United Walks Away From Dallas Love Field Airport, Makes Southwest Happy and Delta Angry

DAL - Dallas/Love Field, Delta, Southwest, United

To say things took a strange turn at Dallas Love Field Airport on Friday is quite the understatement. After doing everything it could to keep Delta from continuing to fly to Love Field, United has pulled a fast one. It entered into a deal to give Southwest its gates, giving Southwest a near-monopoly at the airport. If you think this is the end of the story, you’re wrong. Delta seems like the odd man out, but it is not backing down.

United and Southwest Dallas Love Field

This one requires a lot of back story for those who aren’t familiar. The Love Field fight has gone back for decades all thanks to Southwest. Due to a quirk of history, when all the airlines abandoned Love Field for the gleaming new Dallas/Ft Worth back in the 1970s, Southwest stayed behind. After years of fighting, the Wright Amendment was born in Congress. It restricted airlines at Love to flying only to neighboring states on aircraft with more than 56 seats. Despite a couple of additional states being added in over the years, this was effectively the way things worked until last decade.

The old American management team was hell-bent on preventing Southwest from expanding out of Love beyond the borders set by the Wright Amendment. After a lot of back and forth, a settlement was reached that semi-satisfied all parties involved. The restrictions would slowly be relaxed until they were finally repealed in October 2014. The one thing that still handcuffed Southwest? Love Field was limited to 20 gates and no more. (I should note that Southwest shouldn’t mind these handcuffs since it limits any significant competition.)

This deal had Southwest occupying 16 gates while United and American each had two to use. American had stopped serving Love years before and was simply squatting on the gates, leasing space to Delta for its flights. That was the status quo until the American/US Airways merger.

In order to approve the merger, the Department of Justice required that American divest its gates. The new management team didn’t care about the gates at Love and was happy to sacrifice them. But the drama came in figuring out who would get them. Delta wanted them and promised a business schedule to its hubs. Southwest wanted them to grow its presence further. Lastly, Virgin America wanted them to establish a mini-focus city. Virgin America won the battle.

It seemed like things were settled, but Delta disagreed. It wanted to keep flying to Love Field and now that its gates were gone, it was angry. For its part, United gave Delta a big middle finger. It created an absurdly padded schedule so it could say it was fully utilizing its 2 gates so there was no room for Delta. Delta kept pushing.

When the Wright Amendment expired in October, Delta had no plans to stop flying, and it got a reprieve when Southwest agreed to let Delta use a gate until January 6, 2015 when the next schedule expansion occurred for the airline. That wasn’t much a reprieve, but it kept Delta in the game.

Eventually, United realized that its plan to stretch out its schedule was silly. It decided to lease Delta a gate starting on January 6 but only for a few months. I’m guessing Delta figured it was going to be able to do that for the long run… until last week.

On Friday, Southwest announced that it had acquired leases on both of United’s gates. It seemed clear that this was the end of United at Love, but I wanted to get confirmation. The airline told me this.

We have closed a transaction for long-term sublease of our two Dallas Love Field gates to Southwest. This change will allow us to focus on our strengths in the region – including our large Houston hub – and continue to serve our customers through DFW.

That is the long way of saying “we’re out.” Southwest’s press release was downright gleeful. The airlines says it will start 9 new cities from Love in April. The only three announced so far are Milwaukee, Memphis, and Seattle. If there was ever any doubt that the Department of Justice (DOJ) was infatuated with Southwest, that has been erased.

The transaction was reviewed and cleared without conditions by the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division.

How DOJ can come to the conclusion that having a Southwest near-monopoly (save a couple gates for Virgin America) isn’t a far less competitive situation than we have today with both United and Delta is beyond me. But we shouldn’t be surprised. DOJ has been giving Southwest favored treatment for years.

So it’s all settled… or is it? I asked Delta what it had to say about this.

We still can operate and are working on a permanent solution.

It’s true that it can still operate. The deal with United is being honored by Southwest until it expires in July. But after that? I really can’t wait to see what this permanent solution will be. Something tells me it’s going to result in some legal and possibly Congressional action when all is said and done. But if Delta is really set on making sure that it has a place at the table, then it can throw its weight around and make things interesting.

