How Bad Is Southwest?

Old Jan 9, 18, 2:19 pm
  #1  
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How Bad Is Southwest?

Another year, I'm taking my flight from SJC to LAS for the CES today. At 10:30ish this morning, I went to check the mobile app and the 4:25 flight had been canceled. The system didn't rebook me automatically (as I would typically expect when I fly UA) and was waiting for me to rebook. There was no direct flight until 8:30 PM. Fortunately, the app allowed me to rebook within the app this time.

A year ago, on the last day of CES, my morning flight was also canceled. In fact, on that day, most of the WN flights from LAS to the Bay Area were canceled. In comparison, all of the UA flights from LAS to SFO on that same day arrived reasonably on time and no flight was canceled. And at that time, I had to call in because the mobile app wouldn't let me rebook the flight within the app.

I usually only fly WN on short-haul flights to LA or Vegas. I don't fly more than 10 segments a year on WN. But in my limited experience with WN, this airline has no respect for people's time. Half of my flights were either canceled or delayed significantly. Its IT infrastructure is antiquated and its customer service has been really bad. Routinely I have to wait for 30 minutes+ to reach a customer service agent.

Despite all the negative rhetoric against UA, their flights are usually on time and I have experienced no cancellations over the past couple of years (I have been flying 150K+ miles on UA annually over the past 3 years).

Do most WN flyers experience much better services? Where am I going wrong here?
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Old Jan 9, 18, 2:28 pm
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Originally Posted by naumank View Post

Despite all the negative rhetoric against UA, their flights are usually on time and I have experienced no cancellations over the past couple of years (I have been flying 150K+ miles on UA annually over the past 3 years).
Systemwide for 2017, FlightStats shows Southwest on-time at 79.61%, United at 82.85%, and Delta best at 85.94%.

https://www.flightstats.com/company/...-32ceba36-ae27
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Old Jan 9, 18, 2:52 pm
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I have always been fortunate with Southwest. Never had a flight later than a half hour.
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Old Jan 9, 18, 3:00 pm
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If call wait times commonly ran 30 minutes and half the flights were significantly delayed, this site would bleed from its nostrils. That said, the described experiences do touch on relatable or known flaws.
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Old Jan 9, 18, 3:59 pm
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I fly 20-ish WN segments per year. It's been a couple years since I had a multi-hour delay, and that one was out of LGA when all airlines were impacted.

I have issues with WN's antiquated IT, but flight delays haven't been an issue for me.
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Old Jan 9, 18, 4:05 pm
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Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
I fly 20-ish WN segments per year. It's been a couple years since I had a multi-hour delay, and that one was out of LGA when all airlines were impacted.

I have issues with WN's antiquated IT, but flight delays haven't been an issue for me.
Same...+/- 100 WN flights a year, and IME delays haven’t been a serious issue since they lengthened turn times.
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Old Jan 9, 18, 4:32 pm
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Originally Posted by smmrfld View Post

Same...+/- 100 WN flights a year, and IME delays havenít been a serious issue since they lengthened turn times.
Same here. 5 years flying, twice a week. I can count delays on one hand. I think I suffered one outright cancellation.
Otoh, I do try and book originating flights. But they're not all that. And I fly on the West Coast which ime suffers far less irrops than other parts of the country.
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Old Jan 9, 18, 4:36 pm
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Being a Bay Area resident too (like the original poster) - i do notice a significant increase in WN cancellations...however...I find they are mainly at SFO due to ATC. Any little fog or weather and commuter flights (i.e. LAS,LAX, SAN, BUR) get cancelled first at SFO it seems (despite UA/VX/AS/AA going more/less ontime during) My advice is to use OAK as much as possible...even when Noah's Arc is floating down the 880 freeway, WN still keeps humming along at OAK. Not much experience with SJC tho....but my go to is OAK when SFO is paralyzed.
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Old Jan 9, 18, 4:38 pm
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I am not a WN fan and avoid flying it unless I must or there is a vast savings. But, OP is simply missing facts.

