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Plan for Houston Hobby international flights triggers clash between United and Southwest

A proposal by Southwest Airlines to offer international flights from Hobby Airport has triggered an intense lobbying duel with United Airlines, which still wields considerable local clout as the successor to Houston-based Continental. ( 更多...

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Chip Hermes 9
Wow, United sure is able to argue some facetious and laughable positions. They're willing to do anything to protect their monopolies.
Let SWA do it,its better for us,Screw United!
Chris Donawho 5
Too bad so many people hate SWA simply because they know SWA can do it, and do it better.
M Werner 5
If United spent as much effort on Customer Service as they do trying to block out their co mpetitors thay would be the best airline in the world. Instead, they could care less about the customers. they should LEARN from Southwest, not criticize them.
At6reo 2
United will NEVER have the Customer Service that Continental had. Face it, Only name reconnesion.
jsjamieson33 1
I will never fly to an EX-CON hub they are the worst, Customer service towards elites has always been poor!
sr22pilot1 4
SWA will win this hands down... J. Smisek is no Gary Kelley when it comes to these things
Steven Bryant 3
That's ok, Houston...fight all you want over this issue. Next year when Southwest starts long-haul flights out of Love Field in Dallas, well take all that international business off your hands...
Not real sure that DAL is any more of an International facility then HOU. Probably the same issues. The DAL web site claims the DAL is the "finest regional and national airport in the world"
I'm guessing you're from little d?
Chuck Weeks 3
Based on the logic of "not needing two international airports", which two of the three New York area airports should converted back to a domestic airport?
At6reo 2
Squigish 1
LaGuardia is already not much of an international airport. They only accept commercial flights from airports with US border preclearance (Shannon airport in Ireland, most Canadian airports, and some in the Carribean) so that they don't have to go through customs on arrival. They have a small customs facility for general aviation only.
Chuck Weeks 3
IMHO, the biggest sinlge "rub" against SWA is that they know how to run an airline. Having ONE aircraft model platform (B-737), DUH! Using a common sense loading and seating protocol, DUH. Having and keeping fares at reasonable rates, DUH.
They puncture the ballons of greedy accounting operated airlines, OH WELL!
SWA focuses on customers. Many other airlines focus on $$$$, and their customers continue to "fly" away from them. (no pun intended)
It's a good problem for Houston to have.
Chris Donawho 5
Tell that to AA and their lobbyists here in Dallas. We still have a lingering Wright Amendment for the next two years. AA will be insolvent by then and everyone will blame Southwest, also based here.
This strikes me as an attempt by United/Continental to instate an international flights "Wright Ammendment" in Houston. If competition is such a bad thing, maybe a look at the business model is more important. As for, ICE, somebody is already at Hobby. You can't count the number of XA- tail numbers parked all over the airport.
As one originally from Houston, I have fond memories of flying out of HOU long before IAH was built. I watched for a number of years as Hobby went slowly downhill as Intercontinental got all the big airlines and glory. When Southwest came to Hobby, that was what kept it alive as a useful, functioning airport. Now Southwest wants to expand their presence there, and United doesn't like it? My heart bleeds for United.
Does anybody remember the chaos that was Continental a number of years ago? Flights always late, lost baggage the worst in the industry, customer service a bad joke. But, by hard work, Continental went from being ranked last in every measurable performance category to winning more J.D. Power and Associates awards for Customer Satisfaction than any other airline in the world. Unfortunately, they succumbed to financial pressures and were taken over by United, who consistently has one of the lowest ratings in the industry.
Now United sees competition from Southwest as a threat, and they are trying to use claim that the proposed expansion of Southwest's services would be a bad thing? Well, yeah, it would be - for United. For everyone else it would be good, but United doesn't care about that.
Bite me, United.
I certainly agree concerning the comment regarding the United customer service issues. United will NOT loose out on International flights just because Southwest flys to Mexico......
Ralph Addison 2
This shows why airlines are broke. Neither should be building an international terminal at this airport. IT is not necessary. Where are the leaders of these airlines? I would love to see the studies that show this airports needs additional terminals. WHAT A WASTE of money.
richard weiss 1
The new terminal at hobby already has the space for international arrivals, customs and immigration. Probably just have to run a dust mop through it and they're ready to roll
The question still stands. Is the a market? With SWA flying to the Carib & Latin America, will HOU become a hub / gateway? Can SWA compete on an international level? Probably in this limited market, but is it worth the cost to the government. If the cost of the federal, state & local employees is charged back to the users, read ticket charges, will the fares necessary kill the market?
richard weiss 1
The pax pay for customs and immigration when they buy a ticket. IAH HOU, makes no difference which airport, the cost to the FEDs is the same
Chris Donawho 2
I know a lot of people cant stand SWA, but I have no grudges with them. My experiences on Southwest's 737 are certainly no different than on American's or Continental's, other than they were typically shorter flights thanks to Wright Amendment. But that's a completely moot point soon (2014 I believe). Just bexause United and American couldnt have great leaders like Kelleher and Bethune doesnt mean we should protect them from, what essentially is, better run airlines.
David Brooks 2
The Wright Amendment applied to DAL after DFW was created. Does not apply to HOU and IAH. It will be interesting to see what the outcome will be.
conmanflyer 2
i was just saying that it looks like the same issues.
Chris Donawho 6
Exactly - blocking this amounts to protecting the hometown employer from the airline with a monumentally better business model.
At6reo 1
Heck the city of Houston can't even maintain IAH's Infrastructure and now thinking about another international airport . What a joke.
M Werner 1
Can't argue with that logic. Most cities have a domestic airport and an international, and it works just fine. Chicago has O'hare and Midway, DC has Dulles and Reagan, NYC has Kennedy and LaGuardia. If it works there, it can work anywhere. (or so the song goes).
Daniel Baker 2
All three of the NYC airports are international.

