Midwest Rolls Out Its Post-MD80 Schedule

We knew it was coming. When Midwest said it would ditch its MD-80s, that had to mean a lot of flight cuts and schedule shuffling. Well, now we know the extent of the damage. The new schedule not only cuts 11 cities, but it shuffles a lot of service around as well. This all begins on September 8.

That day, Midwest service to San Diego, Ft Lauderdale, and Ft Myers will end completely. Midwest Connect will also drop Baltimore, Hartford, Louisville, Muskegon (Michigan), Raleigh/Durham, St. Louis, San Antonio, and Wausau/Stevens Point (Wisconsin). Madison (Wisconsin) will lose flights to Kansas City but it will keep Milwaukee flights.

Los Angeles and Seattle will lose Milwaukee flights, probably because the MD-80 was the only plane in the fleet that could make it nonstop. The 717 will serve both those cities from Kansas City instead. Here’s a crudely drawn map as only I (or an untalented 5 year old) could put together. The slashes are Midwest Connect drops and the “x’s” are Midwest drops.

08_07_21 yxcuts



Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Midwest is also expanding its Northwest codeshare to include many more city pairs as part of this. Anyone get the sense that Midwest is quickly slipping into irrelevance? They’ve already asked for draconian pay cuts from their employees, but part of me thinks the ones who keep their jobs are the unlucky ones. My guess is that as the airline strengthens its ties with Northwest, more and more Midwest service will slip away.

As you can see in the map above, the airline now is essentially connecting Milwaukee and Kansas City with a handful of cities on the coasts. Is that not something Northwest could build up overnight if they really wanted to? It may just be a matter of time.

16 Responses to Midwest Rolls Out Its Post-MD80 Schedule

  1. Dan Webb says:

    So much for saving the cookie, huh? I really think they should’ve let AirTran buy them.

  2. james says:

    Being a Grand Rapids native I don’t see Muskegon as being a big loss. But of course it would be nice if Midwest could channel that into more frequency at GRR.

    While nice for folks living northwest of Grand Rapids, in the past few years the West Michigan area has been criticized as being “over airported,” with too much scattered regional service (AZO, LAN) rather than strong consolidation at GRR.

    Also Muskegon-Milwaukee has the Lake Express ferry which runs three seasons and can bounce you across the Lake Michigan in 3.5 hours. Not a bad option if your final destination is Milwaukee.

  3. DRG says:

    Somebody should think about putting this carrier together with AirTran, which operates the 717 and could deploy some of its 737s to operate Milwaukee long-hauls. Wouldn’t that be a great idea….. :)

  4. Steve says:

    Ok guys.. here is how I see it (from a Milwaukee resident). YX is getting back to “basics.” This very much looks like the airline about 10 years ago before they got “too big for their britches.” They lost sight of their mission and are suffering. A small airline it was, serving mostly Milwaukee, and not really caring about connecting traffic. The had a flight in the AM and one in the PM and rarely a flight midday.

    TPG Group (who owns 51% of NWA I think) has controlling interest. Delta is gobbling up NW (who thinks they will not gut some of the hubs?). Could it be too far fetched to think that YX will also be merged with DL? Air Tran is out of the picture. TPG wants nothing to do with them. Besides Air Tran is running nonstops and red eyes where YX used to fly! Evidently a 737 can make it.

    In any case, the MD-80s were OLD and being VERY poorly maintained. The last one I flew on last week from SFO-MKE looked like it was falling apart, and frankly neglected. I am sure they are doing nothing in the way of maintenance pending the MD80s’ trip to the Marana Boneyard.

    I don’t get Ft. Lauderdale though. The flight was almost always full and it can be done in a 717, at least seasonally.

    Unfortunately the Orlando service was canceled until Oct, but after my award ticket was booked. I got left with nothing except miles back into my account and a refund of the $5.00 fee.

    PS: As Vin Diesel so aptly put it “I don’t DO COOKIES”. However the loss of Alterra Coffee would be a sacrifice.

    Steve: wondering where I can spend my 200000 YX frequent flier miles now.