Here is a statistic which is true: There are five carriers, including WN, which fly nonstop SFO-LAS and another 4 which fly the route as a connection. That is a choice of 9, count them 9, carriers. If OP does not like WN, he should fly one of the other 4 nonstop carriers or one of the 4 connecting carriers.

Here is another statistic: WN's ontime rate is within 3% of UA's, sometimes a bit better. OP picked 2 flights across a year out of however many 10's of thousands.in order to draw a conclusion.

Here is a fact that is missing from the OP: why was his flight cancelled this year and last year as well?
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Old Jan 9, 18, 7:46 pm
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How bad is Southwest?

Well, better then Delta IMO which I am certain based on MY experiences stands for Don't Ever Leave The Airport...

Reality is flying today on ANY airline without status can royally suck when things go wrong when you are used to status treatment from another carrier.
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Old Jan 9, 18, 7:50 pm
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Most every airline sucks in one way or another.

My wife refuses to set foot ever again on a UA plane after they repeatedly lied to her about 15 years ago when she was traveling a lot ORD to DC.

Pick your poison.
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Old Jan 9, 18, 8:36 pm
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First of all, an update. After my initial flight (WN479) was canceled, I rebooked myself on WN 5965 (8:30 PM departure time). As I am sitting at SJC sipping a glass of Pinot Noir, the flight's new departure time is 10:05 PM. I am not certain if I can make it to LAS tonight.

The stats @3Cforme shared got me curious. I went to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics to look it up. So it appears to be an Airport by Airport thing.

- SJC Origin, January 1 through December 31, 2017, all flights on all airlines had a late rate of 18.77%, compared with 25.64% on Southwest.
- SJC Destination, during the same period, all flights on all airlines had a late rate of 19.21%, compared with 23.02% on Southwest.
- SFO Origin, during the same period, all flights on all airlines had a late rate of 24.77%, compared with 31.25% on Southwest.
- SFO Destination, during the same period, all flights on all airlines had a late rate of 30.13%, compared with 37.32% on Southwest.
- During the same period, among all of WN's flights, 20.58% were late.

WN performed much worse (not a little worse, but significantly worse) than other airlines on average in and out of the Bay Area. Is the Bay Area treating WN unfairly, or does WN have an operational problem in the Bay Area? I am not an expert so I stand to be enlightened.

My point is simple: I had a good impression of WN until recently, when it consistently delayed or canceled my flights, even though I only fly about a dozen segments on WN annually. I'm surprised and was hoping to hear from other expert travelers about their experience.

As to switching to a different carrier - yes, I now avoid WN at all cost. (I'm 1K on UA and have SPG status on DL.) But WN still offers more choices for short haul flights in and out of the Bay Area. So sometimes it's impossible to avoid it completely. One thing is for sure, I will book on UA or DL to the CES next year.
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Old Jan 9, 18, 8:44 pm
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Flightaware shows that LAS had the most cancellations and delays today in the US (due to weather). I don't think you can draw much in the way of conclusions based on today's flights.
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Old Jan 9, 18, 8:52 pm
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Originally Posted by toomanybooks View Post
My wife refuses to set foot ever again on a UA plane after they repeatedly lied to her about 15 years ago when she was traveling a lot ORD to DC.
Kind of ironic, since that UA (the one with the tulip logo) is long gone. Today's United is essentially CO dba UA.
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Old Jan 9, 18, 10:55 pm
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Originally Posted by naumank View Post
At 10:30ish this morning, I went to check the mobile app and the 4:25 flight had been canceled.

A year ago, on the last day of CES, my morning flight was also canceled.
Here's the reason for most of the delays:
2018:
https://lasvegassun.com/news/2018/ja...-today-snow-i/

2017:
Weather causing flight delays at McCarran airport - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

January is typically one of the wetter months in LV.
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