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MOVIN' SOME MAJOR CHEESE FOR THE SUMMER!

Employee
Employee
Many, if not most, of you have either read or heard of Spencer Johnson's best-selling book, Who Moved My Cheese? which examines, in parable form, living in (and adapting to) a rapidly-changing environment. Well, the airline industry may just be the poster child of quick and constant change, and at Southwest we've become so used to changes that using the phrase "moving my cheese" has become a metaphor understood throughout our Company for going through transformation of one sort or another. I've blogged before about how optimization technology has allowed Schedule Planning to make much bigger changes to our network than in the past, and for Summer 2008, Southwest is moving our schedule's "cheese" like never before. Gary Kelly, our CEO, has been very up-front about our need to strategically change our flight offerings to better reflect changing demand in this period of uncertain economic conditions, and our Summer 2008 Schedule is clearly reflective of that need (yes, Gary, we listened!). In all, we've changed the number of nonstop flights in 81 roundtrip markets– increasing (or beginning!) nonstop service in 30 markets, and reducing service in 51 markets. This represents the largest single schedule change, at least in the number of markets impacted, in Southwest history. In fact, for the first time, we are able to make seasonal frequency changes to better match our schedule with Summer demand, so some of these flight increases (or decreases) will be re-adjusted once the leaves start changing colors in the Autumn. However, unlike in previous significant frequency changes, Southwest is not completely eliminating nonstop service in any single market–instead, these changes are far more surgical, for the most part only changing by one or two departures each day. The increases are far more interesting–and, of course, a lot more fun to talk about. You could say the list of new markets we will be entering is, ahem, a "Mile High!" The new markets we'll be adding in this schedule can be summed up in one word….DENVER! During the Summer 2008, Southwest will add brand-new nonstop service between Denver and SIX more destinations–Los Angeles (LAX), San Jose, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Raleigh/Durham, and San Antonio. We'll also add extra flights between Denver and Austin, Albuquerque, and Chicago. After these increases are in place, Southwest will offer 79 daily departures from Denver International Airport every business day–making it the 15th busiest Station of the 64 airports served on the Southwest Airlines network. Not too shabby for a destination we just started (or, as it were, re-started!) two years ago! Besides all other changes coming this Summer, we've got a number of other schedule improvements that will roll out in May '08–most of them designed to deliver better ontime performance and to enhance overall efficiency and profitability. We've been really, really busy moving our cheese….so whether you like cheddar, jack, or gorgonzola, we hope you'll really like flying around the Southwest Airlines system this coming summer. We'll keep you–and your cheese–moving!
33 Comments
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The press release announcing these changes uses the word "productive" four times. Hmm...
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Hey, just noticed that your blog is up for an award - congrats! http://performancing.com/performancing-awards/best-use-corporate-blog-performancing-awards-2007-readers-choice-poll
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Thanks for the heads up Dario. Brian
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My girlfriend is a flight attendant for Southwest... They're gonna LOVE her in Denver!
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Great addition MHT-FLL. Here in Manchester we're most certainly glad to have a nonstop to Ft. Lauderdale...our first to eastern Florida and a great service for cruise-bound New Englanders. Our casualties will be one nonstop each to Orlando and Baltimore, but this is a shrewd trade and one we're happy to make.
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Hey - I love SWA's great no-frills and convenient service but I was wondering in light of the planned schedule changes are you going to start offering non-stop flights between Oakland (OAK) and GSP (Greenville, South Carolina)? Seems to me GSP always has full flights on AA but I and quite a few other disgruntled AA customers are more than to jump ship from this sinking airline and get on the SWA train :) Go SWA!
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There are direct flights between AUS and PHL. There are direct flights between PHL and PIT. Is there a reason why there are no AUS-PIT flights through PHL?
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General questions regarding flight numbers that have always burned in my mind for years and years: #1: On Saturday (and some Sunday) schedules, when the city pairs and arrival/departure times do not change, why does the flight number? #2: Some flights have had the same city pairings and same arrival/departure times (or withing 5-15 minutes) since their inception, but when a new schedule comes out, the flight number often changes...why? Thanks- and thanks for the good work you do!
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Where's the Chicago to Jacksonville, Fl, The Washington Dulles to Nashville, the Philadelphia to Detroit, the Raleigh to Houston,, the Saint Louis to Nashville(new concept), the Philadelphia to Buffalo, the Oakland to Saint Louis, the Kansas City to Houston, the San Francisco to Seattle and the CHARLOTTE,North Carolina's With Charlotte being one of the fastest growing airports in the country, why not take part in it. Just think of how lucrative a Charlotte-Philadelphia could be or how about Charlotte paired with the cities of Chicago, Tampa, Orlando, Nashville, Houston or Baltimore. US airways can't have keep their customer's happy nor their very own employees. Why not expand where the money is at literally?
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After listening to the evening news out of Kansas City I am a little nervous. I bought 4 non stop- round trip tickets to Vegas for May 5... Are you still going to have Non stop flights out of MCI to LAS?
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Seasonal service is a big change and it sounds very exciting. Should we expect more extensive seasonal shifts in years to come? Are seasonal shifts expected to be May and November? I'm glad to see that no routes were cut in the new schedule. That's a pretty impressive rampup in Denver; it will be exciting to watch since there's lots of competition there. Thanks for the post and for your endless work smoothing schedules--fascinating stuff for this airline geek.
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AWESOME!! Added LAS-JAX and doubled up on LAS-TPA. I would LUV to see LAS-FLL. Thanks!
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I hope you find another destination like Denver.
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Cori sed:: I bought 4 non stop- round trip tickets to Vegas for May 5Ã
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Hi, everyone! Here are a few responses to your comments. J, we always look at new markets via meetings with the airports, including GSP. And you never know what can happen! Chris, we usually don't "bend" itiineraries back more than 110 degrees or so--and AUS-PHL-PIT would be way, way over that limit. It might be better to try and give you a PIT onestop via MDW. It'd be much more direct and less circuitous! Chuck, for question #1, a lot of times it depens on what happens the rest of the week. If a flight flies, say, Dallas-Houston-Harlingen during the week, but on a Saturday the Dallas-Houston flight goes on to Orlando instead of Harlingen, we have to change the flight number of either the DAL-HOU or the HOU-HRL legs. Hope that makes sense! As for #2, a LOT of factors go into flight numbers. The full routing of that flight may have changed, for example--instead of Philadelphia-Chicago-K.C,-Denver-Vegas-San Diego, in a new schedule it may go Philadelphia-Chicago-K.C.-Phoenix-Ontario-Sacramento. Our optimization system would would likely change the flight number. Or, we have very strict rules governing how close in time flight numbers that sound alike can be. For example, we wouldn't want flight 1866 and flight 1856 arriving or departing at an airport close to each other to make air traffic instructions more easily understood. GREAT questions! Keith, we're watching all of those markets....and good things come to those who wait. :) Cori, if you've already bought your tickets, you're fine. Our changes were for the summer months, which we just put out for sale. Robert, seasonal service *is* exciting. And we'll see if things get more radical! Don, again--you never know what can happen. LAS-FLL could be good for us. However, until then--enjoy the onestop, no-change service we offer with a quick stop in TPA! Have a GREAT weekend, everyone!
New Arrival
As person who always loved to look at airline schedules from the time I was kid, I enjoy the schedule posts. I am thankful Southwest still prints out a schedule. Not only is a fun to read, but it does lead to vacation ideas, and flights on Southwest. Please continue the posts.
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How about a nonstop BWI-PDX
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Please tell me Southwest is moving into the Minneapolis market. Domestic fares would be much lower if Southwest moved into Minneapolis. All you have to do is fly to a three or four key cities such as Las Vegas, Denver, Chicago, St. Louis, Orlando, or Tampa. Every time I fly to Minneapolis, I get screwed on the price by other airlines. Also, I hope that Southwest is adding flights to Palm Beach. You can not fly to any Southwest city in the western U.S. without 2 stops to go to/from PBI. Would you please add a direct flight or two to Phoenix or Las Vegas so PBI can make to the Pacific time zone in one stop. Thank you
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As an executive and president of a software company I've been proud to encourage our employees to ride and book flights via Southwest for the last 8 years. That has changed as I've seen the cheese get moved to the back of the bus. I'm all for change but the change isn't in the correct direction. In fact it sure looks a lot more like the the "current" airline industries. In the last 3 weeks, not only have I experienced delays and "grubblings", I've witnessed 3 long time deciated customers say: "This will be my last time". When cargo becomes more important than customers and fares now 3 times that of Frontier (witness Phx to Den for January 08) and less direct flights with connects that go through major cities, it sure looks like the only thing that is different is the non-assigned seats. I still love the people at SW, in fact, you still know how to hire good people. But the recent change towards more connects and higher fares that truely look like major airlines. I'm sad to say, I've booked 3 flights in last two days with Frontier and Jet blue. This is a very sad moment and a turning point for the last good airlines left in the good ole USA. HERB COME BACK, YOU'RE BUSINESS CUSTOMERS WANT YOU TO LISTEN LIKE YOU USED TO! (Just in case you ever want to listen to a customer, perhaps listing an email on your site would help. You seriously do need to get feed back, before even the worst airlines in the industry, AIR WEST/AMERICA WEST/STILL LOSING MONEY AIRLINES cuts your grass) This isn't a complaint, this is a cry to go solicit your business customers: Unless I'm unique it takes longer to fly with your company now and costs 30-50% more than this time last year. ps. the new boarding numbers are great..almost reminensent to the numbered cards with the exception we put ourselves in order....well in consectutive number any how. 😄
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I hope Southwest airlines is considering DEN-PDX. Seems that PDX is a western hole in the Denver network.
