St. Louis Lambert Int. Airport [airline/hub/operations/info]

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I'm guessing the growth in large part over the next decade is dictated by what will Southwest be doing in terms of their size? Mainly how much more can they grow with only having 737s? Any change in their operating model and planning will have a noticeable effect here. Network growth would likely be noticeable here due to limitations in other midcontinent places along with increasing local demand in those places would need a shift of connecting flow elsewhere that can handle it. One wild card as well that could have a noticeable effect here is if they start flying to Canada, since good chance they might route that through here.

Other things in next five years to increase traffic would be near certainty JetBlue arrives in that time and more international flights. Good chance at least half of the new destinations that start in next five years that haven't been announced yet are international, mainly due to less and less domestic adds left that could work (though Southwest keeping on building here up may make some more viable due to connections)

One thing to note is only about half the traffic increase the last couple years is connections, so theres a sizable local demand growth going on as well. My guess is its due to changing economic profile of the region in industry makeup that has more travel demand as well as younger generations locally are much more apt to travel by plane than older ones. (stereotypical locals aren't the type to travel much, especially by plane) Also business and social connections seem to be increasingly non regional that is too far to reach by a car ride.
One more thought on IF (and that is a big IF) Southwest announces Hawaii today. While we can't get a nonstop, I would think a direct would be an option. If we get a direct (with a stop) then Southwest could route more people through here for those flights. They will schedule multiple stop flights for people but no more than one plane change. So if they change planes here but don't on the west coast then they could fly through here. I am not sure a ton of people would want 2 stops but there would be some from smaller stations if the price is right.
jshank83 wrote:One more thought on IF (and that is a big IF) Southwest announces Hawaii today. While we can't get a nonstop, I would think a direct would be an option. If we get a direct (with a stop) then Southwest could route more people through here for those flights. They will schedule multiple stop flights for people but no more than one plane change. So if they change planes here but don't on the west coast then they could fly through here. I am not sure a ton of people would want 2 stops but there would be some from smaller stations if the price is right.
That's a really good point. Please let us know if


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imperialmog wrote:
Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:30 am
I'm guessing the growth in large part over the next decade is dictated by what will Southwest be doing in terms of their size? Mainly how much more can they grow with only having 737s? Any change in their operating model and planning will have a noticeable effect here. Network growth would likely be noticeable here due to limitations in other midcontinent places along with increasing local demand in those places would need a shift of connecting flow elsewhere that can handle it. One wild card as well that could have a noticeable effect here is if they start flying to Canada, since good chance they might route that through here.
I'm curious how Southwest looks at NAFTA, both Mexico and Canada as a whole. I understand tourist destination spots but Southwest grew their south of the border market with AirTran into Mexico City, etc. and NAFTA economy is bigger then ever & business destinations like Mexico City and central industrial cities are important which is all in the footprint of plane capabilities if not mistaken.. Mexico economy and population will continue to grow & probably will represent a bigger growth market than Canada for Southwest in the long run & an opportunity to add flights to STL
.
The other part I wonder about with technology and biometric passports as it is that travel, especially air travel, within NAFTA boundaries can't be streamlined for the respective citizens. I don't see why you can't declare via an airline kiosk if flying within NAFTA, bags are already scanned coming & going one way or another at airports and you essentially have to scan your passport on any flight across borders. I think it would be a big win for all parties if somehow it could be included in the current round of NAFTA negotiations
No Hawaii announcement for Southwest today. I really don't get it. There are plenty of other airlines that fly to Hawaii with the same planes Southwest has, but somehow Southwest keeps dragging their feet (while saying for years that Hawaii is a priority). There really is no reason it should be taking this long.
jshank83 wrote:No Hawaii announcement for Southwest today. I really don't get it. There are plenty of other airlines that fly to Hawaii with the same planes Southwest has, but somehow Southwest keeps dragging their feet (while saying for years that Hawaii is a priority). There really is no reason it should be taking this long.
Not going to lie,
I would never fly Southwest to Hawaii. I would fly Hawaiian or a legacy carrier.


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Chalupas54 wrote:
Wed Sep 20, 2017 5:26 pm
jshank83 wrote:No Hawaii announcement for Southwest today. I really don't get it. There are plenty of other airlines that fly to Hawaii with the same planes Southwest has, but somehow Southwest keeps dragging their feet (while saying for years that Hawaii is a priority). There really is no reason it should be taking this long.
Not going to lie,
I would never fly Southwest to Hawaii. I would fly Hawaiian or a legacy carrier.


