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Southwest Airlines To Announce Flights To Mexico From Houston


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#1 CasiYucateco

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 12:44 AM

Maybe a choice to grumpy old United is going to appear:


Mayor, Southwest Airlines agree on Hobby Airport expansion

Houston's mayor will announce in the morning an agreement between the city and Southwest Airlines dealing with the expansion of Hobby Airport.

It's a renovation that will allow the airline to operate international flights out of Hobby. For weeks, we've heard the arguments for and against the expansion, and now it seems the city is picking a side.
....
Mayor Annise Parker and Southwest CEO Gary Kelly are expected to reveal their expansion deal right here in the morning, and Eyewitness News has learned will likely Kelly will be kept to his word. "If we can reach an agreement with you, I'll pay for the $100 million project," Kelly said during a city council meeting on May 8.

Since then, it appears Southwest has negotiated additional gates out of Hobby and the go-ahead to build a $100 million customs facility. They want to fly to Mexico and Latin America.
.....
City Council will have to vote on the deal and not everyone is on board. United Airlines also has fiercely opposed the proposal.

Maybe writing more Emails to United about their dishonest pet policy, reminding them that a choice is coming, would be a good idea? :D


Link to Southwest's current information on Mexico flights via Volaris:

International Connect to Mexico


Another source found here, WFAA:

Southwest Airlines expected to announce international expansion

Another source, Houston Chronicle:

Parker, Southwest to announce agreement on Hobby expansion

Maybe when United merged with Continental, they should have kept their HQ in Houston? By moving it to Chicago, they sorta broke the old "hometown loyalty" and, perhaps, opened the door to Southwest's plan. Southwest is not a deluxe airline, but they have nicer personnel than most others operating within the USA.

Since this is breaking news this evening, a good bit of more information should be available after the press conference tomorrow.

Even if Southwest doesn't fly directly to Merida, they'll most likely go to Cancun and other locations in Mexico, which could have connections to Merida. From my perspective, this is great news. United may have to compete. Novel concept.
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#2 nebinkwe

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 09:14 AM

Maybe a choice to grumpy old United is going to appear:


Mayor, Southwest Airlines agree on Hobby Airport expansion


Maybe writing more Emails to United about their dishonest pet policy, reminding them that a choice is coming, would be a good idea? :D


Link to Southwest's current information on Mexico flights via Volaris:

International Connect to Mexico


Another source found here, WFAA:

Southwest Airlines expected to announce international expansion

Another source, Houston Chronicle:

Parker, Southwest to announce agreement on Hobby expansion

Maybe when United merged with Continental, they should have kept their HQ in Houston? By moving it to Chicago, they sorta broke the old "hometown loyalty" and, perhaps, opened the door to Southwest's plan. Southwest is not a deluxe airline, but they have nicer personnel than most others operating within the USA.

Since this is breaking news this evening, a good bit of more information should be available after the press conference tomorrow.

Even if Southwest doesn't fly directly to Merida, they'll most likely go to Cancun and other locations in Mexico, which could have connections to Merida. From my perspective, this is great news. United may have to compete. Novel concept.


I went to Southwest's website and read a little on their expansion and on their going international.
This is some of what I found out:

"Will Southwest’s International Service at Houston Hobby (HOU) affect United-Continental?
United-Continental’s arguments are focused on their mission to retain a functional monopoly on international service to Mexico and the Caribbean—an argument has been challenged since airline deregulation in 1978. Even with a Hobby international expansion of service to include Mexico, the Caribbean and cities in Central and South America, United-Continental would continue to have a stranglehold on service to at least 29 destinations from Houston.

Will Southwest serve routes already served by United?
Hobby’s international service footprint would include Mexico, the Caribbean and cities in Central and South America; United-Continental would continue to serve at least 29 destinations that Southwest does NOT serve.

So, it may NOT be Merida! :(
But, anything that takes away from United's strangle hold is good news as far as I am concerned!
Sometimes in life, you never know when you're going to be handed a bunch of 'limons', but, living here in the Yucatan, you can make some pretty awesome Margaritas with those limons!! It's all in how you learn to 'roll with it' as they say! "Bottoms up, I believe I'll have another Margarita, por favor!"

#3 Joanne

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 09:51 AM

So, it may NOT be Merida! :(
But, anything that takes away from United's strangle hold is good news as far as I am concerned!


United does not have a strange hold on direct flights to Mexico from the USA. Merida yes, but to Mexico no. So if it's not Merida, who cares if South West flies to Cancun. So do many other airlines.
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Posted 23 May 2012 - 11:33 AM

We've all been gathering signatures on petitions for all sorts of things in the last week or two. Perhaps it's time to gather together every single person we can find who would ever fly into ~ or even think about flying into ~ Merida and let Southwest know there is a big expat population there with lots of travel into and out of.

Ferries, animal abuse in St. Louis, United's stupid pet policy ... all have been brought to the attention of Yucatan folks, so perhaps we could do this too?

It might not help, but it couldn't hurt.

#5 Joanne

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 12:48 PM

Lynette, I think the idea is great. And maybe Southwest will listen. But the greater problem is that until the airlines offer flights to Merida that are cheaper than they are now, and are more in line with prices into Cancun, the number of persons wishing to fly into Merida isn't going to be enough to support another airline that would compete with United.

I can fly to Winnipeg on Westjet for under $800 return at maximum. The least I've ever paid for a round trip ticket to Winnipeg on Westjet is $250 and average is around $500. United or their partners charge me $1200 on a consistent basis to fly into Merida. It's an easy decision to take the bus to Cancun with a price difference like that. Westjet is such a great airline, it is a pleasure to fly with them.

The thing is that Cancun and the Mayan Riviera are a HUGE tourist area with thousands and thousands of people flying in everyday. And that's where the price savings come in. No way is one or two or three flights from the US into Merida ever going to offer that sort of pricing.

Having said all that - there is no harm in trying a petition to Southwest.
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#6 nebinkwe

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 01:06 PM

United does not have a strange hold on direct flights to Mexico from the USA. Merida yes, but to Mexico no. So if it's not Merida, who cares if South West flies to Cancun. So do many other airlines.


The announcement comes after heated debate on whether or not an expansion at Hobby was good for the city, or would hurt Bush International Airport. Mayor Parker did address that this morning, saying despite moving forward with a Hobby expansion, the city is still committed to growth at Bush, and that the city can handle two international airports.

United Airlines has fiercely opposed the expansion.

Before the announcement of this morning's news conference, United Airlines CEO Jeff Smisek, in an ABC13 exclusive interview, said United would lose 1,300 jobs if the Southwest expansion at Hobby happens.

Southwest claims the expansion would create more direct jobs at Hobby and have a trickle effect on support businesses in the area, but less than what a Houston Airport System study claims.

Southwest also says the Hobby expansion would make international fares more competitive. But United argues it would cost more jobs than it would create, saying that Houston doesn't need a second international airport, just IAH.

United said earlier this month it might cancel $700 million in improvements to Terminal B at IAH and it might drop some service from Houston
Sometimes in life, you never know when you're going to be handed a bunch of 'limons', but, living here in the Yucatan, you can make some pretty awesome Margaritas with those limons!! It's all in how you learn to 'roll with it' as they say! "Bottoms up, I believe I'll have another Margarita, por favor!"

#7 nebinkwe

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 01:15 PM

We've all been gathering signatures on petitions for all sorts of things in the last week or two. Perhaps it's time to gather together every single person we can find who would ever fly into ~ or even think about flying into ~ Merida and let Southwest know there is a big expat population there with lots of travel into and out of.

Ferries, animal abuse in St. Louis, United's stupid pet policy ... all have been brought to the attention of Yucatan folks, so perhaps we could do this too?

It might not help, but it couldn't hurt.



