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You guys really came through--I received nearly 70 entries to the "Are You Smarter Than A Schedule Planner" contest.  I went through them, eliminated ones that violated the rules (primarily, curfew and balance), blanked out the entrant's names, then submitted them to the judges.  Some entries were very similar, but we're used to that.  There are always differences in line construction, turn time, and market timing in a schedule--which is what Schedule Planners juggle all of the time. 


The three judges--Pete McGlade, Vice President of Schedule Planning, Adam Decaire, Director of Network Schedules, and Mike Friedman, Manager of Network Schedules--are totally used to deciding between very similar schedule candidates that come from different scenarios produced by our schedule Optimizer.  The discussion on Friday afternoon was spirited--it was specific--and it was a lot of fun!


After the smoke cleared, we had an Employee winner selected, but couldn't decide between the top two finalists in the non-Employee group.  So, we took a cue from this year's "American Idol" and decided to name TWO winners!  We'll be bringing *two* non-Employees, and their guests, for a wild day at Southwest Headquarters.


Our winners ARE:


Employee Category: 

Chris Wehmeyer, Ramp Supervisor, Kansas City


Non-Employee Category:

Mark Robinson, Colorado

Brett Snyder, California


I'm going to try and e-mail many of you why your entry wasn't selected (I had the flu this weekend, so I'll do that while I'm conscious!), but other than violation of the basic rules (see a re-do of the .PDF file attached below), the majority of the "deal-breakers" can be categorized in the following general areas:


- Market timing.  Each market has an individual "time-of-day demand curve" but we all can kind of figure out what it is--if it's a business market, you want something in the morning and back in the evening, yet you don't want to go much earlier than 7:00 a.m. (local) or later than 8:00 p.m. (local).  Leisure markets are different--you want to fly into Vegas to get there around hotel check-in time, and want to leave just after hotel check-out time.  Entries were evaluated based on those admittedly subjective criteria.


- Through patterns.  As I said in the rules/hint sheet, onestop traffic is significant.  Entries that had the LAS-BWI flight as a Vegas originator didn't go far, nor did ones that didn't connect the BWI-MCI-OAK pucks. 


- Turn times.  Our average turn time is between 25 and 30 minutes.  If aircraft on-the-ground times were outside our norms, entries were penalized.


Again--THANK YOU to all of you that entered the contest!  We'll post pictures and a chronicle of the celebration in Dallas on March 24.  And don't forget your scheduling "skills"....we may have a new challenge coming for you next year!

Adventurer B
May we see the winning entries?
Explorer A
Congratulations to the winners. Bill, any chance you'll post the winning entries so those who entered can compare to our entries? Thanks!
Explorer C
Do it again! I just found out about this! I wanna' play! (*^u^*) =m
Explorer C
I don't think I knew about this. It sounds like it would have been a lot of fun.
Explorer A
Hey Bill, Could you post the winning schedule? I'm curious to see it to determine what I could have done better/different. Thanks, Brian
Hi, everyone! Let me see (1) if the winners mind, and (2) if our printer/copier/scanner can pick up enough detail to make it worh everyone's while. Fair warning, though: it'll be in glorius Black and White (just like "I Love Lucy"!).
Explorer C
Hey, Christi / Bill at Southwest Air, I am smart! Who does twitter follows? I am hurt that you don't follow me when I am so loyal. Did you look at my post on Southwest Airlines at - Schedule Planners - juggling is the trick
Explorer C
Brett Synder posted his schedule at
Explorer B
Brett posted his schedule above with the link. Here is mine: First 737-700 Departs SNA at 7:00 AM local time SNA-SMF-SNA-SMF-SAN-LAS-BWI gets into BWI at 23:50 local time The "Herb" times in takeoff/land pairs for the above are: 0900-1025 1055-1220 1250-1415 1445-1605 1635-1740 1810-2250 Second 737-700 Departs BWI at 7:15 local time BWI-MCI-OAK-SAN-SMF-SNA-SMF-SNA gets into SNA at 21:00 local time The "Herb" times in takeoff/land pairs for the above are: 0615-0905 0935-1330 1400-1525 1555-1725 1755-1915 1945-2110 2140-2300 The 737-300 Departs LAX at 6:00 local time LAX-PHX-LAS-SMF-LAS-SLC-LAX gets into LAX at 16:35 local time The "Herb" times in takeoff/land pairs for the above are: 0800-0915 0945-1050 1120-1245 1315-1430 1500-1615 1645-1835 Every ground time was exactly 30 minutes. Mark Robinson of Colorado
Frequent Flyer C
Hi Anonymous - I don't "autofollow" everyone that follows our Twitter account... Send me your twitter url and I'll be happy to follow such a loyal customer! Thanks! Christi @southwestair
Explorer C
When will you e-mail the loosers as to why they lost?