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Most of my points are with southwest and I have a companion pass so that is why I would. If I was actually buying tickets I would agree though. I would probably fly United through SFO or Delta through SLC. Not that I really have a problem taking Southwest for that long of a trip though.
Southwest just returned 2 pairs of MEX slots to the Department of Transportation. I'd say if they can't get MEX to work from Houston, it's not going to happen from STL.
gregl wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:46 pm
Southwest just returned 2 pairs of MEX slots to the Department of Transportation. I'd say if they can't get MEX to work from Houston, it's not going to happen from STL.
They were LAX and FLL flights to MEX (Southwest claims they want to focus their MEX flights in HOU), but point still stands. I can't see us getting MEX service on any domestic carrier. I guess if a mexican carrier did it and had you connect through MEX to vacation spots it would be possible but still a longshot. I don't know anyone personally that has ever flown to MEX.
jshank83 wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:57 pm
gregl wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:46 pm
Southwest just returned 2 pairs of MEX slots to the Department of Transportation. I'd say if they can't get MEX to work from Houston, it's not going to happen from STL.
They were LAX and FLL flights to MEX (Southwest claims they want to focus their MEX flights in HOU), but point still stands. I can't see us getting MEX service on any domestic carrier. I guess if a mexican carrier did it and had you connect through MEX to vacation spots it would be possible but still a longshot. I don't know anyone personally that has ever flown to MEX.
In the scheme of things you think LAX to MEX would have sufficient base traffic or Southwest could feed West Coast/Bay Area traffic say a SFO to MEX, OAK to MEX with stopover in LAX to keep the slot open. As I type, I also think about Delta's LA shuttle that have taken quite a few times since moving to the Bay Area where as FLL probably draws a much different Latin American/Carribean base

In terms of STL, I was thinking if their will be enough connecting traffic at some point to do a MDW-STL-MEX routing. Having enough base in Chicago with enough connecting traffic in STL to pickup another direct connection or routing originating in STL and stop over in Texas routing. You could go the other way & head north with flight originating in HOU or Love Field with stopover in STL. I know a long shot, but where my thinking was at
jshank83 wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:57 pm
gregl wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:46 pm
Southwest just returned 2 pairs of MEX slots to the Department of Transportation. I'd say if they can't get MEX to work from Houston, it's not going to happen from STL.
They were LAX and FLL flights to MEX (Southwest claims they want to focus their MEX flights in HOU), but point still stands. I can't see us getting MEX service on any domestic carrier. I guess if a mexican carrier did it and had you connect through MEX to vacation spots it would be possible but still a longshot. I don't know anyone personally that has ever flown to MEX.
Actually, I'd say that makes a big difference. FLL has a huge immigrant population, but connections are not to either Mexico City or Mexico in general. I've had a couple of Cuban friends actually get offended when folks took them to be Mexican. And competition to MEX out of LAX is intense. There are no less than seven carriers flying that route: AA, UA, DL, Alaska, Aeromexico, Interjet, and Volaris. That's got to be some serious pricing pressure. That could be a hard market to crack. Especially with two Mexican LCCs already in the mix and an easy enough drive to a fair number of Mexican destinations, and a plethora of other major airports nearby, some of which have their own service to Mexico. I'm surprised Southwest gave up the slots, as I'd think they could fill them, but maybe not from those two markets. Shows you what I know.

All that said, MEX seems a rather long shot for STL.
Anyone know why 33 isn't used anymore? I've come in twice the past few weeks on 29. Right now 33 has a barricade on the air side.
pmt257 wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 3:53 pm
Anyone know why 33 isn't used anymore? I've come in twice the past few weeks on 29. Right now 33 has a barricade on the air side.
I was told by the airport social media a couple weeks ago that is due to concrete work.
Not STL related, but I had the opportunity to fly Spirit today ORD-LGA. That airline is trash. They can stay FAR away from St. Louis.


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I sent a message to the airport asking about a few different topics. One of them was if they ever do tours. I figured it would be a hard no due to security reasons but asked anyways.

The reply:
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Lastly, we are working on a formalized tour program for small groups. We’re aiming to have that program up and running by the end of this year/or early next year.
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I thought people in here might be interested.
jshank83 wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:52 am
I sent a message to the airport asking about a few different topics. One of them was if they ever do tours. I figured it would be a hard no due to security reasons but asked anyways.

The reply:
------------------------------------------
Lastly, we are working on a formalized tour program for small groups. We’re aiming to have that program up and running by the end of this year/or early next year.
------------------------------------------

I thought people in here might be interested.
Cool! Thanks for the info!
Chalupas54 wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 6:54 pm
Not STL related, but I had the opportunity to fly Spirit today ORD-LGA. That airline is trash. They can stay FAR away from St. Louis.


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Never flown but had a relative recently post a big facebook rant about Spirit and not refunding their flight to St. Thomas during the hurricane. I was like, what did you expect?

