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Viva Mexico

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We're codesharing with who...or is it whom...I always forget, but who cares? I should be writing this in Spanish...do you write in Spanish? Wow, I'm struggling today with what few writing skills I have,  probably because I'm so excited about the announcement of our second International codeshare partner - Volaris.
 
It's Volaris...yes Volaris! You know, if you fuse the Spanish word volar (to fly) with the word Polaris (North Star) you get Volaris? Well, that's how they came up with their name, and I think it's a pretty cool name. What's even cooler is that Volaris is an exceptional low-cost airline flying in Mexico. They are focused on high levels of Customer Service and provide a great inflight experience. Volaris plans to begin flying in to the US sometime in 2009 and will become Southwest Airlines' Mexico codeshare partner in early 2010. If you haven't heard of Volaris, here's a little information that should give you a feel for them and why we think they will be a great partner!
 
Like our new codeshare partner WestJet, Volaris presently serves some pretty cool destinations...or should I say hot destinations! Places like Cancun, Cabo, Puerto Vallarta, and Acapulco are certainly great places to vacation. Mexico City (via Toluca), Monterrey, and Guadalajara are great business travel destinations and will complement our efforts to attract more business travelers.
 
Also, like WestJet, Volaris has a fun corporate culture. On one of our visits to their Headquarters, their VP of Sales was having his head shaved in front of the Volaris Employees—it was payback for the Employees who had met a revenue goal that he challenged them to meet. Their Employees are very energetic and love their airline. Their Customers join in the fun as well. They recently had an inflight concert! My favorite Customer experience was influenced by the free tequila and cerveza they served! They also give away Krispy Kreme donuts! It's a regular Fiesta!!! Oh yes, and every Volaris plane is named after one of their valued Customers. I can't wait to see Ricardo!
 
Unlike WestJet, Volaris is an unknown brand in the US. Although they are relatively small and certainly new (they began flying in 2006), Volaris has proven themselves itself as a successful and viable airline and are developing a new generation of flyers in Mexico. Coupled with the Southwest brand, network, and Customer base, the opportunities are huge.
 
Okay, enough of my rambling, whadoyouthink? 
 

 

303 Comments
Anonymous548
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Viva Volaris!
drew
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Fantastic news! The piece of the international puzzle are coming together. I wonder what's next. Smiley Happy
Michael_B_
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Great to hear Southwest is expanding its codeshare network. Although I haven't flown on Volaris, I trust your guys' judgment in partners. I can't wait to be able to utilize my RapidRewards to fly all over the world.
Carkye Employee
Employee
This is so exciting! Viva Mejico! Congratulations to your Team. Thank you all for working so hard to take SWA into new frontiers.
bk
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whadoIthink? I think it was about time. This is absolutely great news. I fly to Mexico very often (I am originally from there but have been in Houston for the last 20 years), and there is no competitive pricing. I hope you can really change that and sounds like you just might. Cancun, Mexico City, Puerto and Cabo are all great destinations that I frequent, especially Mexico City and Cancun. Sooooo, buen trabajo, y Felicidades mi amigo!!!
Giovanni
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Southwest Airlines is a 800 pound gorilla. They should do all the flying to Canada and Mexico themselves. Preservation of their Company's name, solid service and employee relations will increase overall profitability and shareholder value.
Anonymous3123
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As an employee, I'm disgusted with the continued outsourcing of our jobs. I guess the company loves us all, unless they can find someone to do the job that we could do for cheaper. This is just one step closer to "Southwest the travel agent", not "Southwest AIRLINES."
o1ive12
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this is great news!!! i can't wait to see this happen and book a vacation to mexico!
Anonymous2125
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Why isn't Southwest flying these routes ourselves? GK announced zero growth for 09' yet we codeshare?
John15
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What is it with Southwest that cannot (for the life of me) offer an international destination with their own planes? Not even Puerto Rico (domestic)?.... People, to make money you have to SPEND money and take some risks!!!! The days of making profits flying from DAL to AMA are gone. Seriously, why everything with Southwest has to be "half-baked"? Is like all that faith they profess for their people is not quite there... They don't think they can pull it off by themselves. So, we are offering service to Canada and Mexico but it will be done by other airlines and don't even think about using Rapid Reward credits for these destinations cuz we are gonna ask you for double points (remember Hawaii with ATA)? I don't get it....
Anonymous3329
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Of course, if Volaris plans to serve the US in 2009 doesn't materialize Southwest is ready to add a little something (you betcha!) to the "seamless" experience.... They will shuttle you from San Diego (Southwest "international" gateway) to Tijuana (Volaris destination) in a comfortable school bus. Business Select customers will be guaranteed a seat in the front of the bus!.... Why can Spirit, JetBlue and Airtran do it and you guys can't?
B__Whelan
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Great news that SWA is expanding it's service to Mexico through its codesharing partnership with Volaris. That is a catchy name for a nice, niche airline that emphasizes fun, customer service and low fares. Hmmm...now who does that sound like? Seems like Southwest has found an ideal partner to take it's loyal customer base to those sought-after destinations in Mexico.
Ferreres
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Southwest: are you MexiCAN or MexiCAN'T? Why you and your awesome crews cannot do the job?
joedal
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You had me at free Teq......Lol I think this is wonderful and could not have been announced any sooner. This is great to hear that you guys are going after other airlines to help give your customers an expanded, and that many more reasons to fly the No-Hidden Fee Airline, Southwest!! Luv ya guys!

