Southwest Airlines is Dominating U.S. Domestic Routes, and Raising Fares

A USA Today article by Bill McGee has a good analysis of Southwest Airlines. The article looks at how Southwest has matured, is charging higher fares, but still maintains a lot of customer loyalty. Not surprising that the fares are rising; a recent analysis by aiREFORM assessed traffic and airline monopolies at FAA’s ASPM-77 airports (essentially the 77 busiest U.S. airports). The analysis shows that Southwest now provides the most flights of any U.S. major passenger airline at 42 of the largest airports. This is WAY ahead of all the other major passenger airlines, who dominate at no more than eight locations, as follows:

  • American/USAirways: (8), dominating at CLT, DCA, DFW, LAX, LGA, MIA, PHL, PHX.
  • United/Continental: (6), dominating at CLE, EWR, IAD, IAH, ORD, SFO.
  • JetBlue: (6), dominating at BOS, FLL, HPN, JFK, LGB, PBI.
  • Delta/Northwest: (5), dominating at ATL, CVG, MEM, MSP, SLC.
  • Alaska: (4), dominating at ANC, PDX, PSP, SEA.

The article also takes a close look at how confusing and frustrating airline charges have become. A quote: “…the bottom line is the airline industry — not consumers — has made it difficult and at times virtually impossible for shoppers to compare bottom line airfares inclusive of all fees in a true and transparent way. That’s why for years I have actively supported stronger DOT rules requiring greater transparency of fares and fees. The good news is last week the DOT proposed just that….”