Thursday, May 21, 2009

Here Come Low Fares!

Yesterday, Southwest Airlines announced that it would begin service in Milwaukee starting this November. Since I'm originally from Dallas, I think this is great news. It's not so good news to Midwest Airlines. But for the flying public -- terrific.

Southwest has a long history of entering markets and causing fares to plummet. When I was in college, we flew from Dallas to San Antonio for $7. That's not a misprint -- $7. Southwest offers no-frills service at rock-bottom prices.

I have been flying Midwest for 10 years now...both THE BOSS and I have been Midwest Executive members over the years. I simply love their service...when you can get it nowadays. The Signature Seat is harder to find than Obama's birth certificate. That has driven me to fly on Northwest (ugh) and Delta out of Milwaukee. As you may remember, I'm a longtime Delta fan, and the Delta - Northwest merger has me flying back on Delta again. Midwest lost me with all of their minijets. I hate those damn flying pencils. Now Delta/NWA and Midwest have announced a code-sharing deal to start this summer. This might help, as I'll keep flying Delta, and if I can get a Signature Seat, I'll fly on Midwest. But I think it means that YX will become a smaller regional carrier for Delta, much like COMAIR and others.

I expect the local business community to rally round Midwest. All of those Harley dealers, Snap-On execs, and Miller-Coors execs (well, the ones left in MKE) love Midwest. But the plane fact is that competition leads to lower pricing, and the leisure traveler in Wisconsin will flock to those low Southwest fares. That will be the death-knell of Midwest's larger planes -- they'll just keep shedding them and going with RJ's. I'll miss Midwest, but I prefer lower fares and bigger seats over cramped cabins. You will, too.

KC Aviation is on life-support, and we're just waiting for them to pull the plug.


Anonymous said...

Your protracted stay in Cheeseland notwithstanding, YOU are more Texan than most current claimants I meet these days! Buck-fifty whiskies on SWA flights to Austin, suffering two-hour flight delays in the Crown Room at DFW... Ahh, those were the days. Also glad to see you haven't lost your knack for punnage... "But the plane fact is..." Nice, Hawkeye.

Anonymous said...

The plane fact is..." Nice, Hawkeye.


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