[Original flirting image via Shutterstock]

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74 comments on “United Walks Away From Dallas Love Field Airport, Makes Southwest Happy and Delta Angry

  1. It’s surreal that DOJ expropriated gates from American in the first place, and now the move winds up reducing competition because Delta loses its gates and Southwest gets an even greater lock on the airport. What are they smoking at 950 Pennsylvania Avenue?

    1. completely agree! I don’t blame WN and UA and AA for taking advantage of what the government gave them and making a deal to screw DL.

      The government should never have let this happen in the first place. There should be some stipulation that another carrier who has already flown to the airport can’t be pushed out so WN can grow a monopoly and VX can overlap money-losing service.

      1. It’s a little ironic, since the DOJ seems to treat DFW and DAL as one market, so they really don’t see a decrease in competition by allowing WN to expand at DAL (since they would argue that Delta could just expand at DFW). Of course, DOJ’s position on DCA is the opposite – we need low fare airlines at DCA – IAD and BWI are too far! Is it a coincidence that DOJ Antitrust HQ are in Washington DC? (Granted DCA is a much bigger airport than DAL).

        1. Comparing DCA to DAL isn’t really fair, since DCA is clearly the preferred airport for DC O&D (and has been for quite some time), even with the perimeter restrictions. So much so that DCA is poised to overtake IAD in terms of passenger numbers.

          (BWI, despite the name, is Baltimore’s airport, and far be it for any proper Washingtonian to dare being seen flying into or out of Baltimore. It’s a culture thing.)

  2. I don’t care much about Love Field but the special treatment that Southwest receives is ridiculous and I’m glad that the blog addresses this. Sorry, folks – Southwest isn’t a scrappy little underdog any longer. While the aren’t a hub and spoke carrier per se, they are a major airline and I can’t believe they can get away with these types of under table dealings. I think, as fliers, we can all safely safe that preserving the competitive environment isn’t even on the list of the DOJ’s concerns.

    1. I guess you could say that there’s no LUV lost between Southwest & Delta?

      As for your comment on the DOJ, they shouldn’t have allowed the three mega mergers if the goal was a competitive airline landscape. I posed a similar question to cranky last year on this topic.

  3. This whole thing is so FUNNY! When they built DFW, nobody but Southwest cared about little old falling apart Love Field. Now that Southwest has managed to turn the airport around everyone is having a fit! (yes I do understand that tax payer money also helped improve the airport )

    The New Airport looks great BTW!

    Could the government push to add more gates?
    Rumor has it that the city is looking to decommission Runway 18-36 to free up more land for expansion. More parking lots or more gates?

    1. I kind of have a hunch that this will happen. I could see a deal with the government, AA, WN, and DL being struck where they find a way to add 1 or maybe 2 gates for DL only, with the condition that AA or WN can’t use them if DL eventually bails.

      Then again, I feel like DL has used its position of strength lately to bully other airlines, so I kind of like that they’ve been knocked down a peg on this one. It’s nice that they can’t always get everything they want

    2. TomTX – I can’t imagine how they’d all come to an agreement to allow Love to add gates. This thing was brutal with so many different parties involved. Clearly American and Ft Worth would fight any attempts to grow the airport further. And if Southwest isn’t going to be the beneficiary (if you talk about adding gates so Delta can serve it), then there won’t be any pressure from anyone else either.

  4. Why shouldn’t the DOJ give SWA preferential treatment? Nearly 44 years of profitability and fiscal responsibility. They haven’t screwed their investors or employees over with bankruptcy. Southwest is the City of Dallas largest tax payer so I’m confident keeping them happy is always on the City Council’s mind.

    1. No one is advocating for screwing WN. It’s great that they are profitable and treat everyone well (invesetors, employees, and customers). The city should keep WN happy. But, this is still a dirty deal that is anti-competitive that stems from a government move to improve competition. WN is getting outsized benefit at Delta’s expense for a merger between AA and US.

      1. Again, as someone pointed out above, the DOJ really isn’t interested in competition in light of the mergers between the major carriers. Southwest worked hard to make that airport profitable. They invested in the infrastructure, the invested in the city and they earned the right to use what they built.

        1. Meh. The city built the infrastructure with PFCs. So yeah, Southwest had a hand in it, but its not as if they built it all on their own.

        2. but did they earn the right to kick out DL who also paid PFC’s and wants to continue to serve the airport and is (seemingly) willing to pay a reasonable price to do so?

      2. If you see DAL and DFW as the same market then you see it as more competition. SWA will be able to complete better against AA at DFW. A city like Memphis and Seattle are winner with the new competition for travel to Dallas.

