs: AA 2MM LT PLT; AS MVP Gold; HHonors Diamond; IHG PLT
Posts: 3,077
Originally Posted by ucdtim17 View Post
As needs to be pointed out occasionally here, FTers are not normal fliers and don't represent the bulk of people that fill these planes. WN is the biggest domestic airline and the biggest in CA for a reason - they offer a good (the best?) product for people who don't care about extra legroom or first class but who do want free bags, no change fees, open seating and the largest network from large secondary airports like SMF, OAK, SJC and SAN.

Confirms that it was indeed WN who started the race to the bottom, attempting to convince people that there is no need for comfort and amenities when traveling, price is all that matters.

I am happy if you are happy, but it has been more than one year since I have had to step foot on a WN plane, with any luck will never have to again.
diver858 is offline  
Old Oct 13, 17, 9:54 pm
  #40  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,478
If I point out the reasons the masses have made WN the largest domestic airline despite lack of FT-friendly offerings, posting why you, as an FTer, do not prefer WN is not an effective rebuttal. I too prefer AS but that doesn't mean WN doesn't offer a compelling product for a much larger customer base.
notquiteaff likes this.
ucdtim17 is offline  
Old Oct 13, 17, 10:26 pm
  #41  
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: BLI
Programs: AS G75K
Posts: 175
Originally Posted by diver858 View Post
[/url]

Confirms that it was indeed WN who started the race to the bottom, attempting to convince people that there is no need for comfort and amenities when traveling, price is all that matters.
Did you confuse WN with G4/NK? WN may have started that way but they aren't now. Good planes, good seats with an honest amount of foot room, still serve honey-roasted peanuts (the only proper airplane snack IMO), cheap drinks, free bags, great in-flight experience.

WN is an airline that appeals to a lot of people for a lot of reasons. Many of us AS folks are pretentious and don't represent the average flyers or even frequent flyers. For most, WN just works with a frequency that's hard to beat. They're the iPhone of the aviation industry. We've all had bad experiences with them but we've had bad experiences everywhere. They aren't the biggest on accident and as others have pointed out, it's not because they are the cheapest.

I'm a 75k but you can bet if WN came to BLI I'd be throwing them a decent amount of business.
notquiteaff likes this.
3ur0tr45h is offline  
Old Oct 13, 17, 10:48 pm
  #42  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Programs: DL 1 million, AA 1 mil, HH lapsed Diamond, Marriott Plat
Posts: 28,192
Originally Posted by ucdtim17 View Post
WN is the biggest domestic airline and the biggest in CA for a reason...

Southwest is the biggest by passenger count, not by revenue passenger miles, and even that's true only if you don't count the regional affiliates of AA, DL and UA.

Southwest was built around short hops and high frequencies. Even today, its average stage length is hundred of miles shorter than UA, AA, DL or AS. To Hawaii, it won't be a short hop, nor will it be high frequency (to start, or ever, likely). Assigned seats and other amenities have relatively greater value on longer flights.

It ought to be telling that Southwest operates so few coast-to-coast flights today. Maybe they have figured out that short flights are more profitable; maybe they see they don't compete effectively on flights of 5+ hour duration.
notquiteaff likes this.
3Cforme is offline  
Old Oct 14, 17, 6:44 am
  #43  
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 1,061
They are definitely a lot less competitive on 2000+ mile segments, because premium cabin makes up more of the revenue. However, they still do well from their hubs. They fly quite a bit of transcon from BWI.

The y prices to Hawaii are a lot higher than transcon y prices. I see no reason why they can't just do well on their current model with such high y prices. Their y product is comparable to AS y product. So for the average flyer, I don't see why they wouldn't pick WN. Especially since they get free baggage.
notquiteaff likes this.
tphuang is offline  
Old Oct 14, 17, 8:12 am
  #44  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: La Jolla, Ca
Programs: AA 2MM LT PLT; AS MVP Gold; HHonors Diamond; IHG PLT
Posts: 3,077
Originally Posted by 3ur0tr45h View Post
Did you confuse WN with G4/NK? WN may have started that way but they aren't now. Good planes, good seats with an honest amount of foot room, still serve honey-roasted peanuts (the only proper airplane snack IMO), cheap drinks, free bags, great in-flight experience.
That may be what some consider as the benchmark, perhaps it is an age thing. There was a time, not too long ago, that airlines were not forced to fill every seat to make a profit, travel agents would have the ability to block seat next to elite customers in economy, would most always stuck. Elites also had better than 50% chance for an upgrade to first on most every flight. We would joke and kid about the quality of the free meal in coach, which many now are happy to pay for an inferior offering.

It was WN's entry in to the market that destroyed the cost structures enabling such civilized travel, that ironically they no longer can support, as their cost structures are now on par with full service carriers, despite protracted labor negotiations.

When I was forced to fly WN - enough to each A-list status for several years - I would limit their flights to nonstops, of 2 hours maximum. Everyone is bright and cheery ("take any seat") during the A boarding group, which quickly devolves to "it is a short flight" discomfort rationalization when the C group boards.

If you enjoy WN so much - I am truly happy for you - what are you doing in an AS forum?
diver858 is offline  
Old Oct 14, 17, 11:13 am
  #45  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: SEA, but up and down the coast a lot
Programs: OneSky Alliance Elite+ with Zirconium and oak leaf cluster, Braniff Unobtainium
Posts: 18,120
Originally Posted by diver858 View Post
If you enjoy WN so much - I am truly happy for you - what are you doing in an AS forum?
In my case, Iím a decade+ AS elite who has no absolute requirement of F on a flight inside the USA, and will happily patronize WN if they meet schedule/price/destination requirements on routes. Are people not allowed to have preferences that differ from yours, and participate on FT forums should they think both WN and AS are worthy of their custom?

Much of what you are talking about was the result of deregulation; the government set prices on airfare as well as mandated which airlines flew routes before WN was able to fly outside Texas. Had deregulation not occurred, airlines might well still be competing on service and planes might well still be half full, but neither WN nor AS would exist in their current form today.
eponymous_coward is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: