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Southwest Bids for Frontier Airlines

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Q&A with Ron Ricks, Executive Vice President Corporate Services and Corporate Secretary 

Today, Southwest Airlines confirmed that it is preparing a bid to acquire Denver-based Frontier Airlines, which will be sold at auction in bankruptcy court next month.  We sat down with Ron Ricks, our Executive Vice President Corporate Services and Corporate Secretary, to discuss the bid and what this news means for Southwest Airlines.

 

Q:  Ron, what’s the news today?

Southwest Airlines is preparing a bid to acquire Denver-based Frontier Airlines, which will be sold at auction in bankruptcy court later this month.  The bid is worth a minimum of $113.6 million, and is a nonbinding proposal in accordance with the bidding procedures established in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. 

 

Q: What does that mean exactly?  What’s in proposal?

A:  Southwest is still preparing the proposal, so it's premature to comment on the specifics at this time.  What we can say is that we are interested in a substantial investment in Frontier and to operate Frontier as a wholly-owned subsidiary, independently and separately from Southwest Airlines, for a period of time until the carrier could be combined into Southwest.  

 

Q. When will we know if Southwest’s bid has been accepted?

A. A nonbinding submission of interest must be provided by August 3, 2009.  Assuming that Southwest is determined to be a qualified bidder, Southwest has until August 10, 2009, to submit a binding offer.  If there is more than one qualified bidder, an auction will be held beginning August 11. Southwest believes our bid ultimately will be seen as the strongest bid by all interested parties, including Frontier Employees, management, and its creditors.  

 

Q. Who approached whom?  Is this a response to Republic’s bid?

A. Frontier has been in bankruptcy since April 2008, and we’ve been considering a bid for some time, independent of any action Republic took with its bid proposal.  In the past month, we began an intensive study of the airline and expressed that interest to Frontier.  

 

Q. Obviously, we are in a tough economic environment.  What makes this the right time for Southwest to seek to acquire Frontier?

A. We have always prepared in good times to weather the bad times and to be able to take advantage of a good opportunity, like this one, when presented to us. We have the cash, access to capital, and collateral that allows us to take advantage of this existing opportunity and synergies between Southwest and Frontier.  We believe this is an opportunity to expand our network with legendary low fares, add jobs into Southwest, and boost competition in Denver as well as other cities with our low fares and high quality Customer Service.

 

Q. Is this a cash offer, or a combination of some sort? And, will Southwest accept all of Frontier’s debt?

A. We are still exploring what a final bid would be – it’s really too early to say.  

  

Q: What would a possible acquisition by Southwest Airlines mean for the employees of Frontier?

A: We believe our bid proposal will allow Frontier to emerge from bankruptcy.  Frontier would continue to operate independently and separately for a period of time with its Airbus aircraft and personnel.  Over time, Frontier Employees would be hired into Southwest as needed to support our fleet growth and expanded operations.  We believe the acquisition will boost low-fare competition across the country and certainly in the Denver market.  And, again, we believes our bid will be seen as the strongest bid by all interested parties, including Frontier Employees, management, and its creditors.    

 

Q: What about Lynx (the regional carrier operating as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Frontier)?

A. As part of our overall due diligence, Southwest Airlines will study Lynx.  Until a bid is finalized, it’s too early to say.     

 

Q. Do Southwest’s most recent Union agreements include language that would allow for acquiring another airline and its Employees?

A. All of our collective bargaining agreements have provisions for the acquisition of or merger with another carrier. This is not new to Southwest, as it has in its recent history purchased assets of ATA Airlines (2008) and acquired Morris Air (1993). 

 

Q:  Final thoughts?

A: From a Customer perspective, nothing today changes at either carrier.  This is merely a preliminary step in the process.  There are many details to be worked through, but we are excited about the opportunity to submit a bid. We see a strong fit between our Company cultures, a mutual commitment to high quality Customer Service, and our similar entrepreneurial roots. We are confident that our bid, if successful, will boost low-fare competition and benefit consumers in Denver and other cities our expanded network will serve.

 

269 Comments
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Yes, F9 is in Chapter 11 but it isn't because of bad management. At least not the present management. Sean Menke took this airline over almost 2 years ago from a CEO that probably spent too much money on some business ventures that cost more than benefited the Company. However, they still had a relatively strong bottom line. In the meantime SWA entered DEN and priced their fares so ridiculously low that they were losing their shirt in DEN just to try to kill F9 and UAL. Then came the speculative oil prices that gave SWA another huge advantage with their hedged fuel costs. Smart bet on SWA but SWA showed their true colors and kept the bottom basement non-profitable fares going. Even with that, SWA load factors were poor since F9 had a better product . Frontier also had to match the predatory SWA fares even with the high fuel prices that SWA wasn't paying and it did hurt F9. Through all that, Frontier survived and even was profitable over the last eight months. So now, SWA, you are just coming in like the big dumb bully with your cocky and smug attitude and squashing your prey with your big wad of money since you couldn't do it airline against airline. Good for you for being so strong financially but that does not make for a better airline than Frontier. I've read some of the posts here and it sickens me to see the ignorant comments from some of the SWA employees. Try walking a mile in a F9 employees shoes for a second and feel their pain from working so hard to make that airline really work under such adverse conditions over the last 18 months. They should be commended and I truly hope there is a knight in shining armor that comes to their rescue from the jaws of SWA. So, if you win, enjoy your feast SWA. I for one will NEVER fly SWA and I can guarantee you that regardless of price. I see posts here talking about the great corporate culture at SWA. I can tell you that F9 also has a great corporate culture without the smugness. The team at F9 runs a great airline and if you don't believe that, EDUCATE YOURSELF by looking at their stats. They might be in Chapter 11 but that is not indicative of how good of an airline they are and anyone that assumes that they are less than excellent is a moron. I think you all will have some major PR issues with killing Frontier. Enjoy that! Don't kill the animals!
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it is true...F9 will no longer be around if WN buys us. i am praying that the judge will think more highly of frontier and its employees than to throw us to the wolves. this is in no way two companies trying to integrate each others cultures. its about the fact that f9 is a threat to WN here in denver, always has been, and WN is in it to win (god forbid they play second fiddle to someone else). Its about taking over the A concourse(home of the f9 animals...and all f9's faithful and beloved employees). WN may give a business proposal to the judge to make it look like they have our "best interest" at heart...but its a lie. bottom line: liquidate f9 and all its employees and take over denver. WN is not here to play nice-they play dirty and all the other airlines know it.
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You get it but you don't care. You have totally soiled your reputation with me by making a move like this and even more so by the way your handling it by basically saying out the sides of your mouth that you are going to screw the airline without even being up front or honest about and playing dumb with us like you think we're asking if your form of seating and in flight experience will remain in tact rather than Frontier's with the seat back TV like we are really inquiring about(If we wanted your open seating than we wouldn't fly with Frontier who assigns them when presented with the option). And I'd much rather have their new planes than your junk that pops football sized holes in flight and is going start being sent to Central America for maintenance. Don't expect to capture Frontier's customers by buying our airline. We'll just bypass you and go to United.
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Frontier Airlines has a very LARGE and strong base of customer support & loyalty not only within Denver, but the state of Colorado along with the cities they serve. This company rose from the ashes of the former Frontier Airlines and has grown strong but steady since and celebrated its 15th Anniversary in July. http://www.frontierairlines.com/frontier/who-we-are/company-info/our-history.do The work of our upper management to keep Frontier flying until the economy fell is an absolute miracle. The work of Sean Menke & our management teams, since he took office is absolutely astounding!! The employees receive weekly memos keeping employees informed to date of what is taking place, what hurdles we jumped and what we have blocking our way in the emergence from bankruptcy. Our management along with the employees have taken pay & benefit cuts which in turn has hurt marriages, families, & loss of homes due to foreclosure. Guess you can see now where the emotional part comes in as the employees and management have given everything, all, and way more, since the April 2008 filing to make this work and keep our Frontier animals flying! An offer of such that WN has proposed literally pulls the rug out from under this whole operation and steamrolls over every employee that has given this year, to this effort while operating a safe operation daily and keeping a smile on their face, is rather an insult at this time than a life jacket rescue. If Frontier is purchased by SWA, you are not taking out just a destination and 5,000+ employees but a major hub and forcing change upon the millions of residents of Denver and the state of Colorado. You are not taking away a few gates, but a whole concourse. Not a few aircraft, but a whole fleet. Not just "a" airline brand but a major airline. Working for this company is not just a 9 to 5 job and a paycheck like most people view a job. This company is incredible in that it invests in its employees and puts them first and asks what we think. Thus the pride we have which makes happy employees which in turn makes happy customers! Frontier sponsors a lot in the community and their employees participate in a good amount of community work, very proud to work for this airline and what it stands for. What we hear when a customer steps off the plane after their "first" flying experience with Frontier is astounding! To be stopped in the grocery parking lot either in uniform or not and comment on the Frontier bumper sticker or to take a moment out of their busy day to say how much they love Denvers hometown airline, just amazes me constantly! I do hope that the judge & committee members make the proper decision for what is best for Frontier Airlines, the residents of Colorado along with all the mountain towns Lynx serves. My job whether it's with Frontier or SWA will pay the bills, which for most people is just what they care about. But the employees of this airline have invested so much in this company, along with the residents of Colorado who have filled and over booked our flights to show their support of local business and to support their hometown airline. Do not underestimate the power of change by choice, not to be compared with change by force. YES the 2.4 million residents of the Denver metro area and the employees of this company would surely like to see Frontier tails in the air for another 15 years!! http://www.frontierairlines.com/frontier/video/15year_hi.html
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As a truck driver, I may be a bit rusty on the ABCs of commercial aviation, but I do know quite a bit about transportation in general. Airlines do rise and fall. Some birds re-emerge. Some are reincarnated but not always successfully. Some merge with others to keep afloat. The primary way that an carrier remains successful is if they maintain a steady flow of passengers and /goods to be transported from point A to point B. This also includes ensuring a safe and timely trip. The other important thing is that the carrier be wise when managing expenses(this includes maintaining a fleet, fuel expenses, and labor. Both Frontier and Southwest have been pretty good at this. However, the current recession has made things difficult for everyone and Frontier has had a bit of a hard time riding out the storm. Personally, the main reason I believe that Southwest is still on solid ground is because they've been around a long time and know how to handle bumpy roads. On a side note, I thought a bit about 'no frills airlines' and the southwest effect. Many airlines have modeled off Southwest airlines and many of them have been successful. It seems that some of the more well known airlines influenced by SWA have ultimately become a part of SWA either by alliance or acquisition.
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I think it is appalling that you all say that Frontier and Southwest are alike. Keep in mind you all got in trouble for paying off the FAA for those maintenance issues and you had that big hole in one of your planes recently. While on the other side Frontier has upheld the FAA Diamond Award for maintanence for something like 10 years running. I think the only reason Southwest wants Frontier is because we are a threat to their business. They wanna liquidate the planes and the staff so that they will not have to worry about having someone truly better than them in the low cost carrier industry.
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i really dont care who wins the bid for us and i just want to have a job to feed my family and put a roof over are heads....if southwest gets i hope they don't make people re-apply and just intergrate all the f-9 employees because that is a alot of seniority to throw away and start from scratch..
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You can get bad service on either airline. Having flown the "original" Frontier years ago - it left a legacy even though it was never considered a legacy carrier. I've had horrible service on the new Frontier (out of Memphis-Denver-Memphis - which it dumped in a very short time) and I've had horrible service with Southwest (right out of Love Field with a gate agent at Gate 3 that literally the token bitch of the entire airline and I gave her the best challenge of her career - I hope a house has fallen on her by now). Yet - in overall customer service, Southwest has "something" that the others don't. I hope they don't lose that. What surprises me over this latest adventure is that to me it goes in contrast to the "Herb Days". I'd personally think the airline would be better off driving the "newest-Frontier" out of business (owned by Republic or anyone else) and United right along with it (Lord knows, Denver is United's last hold out). Southwest has lost it's Herb-edge. Yes, times do change but you don't take the eggs out of the recipe just because you want to be the CEO.
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With Frontier flying into Billings and other cities, I hope Southwest explores direct service on the Northern Tier with flights from Spokane to Montana and North Dakota again. We haven't had service like that since the 1980's when Northwest Airlines had flights. That would give the smaller cities another connecting route through Spokane to Northwest city flights and to California and Las Vegas!
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Having been with SWA during the merger with Morris I would say it was not perfect. Not everyone was hired but I would guess the vast majority was. It would seem a company should be allowed to select who they would want to hire. I work side by side with Morris folks (almost all realize they are much better off with SWA). I also have friends who work with Frontier, Delta, United, etc. For the most part airline folks are the kindest quirkiest breed you can find. SWA does not have an exclusive culture, we are a business, and want to be successful! I am fourth generation Colo. Love the Bronco's, Rockies, and the fabulous state. I hope that if this venture continues it is of benefit to Frontier, SWA, and Colo. One last note. Those TV's that everyone raves about weigh quite a bit leading to higher fuel charges. For the saving from not paying for checked bags you could probably get a DVD player.........or maybe a book.
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PLEASE KEEP THE ANIMALS ON THE TAIL AND THE TVS IN THE HEADRESTS. THAT IS THE WAY I WILL GO ALONG WITH SOUTHWEST ON THIS MATTER. I DON'T CARE IF SOUTHWEST MANAGES IT OR IS IN CHARGE OFt FRONTIER, BUT I WANT FRONTIER TO REMANE THE WAY IT IS, WITH THE ANIMALS AND THE TVS!!!!!!
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With this potential merge between these two airlines, does this mean there will be a further delay in SWA hiring new pilots to their fleet? If so, how long is the potential delay?
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Gotta LUV this one. Anonymous said, "It sounds like a bunch of 3rd graders fighting over the green play dough." Wow, talk about hitting the nail on the head! That is the truth people. Bless you Paula for having the patience and fortitude to try to educate some of these people on their erroneous information. I would never in a million years be able to do your job! Speculate all day but the fact remains not one of you knows what will will happen or what the next move will be at Southwes Airlinest. Sheesh! What a bunch of cry babies. By the way, chicken little says the sky is fallin also. Southwest Airlines Management will do what management needs to do. Period. Shame on the whining Frontier employees. I am embarrassed for each of you. Your airlines management team put you where you are today, so don't point fingers and blame Southwest for your problems. Don't forget when you point at Southwest and blame them, there are 3 fingers pointing back at YOU! It's just too bad that most of you are afraid to sign your comments so we would know who NOT to invite to join the Southwest Team. Been here for the Trans Star acquisition, the Morris acquisition, the Midway acquisition and the American Trans Air acquisition. Will be here for the Frontier acquisition also! GO Southwest!
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If this Acquisition does happen.(Hope it does) A few bits of advice for the unhappy Frontier Employees who have posted on here, change jobs or change attitudes. SWA has been around longer and its much more loved and respected. I recommend anyone and everyone who works for or is a fan of Frontier to read the book , "NUTS The Secret To Southwests Success". It's a book that shows everyone the spirited history and what is the heart and soul of Southwest Airlines. If You are a Frontier worker when you read through it with an open mind and placing the anger you feel aside , you will see that fun and culture and putting workers first has been the long proven reason for our continued success. And in some ways while you are different we do share a lot of the same philosophies as your airline. The anger you feel should be directed to those who managed your airline and put you in this position in the first place. Just remember that. Also remember that Southwest Workers will protect and fight for our continued success from small person at the bottom to our CEO with or without you. We hope to welcome you all on board into the SWA Family.
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The acquisition of Lynx will provide great opportunities for Southwest. The Q400 is a fast turboprop that delivers block times comparable with jets, with 24% less fuel burn. It has a serviceable range of 1450 nautical miles, and there are enough seats on the Q400 to make money in a high density configuaration. And most importantly, the aircraft is large enough, fast enough, and quiet enough, that it does not suffer from the negative public perception that other turboprop airliners conjer. Southwest will be able to reach smaller, lucrative markets such as Northwest ARK Airport, Chattanooga, TN, or Bangor, ME, as well as increase service at places like Amarillo. Can you imagine the Southwest brand serving Abilene, Waco, Brownsville, Wichita Falls and Beaumont/Pt Arthur(again)? Think of the additional Intra-California service possibilities! Bakersfield, Monterey/Salinas, Stockton, Concord, Santa Barbara, Carlsbad/Oceanside/Vista, Modesto, Fresno......all underserved, overpriced, and with large populations. Intra-Florida service too with Key West, Tallahassee, Gainesville, Naples and several others in Florida and around the country. Also, Bombardier is considering another stretch of the Q family to reach 100 passengers. Making it perfect to operate shorter routes that 737s can't make money on. I urge WN managers to look at how LCCs such as FlyBe are using this revolutionary and economical aircraft to make money in this challenging environment. You could even change the name to Heartland Airlines, which would be both reflective of Southwest's classic Heart logo and the new carrier's service to smaller, intermediate-sized cities accross the USA. The livery for Heartland can be Southwests old ochre and orange, which would still compliment the new Desert Canyon colors of the jets. Also, please consider buying AIrTran in the future! Very little overlap, similar fleet and service format. It would also bring the WN brand to a critical size, bringing it to most of the remaining domestic markets that are serviceable profitably with jets. Anja Gensel former flight attendant and Southwest Groupie!
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Gotta LUV this one. Anonymous said, "It sounds like a bunch of 3rd graders fighting over the green play dough." Wow, talk about hitting the nail on the head! That is the truth people. Bless you Paula for having the patience and fortitude to try to educate some of these people on their erroneous information. I would never in a million years be able to do your job! Speculate all day but the fact remains not one of you knows what will will happen or what the next move will be at Southwes Airlinest. Sheesh! What a bunch of cry babies. By the way, chicken little says the sky is fallin also. Southwest Airlines Management will do what management needs to do. Period. Shame on the whining Frontier employees. I am embarrassed for each of you. Your airlines management team put you where you are today, so don't point fingers and blame Southwest for your problems. Don't forget when you point at Southwest and blame them, there are 3 fingers pointing back at YOU! It's just too bad that most of you are afraid to sign your comments so we would know who NOT to invite to join the Southwest Team. Been here for the Trans Star acquisition, the Morris acquisition, the Midway acquisition and the American Trans Air acquisition. Will be here for the Frontier acquisition also! GO Southwest! swflyer — Sat, 08/01/2009 - 21:46 ---------------------------------------------- Yea...that is the pot calling the kettle black! ;-D Remember the code-sharing blogs where the SW employees whined like constipated two year olds for days...LOL. You'd be just as frustrated if it were someone like Airtran buying you out and saying they intended to sell off your planes before it was all over with.
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http://www.frontierairlines.com/frontier/video/15year_hi.html Deserves a second posting
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Lets put it this way. Why would an airline buy another. It's simple really. Frontier for the last five quarters made money where as Southwest lost money, so if Southwest takes Frontier out of business. It just means their scared and don't know how to compete with such a kick *ss airline. F9 rules WN drools. so gggoooooooooo Republic. LOL
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SWA did not make money in the 1st Quarter of 2009 but it was the first quarter since 1991 and then they made 54 million in the second quarter. They have also made money 36 out of 38 years. I don't believe SWA is remotely scared about competition, So before you post inaccurate stats, please do your homework....
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first quarter of 2009 was the only quarter that SWA did not make a profit since 1991. Then they went out and made 54million in the second quarter. They have also made money 36 out of 38 years. It ranks #1 in customer service every month on the DOT rankings so I highly doubt SWA is scared of any competition. I would do your homework before you post something that is inaccurate.
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Lets put it this way. Why would an airline buy another. It's simple really. Frontier for the last five quarters made money where as Southwest lost money, so if Southwest takes Frontier out of business. It just means their scared and don't know how to compete with such a kick *ss airline. F9 rules WN drools. so gggoooooooooo Republic. LOL Anonymous — Sun, 08/02/2009 - 18:03 ------------------------------------- That's what I'm talking about 🙂
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Gee.. I am reading these blogs and really do not understand where some of you people are coming from... I do not believe that Frontier Employees are blaming Southwest for anything. They are just expressing their opinions just like the everyone else from Southwest is expressing theirs. I have the upmost respect for every Frontier employee who has struggled and given for their company over the past couple of years. How many others can say that they would fight so hard for just a job, must be more than that for most of the 5,000 employees. In the real world both airlines have something they are good at. Yes Southwest has been around alot longer... So what! That does not mean they are better than anyone else. Both are great at what they do. Frontier may have taken a hit in the past year but it clearly says something about that young little (major) airline to turn around something that was a negative and turn into a profiting success story. To bad the company tried to protect itself and laws require an auction.. What a shame! I do hope for the Frontier employees who are clearly passionate about their company and the loyal passengers that Republic does obtain them and keep them as promised Frontier Airlines / Lynx Aviation.... We all know when put in a position of loosing money but still having the resources if you can't beat'em - buy'em! Wishing nothing but the best for every Frontier Believer! I hope Republic is reading the blogs and seeing the passion they could be aquiring in you!
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I am a fan of both Southwest and Frontier airlines. Rarely do I fly with another carrier. BUT, I do feel that of the two, Frontier's service is a few notches above Southwest. I would hate to see the offerings of DirecTV and inflight meals disappear with an acquisition by Southwest. I also love being able to reserve my seat upon booking my flight online with Frontier, which cannot be done at Southwest, who still uses an antiquated seating process. If the combined carrier can keep the DirecTV, meal offerings, and Frontier's reserved seating process, I'm all for it. One other thing: If the merger does occur, I would suggest that the new airline be called "Frontier", since Southwest doesn't really only fly only in the southwest anymore. I would also hate to see those animals go away from the aircraft livery.
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My ex has worked for SW for 26 years. I have always loved the airline as well as the people. I am now a F9 FA. After reading this blog all morning.....I clearly see that SW HAS changed! These are not the same people I used to know.
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Like many who have posted before me, I too have flown both carriers. I was a frequent flyer of Southwest until I discovered Frontier. After my first Frontier flight, I was hooked. Their customer service has never been anything but extraordinary, and the extra touches like the wide leather seats and inflight TV make me feel like I'm traveling business class, even when I'm not. My parents live in Dallas however, and are devotees of Southwest, so when planning our last vacation, we flew Southwest - at their request. We swore never to do it again. The pain of having to time our online check-in to the minute, so we could get the "A" boarding passes was one thing. But the problem continued when we arrived at the airport two and a half hours early for our flight, only to have to wait in line for two of them to check our bags. So much for the "A" boarding passes... When I heard the news of the pending acquisition, we were all saddened. I'm sure that Southwest is a fine airline, and I know that their employees take great pride in what they do. And overall, they have great customer satisfaction. I suppose I'm looking for a higher lever of customer service. I've always felt like I'm part of a cattle drive when I fly Southwest. I'd hoped that impression would have changed when I flew in June, but it hadn't. Now they'll be melding Frontier into more of the same. I don't want to sound angry or bitter, because really, I'm just sad. My family and I are loyal Frontier customers, and we wont have them much longer. So congratulations Southwest. You're getting a great company and wonderful people. I really hope you're able to keep the customers.
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Like a bumpy flight, the recent events with Frontier have caused me some queasiness. I fly a lot out of Denver, mostly for business. My first choice has been Frontier for years--great product, great service, direct flights. I am a Summit level Early Returns member and loyally attached to a great airline. Second choice has been United. Primarily due to FF program (I am Premier Exec with them). Third choice has been Southwest the last couple years (I am also a Rapid Rewards member), almost entirely due to lack of seating selection and in-flight entertainment. Flight back from Philly last week, even though it got in half an hour early, was just painful with no entertainment. (But at least it beat US Airways on the outbound--no entertainment, no snack, no fun.) I was happy to hear about the Republic bid and the "survival' of Frontier. I was, frankly, saddened to hear about the Southwest bid as I watched the demise of Muse Air many years ago in Dallas when SWA took over (another small, but quality airline with a nice niche--I flew them for non-smoking policy and great blue leather seats). While I have flown SWA (and will again tomorrow MCO to FLL), I cannot honestly see them becoming my "everyday" airline. As a very frequent business traveler I detest jostling in the queue trying to figure out where my number fits in (I liked the old plastic cards better!), having to find a terminal to check in as quickly as possible to try and get a decent boarding priority, even having to watch a young family board at the end of the line in Philly last week and having to look morosely through the plane trying to find two pairs of seats so their little kids didn't have to sit alone with strangers. (I gave mine up so the mom and son could sit down together.) At the end of the day, Southwest provides an inexpensive, consistent, and compelling product for a value oriented consumer, but as a near-weekly travel option to both coasts I won't do it if I can avoid it. Sorry SWA. I love the singing flight attendants, the esprit de corps, and the cheap fares, but until you can assign seats like everybody else my heart (and wallet) is going to remain elsewhere the vast majority of the time. You will likely win the auction, but I am going to keep rooting for Republic... Best of luck!
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What about all of the non-union F9 workers? If SWA had such a great "culture" they would have some compassion for all of F9 employees and families that they will literally be putting on the streets with this take over in today's economy. Do you think the economy could handle all of these soon to be displaced workers?? SWA is just contributing to the economic down turn. SWA just wants to get rid of their thorn (F9) and gain some gates. They do not care about the F9 employees. Some culture SWA.
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Before everybody gets all stirred up please read all the information about the merger. Emotions run high and this is not the first airline merger nor the last, do not rely on gally-gossip or cockpit- crackpots. Do your own research and in the end where ever you end up be thankful somebody stepped up. I can think of a lot worse airlines to work fo other r than SWA, oh yea that would be any and all of them. This business is not much different than any other right now, be in it to win it. Winning Customers is the number one game right now hopefully profits will follow when the economy flips.
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Coming form an F9 employee I'm putting every dime under my sheets for the next few months, cause either way it's not looking good. I have to say i'm rooting for republic on this one though, atleast they respect us and have intentions of keeping our unique brand and employees. I came from 5 years of experience at that piece of s*** delta and I have to say that stunt you pulled with the early outs then our possible acquisition reminds me of everything i hated over there. I watched early outs to anyone who had in 15 years, then watched ex skywest united employee's gather up the jobs with sign on bonuses and secured spots of $8.25 an hour. Frontier is a family and they've always made me feel like one , I can see the difference every day i look across the counter, and i'm not going back. Sorry WN you can have your job, I'm worth more than that, I'll take the ten at mcdonalds for flipping burgers before I go back to the average airline experience.
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WOW for all the people that got offended by my F9 coworkers "sorry" is very hard to work this hard and see such a good company go this way... but remember WN is not responsible for our demise our previous management is HE THEY ... Did this to us not WN ....... WN has the power to save the day but is not what they do ...... Republic well who knows what they will do with us one thing is for sure, we are out of runway we need $$$$$$ to make it. best of luck
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A lot of people seem to think that the only impact to Frontier employees would be that they would become Southwest employees. I seriously doubt this would be the case for the vast majority. Maybe some would be hired into open positions, but what about all of the people working at the corporate offices, like accountants, payroll clerks, receptionists, crew schedulers, marketing analysts, etc.? I doubt SWA would have any need for them. How about those in middle management? Reservations agents? IT? Face it, a lot of people would be out of work and this is a bad time to lose your job, whether you are an aircraft appearance agent or a Vice President of whatever. To Southwest Leadership: I realize that business is business and that this is a business decision. But you have over $2 BILLION dollars in the bank. SWA is not at risk of going anywhere. It is unconscionable to put people out of work unnecessarily. How would you be able to sleep at night? You can't really expect anyone to believe that you are going to hire a significant number of Frontier employees. Why don't you admit the fact that you are unable to compete with Frontier in the Denver market, and that the only way to beat them is to buy them?
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I work for Southwest Airlines and am very proud of the direction we are going. My heart goes out to the Employees of Frontier and truly hope that given the opportunity that the two can come together and make a positive impact.
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Several months back as I walked off the plane in DEN and saw all the new gates being developed I was so excited…I knew it would mean some new adventure that would involve F9… … Being a victim of an acquisition (Northwest Orient/Republic….two different pay scales, etc.) my heart bleeds for their employees. The original “Republic Airlines” was very successful and Northwest Orient acquired them to compete with UA purchase of Pan AMs routes…..As I read their harsh comments about WN I have sympathy for them, but under current circumstances they truly have been dead on the vine for quite some time…F9 stock price was at .03 cents and after Thursday announcement of WN non-binding bid went to .09 cents on Friday.. As I type it is currently trading at .48 cents…Up over 40%... Yes Republic holdings bid offered you $10 per share.. you’re in debt… as a share holder what do expect WN to offer you? WN has been blessed with some incredible leaders…we’ve worked diligently to keep ourselves in the black, after 911 most carriers would cease to exist had it not been for govt. bail-outs… Correct me if I am wrong…what did WN get… a big fat goose egg. Some how I feel WN is worthy of this opportunity and although we’re not perfect we should strike while the iron is hot. With all the different mass layoffs that have occurred recently the LUV side of me feels we should follow the golden rule and do our best to preserve as many jobs as possible and not kick any one to the curb. Waiting till Aug. 17th to do the celebratory dance
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Paula, After reading just a few of the blogs on here, it would be nice to see them purged. The decision on the future of Frontier will be determined in the Bankruptcy Court not on a website containing the comments of loyal employees and passengers of these two airlines. Both F9 and WN are great airlines and unique to themselves. And understandably, we all have our loyalties to each. All that the negative comments are accomplishing here is harboring resentment and an unneeded hostility . Our employee groups have always been respectful and courteous to each other. I hate to see that respect for each other destroyed here in a blog over circumstances we cannot change. There has been the rise and fall of many great airlines. We need to all be conscious of the fact that it can happen to any of us. We need to support each other and not tear each other down. After all, we are all out here doing the same job
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I think it is a shame that SWA will be buying Frontier. I have found that Frontier offers excellent customer service, comfortable aircraft with leg room, as well as direct tv options. I have never had a bad experience on Frontier and they are currently the only airline I will fly. After flying with SWA several times in the past, I have never had what I can call a good experience. I hate SWA's boarding pass system. I have been shoved, kicked, and even physically grabbed by anxious people fighting for a "good" seat. Also there is little leg room and I have often found the flight staff to be rude. My elderly mother flew on SWA recently, her first flight in her 67 years of life, and she was treated discourteously every step of the way. From rude gate agents at the airport, to asking for assistance in getting on the plane and assistance getting off the plane and being totally ignored. That one flight has ruined air travel for her and she now refuses to fly at all. Once Frontier goes completely SWA, I will fly United. Yes, even their poor customer service is better than what I have received on SWA. I do realize that "The decision on the future of Frontier will be determined in the Bankruptcy Court not on a website containing the comments of loyal employees and passengers of these two airlines." as was stated by A Frontier F/A, but I felt the need to express my feelings on this subject which I feel very strongly about.
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Shame on you Southwest! I don't care how you try to spin this it looks bad to everyone else outside of canyon blue land. I hope the DOJ steps in and sees this for what it is. Comments are 2 to 1 against WN doing this. It looks like Paula has given up trying to respond. F9 did not ask WN for help. F9 has a plan of sponsorship and was exiting bankruptcy within a week with no help from WN. Frontier now has one of the lowest CASM's of any major airline in North America. They have made 8 consecutive months of profits by matching WN's ridiculously low fares. WN has never seen a competitor like F9. I wonder if this is the first time that WN hasn't been able to claim they are the price leader. There was no Southwest effect in Denver when WN came back after a 20 year absence. The only effect was more loyalty towards F9 and record load factors. I hear F9's July LF will be a company record, so we can only assume that July will mark the 9th consecutive profitable month. The news is reporting a Frontier employee rally in downtown Denver tomorrow. I may go down there to show them my support. Can WN take this hit to their image? Are they really prepared to ask the people of Colorado to fly WN after they eliminate their beloved hometown airline of 15 years. F9 is no ATA. F9 does not need WN. This is nothing more than a hostile takeover in order to eliminate their first true competition. And as others have mentioned, do you really expect people to believe a WN takeover will increase competition? I don't even think the WN employees believe that. Here's some advice for you WN - Just because you say something doesn't make it true! If you can't beat them, buy them!
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Frontier employees are very lucky to have WN coming to their rescue. Southwest is THE most successful airline business model in aviation history! Those who are saying that WN will raise fares in DEN are talking smack! Have those folks heard of the "Southwest Effect"??? Also, there's still the air disaster called United, which although likely to be liquidated itself at some point in the future, is still the Big Kahuna in DEN. So even if WN bought F9, there's still big competion on EVERY route. Also, WN has implemented industry standard-setting labor agreements with its employees. Alaska Airlines has adopted WN's flight attendant contract and bidding system(just one example). WN has rarely if ever had ANY labor issues, in it's entire history. And most of all, WN is an innovator, not an immitator. 10-minute turns, cash register reciepts for tickets, no interline agreements, single-aircraft type, flight attendants in gogo boots and hotpants, and then in polos and shorts! Numbered boarding, and on and on! These guys have survived brutal corporate attacks by the likes of Braniff and American, and are still here and thriving. The fact that WN is looking at your airline means that you've all done a great job building your airline. Take it as the compliment that it is, and look forward to working for the most consistantantly successful and profitable airline in the industry! I realize that mergers are usually bad and scary. I have been through a train wreck merger myself (Piedmont/USAir/PSA), and 2 bankruptcies(Markair and National). USAir litterally dismantled poor PSA (which WN's format is loosely based on), and took us at Piedmont from the best airline in the country, to the worst. They quickly got rid of our more effiecient Dayton hub to feed the wretched Pittsburgh hub. Many of our jet routes were quickly handed off to Express, as well as our famous intra-florida service, and our Syracuse and Baltimore hubs went away soon after. Charlotte was also neglected for several of the earlier post-merger years. Seniority lists were a nightmare and our unions didn;t match. WN makes better decisions than the above mentioned disaster. They only acquire other airlines that fit them well. Swallowing another company can be like swallowing poison, if not done right. I am certain that the managers at WN realize this. USAir should never have been allowed to purchase PSA, because the service-formats were completely different. PSA was an LCC, and USAir and Piedmont were full-service. The two "cultures" and service formats don't mix AT ALL! A point that appearantly was lost on AirTran when they went after premium airline Midwest not that long ago. What a calamity that would have been! Anyone remember the 4-way pile-up of Continental, People Express, NYAir, and the old Frontier??? And then throw in Eastern as a wholly-owned subsidiary??? It took CO several years to recover from that mess. So what would Republic do with F9? Merge it with newly acquired Midwest? At the very least, there would be a code-share. So how would premium Midwest passengers respond to their connecting Frontier flight offering bagels, checked bag charges and TV vs. hot meals and fresh baked cookies?? Frontier will not survive the lumbering UA behemoth at DEN on its own which could linger for atleast another year before its own merciful liquidation. And that is the next step for F9 as well. Won't it be fun to come in to work one day to find that your company is shut down and finished? Like USAir was, Republic is flush with cash, but really doesn't have a masterplan. They are just making an asset grab. Lots of assets are great, but only if they serve a purpose and compliment each other. Frontier/Republic doesn't make sense. The only thing that would be even slightly better fit, would be a Jetblue/Frontier combination or even Jetblue/Frontier/Spirit combo. And since those guys aren't bidding, it's WN, or you guys will soon be history! As an Alaskan, I don't want that to happen, because Frontier is our only low-fare service now(except for USAirways). I hope that Southwest will remain in the Anchorage market and even expand it, instead of getting rid of it like WN did when they absorbed Morris. We are now gripped by extremely high prices(even though we have the lowest per mile cost in the USA currently). I pay just $120 more to fly from Anchorage to Oslo, Norway than I do to fly from Anchorage to Seattle. ANC-SEA is a heavily travelled market and the biggest source of AS's revenue. It is not uncommon for AS to have as many as 20 daily flights each way, with a load factor of 99.1% year-round. The route was also Reno Air's most profitable in their system. American abandoned it after acquiring Reno Air only because of their code-share agreement with AS. AS has also recently added a 2nd daily year-round ANC-ORD nonstop. Alaska is a very consistantly profitable market, but WN's planes will have to de-ice from November to March. However, I think that unlike the WN of the 90s, today's WN is not afraid of the bad weather markets like MSP, MDW and BOS. Today's WN is more adapted to serve the ANC market and make money here. Anja Gensel
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I haven't given up! I just don't have all of the answers, nor does anyone else. Hopefully, we'll have more information soon.
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Flight Optimization-that is likely how WN WILL be able to expand it's low-fare brand across the country with the acquisition of F9. They are not just double-talking on this. WN has added 4 cities to its map this year with this program, and they did this essentially without growing the fleet. They dropped under-performing flights to redeploy the aircraft where they could make the most money at the current time. With both airlines competing on so many routes from DEN, there is a lot of overlpap and over-capacity. So instead of having a combined 7 nonstops each way DEN-MSP, the schedule would be optimized to 5. This eliminates excess capacity and frees aircraft to be deployed elsewhere. Everyone wins! I am certain that some airbuses will be returned to their respective owners through this process, but some will continue to fly, allowing moderate expansion while keeping costs down. Very innovative and flexible! Yet another reason why F9 employees should be excited about joining with WN. WN continues to show the world that it is an industry leader that is not afraid to try new things. I am sure that business practices and innovations that worked well at F9 will be assimilated into WN, wherever possible. I am excited at the prospect that Frontier won't just be liquidated or mismatched with Midwest, and that there is real potential to have WN in Anchorage!!! Good luck to all, and happy merger! Anja Gensel
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I am a former Frontier employee (laid off) and a resident of Denver, Colorado. Frontier has a culture and unique branding (the animals) that will never be matched. The thought of the horrible WN colors on a Airbus makes me ill to say that least. Why does WN think they will be the dominant carrier here in Denver. Denver is very loyal to Frontier, I know first hand. Southwest cannot fill a plane most days--Frontier can! Southwest's RPM's (revenue passenger miles) are the lowest at DIA, from what I have heard. IF Southwest does take over Frontier, what a sad day it will be for Denver and our economy! Believe me they will get rid of everyone, from Sean Manke on down! Case and point-ATA. If you are lucky to be saved, you will have to reapply for your job and interview for it. It is more cost effective for Southwest to hire some idiot off the street at 11.00 an hour (which is not bad) than retain your current salary. A Denver ICON since originally in the 40's maybe gone and likely will not come back a 3rd time! I have been in the industry as a flight attendant/ trainer for 25 years, with Eastern, United, Air Tran and Frontier. I have seen them come and go, and believe me sooner or later Southwest will run out of gas. Growing too fast too soon has been a scenario seen too many times and failed. To wrap it up-United (the better company) will match your fares in every market you serve and push you out of Denver like they did in the 80's with CO (Yes, Southwest has been here before-with no success). Good luck Southwest also in the ATL! Being a former Air Tran flight attendant I know the ATL toooooooo well. Sorry, fortress DELTA will never-EVER let you take that city! In final---I did like Southwest (you would not think) when Herb Kellher ran the game (it's a game). He was a brillant man with a sincere vision to provide low fares and excellent service. Now boarding a Southwest flight is like walking into McDonalds.....everywhere, bad customer service (can they speak english?), not a smile in sight! Thanks for the rant and good luck WN----in the end you won't!
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Do Fronteir employees understand the word bankrupt? Worried about your job if SWA wins? Are you kidding me. Do you think the 300 people a day who are losing jobs in this country would care if another company bought them, kept them employeed and gave them the chance to continue employment and to provide for their familes. SWA hires pilots from other now defunct airlines, yes they started at the bottom as FO's but they have jobs and continue to do what they love! Be careful what you wish for!!!
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Frontier does not want predatory capitalists (ie Southwest Airlines) to take us over. You guys are like the wealthy. You never have enough. You want more cities, more aircraft and more money while you destroy airlines and screw their employees. Stay away from Frontier and let Republic buy us so we can maintain our great company without you guys and your unparalled greed. Hostile takeovers, mergers and acquisitions and the chaos that it brings are what is destroying this country, its social stability and its possibilities for a brighter future.
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I've heard word that those with Frontier's Common Stock, will be offered a 10 - 1 exchange; for Southwest Stock - should Southwest ink the deal.