        1. Is there an official written standard for when related markets are considered to be one?

          When is DAL and DFW one? JFK and EWR? JFK and HPN? FLL and TPA? Is the DOJ consistent in this?

          Have they written it down or do they just make it up as they go?

          1. Just look at AA’s 4th quarter results and statements. They have had both reduction in O&D traffic and price pressures at DFW that they had to make up for with more connecting traffic. Clearly the Southwest affect is still in play as all the new non-stops has taken a small chunk out of AA.

        2. Delta should move their DAL operations to TKE which will provide them a presence in the high income areas of Dallas, Collin and eastern Denton counties. TKE has the facilities built and is just waiting on a taker.

          1. I’m assuming you mean McKinney National (TKI). They can’t compete for service until 2025 per the terms of the Wright repeal compromise. Plus, unless you live east of the Tollway/north of PGBT, it’s actually faster to go to either DAL or DFW.

            1. The Wright Amendment Compromise only prohibited WN and AA from expanding to other airports within an 80-mile radius of Love Field (other than DFW for AA) If either airline did expand to another airport, they’d lose some gates at Love Field. AA no longer has any gates at Love Field so the only airline that’s still affected by this clause is WN. DL (or any other carrier except WN) could fly out of TKI if it wanted to.

              And why couldn’t TKI compete for service? Dallas and Forth Worth don’t have any jurisdiction over other airports in nearby cities/counties.

  5. I don’t have a horse in this race, but I find it interesting that WN decided to announce DAL-MEM right off the bat considering DL very recently cut MEM-DFW, and DAL-SEA as DL tries to acquire more gates to build a mini-hub there.

    In regards to USDOJ’s preferential treatment to WN… meh. I think in their mind WN doesn’t have “hubs” so they figure WN would serve more destinations than just adding a few flights per day to ATL and DTW.

  6. I’m going to take the opposite approach – I don’t really see why WN would care about DL’s measly 5 flights a day to ATL. My guess is they’ll agree to co-exist, for a fee, of course. I posted an article about the various players’ performances out of the gate at the expanded Love on my blog over the weekend, and my rudimentary number crunching suggests that DL is seeing load factors somewhere around 83% on its ATL shuttle, so if Southwest does decide to play hardball, you’re right, they’re not going to go quietly.

    I disagree on the point about Southwest not minding the 20-gate handcuff, though. If you read between the lines, some of WN’s statements about needing more gate space suggest they are already chafing about the limits. I suspect that within the next 2-3 years, you’re going to start hearing some real noise about adding more gates. I give that about a 2% chance of actually happening given the NIMBY opposition around the airport, but I do think it’s going to start being talked about sooner rather than later.

    1. Southwest doesn’t care about Delta’s operation, they just want the gates, since they maxed out their 16 pretty much from day one.

    2. MeanMeosh – I agree with ZuluLima that Southwest doesn’t care about Delta here. Southwest just wants the gates for its own purposes. United, however, probably enjoyed kicking Delta in the shins here.

  7. I going to throw out a prediction (one that I like) that CLT will be one of the new cities to/from DAL. WN had announced last year that if it would have gotten the two gates from AA, then they would do a CLT-DAL route. I hope this stays true now that they got them via UA.

  8. Great post, Cranky. I love drama. SDFDuck has it right on regarding WN providing more more destinations (including MEM). Why does anyone really need yet another flight to ATL from anywhere. And that’s about the only beast Delta wants to feed. I am rooting hard for WN on this one (mostly because I love to see Delta squirm). I hope our local DC delegation fights hard to keep delta out of this one. Reap what you sow, Delta.

    1. You do realize that ATL is the world’s busiest airport and you can get anywhere in the world from ATL. Granted DFW covers most of the world as well, but if you live near DAL, it can be more convenient to connect from the nearby airport than drive out to the larger airport nearby and fly nonstop.

      I’m also guessing from your name, that you are MEM based and are mad at DL for dehubbing MEM. It was a never a strong hub even in the NW days, so once the DL – NW merger happened, there was no way that MEM was going to keep its service and that’s what happened. I’d rather go through ATL anyway.

      1. Spot on Southbay flier. I’ve been saying this since the whole brawl began. Delta could actually provide some real competition to American/Southwest by locating at the preferential airport for Dallas passengers and routing everyone to tons of national and international locations via their hubs. Instead we are left with VX, who copycatted WN’s routes and added nothing in terms of real competition and no new locations. With United leaving, there is no way to fly to small and international cities out of Love now.

  9. I find it a bit humorous that DL is fighting tooth and nail over DAL at the same time they’re doing all that they can to quash a second airport in ATL.

    DL can dream that this will make the top 20 list of things to do in Congress right now, but I don’t see an unraveling of Wright 2.0 anytime soon. There’s no way I would expect Fort Worth or even new AA to be signing off on more gates at DAL, nor do I think that Congress has the appetite to get back into this turf war when everyone thought it was settled years ago.

  10. Cranky, I’d be interested in your thoughts as to whether United is making a big mistake giving up on Love and shifting to only DFW, whereas Delta obviously thinks there is big value staying at Love. Why do they see it so differently? As a Houstonian, I think a lot of north Houston business travelers are going to be really bummed they can’t catch a quick flight from IAH to the core of Dallas, and the same for Dallas business travelers that need to visit north Houston, especially the booming Woodlands and the Exxon mega-campus. Do you think there might be some sort of secret or tacit deal that Southwest is agreeing not to compete with United elsewhere?

    1. Tory has a very good question: why would UA give up the only route from IAH to DAL. UA has a complete monopoly and those flights are often full. Now there’s no service between two of the state’s largest airports, IAH and DAL. Very weird. What says Cranky on this?

    2. UA probably assumes they will keep most of their corporate clients on the Houston to Dallas route since no other airlines offers the IAH to DAL option. UA never had big plans for DAL since it has option for region at IAH. DL really needed DAL after closing its DFW hub a decade ago.

      The rumor is SWA returned some slots(16 slots for 8 RT flights)it was leasing from UA at EWR. Those have more value for UA than 2 gates at DAL.

    3. Tory – I’m not sure if it’s a BIG mistake in the scheme of things, but it may very well be a mistake. Delta has long had the sense that if there are alternate airports within an important city, it wants to be there. That’s why Delta still flies to Chicago/Midway, Houston/Hobby, and even New York/Stewart. It wants to have a presence everywhere that it can in key business cities. United doesn’t really seem to have that opinion.

      I tend to agree with Delta here. You want to provide a package of service that makes you attractive in every market. For some, that Love flight on United made it worth the connection in Houston. That option goes away and United becomes less useful in that city. But maybe United already considered itself useless there so it just didn’t think it was worth holding on to it.

      1. United seems so focused on eliminating flights with the lowest RASM that they lose sight of the network effect, both from direct tickets but also from elites that bail out.

        Meanwhile DL becomes more attractive despite the crappiest frequent flier program. Most who care about the FF program go to AA. Most who care about reach and service go to DL. Where does that leave UA?

  11. Wow so Delta is going to fail and go out of business if it can’t get into/stay at DAL. Sounds more like DL is a spoiled child who wants the same toy the other kids have, just because they have it and DL doesn’t.

    With out the Wright Amendment why doesn’t DL just start service at FTW the original international airport, they could have the whole place to themselves. Can’t believe no on lives near there anymore or doesn’t want to fly anywhere. Seems Fort Worth would be happy to work with any carriers wanting to start service there.

    But at the same time having one airline control almost an entire airport doesn’t sound right either.

    1. “…why doesn’t DL just start service at FTW the original international airport, they could have the whole place to themselves.”

      Ask Mesa Airlines how well that worked out!

    2. The Wright repeal compromise prohibited commercial service within an 80-mile radius of DAL and DFW until 2025, which includes FTW. So you’ll have to wait at least 10 more years before you see any talk of service out of Meacham.