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We had great flights pre-Katrina from Louisville, Kentucky to New Orleans through Birhmingham. In November 2007 you put the New Orleans through Birhmingham flights back on with 2 hour lay overs in Birhmingham each way. Now in mid January the Birhmingham flights are not available. You must fly through TPA (Tampa) or HOU (Houston) to get from SDF (Louisville) to MSY (New Orleans) and New Orleans to Louisville. Please Please consider putting some of the old pre-Katrina flights back on. It used to be so enjoyable of a flight. It the flight stopped you didn't even have to get off the plane. Quick stop only to pick up passengers in Birhmingham. A market you may want to look at is SDF to BNA (Nashville)and BNA to SDF. Nashville has many direct flights to other cities in which Louisville travelers could use. Louisville is a very large growing city and we seemed to get over looked when it comes to travel. Sincerely, Tired of driving to Nashville and paying to park!
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Little Rock to Phoenix Nonstop flights used to be full everyday when it was a night flight there and a morning nonstop flight to Little Rock. Now that the computer is choosing the routing, the flights are wide open. Wouldnt it be worth checking into the history of the flights to see if we could go back to the original times nonstop and fill those planes? Apparently no one in Ark wants to fly to Phoenix in the morning or Phx to Lit in the pm. Just an observation if you want to increase the load factor.
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I hope that SWA management keeps an eye on the possible merger of Delta and NWA. I also know that there was a repeal (@ a year ago) of some old law that had to do with either Houston Hobby and/or Dallas Love Field there by allowing SWA accessibility to fly into either (can't remember which). If the the 2 do consoildate and cut flights here in Memphis that would leave lots of terminals open for another carrier. HINT HINT HINT SWA? Could my dream of SWA in Memphis be on my horizon? This would truly be my dream come true. Imagine no more driving 2 1/2 - 3 hours to LIT or BNA. In the mean time it is still worth the gas (at least for now) and driving time to save soooo much money by flying SWA over flying out of MEM.
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[...] this Louisville Kentucky News posting from unknown today.This is the summary of [...]
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Speaking of city pairs, how about going to PNS PENSACOLA FL. That would be nice.
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[...] has boosted a major presence in Denver, which it returned to two years ago and this summer will offer 79 daily departures out of the airport. Southwest, also effective this summer, increased or began [...]
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Optimization doesn't seem to be doing much for boise - a smallish, isolated market. I need to get to norfolk this summer, and to my horror when i tried to book my flight, i discoverd that southwest is dropping service between the two (which i don't quite understand, i can't believe there aren't flights that could be connected to get between the two). so now i'm stuck with astronomical prices and terrible flight times on the other airlines. I tried to book a flight to omaha a while back and got a message then also that boise-omaha service was being discontinued, but now it seems to be back in service. Is norfolk the same? is boise service being dropped for other markets also?
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The IND-JAN leaving?? Just when we were able to utilize such flight. We too are going to be stuck with the other airlines wa! wa!. We have been using rt SDF-BHM since 05, as son was under age...he turned 12 in July. We just got cleared for connecting flights and you take that dream and shatter it... hehe..!
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I recently relocated from Philadelphia to Charlotte. For many years, we were held captive by USAirways in PHL. High fares, poor service, etc. When Southwest began service from PHL, everything changed. I never booked a flight without first checking SWA. Now, I am in Charlotte and feel like the clock has been turned back 10 years. Fares are outrageously high particularly because there are limited options other than USAirways. Ironically, the highest fares I pay are to go home to PHL. Never less than $500. The nearest SWA airport is Raleigh and it is too far to be a realistic option for most trips. Please consider CLT as a port of expansion. There is a clear gap in the SWA route map and Charlotte would draw passengers from NC and SC. I can't even fly my family of 5 to Florida for less than $2,000 off-season!
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I second the motion...moved from Baltimore to Charlotte, flew almost exclusively on SW and now sorely miss SW as I am routinely forced to fly USAIR. 6th fastest growing city in the country. Get on board Southwest.
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Yes please add Minneapolis as a destination! Please!
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I heard that there is a possibilty that Southwest will be flying out of Pensacola to Jacksonville, Florida. I'm hoping.
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Please please please please please start service to/from Greenville, S.C. (GSP?). Charlotte (CLT) is a distant 2d choice for my family and I. U.S. Air is poorly run and feels dangerous. Thanks!