Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > Southwest Airlines | Rapid Rewards
Reload this Page >

Why do people fly WN when the fares are not competitive?

Why do people fly WN when the fares are not competitive?

Old Mar 24, 18, 5:39 pm
  #1  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Danville, CA, USA;
Programs: UA Plat & 1MM, Marriott LT Gold, HHonors Gold, Hyatt Explorist & IHG Plat Amb
Posts: 12,172
Why do people fly WN when the fares are not competitive?

Looking at a last minute trip next week, SFO/OAK<->LAX, both UA and AA offering $100 RT for an overnight or in some cases same day fare. UA is not even a BE fare.
WN is at least $200+ from SFO and $300+ from OAK, before i even get to EBCI fees. This is a no brainer, and my F upgrade already cleared on the UA flight. This is not just an isolated case as I've been following the Mexico fares for months and they've also been higher than equivalent advance purchase fares on legacy carriers.

So I understand the traditional biz model ($29 advance purchase, $200 walkup) but WN pricing does not seem as nimble as others in filling expiring excess capacity. And I wonder how long the OAK premium (like Nashville & other WN hubs) will last...
Boraxo is online now  
Old Mar 24, 18, 5:49 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: NUQ
Programs: UA Gold, AS MVP
Posts: 4,004
WN fares subsume checked luggage.

UA/AA are hated by many, and with Bay Area salaries high as they are, many feel comfortable paying the $100+ premium to fly WN instead.

WN loyalists may not even think (or bother) to comparison shop.
davie355 is online now  
Old Mar 24, 18, 6:57 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 149
Change fees or the lack of, pure gold if your a business traveler
SanDiego1K, alggag, cmx and 2 others like this.
disalex is offline  
Old Mar 24, 18, 7:57 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Programs: LTP, PP
Posts: 7,835
Originally Posted by Boraxo View Post
Looking at a last minute trip next week, SFO/OAK<->LAX, both UA and AA offering $100 RT for an overnight or in some cases same day fare. UA is not even a BE fare.
WN is at least $200+ from SFO and $300+ from OAK, before i even get to EBCI fees. This is a no brainer, and my F upgrade already cleared on the UA flight. This is not just an isolated case as I've been following the Mexico fares for months and they've also been higher than equivalent advance purchase fares on legacy carriers.

So I understand the traditional biz model ($29 advance purchase, $200 walkup) but WN pricing does not seem as nimble as others in filling expiring excess capacity. And I wonder how long the OAK premium (like Nashville & other WN hubs) will last...
IDK but same with cheaper WGA points fares that would leave me to believe the load would be light, they are close to sold out if not. They are the masters at prediction IMO.
joshua362 is offline  
Old Mar 24, 18, 10:49 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: san antonio, texas
Programs: 3.2MM AA, 1.4MM UA,StwdLftPlt
Posts: 1,569
Brand loyalty (it seems to me that SW has a good handle on revenue management).
luckypierre is offline  
Old Mar 24, 18, 11:09 pm
  #6  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: SFO
Programs: UA 1K 1MM; AS 75K; Marriott Ambassador; Hilton Diamond (Aspire); Hyatt Explorist
Posts: 43,091
No change fee, the best frequency, and the ability to fly ex-OAK. Plus I think many WN flyers don't shop fares and aren't aware of the fare war SFO-LAX right now.

Though I'm flying UA SFO-SAN tomorrow (an VX back) because I just can't take the WN cattle call and packed cabins any more.

I also really enjoy flying DL ex-OAK, but the frequencies and nonstop destinations are pretty limited.
cmx and TortillaChip like this.
Kacee is online now  
Old Mar 24, 18, 11:52 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: LAS
Posts: 1,455
OP--Perhaps SWA travelers don't book last minute or they book with points or they book anytime fares or their company books the tickets or...whatever. I fly SWA from the Los Angeles Area to the Bay Area because of frequency and changeability. It is a no-brainer.
swaluvr, trooper and rickg523 like this.
NextTrip is offline  
Old Mar 25, 18, 12:36 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: DMV
Posts: 2,023
I've wondered this for a long time as it always seems like there's a significant premium for SWA. I think they rely a lot on their reputation for low cost and having a lot of services included..so their customers go straight to SWA instead of shopping for a good fare. The negative media coverage of the majors and the fact that those don't market on price (so you won't find out they are often cheaper than airlines like SWA/Alaskan/Jetblue unless you go on a search online) probably helps keeping it that way.
FlyingNone likes this.
Ber2dca is offline  
Old Mar 25, 18, 12:37 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 5,116
At SJC WN and AS are the most convenient. You come out and walk across the street to the rental car terminal. No waiting for a shuttle.

