Showing posts with label Southwest. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Southwest. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Free Drinks on Southwest

Who knew? Southwest has four days a year with an open bar.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Fun Spotting

I enjoy airport hotels with a view of the field, so the Sheraton Providence Airport was enjoyable.  Here's an extra view from the room photo.
I Can't Quite Tell The State

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Southwest 1027 - Nice Paint

I had some fun spotting at my hotel yesterday. I also had my scanner going and enjoyed the ATC comment "Southwest 1027 - nice paint."
Southwest 737-300 Leaving PVD

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Funny Southwest Map

Southwest provides free in-flight entertainment if you provide a fully charged device.  This is a fair trade.  I wish every airline provided a free real time map, but United charges for that on their TV system.  I thought it a funny observation that Southwest's map of the USA only has Southwest destination cities.
Southwest's View of America

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Southwest Airlines First Class 737-800

Southwest has two first class seats on every 737-800.  The service isn't any different and they are the same narrow width as all the other seats, but these two seats do offer unlimited leg room.  I was able to claim one with boarding position A43 and B2 last week.  They are considered part of the exit row, so they can't be occupied by pre-boards, children, or the elderly.   
Seat 16A
Exit Rows 15 and 16
Seat 16A Leg Room

Friday, February 6, 2015

Southwest A-List Fast Track Offer

The tempting Southwest Airlines short cut to A List status offer only gives status through December 31, 2015.  If the status lasted through December 31, 2016, I would have flown the three round trips for status, but it isn't worth it for me for 10 months of status.
Southwest 737 at Las Vegas

Saturday, June 14, 2014

More 737 Split Scimitar Winglets

I spotted another 737 with new split scimitar winglets, this time on a Southwest plane in Austin, Texas.
Southwest 737 With New Winglets
Head on View of the New Winglets

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Southwest AirTran Miles Program Merger Update

Rapid Rewards will be the single frequent flyer program for the merged AirTran and Southwest (the 737 will be the single aircraft and Southwest will be the single brand too).  The AirTran A+ program's final day will be November 1, 2014.  To ease the IT transition, AirTran is sending emails offering 750 Rapid Rewards points (about $10.71 in flight value) to confirm their guess at what your AirTran and Southwest numbers are.  Keep you eyes peeled for the email and free points.
Southwest And AirTran Moving Closer

Saturday, April 5, 2014

NTSB Reminds Pilots To Land At The Right Airport

More funny than insightful, the NTSB is warning pilots about "Landing at the Wrong Airport."  Flight crews are recommended to "confirm that [pilots] have correctly identified the destination airport before reporting the airport or runway is in sight."  Sounds pretty basic, but someone thought this bulletin was needed.  Other gems the NTSB could publish include Adding Enough Fuel, What Runways Look Like, or Why Altitude Is Important.
Don't Land at the Wrong Airport

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Southwest Airlines' New Slim Seats

Southwest has caught the industry wide craze for slim seats.  Lucky for Southwest flyers, they are installing comfortable models on their 737 fleet. United, American, Lufthansa, Austrian, etc. are installing a different style with the magazine holder above the tray table and all padding removed.  Add in free TV in flight (bring your own fully charged device) and Southwest looks like a great way to see the country.  
New Southwest 737 Seats

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Delta Changes To Southwest Miles Earning Model

Delta will change the way passengers earn miles to a model based on ticket price rather than distance flown. I don't think this is a big deal for a few reasons.  Southwest already has an earning (and spending) model based on ticket prices and it seems to be going well. Also Delta hasn't announced how partner flights will earn miles. Further ground based partner earning is not impacted and miles still do not expire.  Delta also will add one way awards and a few other carrots to smooth the transition.
Fly Delta Jets
The scary aspect is that the award chart will change, but Delta doesn't know how. "[Award charts] will be available later in 2014." To save some anxiety, credit Delta flights to a partner; I prefer Alaska (same for my American flights) because they have great partnerships, a stable award chart, and care about the customer experience.  Spending miles will also protect against likely award chart inflation, but there is no rush until the new award chart is published and confirms devaluation fears.
Building A Better Frequent Flyer Program Too?
I hope Delta adopts a Southwest award chart too.  On Southwest every flight can be booked if seats are available.  70 miles per dollar of fare (Wanna Get Away rate) and you are free to move about the country.  It's a simple system and an easy way to know what your balance is worth.  This model removes any award chart deals, but it also eliminates award restrictions; I am happy to make that trade.  N.B. - I earn my Southwest and Delta miles primarily though ground based partners like credits cards and online shopping.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Southwest Promo Code

DSHH3DKQBT - Good for 10% off a Wanna Get Away round trip flight before Oct. 31.  One time use only, so if you use, please say so in the comments.
Early Morning Flight

Monday, September 23, 2013

Southwest Rapid Rewards Point Value Drop

Southwest Airlines is devaluing Rapid Rewards points.  The new value is 1.43 cents per point; the old value was 1.67 cents per point for Wanna Get Away fare.  0.24 cents per point adds up over time, 2,500 extra points for a $250 fare or removing about $120 in value from a 50,000 point balance.  Southwest is at the forefront of pricing awards based on the underlying ticket cost (dollar ticket price x points per dollar = award cost), not a flat rate region to region pricing (North America to Europe = 60,000 points regardless of ticket prices). United and Delta are likely to follow in the next few years, so I am intently interested in how the new program model works in real life.  It doesn’t seem to be working well.
Southwest 737 at GEG
Point inflation should be expected in flat rate region award chart models to reflect higher ticket prices over time.  Since point per dollar awards already account for rising ticket prices, points inflation should not be expected.  A point should have a fixed dollar exchange rate in these models.  Breaking that exchange rate peg will devalue the currency in the eyes of its holders and they will be less likely to hold large amounts in the future.  It’s just like monetary policy with real currencies.  This inflation hurts, but my balance is less than 30,000 points, so I’ll be ok.  I have a much larger United balance that I need to start burning through because any inflation there will bite much harder.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Southwest Fighting In Denver - Status Match

Southwest is trying to steal elite flyers in Denver from Frontier (this happened last year) and United.  This is a big move to take on United on their home turf.  I can't wait for fare wars out of Denver to start.  United will match Southwest fares everywhere Southwest flies and I can grab some cheap miles and vacations.  Competition rocks!
Southwest 737 Heading for Battle
Here are the offer details:
We have an exciting opportunity for Colorado Rapid Rewards® Members who have elite status through the United Airlines MileagePlus® or Frontier EarlyReturns® programs!  Through April 30, 2013, MileagePlus Premier® and EarlyReturns Ascent or Summit members can get complimentary Rapid Rewards A-List Membership!

To take advantage of the status match offer, just send an email (make sure your Rapid Rewards state is CO first):

Subject:  Colorado Status Match Offer
1.  First Name:
2.  Last Name:
3.  Rapid Rewards(r) account number:
4.  Phone number:
5.  Attach a copy of your current, valid United MileagePlus(r) Premier(r) or Frontier EarlyReturns(r) Ascent or Summit membership card or statement.
6.  Enter "Colorado Status Match Offer" in the subject line.

To avoid delays, please ensure that your request includes all of the above information.  Please note that your e-mail submission cannot exceed five megabytes (5MB).

Friday, February 15, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Enjoy a photo from the LUV airline.
New Southwest Airlines Logo.
Southwest started flying out of Love Field in Dallas (LUV airport code) and their NYSE ticker is LUV.  They also are loved their customers (or so their marketing tells me).

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

WestJet Has Been Profitable Every Quarter for 7 Years

WestJet today announced its selection by Aviation Week as a top 10 international airline. The study ranks airline carriers across the world by their annual revenues, using financial and operational data to rate publicly traded airlines in five different performance categories. WestJet is the only Canadian airline and one of only two North American airlines to appear on this year's list.  In May, WestJet announced record first-quarter net earnings of $68.3 million, the airline's 28th consecutive quarter of profitability.
WestJet 737 Taking Off
I doubt any airline will win the Nobel Prize for economics any time soon.  But WestJet, Canada’s “preferred airline” (their words), has been profitable every quarter for the last 7 years and that is something special.  WestJet operates a fleet of 737 to 76 cities.  No CRJs and no wide bodies.  Sounds like Southwest.  Unlike Southwest, they fly to several countries allowing them to serve additional profitable markets for both business and leisure (you can be a pure play domestic airline in Canada, but you need to focus on the way up north, like First Air and Canada North).  WestJet also codeshares with American and Delta to bring in more traffic and offer more destinations for customers without changing their fleet make up.  These WestJet guys have quietly found the formula for a profitable airline.  That might be worth a trip to Stockholm after all, on a code share partner of course.  

Friday, June 29, 2012

Southwest Attacks Frontier in Denver

Now that Southwest / AirTran has won the battle with Frontier in Milwaukee, the next battle will be fought in Denver.  And it appears Southwest is looking to win the war in Denver by poaching Frontier’s most valuable customers.  I, like most other Rapid Reward members in Colorado I suspect, got this email today:
“We have an exciting opportunity for Colorado Rapid Rewards Members who have tier membership in Frontier EarlyReturns®!  From now through August 31, 2012, EarlyReturns Ascent or Summit members can get complimentary Rapid Rewards A-List Membership!  And as an added bonus, we'll even give you complimentary AirTran Airways® A+ Rewards® Elite status.  That means you can gain elite status in two frequent flier programs!”
Southwest Status Match Offer
Southwest wants to eliminate competitors.  That’s why they purchased AirTran and are dismantling it.  Next on their list is Frontier, an airline without a strategy or deep pockets.  It is an easy target.  Southwest doesn’t want to agitate United in Denver because UA will go broke to defend the Denver hub and the airline’s customers don’t overlap well.  Frontier can’t afford competition and their low cost customers can very easily become Southwest’s.  Look for Frontier to return fire; they can hold off Southwest in the short term, but are doomed if Southwest lays siege to Denver.

Monday, June 4, 2012

What is a Point or Mile Worth?

What is a point / mile worth?  It’s a simple question with a complex answer.  A mile or point in every program will have a different value too.  Also, miles might not have any value until a certain number are collected.  Ultimately the value is different for each person, but here are my answers and how I got to them.
Jets Lined Up at FRA
Miles and points are a currency that can be exchanged for goods and services.  These goods can also be purchased for cash, making it a simple equation: Total Value / Total Points = $x.xx per point.  If a flight to Europe is $1,000 or 50,000 miles, then each mile is worth 2c.  The denominator will always be known, but the numerator gets fuzzy when you are buying awards that you would never buy with cash.  A first class trip to Europe costs $13,000 or 135,000 miles; yielding almost 10c per mile in value!  But I would never pay $13,000 to fly to Europe, so what is it really worth?  Priceless is the best answer, but it doesn’t help with the math.  I just total the perceived value of the experience and that’s the value.  The means a first class award is more like 3-6c in value; still a good deal.

Do the math for yourself and use your answers to decide if to spend miles or cash.  For example, I would use miles to book a $450 domestic round trip, but use cash for a $300 ticket.  It’s a gray area for borderline redemptions.  I’ll lower my threshold if my balance still has a large number of miles.  Also, if your credit card doesn’t earn at least 2c in value for every dollar spent, just use the fee free Fidelity Amex. It has 2% cash back on every purchase and cash is accepted by any airline.
Sun Rise at ORD
SPG – 3c
Starwood Hotel (SPG) points are my favorite.  With the Cash & Points redemption option, SPG points are consistently worth about 4c each, while full points awards run 2-3c.  The SPG Amex (business card has the better sign up bonus) earns one point per dollar and two points for spending at SPG hotels.  Points can also be transferred to about 30 airline programs with a 25% bonus for every 20,000 points transferred.  This makes the SPG card better for earning American or Delta miles than the airlines’ own credit cards.  SPG is my favorite program and currency because of its high value and flexibility. 
W South Beach Miami Hotel View
Drawbacks: There aren’t SPG hotels everywhere and the top level hotels cost too many points to have any value.  The cobranded credit card is an Amex and not everyone takes those (like my local liquor store).  Mile awards with United and Southwest are poor value. 

Minimum balance of 4,000 needed to achieve top value.

United – 1.75c
United miles are the best in the air.  They are part of the Star Alliance (25 airlines and growing) and have a few other strategic alliances for miles redemption (Aer Lingus has great availability to Europe).  Their reservations people are very good and the website can be used to find and book complicated award trips.

Minimum balance of 12,500 needed to achieve decent value.
United Airlines Jets at EWR Sunrise
American – 1.5c
American is a oneworld partner and doesn’t charge excessive fuel surcharges on awards.  They allow one way bookings and have a decent award chart.  American availability, coach and first, to most places not over the Atlantic, is second to none.  Good off season discounts and a cheap oneworld partner chart (80,000 miles in first London to Australia).  oneworld coverage is spotty and fuel surcharges pop up on European carriers.

Minimum balance of 12,500 needed to achieve decent value.

Delta – 1c
Delta has a three tier award chart and every time I want to redeem, my flight is in the second or third tier, destroying the value of my miles.  They are a Sky Team partner and Virgin Australia partner, so It’s best to redeem miles with Air France/KLM or Virgin Australia.  I wound up cashing in my miles for Economist subscriptions, 3,200 for a year or 3c in value.  Not bad considering my options.