  12. To have the context of this arrangement, we need to look at the BIG picture. First, are Delta and Southwest fighting? No. Look at how WN has quietly yielded to DL in SLC and, to a lesser extent, SEA. Look how WN is paying $100 million to paint and refurbish the 88 717s it is handing to DL. Look how drastically WN has reduced the former AirTran operation in ATL. For all intents and purposes, WN licks DL’s bootstraps. The airline that DL is REALLY fighting is AS and that dust-up has been well-reported here. This situation at Love Field is merely Gary Kelly telling Richard Anderson that he will defend his home-town airport (just as Anderson dominates ATL, with WAAAAY bigger passenger numbers). Remember too that when Anderson was Chairman of A4A, Kelly was Vice-Chairman, so we can assume they are “cordial.”………….As far as Southwest and United are concerned, both are pragmatists. Don’t forget a few years ago when UA and CO were begging/pleading/whining to get DOJ merger approval, WN helped them out tremendously by taking a few relatively meaningless slots at EWR. The NEXT DAY, DOJ approved the UA/CO merger. Coincidence??….ummmm….NO! So maybe this time WN wanted to maximize its Texas fortress hub and UA gave them a little payback from the EWR deal. So what?…….That’s the new industry reality, folks. The Big 3 and Southwest have essentially re-regulated the industry. In the old days of regulation, carriers dominated specific geographical areas of the country (hence the names: Western, Eastern, Ozark, Piedmont,…etc). Today, that geographical dominance has changed into city (and, within certain cities) and airport dominance. Why add capacity (other than upgaging equipment without raising costs) when you can be immensely profitable by dominating specific markets simply by raising fares (despite the dump in oil) and tacking-on untaxed fees (read “untaxed fees” as “pure profit”)? There is ZERO incentive for true competition and this airport-centric form of market regulation leaves little if any room for start-up competition……….That’s the reality, everybody. And this WN/CO deal at Love Field is simply another example of it.

  13. Cranky, how about an article about how United seems to be running away from competition and shrinking all over the place. Seems like every time there is some competition, UA is giving up. While they may think it raises their return, I’m not sure whether they are fully valuing the network effect, whether it is the immediate network effect of the connecting flights that no longer have traffic, or whether it is the long-term effect of making elite members give up on UA because the service they need isn’t there.

    In the case of Love Field, UA ought to have offer frequencies to their connecting hubs like IAH DEN & ORD, and maybe 1 or 2 time connections for international service at SFO IAD and maybe EWR. Then for those pax where DFW doesn’t offer direct service so they have to connect anyway, and for those who want to stay on UA, and for those for whom DAL is significantly more convenient than DFW, then UA has some compelling offering. Instead, at best, UA is offering that from DFW, and often on RJs. Life is too short to go to the less convenient more congested airport for connecting service on RJs. It’s like bailing on the DFW market, just like UA has almost bailed on the SEA market, where it was once the largest airline and still had a base of elites.

    Can it really end well to keep jettisoning their established positions? It’s cheaper to continue servicing customers who know you than to have to find new customers.

  14. I wonder if any UA’s unwillingness to make a deal with DL is due to them muscling in on NYC with LGA and JFK? And how much DL abandoning their old DFW hub plays into this?

  15. So Southwest is expanding to MKE, MEM & SEA? C’mon, if you really want to piss off Delta why don’t they expand to ATL, DFW, MSP, SLC? That would be a better story and a good airline catfight.

    Can’t say I’ve ever flown to DAL due to the Wright restrictions. Not that I have ever had much business right downtown anyway. Wondering why so much fighting over that airport while you don’t hear near as much about IAH/HOU? Any other multiple airport city get similar amount of press? DCA/IAD is the only other that comes to mind and that’s in congress’ back yard so a little different situation I might say.

    1. As a longtime resident of the area, the whole thing between DFW and DAL is a big, soupy mess than goes back decades. The seeds of it date to a long, bitter rivalry between Dallas and Fort Worth that existed pretty much since the time there Dallas and Ft. Worth were founded, and that has only very recently cooled off. Before there was a DFW, Fort Worth was incensed that almost all of the major commercial traffic was being routed through Dallas. They even built an airport just south of DFW (Greater Southwest) to try and siphon some traffic over, an effort that ultimately failed. Eventually the feds ordered the two sides to compromise, which led to DFW – though Fort Worth did get to stick its finger in Dallas’ eye by having the airport built in Tarrant County, not Dallas County. This doesn’t get nearly as much press in aviation circles, but DAL also has a huge NIMBY problem, as it fronts some very expensive real estate to the east. Put all that together, and you have a fine cocktail of misery. To my knowledge, there just haven’t been these sorts of issues with IAH and HOU, though it certainly helps that both are located within the city of Houston, and not in separate cities.

    2. A – MeanMeosh is right, but there’s also the issue that the other airports aren’t restricted. Delta flies 7 times a day from Houston/Hobby to Atlanta. No big deal. It wants to do the same thing at Love and it turns into all out war because of the gate cap issues.

