Preferrential Treatment to Southwest

Seggy

Well-Known Member
I want to preface this and say that the guys and gals of our nations ATC facilities do an awesome job day in and day out under extremely difficult circumstances to help keep our skies safe. My hat goes off to them. Also would like to add that Southwest Airlines has been great to me when commuting getting me where I need to go.

However, it is blatantly obvious that Southwest gets preferential treatment when going into airports they serve. It happened to me yesterday and contributed to me missing my first option commute home. What is the deal with this? REALLY pissed me off yesterday.
 

mikecweb

Well-Known Member
I want to preface this and say that the guys and gals of our nations ATC facilities do an awesome job day in and day out under extremely difficult circumstances to help keep our skies safe. My hat goes off to them. Also would like to add that Southwest Airlines has been great to me when commuting getting me where I need to go.

However, it is blatantly obvious that Southwest gets preferential treatment when going into airports they serve. It happened to me yesterday and contributed to me missing my first option commute home. What is the deal with this? REALLY pissed me off yesterday.
I might just be spitballing but southwest seems to do things a little more "efficiently" then most of you 121 guys. Also I rarely here them complain or say unable. The fastest I've ever seen a taxi outside of freight was in a Southwest plane. Not saying good or bad but regardless you shouldn't let it bug you.
 

Seggy

Well-Known Member
I know a guy who was below 10,000 feet indicating 245 knots, Southwest was also below 10,000 feet and behind the guy I know. The guy was slowed to 210 to allow Southwest in.

We can efficiently do things Mike. Even made a comment we can take a tight turn yesterday from downwind to final yesterday, but they had to let the corndogs in. Usually, it doesn't bug me but when I am vectored on a 20 mile final when I am already late and trying to get home, it breaks the straw on the camels back.
 

BobDDuck

Island Bus Driver
It's nothing new. I have no idea why it happens, but it seems to happen at certain facilities more than others.
 

Velocipede

New Member
I actually talked to an ATC guy about this very topic as a result of an ATC/Violations issue for one of our guys once.

The ATC guys are fully aware that SWA pilots will "do whatever it takes" and they know they can shoehorn them into odd sized or unusual holes in the flow that crop up occasionally.

Personally, its not a matter of preferential treatment, it just a matter of common knowledge at ATC that SWA guys have the psychology to press to "get 'er done."

My take: There are two commandments to commercial aviation.

1. You get paid by the minute.
2. Never eat a crew meal in the dark.

Referring to the 1st commandment, if ATC wants to slow me down to let SWA in, more power to them. It'll show up on my paycheck at the end of the month. I've missed commuter flights home before and I'll miss them again, so no biggie.
 

KLB

Well-Known Member
It's nothing new to us freight guys. We get slowed down, descend early, 5000 AGL half mile finals, and all the other stuff because of the airlines all the time.

I mean we're all roughly doing the same speed below 10,000ft roughly aren't we?

Except the Dash 8 guys going into CLT. You have to slow to 200kts a 100 miles out for them. Atleast thats what our brasilia guys tell me.:p
 

Cheezypoof

Well-Known Member
Seggy I'm just going to comment on this since you linked to the ATC forum, but remember I'm a student at this point not a controller. I'm going to assume from the info you gave that both airplanes are capable of the 250 speed limit (Southwest being a 737 I know it is) and that you were indeed in Class B airspace in a terminal environment.

First, controllers cannot own stock in any airline companies or manufacturing companies related to airlines include General Electric. Unless Southwest has some secret underground deal with certain controllers/facility managers I don't believe there is corruption involved here.

I apologize as I do not know what type of airplane you are in Seggy. Since you said you were slowed for the 737 to pass you I'm going to assume you were at different altitudes. It's possible the Southwest was going to conflict with someone at his altitude at some point, and if the southwest was reassigned your altitude he would not maintain radar seperation minimums. It's also possible that the southwest could not have a vectored heading due to traffic. The controller is going to leave himself with more than 1 option, if he slows you for the 737 to get by he then can play with speed and altitude. Wake turbulence? the 737 is a Large weight class, I assume you were not in a heavy or plane under 41,000?. This is all very circumstantial... without you sharing what phase of flight, if you were on a STAR or approach, aircraft type, time of day, airport... I cannot offer a reasonable answer for you.
 

