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No K class to/from TPA:Thinking of switching to DL or US/UA

No K class to/from TPA:Thinking of switching to DL or US/UA

Old Mar 22, 05, 10:03 pm
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Southeast USA
Posts: 1,253
Unhappy No K class to/from TPA:Thinking of switching to DL or US/UA

I have been a loyal leisure flyer with NWA for a few years now. My trips are usually for short periods (Fri-Sun or 1-2 weeks) and I like to travel to ski/nature destinations, major cities and international.

The amount of my travel allows me to make Silver with NW and enjoy the relatively nice domestic benefits; I am willing to look the other way as far as mileage redemption is concerned (which is many times more difficult than with AA and UA, trust me!) as long as I get domestic upgrades and mileage bonuses.

In the past 6 months, however, I have encountered a big problem with NW yield management out of leisure Florida markets (I fly out of TPA, MCO and JAX): low fares matching all other airline fare sales but no seat availability (no K class seats).

For example, I frequently fly to DEN for ski trips. NW had fares for $113, $123, $143, $153, $173 and $183 roundtrip from JAX/TPA/MCO at various points in time - very nice prices! Unfortunately, the only seats available were mostly on Tue/Wed and on weird itin. of DL operated flights (such as NW coded/DL op TPA-CVG-DEN!). So no upgrades, and more importantly, no way to do a 2/3/4 day weekend trip travelling on the peak days.

I know NW has to make money and their hope for breaking even is not in sub-$200 fares for weekend getaways; however, I have been able to book such trips on many of their competitors for the exact dates and times I want (for the same price that NW is 'offering' - without making seats available).

Examples are not limited to Florida-DEN. NW has offered similary attractive deals to SFO, SAN, LAS, PHX, SEA, ABQ from Florida - with zero K-class availability on the weekends (and we're talking trying to book 3-4 months ahead). Same situation to BOS/NYC/PHL/DCA/CHI/MHT/RDU.... great fares ($98-148 roundtrip) but no K-class except for an odd ERJ-ERJ CO-op itin via CLE!

Well, I am sick of it! I am very seriously considering switching to DL's SkyMiles and making status there. Of my past 10 domestic trips 8 have been on Delta or Song (no NW EQMs on the latter!) - because NW had the same price but no avail!... While the mileage bonus for DL Silvers is only 25% I would have been upgraded on a good 1/4 of my flights (not on TPA/JAX-ATL of course where there are about 70 Elites waiting for FC ).

I am tired of NW taking yield management to the extreme - no one-way fares (CO, DL, UA, US, etc. all publish them ex-FL to leisure markets!), Sat night stays frequently required, limited timing of flights (NW's last flights from TPA leave around 5pm, DL has 7-8pm departures and a 1am return into TPA) and to top it all off - no K class bucket avail even if plane is empty!
BackOfTheBus is offline  
Old Mar 22, 05, 10:57 pm
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Cows in Berkeley?....Moooo!
Programs: Fly Amtrak, Go Greyhound! I'm often wrong but always sincere.
Posts: 7,093
I feel your pain on this one as I fly into TPA quite a bit. Remember though that UA may not be the best option if you are used to upgrades in your flying as you will be spending alot of time on TED. If your going to focus on DL, you can still mostly avoid Song in TPA & MCO, but who knows what the future is. For me at least, CO used to be my favorite option from SFO-TPA/MCO, but as a NW elite, it's not easy to find a non Q,S,T,L fare so I can get my full EQM's.