Minimum balance of 25,000 needed to achieve decent value or 3,200 for a year of The Economist.
Not Every Trip Is Glamours
Alaska Airlines – 1.6c
I credit my Delta and American flights to Alaska.  Alaska isn't part of an alliance, but are partners with most airlines you would want to fly not in the Star Alliance.  The award chart is downright cheap in places too.  The flexible earning and redeeming of miles makes Alaska a great program to have miles in.  One ways are allowed and there is a cash and points option.  Partner awards have to be a single carrier plus Alaska to get you to the gateway city.  Not Star Alliance good, but close.  Other than flights and credit card spend (not a good deal), it’s hard to earn miles with them (SPG transfers mostly).

Minimum balance of 12,500 needed to achieve decent value.

US Airways – 1.7c
Star Alliance member with a reasonable award chart (more reasonable than UA to Asia in business).  Only allow round trips.  Can’t book partner awards online, so be prepared for an hour long call with reservations.  Great deals on off peak awards.  The Mileathon promotion runs annually and is a great way to stock up on miles.  US Airways also runs frequent mileage purchase promotions.   I constantly fear award chart devaluation. 

Minimum balance of 25,000 needed to achieve good value.
Use BA Miles to Fly LAN Around South America
British Airways - .5c or 2c
BA is great for short one segment trips on American or LAN.  BA has a distance based award chart, allows one ways, and has partner booking online.  For long flights (less generous pricing), connections (each segment is charged, not total distance), premium cabins (x2 for business, x3 for first), or trips in Europe (steep fuel charges) don’t bother.  Good deals are found mostly in the America’s. The scary high fuel charges take the value out of any BA, Iberia, of Finnair award.

Minimum balance of 4,500 needed to achieve decent value.

Other Carriers – 0-10c
Southwest will sell any seat at 60 points per dollar so they have a fixed value of 1.67c per point (not bad really).  Other airline programs can be anywhere.  My Frontier miles might only be good for a magazine subscription.  Foreign carriers could have no value or tons of value, depending on if you need to use those airlines.  If you are going somewhere only Emirates flies, then those miles will be worth much more.  It’s too subjective for me to give a definitive value.
Southwest and US Airways Jets at ABQ

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Chase Sapphire Credit Card Review

I use a collection of credit cards to maximize rewards from everyday spending.  I have a Citi Forward card because it earns 5% back (in gift card form) on restaurant spending.  I have a gold American Express that earns 3 times points on airfare and the SPG Business Amex that gives me 2 times points on Starwood hotels and Open Savings.  Then I need a card that rewards me for all my other spending.

My standby card is the Fidelity Amex that earns 2% on all purchases and has no annual fee.  My JPMorgan Palladium card earns 2 times points on travel spend, but that is limited to non-SPG hotels since all my other travel spend is taken by other cards.  I decided to try out the Chase Sapphire card with a 50,000 point sign up bonus (now only 40,000).  It earns 2 times points on travel spend and is otherwise uninteresting.  The card is not made out of plastic, but it is not gold so I’m not too impressed.  It’s a decent earner and with a much lower annual fee than the Gold Amex or Palladium Visa; it might be my go to card for airfare spending when my free year with the gold Amex is up.

Ultimate Rewards is Chase’s answer to Membership Rewards.  It has poor redemption value merchandise and 1:1 miles transfers to Chase affiliated airlines and hotels (United, Southwest, BA, Marriott, Priority Club, etc.).  You can also cash out points at $0.01 each.  It is a decent program and occasionally puts all their merchandise on sale to give you better than $0.01 a point in value. Point transfers or cash (if you are unimaginative or cash is king) are the best options.

The Sapphire is an ok card that, thanks to the sign up bonus, is going to be a good earner for me this year.  I’m not sure if I will keep it once the annual fee kicks in.  The Fidelity card is almost too good a value for everyday purchases.  

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Time to Panic

The new year means all your status trackers reset to 0.  I'm starting to freak out over this because I have a greatly reduced slate of business travel in 2012, so I need to make up more out of pocket.  I used to be able to become a 1K in October only with business travel.  Now I'm lucky to gather 20,000 miles for work travel.  
0's Scare Me
It's time to start collecting any cheap miles I can find.  Lucky for me, Southwest is starting new service to Providence, RI and United may match Southwest's low introductory fares, so cheap same day weekend trips may be out there.