As someone who lives in the South Bay, SJC is most convenient. And I presume East Bay people like OAK more than SFO as well.

I don't get why you say SFO/OAK. Because UA/AA don't fly OAK to LAX. So you really mean SFO. Then you can make the same argument why there is a premium on routes not many other carriers fly.
And plus, until Alaska started flying it, only Southwest flew SJC SNA.
s0ssos is offline  
Old Mar 25, 18, 2:11 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: PHX, SEA
Programs: DL Silver, Avis President's Club, Hertz President's Circle, Global Entry (Former AA Plt/Gold)
Posts: 3,630
I don't like WN's seating policy myself, but it seems to be a good choice for families. Not only are they all checking bags "for free" (included), but families with younger children get boarding after the A group for free so EBCI isn't always an additional expense. Meanwhile, without status on a legacy airline available seats might be "preferred" and thus cost money to guarantee sitting together, even on a non-basic fare. And of course, any FTer can appreciate loyalty and credit card perks like the companion fare!
Gig103 is offline  
Old Mar 25, 18, 2:46 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: PHX
Programs: AA Gold, WN A+ & CP, HH Diamond, Hyatt Platinum, National Executive Elite
Posts: 3,095
Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
No change fee, the best frequency, and the ability to fly ex-OAK. Plus I think many WN flyers don't shop fares and aren't aware of the fare war SFO-LAX right now.

Though I'm flying UA SFO-SAN tomorrow (an VX back) because I just can't take the WN cattle call and packed cabins any more.

I also really enjoy flying DL ex-OAK, but the frequencies and nonstop destinations are pretty limited.
IMHO WN boarding is the least cattle-call like boarding these days. No gate lice. And are WN flights more full than their competitors to the point that their competitors aren't flying full planes these days?
NextTrip, rickg523 and ryw like this.
justhere is offline  
Old Mar 25, 18, 2:48 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: CO
Programs: UA OG-1K, Marriott Plat, Hertz PC
Posts: 1,236
I was surprised by the same thing when I looked 18months ago on some travel. I do think it is the perception that they are the LC carrier. I don't quite get their fare structure, but from what I gleened, to get on the plane first guaranteed and probably get a 'good' seat- all looking at trying to emulate the 1K level of experience from UA on WN. Those WN fares were higher than UA fares, and sometimes as high as UA First discounted P fares! What I don't know is seat pitch compared to E+ seating.

The one thing I don't understand is how you earn free flights, and the WN buddy pass. I know a work buddy loves the bennies WN gives, but I don't know how they work.
PushingTin is offline  
Old Mar 25, 18, 9:58 am
  #13  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: SFO
Programs: UA 1K 1MM; AS 75K; Marriott Ambassador; Hilton Diamond (Aspire); Hyatt Explorist
Posts: 43,091
Originally Posted by justhere View Post
IMHO WN boarding is the least cattle-call like boarding these days.
With WN you are forced to line up with your group (unless you want a middle seat). By contrast, with an assigned seat on an OAL, I can board at my leisure. Either at the end of premium boarding (if I need overhead space) or after the entire aircraft has boarded (if I don't).

Originally Posted by justhere View Post
And are WN flights more full than their competitors
WN has no F. So for me, yes, absolutely.

Even without upgrades, you can frequently buy F on the competition for the same cost (or even less) as an Anytime fare. Paid $259 for F on VX SAN-SFO. It's often even less on UA (if I don't get upgraded).
Kacee is online now  
Old Mar 25, 18, 10:00 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Blue Ridge, GA
Posts: 4,506
Originally Posted by Ber2dca View Post
I think they rely a lot on their reputation for low cost and having a lot of services included..so their customers go straight to SWA instead of shopping for a good fare.
A different breed of flyer. They don't do forums.

Alaska's FT board is far more active than WNs, even while AS flew 1/3 the number of passengers (40m/130m) last year.
LegalTender is online now  
Old Mar 25, 18, 10:41 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Dallas, TX
Programs: WN A-List Pref, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Gold, IHG Plat
Posts: 451
Really simple answers

There two big reasons and lots of little reasons why many people prefer WN:
  1. Companion Pass - If you understand this, there's not much more explanation required.
  2. Award Availability - WN flies a much higher percentage of seats as awards, due to their simple to understand and use Rapid Rewards program.
Beyond these, WN offers traveler-friendly features like two free checked bags, free flight changes, etc. The fares are competitive enough in most markets to make this a slam dunk.
TortillaChip likes this.
roundtree is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: