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What an Odd Flight Route

I was just checking on the status of Sebastian’s next flight on FlightAware and discovered that Southwest has a pretty creative route for this particular flight number.

Most flights I’ve been on either fly between two cities repeatedly throughout a day or they travel in one general direction (say, Charlotte to Nashville to Dallas). But Sebastian’s next flight starts each day in Dallas and flies northeast to St. Louis. From there, it turns northwest to Omaha before a turn to the southwest to Las Vegas. Obviously, the next stop is to the northwest again to hit Reno. Then it continues on its northwesterly track to Portland before going northeast toward Spokane. I wonder how many flights do such and extreme zigzag around the country.

3 Responses to “What an Odd Flight Route”

  1. Sebastian says:

    Southwest doesn’t use the typical hub and spoke system the other airlines use. They fly more like a bus or train route, making stops along the way, picking up and discharging passengers.

  2. comatus says:

    The trick is to keep checking on where the people are, at different times during the day, who want to get to the next place, and when they need to get there. Back in the Dark Ages before HASP and FedEx, the railroads and post office had a lot of analysts working on traffic and routing all the time. It didn’t work too badly–and an airplane has a big advantage over a train, because it can skip a stop and come back to it. Try that with the Limited!

  3. TheGunGeek says:

    Pre-interwebs days I looked at getting a flight from Reno to San Jose. Northwest was more than willing to book me a flight in the same price range as everyone else, except there was one difference on their flight. Yup, you guessed it.

    It went via their hub in Minneapolis/St. Paul.

    They thought it would be a great idea to send someone that was about 200 miles from where he wanted to be to a location that was about 1800 miles in the exact opposite direction and then back to the desired destination.

    I didn’t take the flight, but they would have credited me with flight miles for actual air miles flown so it would been quite a good chunk of miles for a low price. Of course, it would have killed pretty much a whole day for something I could have driven in 4 hours.

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