Joseph R. Meyers

Dallas, Texas

Anonymous1232
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Add me to the list of customers and employees who don't understand why SWA isn't doing this flying on it's own metal. Seems the only way to ensure that YOUR customers are happy is to provide the service YOURSELF! SWA seems to be running scared these days. Look at MSP service! MDW only...wow.
Anonymous2125
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The more I think of this the more I am disgusted that SWA management doesn't have faith in us to pull off flying this with our own metal. Volaris doesn't even fly to the US!!! So they can accomplish the task but we can't. Let me guess what the company response would be like. Probably will go a little like this: "Mexico is an interesting case. Mexican passengers appear to heavily favor Mexican air carriers, traveling roundtrip from Mexico to the U.S. For Southwest to be successful on a trans-border city pair, we would have to "win over" a significant share of Mexicans. History suggests, that will be difficult to accomplish. In total, Mexico is a relatively small country, population-wise. If we were growing the fleet, we have better opportunities with much less risk. Of course, we may not be in a position to grow the fleet now, anyway. Once we are, codeshare or not, we may never serve Mexico." Not feeling the LUV anymore!!
Anonymous3834
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Very disappointing that you don't trust your own people to do the job... And very convenient too; if WestJet or Volaris go down our do something wrong you'll wash your hands a la Pontius Pilates! (like you did with ATA Hawaii). Sad that an airline known by their guts, audacity and innovation has become so stagnant. On my next trip to Mexico I will take Jetblue, Spirit or Airtran... they flyy their own planes there!
D_Money
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OMG. Shut up (made infamous by Elaine from Seinfeld)! This is the best news EVER! Ever ever! Love you!
M_Kelly
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This is unbelievable! Is this a new grotwh trend for Southwest? You can surely fly to Mexico with your own resources.... I'm selling my stock today!
Anonymous2482
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JetBlue, Spirit, Airtran: MexiCANS Southwest: MexiCAN'Ts
Mark14
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I agree, why doesn't Southwest do it with their own crews and planes?
Andrew4
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I understand the front line employee's worries about international growth coming from codeshares. Not flying WN metal over the boarders reduces risk to the domestic ops. The tweny minute turn will never work for intl destinations due to the paperwork required and such. I used to work for AA. In comparison WN staff have got it easy as far as company relations go. Flying around the world as AA does is not that great when the airline treats you as completely dispossable.
Anonymous720
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Are you also planning to code-share to Puerto Rico?
Anonymous4022
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I guess that the implicit message here is that you don't believe that your own pilots and flight attendants (And everybody else) can do the job efficiently.... So you "partially love and trust them, right?
Anonymous__Empl
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Andrew, Andrew states -- "I used to work for AA. In comparison WN staff have got it easy as far as company relations go." Those relations are getting very strained with announcements like this that are in direct violation of the pilot contract that is in negotiations right now. There are a lot of employees that are angry over this. Herb isn't here anymore and it's pretty evident of that fact. Signed, Very worried about the future of SWA.
A_Customer_of_B
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Why not do codesharing for now for international so you can expand on your own into places like NYC,BOS,ATL,CLT,MEM,etc. here in the United States which I think you need to do first and then you can take over the international flying later when you're ready. Let's not put the cart before the horse. Also, many airlines do both codeshare and own metal international flying. Why can't you??? It's better for your customers and I thought that that was goal to begin with.
Anonymous853
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Andrew, "I used to work for AA. In comparison WN staff have got it easy as far as company relations go." ********************************** This has nothing to do with that. Judging by their recent announcement Southwest seems to have lost faith in their own people.... Why even low-cost carriers can serve near international destinations and Southwest can't. I bet that they can come up with creative solutions to make the deal work. Seems to me that by outsourcing they are saying that other people can do it cheaper and better.... Not cool, at all. as a customer I'm very turned off by yet another co-share announcement from you guys.... I support your employees views 100%. Missing Herb already!
Anonymous770
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Warrior Spirit...Really??? I guess Gary needs to rethink the company's mission statement. It would probably be cheaper for you guys to just close up the Dallas base too, and sell tickets on American. All you would need is a computer. In fact why don't you just polish all of the airplanes silver because guess what, you have just become every other failed legacy. Great Job on becoming American Airlines!!!
GC