Anyway, good luck in your choice.
OutOfOffice is offline  
Old Mar 23, 05, 9:47 am
Join Date: Mar 2005
Programs: NW, Marriott, HHonors, Westin
Posts: 57
My guess? If you are primarily traveling K, and only making status on those fares, NW will hope the door doesn't hit you on the way out. NW seems to be willing to cut routes rather than flood markets with K fares. Given their financial standing relative to other legacy carriers, I'm not sure that's the wrong decision.
bnoble is offline  
Old Mar 23, 05, 10:32 am
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: at 35,000 feet
Programs: AS MVP; WN A-List; Hyatt Expl; MR/CC/HH Gold, Hertz 5*
Posts: 1,462
You may be looking too far out. In my experience, lower fare buckets don't start opening up until 6-8 weeks in advance. Other than that, it's supply and demand, NW is doing well enough to fill their planes at the higher fare levels (and with the current losses that's not all bad).
robbert is offline  
Old Mar 23, 05, 10:54 am
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Washington, D.C.
Programs: UA Premier 1K: PlAAtinum; DL SM, MM; Marriott Gold; CO Plat Emeritus; NW Plat Emeritus
Posts: 4,603
Not to TPA, but I've been having more trouble than before finding K fares. And I notice that NWA.com is frequently offering me lots of DL-operated flights, rather than their own.
Alpha Golf is offline  
Old Mar 23, 05, 10:54 am
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: SUX
Programs: DL 2MM GM
Posts: 314
Many of the K fares have the Tue/Wed travel restriction right in the fare rules. Same for other airlines. Utilize some of the tools of the web such as itasoftware, etc for very broad searches
crank1225 is offline  
Old Mar 23, 05, 1:09 pm
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: NYC
Programs: UA1K - SPG Plat
Posts: 921
i fly oma-tpa probably once a month, and i usually have no problem finding K fares...out of OMA on friday evenings and back out of TPA on sunday afternoons. (and i get those great fares to boot)

i do find that it is difficult in the months of feb, mar, and apr to find K fares, but with some flexibility i usually have no problem getting a K fare one of the weekends i want.

it is a huge leisure market with limited availability -- definitely DL has a lot more availability (greater frequency of flights and larger planes).
OMAguy is offline  
Old Mar 23, 05, 3:16 pm
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Location: Phoenix, AZ
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Just a note to the OP,

zero availability == Yield Management
unfavorable fare rule == Pricing

Most airline have two separate functions which don't talk to each other as much as you would think!
formeraa is offline  
Old Mar 23, 05, 6:00 pm
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: LAN
Programs: Worldperks, Friends of Spinzels
Posts: 57
I wish NW had some sort of tool you could use to search for tickets for certain fare classes and below (like K). Lowest I usually see now is T. (I like WN's search tool (shortcut to low fares), although I realize that they have a different pricing structure).
havaloc is offline  
Old Mar 23, 05, 6:04 pm
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: BOS, PVG
Programs: United Global Services, Marriott Titanium
Posts: 8,591
Originally Posted by bnoble
My guess? If you are primarily traveling K, and only making status on those fares, NW will hope the door doesn't hit you on the way out.

Tough guy
kb1992 is offline  
Old Mar 23, 05, 10:22 pm
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Southeast USA
Posts: 1,253

Thank you all for your imput and suggestions! I think the TPA story is all yield management related, as the fare rules published tend to be extremely liberal because of the competitors' rules they also have to match (not your usual travel only Tue-Wed type of restrictions).

It is really a tease when they load a $113 TPA-DEN fare an no K class to book it in (except for an odd, complicated DL connection in CVG)! Perhaps this is some kind of revenge - I suspect under the codeshare agreement with DL the operator gets 90% of the ticket value and the coded carrier 10%, so NW makes $11.30 and DL gets to fly around yet another passenger that doesn't even cover the fuel?

I don't mind the door in the a** comment either... not in this revenue environment, at least. I think Delta's strategy of morphing into a low-cost large carrier better fits my wallet (if it will be successful or not, only time will tell - in the same way as we don't know if NW's "fortress hubbing" that has withstood Frontier and Sun Country will be enough to withstand AirTran and mega-Southwest (+ATA)! ).

And as far as domestic FC goes, I will miss the chocolate cake and nice chicken dish on the hub-West Coast flights... but considering what East Coast NW FC is nowadays, all I need to bring on board on my next Song/DL coach flight will be a can of deluxe Planters nuts and a discretely hidden flask
BackOfTheBus is offline  

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