  5. Zach says:

    Maybe they’ll force you to buy 200k frequent flier miles worth of cookies.

  6. CF says:

    Steve – I don’t see why YX would be merged with DL. I mean, it wouldn’t take very many planes to replicate the service that DL would want to maintain. And they certainly don’t want any 717s in the fleet. So what benefit would YX even bring them? Not much, I’d think.

  7. Steve says:

    Oh I completely agree. The question is: since TPG group has then, why would they well them to Air Tran when they also own NW. Its an interesting dilemma. Maybe they will just keep them as a nice small airline. I wish.. not a chance.

    What Would TPG do?

  8. CF says:

    Steve – Good question. TPG is in kind of a tough spot. They might be able to extract some money from the new DL to make them quietly disappear, but I also don’t think AirTran would be interested in buying anymore. Why buy what will probably disappear on its own soon anyway?

    For TPG to make money on this deal, they’ll have to find someone who sees value in what YX is offering. I’m not sure that there’s anyone like that now. They had to know what they were getting in to on this. It was Northwest’s baby, so I’m sure something has been or will be worked out about what happens in the end.

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  10. Midwest/TPG could an asset sale of 717s to Airtran and a asset sale of gates etc to Delta/NWA? I can see that happening..

    Not sure if Airtran wants the 717s but given they’re a fuel efficient plane it might not hurt..

  11. BES says:

    AIR TRAN???…..Uncle Timmy would have never sold out to them. The entire Sr Management staff would have been let go, plus the TPG offer put 12 mil in Uncle Timmy’s pockets Air Trans deal was not nearly so rosey for the top execs. This once Great airline has been plagued by bad decisions made by the SR Execs. Yes fuel prices are very high, but European airlines have been fighting high fuel prices for MANY years and they have learned to thrive. Concessions need to be made by EVERYONE in the company not only the employees. The employees are expected to take HUGE pay cuts of up to 67%, Uncle Timmy is taking a 40% cut of his close to half a mil paycheck, how gracious. Then the cuts drop drastically for Sr Execs, down to about 11%.
    Capt’s are being downgraded to 1st officer, then expected to take huge cuts, some of them will be making slightly over 30k??? I am not even sure how much they are expecting the FA’s to take.
    It is one excuse after another with them, bottom line is poor management.

  12. comma8 says:

    @ James

    I’m personally amazed that the Milwaukee to Muskegon lasted as long as it did. The Lake Express ferry makes the trip across Lake Michigan in 2-1/2 hours, and by recent calculations (Midwest Express is offering rates between $568 and $668 online right now) the ferry will save you $400 dollars or more per person.

    Given the state of Milwaukee Mitchell Field ticketing and general air travel hassles, I’d imagine you could drop someone off at the airport, get on the ferry, then meet them at Muskegon before they even landed.

  13. Steve says:

    With the Lake Express you can take your car too.. something you can’t to on a Beachcraft 1900. Honestly though, the Muskegon service is not a big deal. So few seats with so few flights.

    Yes, bad management. I few with Uncle Timmy a few weeks ago. It was interesting. When they started to “expand” I got worried. When they added “saver” service.. I got worried. When they divided Signature services into a 2×2 and 2×3 seating I got worried. When they charged $60 for the wide seats, now $65 I got more worried (After all.. is the first class service in NW anything MORE than a wide seat?). You still get leather and cookies. Huh. Now I have a reason to be worried.

    The good news: no kids going to see the Rat. Airfares are simply too expensive and oh yes, the flights to Orlando are cancelled. Pity.

  14. Doug says:

    I spent 90 minutes on hold with these clowns because I had booked a flight for my wife and myself to fly into Hartford for Christmas. Of course the only consolation is they are offering is a full refund of my original ticket price. They would happily re-route me to another airport (like Boston) but of course I have to pay a fare difference of 800 dollars per ticket! Thanks a pantload Jim but MWA’s sense of customer service sucks to say the least. Put your passengers in an expensive situation and then tell them they have to pay for your executives’ decisions. Makes me wonder if the slogan, “The Best Care in the Air” is a worthy of a false advertisement complaint with the Wisconsin Attorney General!

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