  16. Word is that WN returned most or all of its slots and gates at EWR to UA as their portion of this trade. Very surprised that the DOJ would sit idly by when the Herfindahl–Hirschman Index at both the DAL and EWR goes sky high as a result of this transaction.

  17. The Cranky Flier | United Walks Away From Dallas Love Field Airport, Makes Southwest Happy and Delta AngryUnited rules!!!

  18. I think DL is getting the short end of the stick here. Giving the gates to poorly run VX to make a “focus city” that connects DAL with DCA, LGA, LAX, and SFO which WN would duplicate. At least with DL their ATL service connects DAL with most of the world. To me, that’s a stronger competitor to WN than VX.

    Also, giving one airline 90% of the gates at an airport seems anti-competitive to me. The DOJ loves WN for some reason and dumps on DL.

    1. SWA has close to 90% of the gates at Midway in Chicago. They are seen as competition to UA and AA at ORD.

      1. Juan,

        The big difference to me is that any airline can get some gate space at MDW if they like. MDW will acomodate you. DAL has an artificial cap of 20 gates.

        1. I don’t think there are many free gates at MDW. Frontier may have released their when they decided to move to ORD. MDW does not have a federal restriction but it would be hard to add additional gates. The airport is adjacent to a neighborhood. The city has already promised to not add additional gates or runways.

    2. Sorry if I’m wrong, since I’m Filipino and not American, but isn’t Virgin America quite profitable these days? They even had a successful IPO last I heard. CAPA is even saying that they could be the next big thing in the American market.

      1. Well VX has been profitable since its been about impossible to run a money losing mainline sized carrier. Supply has tightened up quite a bit, meaning everyone’s boat got lifted, including VX’s.

      2. I’ve had great experiences on VX, but they seem to be growing slower than their (larger) peer JetBlue, and more value conscious player Spirit. They are finally starting to reap benefits of past investments and should start to see improving financials. They are gaining good airports (LGA,DAL, etc), but with limited cities and limited flights, are having trouble attracting strong corporate traffic which is the high dollar money. Hard to grow without cash, and hard to get cash without growth. The $300M IPO should give them a boost.

        I’d be hesitant to call them the “next biggest thing” as they have a slower growth model moving forward and are rather small.

        For reference, VX has ~180 flights per day and has been flying for about 8 years. Southwest has almost 3500. UA/DL/AAUS about 5000.

  19. Just read “Hard Landing”. My impression was that the majors especially American lobbied to get the Wright Amendment to basically beat down SouthWest. The majors moved to DFW while little Southwest continued to fly out of a run-down Love Field.

    Now, after how many years, the majors see that Southwest was right. As soon as the Wright amendment sunsets, they all want in?

    As far as the DOJ, they probably see that 1) Southwest doesn’t charge monopoly prices even when it can and 2) that there is competition from DFW.

    1. You don’t think these prices monopolistic or close to it? (Anytime fare)
      BWI-LIT $870
      DCA-MCI $846
      MSY-LAS $1120
      BHM-LAS $1174 (more expensive than ATL-LAS)

      Are the legacies more expensive…likely, but they also give big corporate discounts, etc

      1. WN is not always the most inexpensive carrier, as their reputation suggests.

        They are careful to keep their fares off of other websites.

      2. I just punched in BWI-LIT on Southwest site and the anytime fare that showed up for the 8:10 flight today was $435.

        The fares you quote do seem close to monopolistic, though.

    2. Jehu – First off, I love that book. Everyone should read it.

      What should have happened was that Love was shut down when DFW opened. That would have solved all these issues, but it didn’t happen. The Wright Amendment was put in undoubtedly thanks to American but also anyone else at DFW who cared about protecting their operation. That was also a different time, before the Metroplex spread out as much as it did. So Love was a much bigger advantage.

      But while Delta did want to grow Love after Wright sunsetted, this isn’t about growth. Delta has flown 50 seaters into Love for several years and it just wants to maintain those flights. Seems fair to me.

