Wish WN had redeyes

Old May 1, 05, 6:44 pm
  #1  
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Wish WN had redeyes

I'm sure this post won't generate the traffic and emotions that the First Class thread received. I just spent time and money booking several one-way redeye flights from the west coast to the midwest. I will use my Southwest vouchers on the outbound and Delta / United on the overnight returns.

I learn a lot from these discussions and perhaps someone can explain why Southwest doesn't make its bitc ... errr ... code-share partner ATA operate overnight flights from LAX, LAS, SFO, SAN, etc. to Midway.

No airline operates direct overnight service to Midway now that AWA abandoned the airport. Think of all of the passengers that could use this service to connect to Southwest's early morning bank of flights out of MDW.

I just don't see the downside. Maybe someone can post something that elightens me. I would have liked to have given the funds I just spent to Southwest instead of the other airlines. Surely I'm not the only flyer that had to book on another carrier due to Southwest's lack of redeyes?
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Old May 1, 05, 6:55 pm
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Andy2:

I agree - and I'll be curious to see why WN doesn't have a schedule of red-eye flights. There are many times I would really appreciate these, either becuase I have to be at a destination really early in the morning, or late at night, and would like to fly home...

Of course, you like me, have had to spend money with the big metal to get those flight times we need...

H*S
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Old May 1, 05, 9:17 pm
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Red eyes are in part a by-product of the hub and spoke system. Aircraft have to be returned or "positioned" from the west coast to midwest/east coast hubs anyway so the airlines might as well try to make a little $$$ on them while they're at it. Southwest aircraft utilization is already pretty high...at some point aircraft need a little down time for maintenance overnight is the perfect time. Also, SWA does a good bit of overnight charter work that also accounts for some of the fleet allocation. As easy as it might seem to squeeze a couple of extra airframes out the fleet for red-eye flights, it's tough to do when you operate nearly 3,000 daily departures. Every aircraft headed eastbound is one less available for the next morning's west coast originators. Load factors on red-eyes tend to be a little low. Southwest's break even load factor is already low compared to industry standard making the margins on red-eyes even thinner. Compounding the problem on the cost side...I know we Flight Attendants and perhaps pilots too make additional pay for overnight flights. In the end though, if the Customers want it and the revenue stream is there to support it, it will eventually happen. Southwest is still a relatively new player in the transcon market, who knows what will happen in the future.
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Old May 1, 05, 9:21 pm
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Also, some of WN's airports are closed for the night with noise ordinances preventing aircraft from being flown about.
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Old May 1, 05, 9:34 pm
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From the faq list:

33. Why doesn't Southwest fly red-eyes?

a. (nsx) We can only speculate. Perhaps demand is not adequate, or long overnight flights do not fit Southwest's business model. Also, maintenance planning is easier when aircraft have several hours of down time each night. This makes the first few flights of the morning virtually 100% on time, something which I personally appreciate. I have flown almost every Monday morning for 6 years without a single non-ATC delay.
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Old May 1, 05, 11:05 pm
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I think we are getting closer to red-eyes. Flight 1099, LAS-BWi arrives at 2am. SWA/BWI now has an overnight shift.
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Old May 2, 05, 3:21 am
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Smile SEA, OAK, SJC, LAX, SAN -> BWI

I really wish WN would fly redeyes from the west coast to BWI. This is one of the main reasons I am a 1k on United. If priced right, WN could make some $$$ on these. Maybe with the new Terminal at BWI we will get a surprise with some redeyes!!!
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Old May 2, 05, 3:57 am
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Originally Posted by SWAInflt
Red eyes are in part a by-product of the hub and spoke system. Aircraft have to be returned or "positioned" from the west coast to midwest/east coast hubs anyway so the airlines might as well try to make a little $$$ on them while they're at it. Southwest aircraft utilization is already pretty high...at some point aircraft need a little down time for maintenance overnight is the perfect time. Also, SWA does a good bit of overnight charter work that also accounts for some of the fleet allocation. As easy as it might seem to squeeze a couple of extra airframes out the fleet for red-eye flights, it's tough to do when you operate nearly 3,000 daily departures. Every aircraft headed eastbound is one less available for the next morning's west coast originators. Load factors on red-eyes tend to be a little low. Southwest's break even load factor is already low compared to industry standard making the margins on red-eyes even thinner. Compounding the problem on the cost side...I know we Flight Attendants and perhaps pilots too make additional pay for overnight flights. In the end though, if the Customers want it and the revenue stream is there to support it, it will eventually happen. Southwest is still a relatively new player in the transcon market, who knows what will happen in the future.
Inflt,

