Why Would not Southwest Airways Fly Redeyes?

There are quite a lot of issues that make Southwest Airways distinctive amongst US airways, and I’d take into account most of these to be aggressive benefits. There’s one unusual quirk that makes Southwest distinctive, although — the airline doesn’t function redeye flights. I assumed it could be attention-grabbing to take a better have a look at why, and if that might change.

Southwest doesn’t function redeye flights

Home redeye flights (the place you fly in a single day) will be polarizing — folks love them for the effectivity of not “losing” a day, however hate them for having to overlook an evening of sleep, and the way robust they are often in your physique.

Main US airways function home redeye flights for quite a lot of causes:

  • There’s the previous saying that planes solely earn cash after they’re within the air, so parking a airplane on the bottom in a single day isn’t nice for plane utilization
  • Many purchasers want redeyes to avoid wasting time, so an airline not working redeyes may lose some enterprise to the competitors
  • For a lot of markets, redeyes permit airways to supply sensible connecting itineraries; for instance, when you’re flying from Hawaii to the East Coast of the mainland and are connecting on the West Coast, certainly one of your two flights will virtually at all times need to be a redeye

There’s one exception on the subject of redeyes. In its 50+ 12 months historical past, Southwest Airways has by no means scheduled a redeye flight. What’s the logic — does the airline simply not suppose these flights would earn cash, or…?

All different main US airways function redeyes

Why doesn’t Southwest function redeyes?

Up till 2017, there was a technical limitation that prevented Southwest Airways from scheduling redeyes. The airline used to have an antiquated reservations system:

  • This technique didn’t permit Southwest to schedule connecting itineraries involving redeyes
  • This technique didn’t permit the airline to even fluctuate its schedule on completely different days of the week
  • All Southwest flights had be scheduled to land by 11PM PT (2AM ET), in order that the system could possibly be converted to the next day

In 2017, Southwest lastly transitioned to Amadeus, which is way more succesful, and permits the airline to schedule redeyes, amongst different issues.

So over 5 years after making the change, why has Southwest nonetheless not launched redeyes? In early 2020, whereas the Boeing 737 MAX was grounded, and earlier than the pandemic shut down journey, Southwest’s VP of Community Planning was requested about Southwest’s lack of redeyes. Beneath is an excerpt.

Southwest doesn’t fly crimson eyes. How a lot simpler would your life be if it did?

I don’t know if simpler is the fitting phrase, but it surely’s completely different. I’d like to have the ability to fly crimson eyes simply because it could offer you some extra alternatives to serve the shopper want. I imagine there’s a buyer want for those that are going from west to east that wish to fly after the enterprise day.

If it by no means involves go for Southwest, it’s one thing we’ve lived with for 48 years. It’s not like, “Oh my gosh, we have now to fly crimson eyes.” In some unspecified time in the future, it could be a pleasant extension from what we’re doing now. However it’s not a make or break factor.

When it’s proper and the operation is feeling snug that they’ll do it and so they can keep it for our workers, then we’ll go forward and switch that on.

For what it’s value, whereas Southwest flight attendants appear to have the ability to function redeyes with out difficulty in keeping with their contract, I’ve heard rumors that the contract for pilots would make redeyes extra pricey to function. I haven’t been capable of see the contract myself to determine if that’s really the case, but when anybody has any insights, I’d love to listen to them.

Southwest Airways doesn’t function redeyes

Southwest is such a unusual airline

Southwest is a humorous airline, and that’s additionally why I’m a bit conflicted on this.

Once I began scripting this put up, I assumed to myself “is nobody at Southwest considering, or why wouldn’t the airline add redeyes?” Southwest has the planes sitting round, and presumably there are at the least some markets the place these flights could possibly be operated profitably, and the place repositioning planes in a single day would permit the airline to in any other case run extra easily.

So it’s solely pure that my thought is that Southwest simply appears to be caught in its methods, and refuses to vary. That brings me to my different thought on this, which is that a part of what units Southwest other than the competitors is that the airline is about in its methods.

Another US airways appear to suppose that the trail to profitability features a full reinvention each few years, with seemingly little success. “Hey, let’s add TVs to planes and be premium” shortly turns into “nope, by no means thoughts, let’s rip these out.” In the meantime little has modified about Southwest, from pleasant service, to environment friendly plane turns, to 2 free checked baggage, to no assigned seats.

Southwest is the one airline that really marches to the beat of its personal drum, and doesn’t appear to care what the competitors does. And it has labored very well for the airline over time.

So whereas I may not get Southwest’s logic right here, I do suppose the parents at Southwest know precisely what they’re doing, and that the choice to not function redeyes is intentional… for now.

Redeyes would make Southwest’s Hawaii service simpler

Backside line

Southwest Airways is the one main US airline to not function redeye flights. Up till 2017, this was resulting from a limitation with the service’s reservations system, which (amazingly) didn’t permit redeyes to be scheduled. Nonetheless, it has been over 5 years since that change was made, and the airline nonetheless doesn’t function redeyes.

This appears to be one thing that’s on Southwest’s radar, although it clearly hasn’t been sufficient of a precedence to truly occur. I’m curious to see if this modifications ultimately, or if the airline will simply keep on with its present technique.

Anybody wish to take a stab at explaining Southwest’s lack of redeyes?

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