Southwest Airlines Is Ready to Make You Feel Cramped Again
There were two pretty big stories about Southwest Airlines that came out on Thursday, and neither are likely to make you excited.
First, Southwest Airlines announced that the carrier's losses on the year topped $10 billion in the third quarter.
Simply put, people just aren't flying the friendly skies like they did this time last year. That's really true for business travelers. Many people are still working from home and working over Zoom or Microsoft Teams which has really cut into having people fly from Lubbock to Dallas for meetings.
There are also numerous businesses that simply can't afford to fly people around as much as they could before. Oh, and let's not forget that some people are just scared of flying right now.
According to CNBC, Southwest Airlines Executives believe it could take years for the airline to fully recover:
“We are encouraged by modest improvements in leisure passenger traffic trends since the slowdown in demand experienced in July,” CEO Gary Kelly said in an earnings release. “However, until we have widely-available vaccines and achieve herd immunity, we expect passenger traffic and booking trends to remain fragile.”
Bottom line? Bookings are up slightly but Southwest is still losing money. That brings us to our next big news story which may cramp your style.
Southwest Airlines will begin selling the middle seat again beginning in December. That's right, the days of the middle seat, the hated middle seat, being closed are over on Southwest.
Southwest took to Twitter to reassure people that flying in a cramped airplane was safe, and maybe it is, but I'm sure many who were still flying were looking forward to spreading out some.
I'm not going to lie. We have a trip booked for Christmas and were looking forward to no middle seat (sorry, Southwest). Of course, Southwest is a business and they are making a business decision.
According to CNN, blocking the middle seat means Southwest is missing out on $20 million in October, and between $40 and $60 million in November. This is a company that lost $1.2 billion in the third quarter.
Southwest also told reporters that the airline will notify customers if their flight has more than 65 percent seats sold, which may not actually be that many flights until there is a vaccine or more start feeling comfortable flying and that could be a while.
Meanwhile, if you're looking for an airline that will continue blocking the middle seat, Delta is your friend. At least until early 2021.