Alchemy

Well-Known Member
I've never really experinced this....in fact just the opposite the other day.

We were #1 for takeoff in BHM, here comes southwest barreling down the taxiway, and they request an intersection departure which would put them in front of us. ATC approved the intersection, but when southwest immiediately stated that they were ready for takeoff, ground replied "hold short, #2 for departure" :) . I see southwest ask for shortcuts all the time and get shot down....maybe that's why they seem to get more favors too, they're always asking.

However, I have heard that Southwest makes a habit of buying Pizzas for various ATC facilites. If they do, I guess they earned the service they get. What's wrong with missing your commute, seggy, I hear jersey is lovely this time of year ;)
 

Qgar

New Member
A fellow JC'er (I forgot who it was), brought this up at the ATC/TRACON tour in LAS during NJC last month. Of course, the ATC guy who couldn't have been nicer to us, said that was absolutely NOT true. FWIW.
 

Gonzo

Well-Known Member
Last month I was in and out of RDU a few times. I was turned inside of SW a few times and they where turned off the LOC because they slowed to early and ATC didn't want to slow me behind them.
 

OldTownPilot

Well-Known Member
You must hate your job. First complaining about paperwork, now complaining about Southwest. What will it be next? Complaining that you aren't just working every other Tuesday?
 

little_cricket

Well-Known Member
Also consider that Southwest has more flights in the US than anyone else... I think around 3000 to 3500 a day, so you are apt to see more examples that "appear" to be favoritism. But, most likely are just ATC working the system that you see day and day out at every carrier that sometimes looks like preferential treatment. It is just there are more of them. Other examples of favoring the home team would be MSP for NWA or IAH for CAL...

However, I'm not to say it doesn't happen. More often than not, ATC will let SWA go around somebody taxi at a snails pace or use an intersection and takeoff first. ATC will probably clear SWA for the visual 15nm out when the other carrier won't call the airport 10nm out on a clear day. ATC knows Southwest will ask for any and all short cuts, and the other carrier mostly don't care to. So some conditioning might be involved, too. Remember ATC is all about Safety and then efficient movements, as a whole not many can revival Southwest when comes to efficiency.
 

SpiraMirabilis

Possible Subversive
I've got turned inside of SWA a few times in Denver because they know the Dash can do it, but in the PHX system I never got any shortcuts.
 

fly8slep

New Member
I think SW has gotten the reputation for trying to take short cuts and ATC is just accustomed to them. One classic SW case I can remember was at some outstation airport where a UA 737 managed to get in front of a SW on the only taxiway to the runway, we were behind the SW. The some 5000ft it took us to get to the end the UA CA was LITERALLY taxing at a walking pace. It was obvious that the CA had an ax to grind, I'm not sure I can blame him. One time when SW was still new in DEN we almost had to go around on very short final because the took their sweet time rolling down the 12000ft runway. I could have cared less but the CA was so pissed off, he never stopped talking about SW favoritisms until we got to the gate.
 

B767Driver

New Member
Seggy, SWA definitely gets preferential treatment. I don't know how many times I've seen this over the years.

I'll spare the details, but I remember one issue several years ago in PBI where it caused us to have to go back to the gate for more fuel after a ground delay. On that particular day, I asked the ground controller to give me his number so that I could call him to discuss. He denied any preferential treatment but the whole deal was complete bull$&^@! I am still PO'd about that situation.

Their, "get it done" attitude many times crosses the line, is unprofessional and is dangerous, IMO (ie Burbank, Midway, etc).
 

grnclvrs

Well-Known Member
Mark, don't come to Vegas. They give SWA preference here to the point that loss of seperation has occured numerous times as they try to squeeze a 73 in between 2 aircraft on final. You and I both know that the 1900 would eat the 73's lunch on a 5 mile final but how many times did we get vectors for a SWA behind and above us going into PVD?
 

machnumber

Well-Known Member
I have seen in SW get that treatment MANY times, esp in RDU. I don't know if they buy pizza or jackets or whatever for ATC. It pisses me off:banghead: And thanks to that little extended downwind we were given that day I was forced to run from one end of the terminal to the other because I couldn't leave the airplane until about 10 min prior to push... and my fat buttocks do not like run across the terminal
 
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