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I think this is just wrong. Southwest is trying to do this simply so that they may rid of competition, not to grow like this should do. We all know SWA has been loosing since they came back into the Denver market and its because they can't keep up with Frontier. This is unethical and pathetic. Southwest has been around for some time now and I can not believe you would stoop to such a low level. Shame on you Southwest.
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I think that the idea of Southwest buying Frontier is a great idea. I truly have experienced the excellent customer service from both companies as a customer and as an employee (Frontier). I worked for Frontier for about a year at the call center in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and what I experienced was phenomenal. The benefits were great, and, my co-workers, supervisors, and airline employees all had great work ethics. The supervisory staff was always on top of events, changes, and re-training. I fell in love with the logos on the tails of their planes. One thing that really left an impression on me was the atmosphere of the workplace. I never had a dull moment. We had an operations manager, Rubin, that really appreciated the work of his employees. I have really never experienced team work like I have with Frontier. I think the marriage of both companies would be heaven on earth. I would love to go back to work in this field. An employee who misses working in customer service for Frontier.
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WN is a great airline with great employees. This is a preemptive strike against Republic to hem them into the eastern US, and a strategic strike against United at DEN. The gates alone are worth the WN bid, with destinations to DCA, ATL, and Mexico, this is a good deal. Yes, F9 and WN have numerous common destinations, so now with these airlines merging, needless over-capacity can be reduced with added profitability (not necessarily higher ticket prices). WN has very patient and careful management who will determine how best to keep enlist loyal F9 DEN customers to fly WN. WN will remain a Boeing brand, finding a suitable home for the 18 Airbus aircraft F9 operators drawing from the 400+ B737s WN operates to fill the gaps. This is a non-issue.
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FYI, I am a current Midwest Airlines employee who will be on the unemployment line in September after 15 years of a decicated career at Midwest. Thanx Republic.
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For your information Frontier operates 51 airbus aircraft. The needless capactity stems from WN trying to fly as many aircraft as they can into a station. Why fly to a city 10 times a day when they are only half full. Easy to keep other airlines from coming in. Environmentalist should be upset with an airline like WN for wasting fuel why not cut your flights down and fill them up saving fuel. Ticket prices would increase in Denver with the departure of F9. UA would be happy to see F9 leave so would all other airlines, would help increase there load factors that WN took from them. Bottom line is WN cannot beat F9 in DEN and they want them gone, sure they gain gates in other cities but it is in no doubt just to get rid of the competition.
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As a Frontier employee, I am of course nervous about where I will end up when this is all over. I love Frontier because this is where I've worked for 7 years, but I grew up with Southwest. I have known Southwest well as I grew up in Austin, TX and Southwest was our link to Texas ( it's a big state ) and the Nation. Southwest's employee group is awesome and I have never had any complaint about them whether or not I was a revenue passenger, non-revenue, or if I was hosting them in my station as a revenue or non-revenue passenger. I actually scheduled an interview with Southwest when they came to Denver, but I bowed out of the interview as I felt the need to stay with Frontier as I had been with Frontier for 5 years already, and my loyalty to the company and brand held me there. In this stage of the process I realize that Frontier will not be the same company, even if Republic is the winning bidder. I have to say, that I will welcome Southwest with open arms. I am absolutely giddy at the prospect of possibly becoming a member of the Southwest family. I would also like to thank Paula Berg as she has been truly gracious and a good sport in regard to this blog and some of the items posted. I hope this ends well for all involved and I'll see you at the airport!
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Reading this forum has been great! Now for some facts... (a) Southwest Airlines, with all due respect, abandoned Denver at the news of the high costs of landing fees at the new Denver International Airport which it said would be too high to fit it's business model. No sooner did the airlines that stuck with and paid for the new airport pay down the debt to a sufficiently low level as to allow the City and County of Denver to lower landing fees, did SWA / WN suddenly find themselves able to return to Denver. Draw your own conclusions. Some say "great business" others say "scheister-ville". (b) SWA can say what they want, but the truth of the matter is that F9 is the first airline to fend off their full onslaught. They've been flying half empty planes out of DIA and doing everything they could to put F9 out of business and failed at it. The plan was to put F9 out of business, and it didn't work, so here's the new plan and $170 million to do it. Draw your own conclusions. (c) People in this forum who bash Airbus have no knowledge of Airbuses. They certainly do not know that Airbuses were selected by Frontier precisely because they were more efficient, less costly to maintain, and greater in fuel efficiency which, by the way, are three of the things that have allowed F9 to profit during the past 9 months. Draw your own conclusions as to the brilliance of relying exclusively on the 737. (d) In it's history, F9 has never been found guilty of grave maintenance violations and fined millions by the FAA. Can SWA / WN say that? Draw your own conclusions as to which airline puts the safety of it's passengers first. (e) F9 was not forced into bankruptcy, nor was it ever truly a bankrupt airline. The CEO chose to declare bankruptcy as a strategic move to fend off First Data which decided to demand a larger front end holding percentage on all air tickets charged and processed by it. Sean Menke may live to rue the day he made this decision as it suddenly took the airline out of his hands and put into the hands of a bankruptcy judge. (f) QWEST, coincidentally the Denver-based baby bell, offered more money than Verizon for bankrupt MCI. Guess what? The higher bid was not accepted. Qwest lost MCI to Verizon despite outbidding them. What? How? It turned out that MCI management and the bankruptcy judge believed that Verizon was a better fit in every way for the melding of the companies. So, those of you out there who assume that SWA swallowing of F9 is a foregone conclusion don't know a single thing about this process. The justice department, likewise, is unlikely to eventually approve this buyout by SWA. There is way too much overlap of routes, it would drastically decrease competition in dozens of key cities not just in Denver, it would likely put over 4,000 people out of work, and another bidder has stated they plan to hold the airline and allow it to run as usual. There are, believe it or not, actually people out there who believe in doing what's right more than they believe in money. I know that's difficult for the majority of people out there to comprehend. So, even if SWA bids more than the $170 million they announced today, guess what, it still might not be enough to persuaded the F9 people as well as the DoJ to go along with what will be nothing more than the end of F9.