Lynette, I think THAT IS A GREAT IDEA!!
The petition that I have going right now is approaching 300, (which is great) but it's not catching on the way I thought it would or hoped that it would!!
I wonder if Yucatan Today and Yucatan Living writing an article each on the new expansion at Southwest and what it would mean to the expat community here would be a good idea too?
then, sending those articles (in the form of the magazine or e-magazine) to the president of Southwest letting him know about the huge population of snowbirds, expats and residents who would welcome Southwest to Merida and the rest of Mexico of course would also be a great idea!
Hey, Yolisto-Khaki, get your typing fingers ready!! :D
Sometimes in life, you never know when you're going to be handed a bunch of 'limons', but, living here in the Yucatan, you can make some pretty awesome Margaritas with those limons!! It's all in how you learn to 'roll with it' as they say! "Bottoms up, I believe I'll have another Margarita, por favor!"

#8 doble

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 01:34 PM

Lynette, I think THAT IS A GREAT IDEA!!
The petition that I have going right now is approaching 300, (which is great) but it's not catching on the way I thought it would or hoped that it would!!
I wonder if Yucatan Today and Yucatan Living writing an article each on the new expansion at Southwest and what it would mean to the expat community here would be a good idea too?
then, sending those articles (in the form of the magazine or e-magazine) to the president of Southwest letting him know about the huge population of snowbirds, expats and residents who would welcome Southwest to Merida and the rest of Mexico of course would also be a great idea!
Hey, Yolisto-Khaki, get your typing fingers ready!! :D

Great idea - where do I sign up???

#9 YolistoKhaki

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 02:00 PM

I'm READY... LOL I'll put it in the news and be sure its something you can send to Southwest.

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 02:07 PM

United Airlines has fiercely opposed the expansion. . . United said earlier this month it might cancel $700 million in improvements to Terminal B at IAH and it might drop some service from Houston


These are the same people who defend every usurious fee and unjustified rate increase (and profitable pet policy changes) with free market double talk.

Well this is the free market in action, but ~ oh! so sad!! ~ United doesn't actually want that. What it wants is a captive market with no other options available to the captives so it can increase fees and fares all out of proportion to what's warranted by operating costs. Fu@kem. Go Southwest.

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 02:17 PM

okay, here ya go ... sign and pass it on to your FB friends and family


https://www.change.o...co-from-the-us#

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 02:45 PM

Thanks for the news updates, CasiYucateco and Newbinkwe.

I doubt there is sufficient volume year round on the Houston to Merida direct route for Southwest to be interested. They cherry pick the best underserviced routes to fly. However, I do imagine they will fly, if from Houston, to Mexico City or some major tourist center. They already serve Cancun under the AirTran brand. Any new service would have to be negotiated with Mexico, most likely with reciprocity granted Mexican carriers. Last I read, Mexico has declined to enter into an "open skies" agreement with the USA. Such a negotiation might be complicated by the "who knows when?" return to the air of Mexicana, still in a fideicomiso limbo as its new would be owners scramble to -- what? raise capital? stop fighting amidst themselves? get Mexican SCT flight approval?

SWA is more generous about allowing small pets in the cabin, a small pet being one that can fit UNDER your seat. Note that the acceptable SWA carrier (cage) dimensions are slightly more generous if you sit in a center seat rather than an aisle or window seat, with some unspecified exceptions. However, they DO NOT accept larger animals as baggage or cargo. If interested, please see: http://www.southwest...s/pets_faq.html . for fuller information. Flying into Mexico City, if that is where SWA would start from Houston, would involve a connecting flight with Volaris, and dealing with Volaris's currently more restrictive cabin rules, plus its "no connecting flight" rule (which may only apply to pets in cargo, which would be irrelevant given than SWA does not carry pets in cargo, perhaps to keep its matters simple, or perhaps it does not have the specialized temperature controlled compartment for pets).

Who knows, perhaps SWA will think more of some long flights, south of Mexico, given its agreements with Volaris and current AirTran service. Or maybe it will ease out of its agreement with Volaris, which I believe has never gotten as far as codeshare operations.

Still, more choice is better. More competition within Mexico might make United officials sit up in their seats and ask how to boost their line's attractiveness. Yolisto readers have given them some strong suggestions along that line!

#13 Kaye

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 03:38 PM

I still think it's worth asking for...minus the pet issue. There are lots of people and relatives want to visit who don't have or bring pets, and they are finding trips to be cost- prohibitive, so let's consider their dilemma as well.
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#14 YolistoKhaki

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 07:43 PM

United Airlines has fiercely opposed the expansion.

United said earlier this month it might cancel $700 million in improvements to Terminal B at IAH and it might drop some service from Houston


Don't you just love watching a bully's last dying fit?

No one should ever think that United's $700 million in improvements to the airport in Houston won't get paid for by the flying public. There's a global recession going on. Nobody needs $700 million dollars worth of improvements to an airport that has already been remodeled non-stop since the day after life appeared on EARTH! If they want to put money into something, put it into plane maintenance and ticket prices people can afford. But I forgot... United doesn't want to be in the airline business anymore. We need to go and meet those lovely people over at Southwest.

#15 nebinkwe

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 07:54 PM

Thanks for the news updates, CasiYucateco and Newbinkwe.

I doubt there is sufficient volume year round on the Houston to Merida direct route for Southwest to be interested. They cherry pick the best underserviced routes to fly. However, I do imagine they will fly, if from Houston, to Mexico City or some major tourist center. They already serve Cancun under the AirTran brand. Any new service would have to be negotiated with Mexico, most likely with reciprocity granted Mexican carriers. Last I read, Mexico has declined to enter into an "open skies" agreement with the USA. Such a negotiation might be complicated by the "who knows when?" return to the air of Mexicana, still in a fideicomiso limbo as its new would be owners scramble to -- what? raise capital? stop fighting amidst themselves? get Mexican SCT flight approval?

SWA is more generous about allowing small pets in the cabin, a small pet being one that can fit UNDER your seat. Note that the acceptable SWA carrier (cage) dimensions are slightly more generous if you sit in a center seat rather than an aisle or window seat, with some unspecified exceptions. However, they DO NOT accept larger animals as baggage or cargo. If interested, please see: http://www.southwest...s/pets_faq.html . for fuller information. Flying into Mexico City, if that is where SWA would start from Houston, would involve a connecting flight with Volaris, and dealing with Volaris's currently more restrictive cabin rules, plus its "no connecting flight" rule (which may only apply to pets in cargo, which would be irrelevant given than SWA does not carry pets in cargo, perhaps to keep its matters simple, or perhaps it does not have the specialized temperature controlled compartment for pets).

Who knows, perhaps SWA will think more of some long flights, south of Mexico, given its agreements with Volaris and current AirTran service. Or maybe it will ease out of its agreement with Volaris, which I believe has never gotten as far as codeshare operations.

Still, more choice is better. More competition within Mexico might make United officials sit up in their seats and ask how to boost their line's attractiveness. Yolisto readers have given them some strong suggestions along that line!

You're right! SOUTHWEST airline DOES allow pets in-cabin on american flights, but, because it is AIRTRAN they do NOT allow pets on international flights! :(
I went to AirTran's website today to double check and that's what I discovered! So, for me and many others, Southwest's move into Mexico will still not change things for us! It will have to be Westjet, or A/A !!
Sometimes in life, you never know when you're going to be handed a bunch of 'limons', but, living here in the Yucatan, you can make some pretty awesome Margaritas with those limons!! It's all in how you learn to 'roll with it' as they say! "Bottoms up, I believe I'll have another Margarita, por favor!"

#16 CasiYucateco

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 09:33 PM

I don't think anything is certain, yet, but this does look like good news.

Southwest uses AirTran today for outside-the-US flights, but in the future, these would actually be Southwest flights, I think (I hope).

Continental used to be a wonderful airline. The personnel and policies were some of the best around. United has been poor to middling for a long time.

Anyone who has ever flown Southwest Airlines would know it is an entirely different animal. They've made their reputation as a low cost airline, but that's not all. They have a relaxed and cheerful attitude toward their passengers. They try to make the flight as fun as possible,without being stupid and goofy. If you were to fly each of the US airlines in existence today, Southwest would easily be among the top one or two in professionalism, pleasant flights, on-time travel and everything else.

