First, my background. I am a frequent flyer who spends over $100K per year on travel, split between SWA and Continental. Under the old SWA system, I routinely hit 100 points a year or more.
With that out of the way, I have to tell you I am FED UP with air travel, and now SWA is on my *hit list. I have a bunch of the old A/B reward tickets that I might as well flush down the toilet. It is next to impossible to cash them in. I am very unhappy about this.
When this airline was under Herb, it was magnificent. I loved flying SWA. When Colleen took over, it was OK, but towards the end of her tenure things began to slide. Now under Gary, I have to tell you, it has become a less than desirable experience for this traveler.
Bottom line: I've given up on business travel. A few weeks ago I accepted a new position that all but eliminates air travel. I am not alone. There are thousands like me that are "checking out" and curtailing or eliminating business traveler. Before you bash me - consider this:
* Business travelers are the bulk of an airline's profits * It takes several regular travelers (somewhere I read it's around 40 to 50) to equal the revenue stream generated by ONE business traveler
Think of it this way - if 5,000 travelers like me stop traveling, that represents $500 million in lost top-line revenue (5K travelers x $100K annual spend). And that's HIGH MARGIN top-line revenue.
I know this - I won't be investing in any airlines, hotels or rental car companies any time soon. I just don't see the need to do this like in the past. Once relationships are established, the reasons to be face-to-face, especially with all the technologies out there (net meetings, etc.), are few and far between. I expect this trend to continue.
When you complain why SWA is under $10 per share, think about what I wrote. It's an issue not unique to SWA - it plagues the entire airline and travel industry.
And someone else will backfill your old position that still travels. The new system is LIGHT YEARS better than the old one, and I for one love it. Before I could fly from DAL to NYC or DAL to HOU and get the same credit in my RR account. Not really fair, and likewise when I used an RR ticket it would cost me the same if I redeemed it to OKC or to LAX. Not fair, again. With the amount of points I have accrued in my account, I have TONS,literally TONS of options. Heck, I was playing around with their site the other day and figured out that I can take 2x as many round trips under the new system than I could under the old one.
So, sorry that you took a job that doesn't travel. That is your own choice, and fair and equitable isn't for everyone. I see that some still operate under the old legacy thinking that they are better than others for some reason.