Don't want Spirit anywhere near Lambert, would be ok with them @BLV.
I can't picture Spirit having a niche to pull things off from here. Mainly where would they go and is the market segment they are after already met here? Also I think they haven't done well in other markets where Southwest is the dominant player in a market, which could also be why they are absent in Nashville as well.
RuskiSTL wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:08 am
Chalupas54 wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 6:54 pm
Not STL related, but I had the opportunity to fly Spirit today ORD-LGA. That airline is trash. They can stay FAR away from St. Louis.


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Never flown but had a relative recently post a big facebook rant about Spirit and not refunding their flight to St. Thomas during the hurricane. I was like, what did you expect?

Don't want Spirit anywhere near Lambert, would be ok with them @BLV.
My experience was thankfully not that bad but was definitely very annoying.

If anyone has ever flown Spirit, their boarding process is absolutely insane. They are very violent in protecting the 'boarding zones'. Since there was no room to line up, people were just in a giant horde. Their gate agent was shoving customers to get out of the way. I have filed a report with the CHI Airport Authority as well as with NK.

The onboard product was despicable. I understand they are a ULCC, but I have flown Frontier and Allegiant numerous times and never had such disrespectful crew. They never came through with their for-purchase drink service and became agitated when I asked.

I was just thankful to have arrived safely at LGA.

I will continue taking my LCC business to Southwest.
I flew them once and got the sense that somehow they pride themselves on being the absolute worst airline. The employees had this nervous sort of smile that said, "Hey, you chose to fly Spirit, now we're all in this together. It's not going to be easy, but if we suck it up and deal - and say the right prayer - we might get to the destination listed on your ticket in one piece." It was terrible, but to their credit we did get to that destination.
Chalupas54 wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:39 am
I will continue taking my LCC business to Southwest.
Southwest is no longer a low-cost carrier... either in terms of their fares (which they have done a great job of making people think their fares are lower than other airlines, but that's not true) or their costs.
gregl wrote:
Chalupas54 wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:39 am
I will continue taking my LCC business to Southwest.
Southwest is no longer a low-cost carrier... either in terms of their fares (which they have done a great job of making people think their fares are lower than other airlines, but that's not true) or their costs.
I continue to find Southwest to be vastly affordable. Their prices have definitely risen, but I find that they still are often the cheapest or “most bang for your buck” ticket. As someone who travels heavy, the ability to check two free bags is huge.


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Chalupas54 wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2017 1:07 pm
gregl wrote:
Chalupas54 wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:39 am
I will continue taking my LCC business to Southwest.
Southwest is no longer a low-cost carrier... either in terms of their fares (which they have done a great job of making people think their fares are lower than other airlines, but that's not true) or their costs.
I continue to find Southwest to be vastly affordable. Their prices have definitely risen, but I find that they still are often the cheapest or “most bang for your buck” ticket. As someone who travels heavy, the ability to check two free bags is huge.


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For me it is the free change fees. I will book 2 flights for different days and then cancel one with it gets closer. That or I will book a trip ahead of time knowing I can cancel later for free or rebook for a lower price. That all said I don't view Southwest as an LLC either. Most legacies match their fares here.
The change fees thing is a big deal. I know that is very important at my work due to oftentimes trips having to be adjusted due to various factors. Also I picture they seem to due to being the dominant carrier here they pull a lot more of the business travel market than in other places due to most of their larger stations have a legacy hub in market. That could also explain them expanding here more, they can compete better for that traffic here as a result.

I picture most legacies would match their fares here because Southwest flies to most of their hub markets which keeps everyone honest on fares. Of course there are a couple of exceptions where they don't and one in Boston where they are the monopoly carrier.
I really really wish Southwest had a code-share with someone that went over the deep blue sea. I'm really tempted by what I see of them, but I have never flown on an exclusively domestic ticket. One of these days I will investigate them and just blinking self-connect. I was looking at their prices to EWR the other day and they were . . . quite reasonable. Beat the heck out of any of the legacy children. (I didn't look at the ULCCs though, as it's for a convention and I aim to take stuff. Which . . . puts me off the legacies as well, actually. If I fly to that it will almost surely be my virgin trip on the WNer. Unless I decided to cash in some of my miles in a last huzzah.)

Also . . .
jshank83 wrote: I sent a message to the airport asking about a few different topics. One of them was if they ever do tours. I figured it would be a hard no due to security reasons but asked anyways.

The reply:
------------------------------------------
Lastly, we are working on a formalized tour program for small groups. We’re aiming to have that program up and running by the end of this year/or early next year.
------------------------------------------

I thought people in here might be interested.
Indeed that IS interesting! That would be a neat little UrbanStL meetup, actually. Potentially, anyway. Thanks for the information. :)