Some of your logic really doesn't hold here. As far as aircraft "positioning" goes, you can just route them with a stop or two across the country... ala LAX-ORD-LGA, or LAX-IAH-DCA. So the redeye doesn't serve a positioning function that is unavailable elswhere. Also, out of the west coast, you have select departure times that make sense when timed for east coast arrivals. 0800 flights get in in time for dinner, mid-day departures get in in time to get you into bed to get enough sleep for the next business day, and, well, anything else is a waste of time. Do arrivals between 2200-0400 make much sense? Not really.

When you say that redeyes tend to have lower LF, and that WN's break even LF is already low, doesn't that mean you can profitably run redeyes because at WN you need fewer people to break even? So, I don't understand how your lower break even load factor makes your profits on redeyes even thinner.

And as far as that 0200 arrival in BWI goes, that makes zero sense to me... at least with the majors, the left coast redeyes get in at an appropriate time to make early morning connections without extended layovers.
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Old May 2, 05, 6:24 am
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More planes would help us too We have quite a few deliveries of new planes scheduled for this year. It will be exciting to see where they use them.

Certainly with the new A pier at BWI we will have room for more flights. Maybe they will give us a couple of red-eyes from the west coast. Wouldn't that be nice!

Colleen...where is our Maryland plane?
It would be great to have it for May 18th
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Old May 2, 05, 6:45 am
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ATA flies a daily red eye from SFO-->MDW. Although I mostly fly UA NRSA, I have taken this ATA flight before.





Originally Posted by Andy2
No airline operates direct overnight service to Midway now that AWA abandoned the airport. Think of all of the passengers that could use this service to connect to Southwest's early morning bank of flights out of MDW.

I just don't see the downside. Maybe someone can post something that elightens me. I would have liked to have given the funds I just spent to Southwest instead of the other airlines. Surely I'm not the only flyer that had to book on another carrier due to Southwest's lack of redeyes?
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Old May 2, 05, 7:02 am
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Originally Posted by DHAST
Inflt,

Some of your logic really doesn't hold here. As far as aircraft "positioning" goes, you can just route them with a stop or two across the country... ala LAX-ORD-LGA, or LAX-IAH-DCA.
In our case, the stops would be in MDW and HOU but, that's besides the point. A typical red-eye arrives on the east coast at 6-7AM. This would mean the intermediate stops would have to depart somewhere between 3 and 4AM. I'm assuming the number of people who would show up for a 3AM departure to BWI is pretty low...assuming the TSA would be around at that hour to screen them. With a low number of "locals" boarding in MDW or HOU you're left counting on "thru" Customers to keep the flight profitable...if that's the case...it seems to make more sense to just fly the transcon non-stop in the first place.

So the redeye doesn't serve a positioning function that is unavailable elswhere.
I'm not sure what that means...but, I haven't had my coffee yet!


Also, out of the west coast, you have select departure times that make sense when timed for east coast arrivals. 0800 flights get in in time for dinner, mid-day departures get in in time to get you into bed to get enough sleep for the next business day, and, well, anything else is a waste of time. Do arrivals between 2200-0400 make much sense? Not really.
Given the fact that SWA caters to a higher percentage of leisure travelers the late day west coast departures tend to serve the typical passenger a little better. The problem with flying West to East has always been "paying back" the time difference. A 2AM arrival in BWI allows a LAX vacation to soak up a little more sun or a LAS gambler a little more time at the tables. They seem to have found the sweet spot near but, not quite red-eyes as in my experience the loads tends to be pretty healthy.

When you say that redeyes tend to have lower LF, and that WN's break even LF is already low, doesn't that mean you can profitably run redeyes because at WN you need fewer people to break even? So, I don't understand how your lower break even load factor makes your profits on redeyes even thinner.
Your understanding is correct, I misspoke...Thank You for the correction!

