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11/07/2008 â€“ Southwest Airlines & WestJet Forge Code-Share Agreement : Is There A More Perfect Match For Two Airlines?
Earlier this week two airlines I am fond of, that serve largely the same client base, came together to announce their intentions of forming a code-share agreement. One airline is a U.S. domestic airline that does not fly outside it’s U.S. boarders, the other is the second largest airline in Canada that services Canada from coast-to-coast and popular US, Mexico and the Caribbean.
These two airlines are Southwest Airlines (WN) in the United States and WestJet (M3) in Canada. If I scoured the list of airlines that could compliment each other in a more fitting manner I’d be hard pressed to do so.
Southwest Airlines is the largest no-frills airline in the United States. Southwest Airlines flies an all Boeing 737 fleet. Southwest Airlines prides its self on its corporate culture of keeping their employees involved and empowering their employees to do what they need to do in order to make customer service a top priority.
WestJet was founded in 1996,and based heavily on Southwest Airlines’ success and business model. Like Southwest Airlines, WestJet flies an all Boeing 737 fleet. West has a similar corporate culture to Southwest Airlines with more than three-quarters of the company stock being owned by its employees.
What does this code-share agreement offer flyers once it comes online? It will offer WestJet passengers access to U.S. domestic routes through Southwest Airlines focus cities such as Las Vegas (LAS), Phoenix (PHX), Los Angeles (LAX), Orlando (MCO), Fort Lauderdale (FLL)and Tampa Bay (TPA). Previously, WestJet passengers would fly other airlines to enter the US to avoid purchasing two separate tickets, and not being able to ‘interline’ baggage on flights.
What are the benefits to Southwest Airlines passengers? Oddly enough, it will give Southwest Airlines passengers access to not only Canada, but also other destinations such as Kona (KOA), Maui (OGG) and Honolulu (HNL). It is always fun flying internationally just to make a domestic connection. I am eager to see how Southwest Airlines and WestJet make this work.
Passengers should be able to fly through Southwest Airlines’ hub in Las Vegas, to connect to a quick flight up to Vancouver, and then out to Hawaii. In reality this type of flying is not that much longer than other potential connection options, for flyers (like me) who must make connections to fly anywhere.
When two airlines so closely match each other in corporate culture, services offer, same aircraft type, with a very similar customer base it seems like a perfect match that was just waiting to happen.
I am excited for this code-share agreement and can’t wait to test it out in the future!
Below is a photo I shot of a Southwest Airlines 737 with a WestJet 737……yes they are both toy planes I happen to have sitting on a shelf in my living room (they are my kids toy planes……I swear)