Comments Please


Well-Known Member
We don't have Southwest, but have the opposite situation. An airline (CRJ names omitted to protect the guilty) will almost always slow to 190 at least 20 miles out, and will always take a downwind 6-7 miles past the airport (with nobody in front of them). Other airlines get vectored in front of them, which I'm sure makes somebody mad, but we rarely have to slow them down because somebody else got in front. This has created our own local moniker when another airline slows down earlier than expected, we say "they just [airline callsign]ed me."

We try hard not to give preferential treatment to one airline over another, but when most of the time one airline behaves a certain way, we expect that and plan accordingly. The only way to prevent it might be to say that you can do 260 to the marker and listen to the controllers wheels spin...

El Kabong

Well-Known Member
I’ve been an air traffic controller at an ATC-12 facility for a number of years, and I can’t say that I have ever seen SWA specifically being given preferential treatment. Airlines seem to have “personalities” and my experience working SWA flights is that their crews are some of the most polite, professional and cooperative. I’ve had a SWA pilot tell me that he didn’t think that he was going to make a crossing restriction 30 miles out from a fix, he got spun around and put in the back of the line… No big deal, I appreciated that kind of honesty, as opposed to that type of confession 5-10 miles out from the fix. That’s why you may hear an exasperated controller say “just do the best you can”.
I’ve had pilots from two majors that frequent ORD (call signs rhyme with United and “Merican) “suggest” that I turn the other guy because they were number 20 in the conga line for EWR and slowed to .75 mach to stay in that slot…. Yes sir, I know that they can operate at .82M and that might get you past that one aircraft 15 miles in front of you, but not the next 18!
I guess the same question could be asked of pilots trying to non-rev… who gives you the hardest time getting on board and who is a pleasure to fly with? Back in the days when ATC’ers could ride the jump seat, I was always made to feel welcomed by both the ground and flight crews at SWA… I once had a gate agent at one of those Legacy carriers that frequents ORD tell me that their ATC rep wouldn’t be in the office until next week, and that the only way I was going to get on a flight that day was to buy a ticket. No, I couldn’t speak to the captain… flight operations asked me what I was told by the gate agent didn’t I understand? Yes, I had my paperwork, no flash and dash. I proudly presented my $180 ticket to the gate agent and boarded. Now given that experience, in the event of two aircraft being spaced, who do you think is going to be last? I don’t have to resort to a toss of the air traffic controller coin on that decision… they will always lose the tie.
Be polite, be professional, be safe and I will bend over backwards… direct routings, discretionary descents and the latest sports score updates as much as I can. Cop and attitude and get ready for a vector. Oh yeah, I’ve never had any airline buy me a pizza, and I don’t sport any logo wear other than the Part 135 operator that I flew with part time.