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EXTREME SCHEDULE MAKEOVER: SATURDAY EDITION!

Bill
Employee
Employee
We've "re-loaded the pipeline!" Today Southwest extended our booking inventory out to May 9, 2008. Take heart, Spring Breakers and Easter Hoppers--you are now free to move around the Country!!!! As usual, we have a few surprises in store for you in the March - May 2008 Schedule. We're increasing our service in a good number of city pairs in March and April, with a number of brand-new nonstop markets. We'll add new service between Phoenix and San Francisco on March 8, a threesome of new nonstop destinations for Philadelphia (Austin, San Antonio, and St. Louis) on March 17, and brand new nonstops between Denver and San Diego effective April 4. In addition, thirteen other markets will receive additional departures during the March - May time period. To view the entire new service press release, click here. However, a more interesting story (well...from a Schedule Planning perspective, anyway!) about the March Schedule is our Saturday schedule. It's different than Saturday schedules in the past--really, really different. In fact, it is a completely different animal than the schedule that will operate the other six days of each week, with many Saturday flights operating at a different time than the rest of the week, and with a different flight number. I've blogged about our Schedule Optimization progress over the years, but up until now our schedule has been more or less the same across all seven days of the week. Sure, we've cut back some on Saturday morning and Saturday night flights, and again on Sunday mornings--but the rest of the week looked like seven peas in a pod. However, effective with Saturdays in the March Schedule, we've implemented our first reoptimization within the week. Saturday now has a completely different, and more optimal, set of schedule assumptions than the rest of the week. How will this impact, and benefit, our Customers? Plenty. Travel patterns are significantly different on weekends, particularly on Saturdays, than they are during the rest of the week--yet because of time constraints we weren't able to "rejigger" the schedule sufficiently to give you a Saturday schedule that closely met your specific travel needs. The new March 2008 Saturday schedule, has been designed, as a whole, to do just that: to get you where you want to go, when you want to go, as conveniently as possible. So, besides better Saturday departure times, we're actually adding a number of new, Saturday-only nonstop markets--between Dallas and Harlingen; Manchester and Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood; Reno and Ontario; San Diego and Salt Lake City; and the big winner in the Saturday-only nonstop free-for-all, is Orlando, which gets Saturday service to Omaha, Salt Lake, Oklahoma City, and Tulsa. In addition, we've added extra Saturday departures in over 50 existing nonstop markets--making it easier for you to get to the weekend destinations you want to visit. You could say that starting next March, Southwest's Saturday schedule will be a real "departure!" We intend to make this twice-weekly optimization strategy a feature of every published schedule, and as our Company gets used to operating a waaaay different schedule on Saturdays, we might make crank up the volume of Saturday-only nonstop markets to better meet the travel needs of our Customers. And who knows....as we more deeply imbed optimization technology into our scheduling processes, we eventually might be able to optimize each day of the week individually to better match Customer need. Of course, we'll need a LOT more experience to make that work....but we'll keep trying! Happy booking, everyone....and thanks for reading "Nuts About Southwest!"
67 Comments
Craig4
Not applicable
My son flies from Providence to BWI every year in June. I need to book the trip in January. Any chance of adding to the inventory soon?
Craig4
Not applicable
Never mind, I just saw above where someone else asked the same questions.
Lee_Wagner
Not applicable
I really think you people are losing sight of what I believe made you a great airline. First came the Rapid Reward changes, then you started this "Business Class stuff", and now the new luggage rules. My family and I are skiers and 4 to 8 of us go at least twice a year to Colorado or Tahoe and it looks like will be using a different airline from now on because, according to your rules, a pair of skis will be charged an oversize fee. Do not lose sight of were you came from and quit turning youselves into just another typical airline.
blusk
Not applicable
Hi Lee, I am sorry you feel that way. Incidentally, you are wrong about the skis. Snow and water skis are considered to be part of the free bag allowance. Each person can check one bag and one pair of skis. Our web site defines a pair of skis as the skis, ski poles, and boots. This includes other similar sporting goods items like golfbags, bowling balls, boogieboards, and bikes up to 62 inches. Oversize fees do not apply to these items.
Angela_Petaccio
Not applicable
How often do you "extend our booking inventory"? When will you extend past June? I am trying to book a flight for the end of June and cannot get past May 9. I see you extended your booking inventory to May 9 back in early November, this is now 2 months later. If I can't book on Southwest by the end of this month, I'll book somewhere else.
