Southwest, Love, and DFW

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In one of the last vestiges of airline route regulation, Southwest Airlines is legally forbidden from flying from their base in Dallas Love Field to any states besides Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Southwest can't even sell you a ticket from Love to a destination outside these states even if they stop somewhere inside first. This law principally benefits American Airlines, which has its hub at Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW).

Southwest is pushing to have the law in question, the Wright Amendment, repealed, [*] but of course American is against it. The best part this is American's statementopposing the change:

"This push by Southwest reflects the understandably selfish intentions of a company that today is roaming the halls of Congress seeking special favors. If Southwest were sincere about growing and competing, they would be flying from DFW Airport -- and they wouldn't need an act of Congress. We're confident the community will not let Southwest risk the quality of life for North Texans just to preserve and expand their monopoly at Love Field."

Ah, the genius of capitalism...

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I just picked myself up off the floor from reading the word "monopoly."

The restriction on Love field actually applies only to planes with more than a certain number of seats (on the order of 30 or 40). Legend flew out of Love for several years, with planes equipped with exactly the maximum number of seats that were allowed to fly to arbitrary locations. American Airlines equipped planes with that same number of seats and flew out of Love to precisely the same destinations (and no more) with prices that they acknowlege were lower than their cost of operation. After Legend folded, American pulled out of Love.

Any airline that wants to can get gates at Love and operate under the same restrictions as Southwest. In fact, if the Wright Amendment is repealed, American has made explicit statement to their employees that they will begin flying out of Love.

"Chutzpah" is not strong enough a word to describe their choice of the word "monopoly" in this context. American Airlines crippled Love Field to the point that almost no one wants to fly out of it, and then have the gaul to call the one airline willing to put up with the mess they created a "monopoly."

This whole situation pisses me off to no end, as Love Field is about 10 minutes from my house, while DFW is about 45. I mourn the passing of Legend Airlines.

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