To Add Service, You Must Taketh Service Away

Southwest Airlines 737

A Southwest Airlines 737 during the Southwest/AirTran press conference.

Or so it seems… Let the shuffles begin

While Southwest hasn’t always had a strong hold as an airline on the east coast, they have made a dent here and there.  Plus, the traveling public gets excited when Southwest does enter a market because that usually causes other carriers to lower their fares as Southwest can easily flood the market (if needed) with their fleet of 737s.

A couple weeks ago, Southwest announced that the airline was to begin serving Atlantain February with 15 daily flights to 5 different destinations.  This week, Southwest has announced that they will be cutting service from Philadelphiato Boston.  After February 11, 2012, Southwest will no longer fly nonstop or offer connecting service between these two cities, a route that was only started about 15 months ago.  So… service between PHL and BOS ends February 11, new service from ATL starts February 12.  I see where things are going here.  But the traveling public might be the only sad crowd here.  USAirways conveniently services the PHL-BOS market, but I think you’ll see more people ditch the airlines and head down to Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station and hop onboard Amtrak with service multiple times per day on both their Northeast Regional and Acela services.  After Southwest completes this service cut, they will have cut about half of the number of flights that served PHL than a couple years ago. 

Not only is Southwest cutting the PHL-BOS flights, they are also cutting nonstop flights from PHL to both Providence, RI and Manchester, NH, two cities surrounding Boston.  Take a handful of these aircrafts away from a couple Northeast routes and behold, you now have aircrafts for new routes in the Southeast.

The merger and buyout game…

Because, wait, there’s more… Southwest is planning on transforming AirTran’sAtlantahub into a ‘megacity.’  So what is it when some airlines merge, they have this need to come in and destroy everything about the airline they just took over and bought?  I completely understand the ideas behind blending and/or creating a new brand, that’s understandable.  Instead of keeping many things that AirTran has in place, Southwest is planning on coming in and changing it all up.

“I think we’re going to make some radical changes to the AirTran flight schedule,” Southwest chief executive Gary Kelly said recently.  So far, Southwest has stated that they see little use for AirTran’s Boeing 717 aircrafts and now they are announcing plans to kill AirTran flights toAtlantic City,N.J.andNewport News,VA.  I’m not saying those routes are popular or not, but it is something like purchasing a new house and deciding to start tearing it apart before you’ve even been given the keys to the place.  As Brett Snyder, from crankyflier.com said, “The immediate danger is to smaller cities.” 

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