|09-22-2002, 07:32 PM
Join Date: Sep 2001
Southwest Airlines Initiates Its First Nonstop Transcon
Southwest Airlines Initiates Its First Nonstop Transcontinental Flights
NBC News reported that the first transcon flew this weekend and showed footage of the flight. It arrived on-time and they served a tiny snack service, but Jim Avala (NBC News Reported) didn't look too comfortable in the middle seat that he had to occupy for 2329mi, which probably came out to a little over five hours. The Nightly News footage showed WN employees in shorts serving champagne at the gate in their plastic cups.
iflyswa.com reports leisure fares as low as $200 on this route and as high as $538 for a fully refundable, round-trip ticket. America West (HP) has matched this unrestricted fare. United and Delta offer this route (unrestricted) for $2250. If you're willing to travel on a restricted ticket, DL and HP offer a $405 fare and UA offers $812.
$1000-$1500 is a lot of money, but there's a sizeable difference between the two airlines. I can't imagine taking a short biz trip and having to spend over 10 hours potentially in the middle seat of a 737 with no meal, no airfone, no power ports, no movies.
If I was traveling on my own dime, I'd probably be willing to book my travel early enough (a few weeks in advance) so that I could fly one of the majors since my leisure travel rarely runs into change fees and other restrictions.
With company travel, it would be a rough decision. It would really come down to if there was a requirement to return overnight for the next business day. Also, the WN flights are a lot more viable for a long trip where you have several days at your destination and aren't expected to do a same-day turnaround or work an entire day after flying in. In the opposite circumstance, it would be extremely suboptimal and could really impair performance.
WN doesn't offer a red-eye LAX-BWI, which is a pretty big blow, too. However, the daytime schedule looks pretty good if you're willing to kill a day as you head east. At least I can rest assured that WN will be clean, safe, and on-time.
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