United/Southwest

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by Efilon87, Dec 22, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Efilon87

    Efilon87 Silver Member

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    While I usually fly Southwest between LAX-SFO, I decided to give United a try this time. Last time I flew them was to Germany 4 years ago and I was in Economy Plus. I guess I forgot how tight the seats were, narrow and very little leg room. That and it seemed as though the plane need an overhaul and some body work, there were pieces of the emergency exit duct taped to the wall (I wish i had taken a picture). I just find it a little amusing that a budget airline like SW has more leg room and their planes seem better maintained. Thats just me though. Have a wonderful Holiday season!!

    NickM_LA
     
  2. TrippePanAM

    TrippePanAM Gold Member

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    But thankfully southwest doesn't fly INTL routes. I realize some people liek SWA and has a loyal following but how do you intend to travel INTL flights then?
    if you don't mind me asking what airline do you usually use for international travel?

    SWA is a much smaller airline than United Airlines. However, Sorry you had a disappointing flight with United
     
  3. jaw_24
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    jaw_24 Silver Member

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    As my sig. implies, I do prefer Southwest for domestic travel. It is simple, generally very fast (if you don't have to go cross country through DAL), and friendly. Yes, I could fly another airline for similar price (if I don't check a bag), but the 30-45+ minute turn-around time alone usually puts me off on a 1-2 hour flight.

    SW gets a bad rep as a 'budget' airline, and I didn't like some of the recent changes, but they are definitely doing something right.
     
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  4. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    What's "budget" about Southwest? Their fares rarely seem cheaper than those of the major network carriers (to avoid the term legacy... because WN is pretty old by now, too). Their labor costs aren't low either. To the contrary, their employees are some of the best-paid in the industry.

    I think "low cost" and "budget" are labels that have stuck to WN like toilet paper to my shoes and are often rehashed by the media without taking a moment to think about it. And of course WN has little interest in correcting that perception.

    That said, I am not a WN hater. I don't fly them very often because I need my EQMs on UA, but they run a fine operation that meets my domestic short-haul flying needs (other than the EQM thing).
     
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  5. fewtreezy

    fewtreezy Active Member

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    Southwest has hands down the cheapest flights if you can book two or more weeks in advance and they are offering the wanna get away fare...

    It's not their labor costs that kept their flights cheap, it's their fuel hedging. That's how they kept their prices low from, call it, 2004-now.
     
  6. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    In my experience 9/10 times I can find a cheaper ticket on UA,US,AA or DL than Southwest flying out of Sacramento. The exception was getting a $25 fare to SNA last year.
     
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  7. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    My experience is similar to hulagrrl210's. Certainly WN isn't the hands-down winner for domestic flights in my experience. But let's take a look. I am thinking about flying SFO-LAX-SFO for a weekend in January. Depart after work on Friday, say around 6pm, and return on Sunday evening (depart also 6pm-ish).

    WN has $91 one-way wanna-get-away fares for a 6:15pm outbound and a 6:30pm return flight. Total $203.40 with taxes/fees.

    United.com offers me a RT for a total of $199.40 departing 6:47pm returning 6:37pm.

    I can get WN's fare down by about $40 to $161 by picking a 9:35pm outbound flight, but that means I'll miss dinner with friends in LA.

    I am sure you can easily find counter-examples, but I assure you I didn't go hunting for this particular case (we all have better things to do, I think) -- it's a real trip I am contemplating.

    I think the impact has shrunk in recent years, and in the most recent quarter they actually reported a loss due to hedging.
    I always wonder -- if they are so good at predicting the future, why do they even bother with that flying stuff. Shouldn't they just be investing money on the futures market?
     
  8. hopscotch1
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    hopscotch1 Silver Member

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    Southwest has come to dominate the intra-California market w/frequency. I am not looking at schedule info, but United has fewer LAX/SFO flights. The WN frequency is about every 1 to 1.5 hours, while UA is every 2 to 2.5 hours. That makes a difference to me to get home a bit faster.

    Also, business select adds much more flexibility. You can change flights at will, and you get approximately 20% of your spend back opposed to 700 to 2000 miles depending on fare/elite status.

    IMHO, the legacy carriers have given up competing with WN intra-california.
     
  9. jaw_24
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    jaw_24 Silver Member

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    Traveling within Texas, there are a few things going for WN:
    -I personally enjoy flying on 737s vs. regional jets used by CO/AA.
    -Can avoid the madness of DFW and IAH, where DAL and HOU are both closer to downtown.
    -Since I don't have status with any airline, free checked luggage is a bonus for family travel. This is not factored into the fare war.

    If price alone were the deciding factor, it would be a more even decision, but I go back to my original statement - they are simple, fast, and I'd add more convenient in my case.
     
  10. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Picking Jan 20 (Friday) again for SFO->LAX:

    WN: 6:00am, 6:55am, 9:00am, 10:40am, 12.45pm, 3:355pm, 4:40pm, 6:15pm, 7:35pm, 8:10pm, 9:35pm (total of 11 flights)

    UA: 6:00am, 7:35am, 8:21am, 9:28am, 10:24am, 11:35am, 1:16pm, 2:40pm, 3:30pm, 4:32pm, 5:46pm, 6:47pm, 7:39pm, 8:29pm, 10:33pm (total of 15 flights)

    WN comes with its own reality distortion field, it seems ;)

    Of course, if you include flights at OAK and SJC and to other Los Angeles area airports, things would shift to WN's advantage (e.g., UA has only four barbie jets per day on SFO-ONT while WN has eight from OAK alone). They do have a massive number of flights in California.

    As a leisure flyer, flexibility isn't as important to me as to others. So I don't pay much attention to Business Selects, but since I was just poking around on their site, I noticed that it's $193++ for the one-way vs. $49 or $91 for the wanna-get-away fare. I think if I needed a bit of flexibility, I'd book myself on a few different $49 flights and cancel the ones I don't need (funds go into the travel bank, no?)

    I don't know the new WN FF program, but with UA as a 1K I earn 1000 RDM for the one-way to LAX plus about 150 RDM for the 3x credit card charges ($49 fare). At 2 cents/mile those 1150 miles are worth roughly, or $23. On top of that 1000 EQM (500 from Chase up to 5000 per year). Seems quite a good return.

    The days of Shuttle by United are certainly over, but 15 flights between SFO and LAX isn't too bad.

    Interesting thread!
     

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