ATA Now Competing with Southwest

Since Southwest helped ATA out of bankruptcy a few years ago, ATA has basically become Southwest’s testing ground.  For the most part, ATA now flies to Hawai’i, Mexico, and to congested airports like LaGuardia.  This allows ATA to feed their customers into Southwest’s network as well as bring new options to Southwest customers without Southwest having to take big risks.

The other day, ATA announced they would begin flights from Chicago/Midway to both Ontario and Oakland.  That seemed strange because instead of complementing Southwest, this actually competes with them directly.  Southwest doesn’t fly Chicago to Ontario nonstop, but on Chicago – Oakland Southwest flies nonstop six times a day.  Why would ATA want to do this and possibly jeopardize their relationship?

I don’t think they’re jeopardizing anything here, actually.  Most importantly, these are utilization flights.  ATA will fly into Chicago on the redeye and back west in the early morning.  Those are on planes that usually sit on the ground overnight before returning to Hawai’i.  This tells me that ATA is doing everything they can to reduce their cost structure, and increasing your flying is a great way to do that.  Besides, Southwest doesn’t fly redeyes, so they only are competing with a single early morning westbound flight and that’s not a big deal. What does this mean for you?  Utilization flights like this often mean lower fares, and ATA is not disappointing.  Right now, you can fly between Ontario or Oakland and Chicago for $138 roundtrip on Tuesday/Wednesday/Saturday or $158 on any other day.  Take advantage of it while you can.

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Muscat,  Oman
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