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Southwest Airlines should be flying these new routes. Period. They should be flown in Southwest Airlines aircraft that are crewed by Southwest Airlines Flight Pilots and Flight Attendants, handled by Southwest Airlines ramp and customer service agents, and maintained by Southwest Airlines mechanics. Grow OUR airline!!!
Anonymous_Emplo
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Why isn't SWA moving the metal in and out of MX & Canada?!? Gary has said there is opportunity for growth within the CONUS. Then why aren't we doing it? We're not. Codeshare is wrong and a produces a negative impact on the Employees, morale and Culture of SWA.
SWA_Pilot
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Southwest is going to send our valued customers on a Mexican airline that is only two years old. They are using their inexperienced pilots whle farming out our pilot jobs. DING, you are now free to move about the country, a foreign country with inexperienced pilots flying airplanes being maintained by inexperienced mechanics. Good luck.
Tim__NC
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Great to hear Southwest is expanding its codeshare network. Although I haven't flown on Volaris, I trust your guys' judgment in partners. I can't wait to be able to utilize my RapidRewards to fly all over the world. MIchael Barber — Mon, 11/10/2008 - 11:11 ********* Michael, you must live in a very small world! LOL ____________________________________________ In my opinion, Southwest is sending a bad message with this announcements... We shouldn't expect new cities in the future, instead stay tuned for future code share agreements.....
M__Camacho
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Is this how Southwest care about hispanics? Saying that they are too good to fly to our airports? Good news? NOT
Anonymous1418
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Just say it: You are never flying overseas. Just say it!
Concerned_Emplo3
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This is a very dangerous step for Southwest Airlines. I believe the company is really starting to stray from the culture and relationship they have with their employees. This could very well be the bridge to outsourcing our jobs. I can see how they would codeshare overseas, but to our neighbors? WestJet will fly customers using the same equipment we use. Not to sure about this brand new company Volaris, but if they can fly international, why can't this 37 year veteran of the airline industry. It is scary to think we may slip into the "legacy" category where employees are disgruntled and do not trust their employer. Are you concerned Mr. Gary Kelly?
An_employee_who
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The company has to be sure that it is going to be successful in every market we enter. Given the uncertainty of the industry right now, it's probably a good idea to stick to what we're good at in order to weather these times. Not to mention, given the current state of the economy, I don't think it's smart for SWA to rapidly expand into unknown territory (international routes). You're correct: It could be very successful, but it also could flop. You also have to consider that flying internationally opens up a whole new regulatory framework: SWA would be subject to aviation regulations of other countries, as well as ICAO. Having to transition everything could have substantial cost involved. I'm not saying that international routes would be bad, but I highly doubt that this is the time to be entering such risky markets.
Pat1
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The security of my family is now under attack by my employer. Codeshare to gain market share or to increase revenue longterm does not work for the employees of Southwest Airlines. As a loyal Southwest passenger, who do you want to fly you to Mexico? A Southwest crew of 5 or a Volaris crew of ?????
Anonymous4136
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30+ years of the safest operations of any airline in history, and now we are going to turn our hard won customers over to a two year old airline flying into some of the most challenging airports in North America. I guess the employees that made this company great are too stupid in the company's view to fly south to Mexico or North to Canada. Herb where are you? Pissed Off Employee
Anonymous2575
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It seems like a good thing, but at the same time I also dont understand why swa isnt flying there ourselves. Our planes can do it and there are plenty of spanish speaking people out there that can use the jobs that are perfect for the company. I really think that southwest should consider doing it themselves instead of going outside the company.
Anonymous3346
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This is very disturbing news to our frontline employees here at Southwest. This is one step closer to completely outsourcing our jobs. Southwest was on the way to outsourcing our maintenance back in March before that was swept under the rug because of the FAA fines. We work our little tushies off to keep our customers happy. I can't tell you how many times I am yelled at for something out of my control, and all I do is smile, nod, say I'm sorry and offer a free drink... and by the end of the flight the customer is happy and won't ever fly any airline but Southwest again. These code shares will ruin that. Our customers fly Southwest because of us, the employees, and our great customer service. We do not have any control over what kind of service any other airline gives. Also Andrew, by committing to these code shares our company IS treating us and our hard work as completely disposable. Signed, Very Concerned