  20. One of my 2015 predictions that I didn’t submit was UA doing something in DAL – larger equipment to UA hubs – wrong.

  21. Many (correct) assertions on here (as well as in previous posts concerning WN) basically stating that SWA always gets its way with the DOJ. People want to know why. The answer is simple: If WN does not prosper on a national scale, then the Government will be forced to acquiesce to the statement, “Deregulation was a failure.” If you look at the deregulated landscape, only WN has built a true national network capable of competing vigorously and regularly with the Big 3. Maybe WN got tired of battling everybody all the time and decided to take their (sizeable) piece of the pie. People often comment on here that “Southwest doesn’t know who they are or what they want to be anymore.” but their stock performance in 2014 — the best performance of ANY company in the Fortune 500 — shows they know exactly who they are; that is, a cash cow and shareholder’s dream.

    1. Part of stock performance is communicating well. The other part of it is making promises you can keep and keeping them.

      Southwest puts out a good story, and generally follows it, but its future will be very interesting, and likely won’t follow past results.

      1. Part of stock performance is communicating well. The other part of it is making promises you can keep and keeping them.

        But isn’t that true for any company?

  22. The biggest mistake the planners made was not bulldozing the terminals and runways at DAL the way they were at Stapleton when DEN opened.WN decided to stay in the airport every one else left after DFW was opened? Why was that permitted? You don’t build a shiny new airport and leave the old one standing…

    Sounds like WN were squatters, “We aren’t bound by agreements maaannn! We’re stayin’ here Mannn!!”

    Yes, the government does still view them as the spunky little upstart carrier and favors them as such.

    Read the amicus brief they filed in the US/AA matter, it’s pure BS.

    “Stimulate the market by bringing low fares to the poor huddled masses”. Tripe.

    But when they squeeze everyone else’s gonads at DAL it’s all fine and dandy?


  23. I flew Southwest out of Memphis to Orlando last week, fine trip each way for my family. Booked months in advance, it was less than 800 dollars for my family of 4. Delta in the same timeframe was over 1200. Both flights were packed, I can see why WN added a seasonal second daily nonstop. What was Delta’s response, cutting it’s daily nonstop to.MCO to just Sat only. I’m from Memphis and I love seeing O&D growing there as it is. Sure, the dehub is a status thing, but no longer are friends driving to Nashville or Little Rock to fly due to the high prices of the hub days that suppressed O&D. It looked like the flight to Baltimore waiting for us to get off in Memphis was a full one too. Hoping for much success for the Southwest flights to Dallas.

  24. I loved the UA from DAL, particularly when flying overseas. I avoided the i35 traffic and the taxi costs and madness to catch a plane out of DFW. With this change, I will fly at least 50% less on UA this year. Not a big fan of SW and their fares are not as cheap as they used to be. I can’t see myself, a frequent flyer going DAL to SEA without leg and work space just to hear SW airlines jokes by the crew. I still like the traditional flight experience of AA and UA and the possibility to sit upfront and potentially be upgraded without the madness to check in right before the 24 window to try to get a mediocre seat upfront on SW on a long flight of 3+ hours. Also, all this frenzy to increase frequency and now parking at DaL is a challenge, the infrastructure is not there yet…..

  25. As a semi-regular traveler between IAH/DAL on UA, I may be forced to drive now from Houston or even fly WN. The pain of traveling to Dallas through DFW is too great. Rental car facility, highway construction and the un-welcome feeling from the Irving TX PD has kept me from DFW for 8 years. The miles and segment on UA are not worth the trouble of flying to DFW.

  26. As one of those regular travelers to Dallas from Houston who finds IAH more convenient than Hobby and DFW one of the most inconvenient airports in the U.S., once again I’m screwed by UA in the name of efficiency over customer service. Clearly Continental has lost the internal culture battle. Counting down the days to United’s next bankruptcy filing.

  27. I fly mostly international, both Middle East and Asia, and found it very convenient to fly from Love Field (DAL). I can be from home to gate in about 40 minutes. I could check baggage for international travel at the check-in for UA or DL and I was done. Made the connection at either IAH or ATL for the International leg and it was all so easy. IAH has so many other international carriers in addition to Star Alliance carriers. Almost the same at ATL with connecting to either Delta partners or other carriers. DFW (an hours drive) was lagging behind and to book on American meant that you had an additional connection and terminal change in either ORD or JFK and booking on BA meant you had to connect and endure a terminal change at LHR. Using DL or UA was a sweet connection. With DL and UA out of DAL, there is no way to connect easily to an international flight and check bags. WN doesn’t interline for baggage swaps, I’m not sure about Virgin America. With Emirates, Etihad and Qatar now flying out of DFW ,International has gotten better, but it’s still a good hour nearly 2 hours from home to gate.

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