JFK has flights to/from all over the world. LGA does lots of flights to/from Canada as well as Mexico and the Bahamas. EWR has flights to/from all over the world.
mskierki 1
MDW is an international airport.
conmanflyer 1
Can you say wright 2.0
Chris Donawho 3
Cant wait to see that go away. Would love to have Southwest as a viable option to Cancun.
Scott Campbell 1
ken young 1
And here we go. Another money bleeding Legacy carrier whining whenever the prospect of competition lurks. Go Southwest!
jkirk420 1
As a CoEX employee, I'm not too happy about this. With a healthy concentration of people with Mexican ties in south Houston, this would be pretty devastating to our Mexico business. If UniCal has to cut capacity, for the passengers that are connecting to overseas destinations, you'll probably end up with some that have to get from Hobby to Bush (just like there are plenty that always seem to need to get from LGA to JFK) or opt for other carriers (think Delta, sorry Houston!).

As for the SWA lovefest...from a personal standpoint, I've flown SWA a few times. We took off, flew some, and landed. They got me there safely, which is all I really care about. I didn't really see anything special. If I want some sort of special experience other than transportation I'd fly Singapore or Virgin overseas. SWA isn't even the cheapest or most convenient, but whatever...

From a professional standpoint, SWA pilots have always been good to me on the jumpseat, although the constant attempts to cut in front of you on the ground and in the air is pretty annoying. And then you had the way they the AirTran pilots.

Yeah, there is no lovefest for the cattle train here, although it's always amusing to read about the general public's. At the end of the day, it's just business. I get it. I may not like it, but I get it.
Doesn't the FAA have control on if International destinations are allowed from which airport? Then once the FAA is finished, the Customs & Border Patrol folks need to weigh in. Then - who pays? The City? State? Feds? In other words - the tax payers - or US!! The article states that SWA would build the facilities, but who pays the payroll? Actually, is there really enough traffic to justify the public expense? Or is this a case of "If you build it, they will come".
Robert Robar 0
Can't we all learn how to just get along.
Daniel Baker 0
I wonder if this would have unfolded differently had the merged United Continental HQ stayed in Houston.
Chris Donawho 2
Probably would have meant a slightly larger hurdle for SWA but nothing like their battles in Dallas.
Byron Allen 0
I rode UNITED from IAH 1.5 weeks ago to DC. I rode SW to BWI this week. My opinion is that the city should approve SW airlines requect because UNITED/CONTINENTAL is so inefficient and the service is so bad, that they have a limited time to be in business and will go under. The city should invest nothing more in IAH, the handwriting is on the wall.
sparkie624 -3
As bad as I hate SWA, the Wright Amendment is wrong. Should be open competition. That is what the country is based on, and how we prosper. Those who know SWA will take United. Those who cannot afford United will take the Cattle Hauler international.
Chris Donawho 4
If I remember correctly, your reasons for disliking SWA are more from a personal standpoint as an employee (may have been someone else) so I wont argue that. But fair is fair, right is right or Wright is wrong; whichever way you shake it.
richard weiss 1
Sparkie, please take united. Thank you
FlyBoyDC10 -1
It's all about security and economics. Hobby is the domestic airport. Intercontinental is the international airport. Generally speaking, terrorists are not "home grown". We don't need two airports for "international traffic". My tax money can be spent elsewhere. If Southwest wants to fly internationally, do it from an airport that already has that label (and all the stuff that requires operating international flights). It cost $$$ a lot to certify an international airport. Move to the "international airport", if you want to fly internationally. Otherwise, remain what you are, a domestic carrier. Houston does not need two international airports. It's about security and economics. The economic part falls on the taxpayers (me). Be realistic, it ain't worth the costs, period.
SimUmp 1
Hate to burst bubble but Hobby already has Customs. They are a Designated Airport of Entry for planes coming from south of 30° N. And if you read the article Southwest will pay for the upgrades.


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