And as far as that 0200 arrival in BWI goes, that makes zero sense to me... at least with the majors, the left coast redeyes get in at an appropriate time to make early morning connections without extended layovers.
There are no scheduled connections off such an arrival. Any Customer with an inbound connection of a 0200 BWI arrival has bought two tickets and "built" the connection herself.
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Old May 2, 05, 8:04 am
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Originally Posted by SWAInflt
In our case, the stops would be in MDW and HOU but, that's besides the point. A typical red-eye arrives on the east coast at 6-7AM. This would mean the intermediate stops would have to depart somewhere between 3 and 4AM. I'm assuming the number of people who would show up for a 3AM departure to BWI is pretty low...assuming the TSA would be around at that hour to screen them. With a low number of "locals" boarding in MDW or HOU you're left counting on "thru" Customers to keep the flight profitable...if that's the case...it seems to make more sense to just fly the transcon non-stop in the first place.
Since WN already has 3 daily nonstop roundtrip flights between BWI and LAS and 2 daily nonstop roundtrip flights between BWI and LAX, perhaps they could add a nonstop redeye on each route? That way there is no worrying about 3AM or 4AM arrivals / departures. Nonstop redeyes might also be feasible from west coast airports and HOU or MDW.
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Old May 2, 05, 9:10 am
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It certainly seems logical that redeyes are in WN's future.

One area that it would seem to help is the early morning flights. I know that the 0640 and 0735 BWI-PVD flights go out very light. Don't know how the other early short hauls go, like ALB, RDU, MHT, BDL, ISP, but it would seem that adding a late departure out of LAX, OAK and LAS would do well to connect to the early am flights.
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Old May 2, 05, 10:39 am
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Bolded sentences below are false. Southwest does not make changes suddenly, and operating red-eyes is a change to their current operation. However, considering the fact that Southwest operates coast-to-coast flights and codeshares, I expect red-eye flights to appear sooner or later.

Originally Posted by SWAInflt
Red eyes are in part a by-product of the hub and spoke system. Aircraft have to be returned or "positioned" from the west coast to midwest/east coast hubs anyway so the airlines might as well try to make a little $$$ on them while they're at it. Southwest aircraft utilization is already pretty high...at some point aircraft need a little down time for maintenance overnight is the perfect time. Also, SWA does a good bit of overnight charter work that also accounts for some of the fleet allocation. As easy as it might seem to squeeze a couple of extra airframes out the fleet for red-eye flights, it's tough to do when you operate nearly 3,000 daily departures. Every aircraft headed eastbound is one less available for the next morning's west coast originators. Load factors on red-eyes tend to be a little low. Southwest's break even load factor is already low compared to industry standard making the margins on red-eyes even thinner. Compounding the problem on the cost side...I know we Flight Attendants and perhaps pilots too make additional pay for overnight flights. In the end though, if the Customers want it and the revenue stream is there to support it, it will eventually happen. Southwest is still a relatively new player in the transcon market, who knows what will happen in the future.
Originally Posted by SWAInflt
Given the fact that SWA caters to a higher percentage of leisure travelers the late day west coast departures tend to serve the typical passenger a little better. The problem with flying West to East has always been "paying back" the time difference. A 2AM arrival in BWI allows a LAX vacation to soak up a little more sun or a LAS gambler a little more time at the tables. They seem to have found the sweet spot near but, not quite red-eyes as in my experience the loads tends to be pretty healthy.
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Old May 2, 05, 11:49 am
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Originally Posted by JS
Bolded sentences below are false. Southwest does not make changes suddenly, and operating red-eyes is a change to their current operation. However, considering the fact that Southwest operates coast-to-coast flights and codeshares, I expect red-eye flights to appear sooner or later.
My experience with LFs on red eye flights is based purely on anecedotal evidence so I'm willing to concede that point. The common misconception that business travelers avoid Southwest completely is indeed patently false. The fact that certain short haul routes in particular are popular with business travelers has been discussed in depth on this and other forums. However, overall.. my experience(and that's all it is my experience as an employee) is that the percentage of leisure travelers exceeds that of the business pax.
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