3 Links I Love: Southwest’s Ancient Tech, Government Moves on UAE/Qatar, Alaska Goes SLO

Alaska Airlines, Government Regulation, Southwest

This week’s featured link:
Now Southwest Can Act Like Other Airlines. Uh-Oh?Bloomberg
Southwest is slowly lurching toward finally getting a new reservation system (after many delays over the years). While many people know the system is old, not many people know just how hamstrung the airline is thanks to this ancient technology. This article gives you a flavor of what’s completely off the table because Southwest hasn’t invested in upgrading until now. If this gives you a sense of just how old it is, Southwest’s system is based off the old Braniff Cowboy reservation system. It has cobbled bits and pieces on top of that platform over the years, and it has pretty much maxed out what it can do.

Southwest’s new Amadeus Altea system (which already powers its international flights) is one of the most sophisticated around. Now it’s a question of how much Southwest WANTS to do to change, not how much it CAN do.

Links I Love

Two for the Road:
Whispers of middle-ground decision on Open SkiesPolitico (via Brian Sumers at Skift)
The US airlines are claiming victory, saying that the US having any kinds of conversation about the Middle East carriers is a win. But the Middle East carriers say it’s not full consultations so it’s a win for them. Who’s right? Eh, I don’t know that I care enough to bother trying to decide.

Nonstop flights to Seattle coming to SLO County airportThe Tribune
I’m not in the habit of posting about small route news, but considering Alaska is really turning its focus to California with the Virgin America merger, this decision to fly Seattle to San Luis Obispo is an interesting one. It doesn’t seem like that big of a market, but it shows that Alaska is really trying to dig deep in this state. I never would have guessed this route.

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9 comments on “3 Links I Love: Southwest’s Ancient Tech, Government Moves on UAE/Qatar, Alaska Goes SLO

  1. On the Bloomberg article stating that Southwest has to run the same schedule 6 days a week: I have a copy of a timetable from 1996 which has a number of Friday-only, Sunday-only, and Fr/Su-only flights. I wonder what happened in the interim?

  2. There’s actually a lot of wealth in the SLO area, and they are an underserved market. Lots of vineyards, government jobs (yeah, they are correctional facilities, but still lots of jobs) and Cal Poly are located in the area.
    I would absolutely love to see a San Diego – SBP flight someday as well. SkyWest used to fly non-stop from San Diego to Santa Barbara and that flight appeared to be popular.

  3. But what I want to understand better is WHY Southwest’s programming doesn’t allow for these functions. I don’t need an algorithm; just a basic comparative technical overview of how different airlines’ reservation systems work would be very enlightening.

    1. Spacie – I can’t say I know those details. I believe they just never built it that way. Back when Southwest started, the airline wanted something cheap, so it picked a no-frills system that did only what was necessary back then. The IT folks have bolted on bits on pieces every time the airline needs something new.

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