Flights to Merida on Continental used to be 2/3s or less full all the time. Now, every single flight is packed full. There rarely seem to be even a couple empty seats. So, it does look like their capacity is at the max. Of course, they could be switching to slightly smaller and larger 737s to manage their gas better for each particular month or season. There are months of the year when United cuts back to 3-4 flights per week, rather than 7.

Here's something I learned a while back. About a dozen years ago, I knew an executive at American Airlines. I worked with them and their international travel division to see what it would take to bring them into Merida. It wasn't official "work." More like, "Hey guys, how do these things work? Can you help us understand more about this?"

The secret: It turns out many airlines depend on a "fee" paid to them by the city or state or airport authority to come there. Yes, in some cases, airlines pay popular airports for gate/landing rights especially at crowded international destinations, but then, often, either the national, city, state or other authority pays them back and then some. So, the secret to American airlines bringing one of their crappy old MD-80s into Merida was a fee of a few hundred thousand dollars US per month, give or take, paid to American. One year guaranteed in advance and a number of gate privileges, etc. That was American's calculation.

They'd come sit at the table, be prepared to reorganize some routes and expand to an additional destination for $4-6 million per year, guaranteed for one year. Of course, that wasn't going to happen.

Merida does have plenty of airport capacity for more flights. The airport is a good facility. Southwest has a lower cost structure than American or United. If they are looking to grow into some areas where competition would be easy - like Merida - it is an easy airport to do from Houston. It is not crowded for flight patterns or gates.

Southwest has been unafraid to confront and compete head to head with major airlines within the USA. They tend to "grow" the overall number of passengers into a destination rather than cannibalize other carriers completely, due to their lower cost tickets and easy routes (no hubs). Maybe they will be attracted to Merida too. They like well-priced tickets, short-hop flights and fast turn-arounds. Merida is also easily "chainable" into additional destinations. Merida fits.

Plenty of reason to have some hope (but maybe not hold your breath).

Southwest's announcement today was that they hope to be flying internationally from Houston Hobby by 2015. They are known for being on-time when they open new routes.
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#17 iowahawkeye

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 09:40 PM

Let me understand this: If a US corporation pays bribe to do business someplace its a no no, but if a corporation takes a bribe to influence its decision about doing business in a particular location its OK?
"facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." John Adams

#18 CasiYucateco

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 09:50 PM

Let me understand this: If a US corporation pays bribe to do business someplace its a no no, but if a corporation takes a bribe to influence its decision about doing business in a particular location its OK?


Technically, it is not a bribe, it is a "fee" and a "guarantee." Instead of going under the table to one official to make a non-transparent decision benefiting someone unfairly, it is an acknowledged business cost, on the books at the airline. Unfortunately, pretty typical these days.

But yeah you're right. There are legal bribes and illegal bribes, I guess.

Edited by CasiYucateco, 23 May 2012 - 11:21 PM.

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 07:07 AM

I love Southwest airlines and prefer it over all others for domestic flights. Continental used to be wonderful ~ my favorite. I haven't flown United, but it's being so ugly about so many things I'm not sure I even want to.

Here's a link to the petition showing support for Southwest to consider adding Merida to its SOB flights. If you would pass it on, it would help a lot.*

https://www.change.o...-merida-yucatan

If you can post it on your Facebook** page for your family and friends, that would be helpful too.

With United's new prices, it would cost my stepdaughter and her family nearly $3,000 to go to Yucatan. Crazy.

The more people who jump on board, the better.

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*I realize this is a long shot and it's way off if ever, but trying takes only a second and could maybe, possibly have an impact.

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#20 ChuckD

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 07:41 AM

It's not a bribe at all. It's the same type of thing in the grocery business where brands, i.e.Kraft will pay to have their products placed on aisle ends or other prominent places. Or like someone paying a DJ to play a certain record, which, oddly enough, was a bribe.
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