Angela_Petaccio
Not applicable
Please excuse my last queston. I decided to read through the previous posts and found the answer. Guess I should have read first...........sorry!!
Lee_Wagner
Not applicable
Mr. Lusk, In reference to my previous post and your answer. My skies measure 65" in length with out even being in a bag. According to your rules I now will have to pay an oversize fee. Also I can not put my ski boots in my ski bag so that means I need a third bag just for the boots. Many other airlines will permit this third bag if it is just a small boot bag, what is your policy?
blusk
Not applicable
Lee, You misread what I wrote. The 62 inches only apply to bikes. Your skis are fine. As I said, the boots are considered part of the skis, even though they are in a separate bag. I hope we will see you and your family on a snow trip soon. Brian
Debbie
Not applicable
As the caregive and daughter to my Mother, I am wondering why you stopped the non-stop flights from both local airports nearest me in DE, which is BWI (Baltimore) and Philadelphia to LAX (Los Angeles). It is almost imposssible to have to get my handicapped Mother up to use the restroom in the plane. She can make the 51/2 to 6 hour non-stop flight without doing so, but now that you have stopped them, we will not be able to fly with you anymore. I can see you stopping maybe one airports non-stop flights, but both. Why? and are you going to be adding non-stop flights from BWi and Philly to LAX back anytime soon? Everytime we fly those flights are PACKED, not an available seat on the plane, from both airports. Delaware has no airports and we Delawarans must fly out of those closest to us, which are the above mentioned and both are a two hour one way drive. I hope you reconsider your scheduling. Thanks, Debbie
John30
New Arrival
Mr. Owen, Is the newest schedule to be released in the near future?
Steve24
Not applicable
I would like to have you address the blatent disregard SWA now shows for your frequent fliers. I have tried months in advance for the last two years, dozens of times to book free flights and had every flight on every weekend to my destination blacked out. While you claim you are only "limiting space" you have effectively blacked out every trip I have every tried to book that was not a throwaway mid week business trip. I am avoiding SWA until I can use my not really free but "prepaid" tickets.
Bill
Employee
Employee
Steve, I have no idea about the answer to your question, nor was that the point of this blog post. You might contact our Customer Relations/Rapid Rewards Department to ask them about it. But I don't have the expertise to answer your question. Bill
Joan1
Not applicable
You may be adding "nonstop" flights but you have eliminated the "one plane" flights between Burbank or Ontario CA to Portland OR. And same said flights to Seattle WA are limited. For a almost exclusively "west coast" passenger' .. I am now flying Alaska so that I don't have to switch planes midway. May want to switch credit cards as well.
scottnearsmf
New Arrival
On Saturday June 7th from Ontario to Portland, I showing the following three one-stop same plane options available. Flight 3636 leaving Ontario at 9:25 arriving at Portland at 12:40 PM, Flight 132 leaving Ontario at 3:25 PM arriving in Portland at 6:35 PM, Flight 3791 leaving Ontario at 5:55 PM arriving in Portland at 8:55 PM. Fares currently $105, 97 and $105 pre-fees one-way.
scottnearsmf
New Arrival
With regards to Burbank to Portland on Saturday June 7th, Flight 1681 is a same plane two-stop that leaves Burbank at 1:00 and arrives in Portland at 5:50 PM for $125 pre-fees one-way and on Saturday the 14th Portland to Burbank there is a same plane one -stop (Flight 946) leaves Portland at 6:15 PM and arrives in Burbank at 9:20 PM for $115 pre-fees one-way.
scottnearsmf
New Arrival
Southwest's "West Coast" strategy of NOT flying non-stop from Southern California to the Pacific Northwest is a conscious business that is still another reason why Southwest (at least in the first quarter of 2008) is the only profitable airline in this country. If you want the fly non-stop from Southern California to the Pacific Northwest you can use the Seattle-based airline but understand that the route is now highly competive and has lower margins.
Chris30
Not applicable
The southwest rewards certificates are TOTALLY useless. After selecting a flight that had many seats available - I went to book the flight with the certificate, only to find out southwest had BLACKED OUT certificate use on every flight for two weeks before and for two weeks after ! UNBELIEVABLE!!!! So, seats are available on the flight and southwest will not permit me to use my certificate. This was not over any holiday ! its August and its Saturday travel, attempting to book more than a month in advance! These points were painfully earned 1 credit for 3000 miles , and now southwest is going rip me off !!! They are are worse than united and american!