Anonymous853
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I wonder what is behind this announcement? Why is made over a year in advance? If this is some kind of bullying against Frontier, JetBlue, Spirit or Airtran (expanding to Mexico with their equipment) is going to backfire. People will ALWAYS prefer to do the whole trip in one airline and no this ambiguous deal...
Anonymous4022
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I guess the employees that made this company great are too stupid in the company's view to fly south to Mexico or North to Canada.... **************** Right on! Southwest has more faith in a newly opened airline (and their employees) that doesn't even serve the US yet.... Yep, they must think that you guys are not qualified, smart, civilized or creative enough to pull it of. Kudos to JetBlue, Airtran and Spirit for believing in their employees and making low-cost travel to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean a profitable reality!
Another_angry_e
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Gary Kelly, I always read your column in LUV Lines and you always preach how valuable we employees are. Then you do something like this. While I understand the WestJet codeshare this is completely different. Your love of numbers is undermining the culture and hard work Herb and Colleen have built up over 30+ years. Flying international isn't a monumental undertaking. If our business model doesn't fit into international flying then we need to change the model. We, the employees, are up to the task. We always have been. At what point did the numbers become more important than the people? You made a great call during your tenure on fuel hedges. It was risky, innovative, and very SWA like. Where is that Gary Kelly? I miss him. Sincerely, LUV Lost
Anonymous3449
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Is this the future of Southwest? Where is the consistent product? Are your pilots too dumb or redneck to fly to Mexico? Are your crews too ignorant? I don't think so. I know they can pull it off. would luv to have low-cost reliable and friendly service to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Too bad that you don't seem to believe in the same people that made your company great!
Erick__AZ
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Southwest Airlines is a 800 pound gorilla. They should do all the flying to Canada and Mexico themselves. Preservation of their Company's name, solid service and employee relations will increase overall profitability and shareholder value. ******* Agree 100%
The_Big_Picture
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As a long-time Employee, I think this is good news. Airline codesharing is already benefiting other airlines and their Customers all over the world (with little financial risk to the carriers). I personally would be more worried about the future of Southwest Airlines if we were sitting on our hands not doing anything at all. The international codeshare plans have been out there for awhile, so forgive me that I’m a little confused by the shock of some to this news.
Employee2
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People fly on SWA because of the great customer service. We are no longer the cheapest ticket. We don't have anything the other airlines have. i.e. roomy cabin, TVs, internet, assigned seats, etc... What we have they don't is great customer service... Why is it we would farm out our flying to other companies at the expense of the employees here? Our one strength is about to be destroyed by making moves like this. The unhappy employees this is creating will chase every customer away because we will be just like every other airline without the ammenities. The pilots and flight attendants are the keys to making the customer happy and they will be the most unhappy over this kind of announcement due to their seniority system of advancing their careers. On top of it we held off on the SWAlife news as if it were supposed to be some great news everyone was going to cheer for like opening another city. This is truly the saddest day in my tenure at SWA. A very unhappy SWA employee
Dave39
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Gary et al, From my family and from my heart, thank you for the high paying and secure job we've enjoyed at SWA for the last 9 years. You've met or exceeded every expectation we had for an employer. I've never run a Billion $ company so any emotional rant I could offer would sound just as intelligent as all the others. But judging by your track record of stable jobs, stable wages, and as stable a profit as is possible in this era, I'm confident this decision is at least as prudent as all your others. Keep working to make SWA great!
Ken18
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I'm very concerned that we are outsourcing our NAME BRAND to whom?? Who is Volaris? 18 aircraft and 1500 employees? How do we codeshare w/ someone who doesn't cross the border? How can their little startup figure out how to get to the U.S. and our HUGE 500+ airline can't figure out how to go international? Very disturbing news today. This is the first time I'm actually worried about our airline.
Rick__Fort_Laud
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OMG are they going to "codeshare" back to profitabilty? I knew it: US Airways, AA, United, Frontier, Spirit, JetBlue and Continental employees are smarter and more competent that the Southwest ones.... The have been flying our flag to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean for years without outsourcing!