The Cranky Flier Interview: Southwest CRO Andrew Watterson Talks California

Let’s start this week off with a podcast. I already wrote about Southwest’s declaration of war against Alaska and anyone else who tries to challenge the airline in California. Now you can hear about it right from the horse’s mouth.

It was Southwest Chief Revenue Officer Andrew Watterson’s presentation at the Boyd Conference that sparked my post, and he sat down with me for a few minutes after that talk. Below, you can hear our conversation that mostly, but not entirely, focused on the airline’s plans in California. (I had to ask about the airline’s decision to end overbooking once again as well…)

This is a relatively short one at 15 minutes in length, so you should be able to squeeze it into your commute. Have a listen below.

I’m almost done with all the content from the Boyd Conference, but I still need to turn my conversation with Spirit CEO Bob Fornaro into something for the blog. Stay tuned for that.

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15 Comments on "The Cranky Flier Interview: Southwest CRO Andrew Watterson Talks California"

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The mention of the “swing zones” and using customers’ locations when they are searching for fares to determine which airports they prefer (or might be swayed to prefer) is an interesting concept. Glad to hear that Andrew still has the same hyperactive, upbeat personality (and I imagine the same broad smile) that he had when I worked in an office with him in fall 2009 and spring 2010. Also, props for using the DoJ as the fake sponsor for this one. I doubt Andrew will be allowed to admit it, but I’m sure he’ll love that one when he hears… Read more »
Nick Barnard

Two things:
1. My commute is really really really really short I get the car it’s done.
2. I love the sponsor its priceless and so true.


‘Bee-Wee’? That is a term real people really use for BWI?


Sacramento International Airport(SMF) is another nicknamed city code commonly referred to as Smurf in the industry.


Thanks for the podcast. Keep them coming.


The tidbit about Short Haul flying coming back was interesting, as it’s not supported by the data on average stage length. However, they might obviously be seeing very recent trends not reflected in somewhat stale reported data.


They are probably actually seeing stimulation in intra-Cal markets caused by Alaska bringing in lower fares. But that wouldn’t be convenient to mention for Watterson.

Ben Brooks
Brett- long time reader of your blog. Andrew did a great job in this podcast, but you however didn’t. Frankly it is painful to hear you interview given your jaded and uncooperative tone. I’m all for journalist (not sure if you define yourself as this tho) asking hard questions, but the pros find a way to do it with more grace, ease, and maturity than you displayed. Andrew had a lot of interesting things to share (like the basin-area analysis of home location of ticket buyers compared w airports searched/booked) which you sort of glossed over in your grumbling effort… Read more »