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Southwest Announces Seven New Routes from Reagan (DCA)

by on March 25, 2014 · 26 comments

in Southwest

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Back in January, American and US Airways announced that they would be divesting 52 slot pairs at Reagan National DCA Airport as part of their settlement with the Department of Justice, and it looks like we now know who won the bidding process to pick up the extra spaces: Southwest.

SWA_Spot_4C

The airline said that it had won an auction for 54 slots at DCA and is prepping a new schedule of 27 additional roundtrip routes to/from the airport. It currently operates 17 daily roundtrips, so this is a big bump in business for the airline, which has a strong hold on the nearby Baltimore Washington International (BWI) Airport as well.

Southwest’s new routes from DCA will be:

  • Chicago Midway (MDW): Six daily round-trip flights begin August 10, expanding to nine daily flights on September 30
  • Nashville (BNA): Three daily round-trip flights begin August 10
  • New Orleans (MSY): Two daily round-trip flights begin August 10
  • Tampa (TPA): Two daily round-trip flights begin September 30
  • Akron-Canton (CAK): One daily round-trip flight begins November 2
  • Dallas Love Field (DAL): One daily round-trip flight begins November 2
  • Indianapolis (IND): One daily round-trip flight begins November 2

The carrier also plans to add flights on existing routes between DCA and Houston Hobby and St. Louis; for the latter, two non-stop connections are planned. The airline will add one daily round-trip flight to Los Angeles on June 8 and one to San Francisco on September 30. By the end of 2014, Southwest plans to operate a total of 44 daily departures to 14 destinations from DCA.

The other big winner at DCA is JetBlue, who was leasing 8 slot pairs from American at the airport and now gets to keep those, plus it gained an additional 12, so they are going to have a much bigger presence at the airport as well going from 18 daily flights to 30.

In terms of American/US Airways, the merging airlines will end service to:

Augusta, GA
Detroit, MI
Fayetteville, NC
Ft. Walton Beach, FL
Islip, NY
Jacksonville, NC
Little Rock, AR
Minneapolis, MN
Montreal
Myrtle Beach, SC
Nassau, Bahamas
Omaha, NE
Pensacola, FL
San Diego, CA (this flight will be shifted to LA)
Savannah, GA
Tallahassee, FL
Wilmington, NC

However, they plan to add a second daily nonstop flight between DCA and Los Angeles by shifting US Airways’ current San Diego flight to LA instead.

So there are a lot of big changes coming to DCA and there are bound to be some operational headaches ahead, but hopefully with more competition will come lower fares. Any of you readers who fly out of DCA – what are your thoughts on the changes coming down the runway?

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • RakSiam

    It’s great that Southwest is adding TPA service as that extra competition should be good for consumers. Although JetBlue’s fares are already quite reasonable on the route and they are also finally adding a second daily roundtrip.

    My biggest worry is the the old Terminal A is already overcrowded. They finally added an expanded security checkpoint which should help move people through. But the terminal itself is already over capacity with JetBlue, Southwest/AirTran, Frontier, Air Canada, Spirit and I think one other small lower cost carrier sharing 7 or 8 gates. Hopefully some of them will be moving to the main part of the airport to alleviate the crowding.

  • HoyaParanoia

    The new DCA-MDW routes will make it much easier to get from downtown DC to downtown Chicago — currently the only routes to Chicago from DCA are through ORD on United/American.

  • MikeS

    Hopefully this will be good news for us DCA flyers. Getting rather frustrated with seemingly no direct options to anywhere from DCA. Getting some more flights from the low-cost airlines hopefully helps too….flights from DCA are always seemingly at a steep premium as the other airports in the area. That’s obnoxious when BWI isn’t a realistic option (particularly with traffic) for us in NoVA, and IAD is a bit of a trek.

  • stuart

    Wasn’t Virgin America trying to increase its presence there?

  • Brian C. Lee

    “Getting rather frustrated with seemingly no direct options to anywhere from DCA.” – There are PLENTY of non-stops from DCA, you just have to be willing to pay for them.

    “flights from DCA are always seemingly at a steep premium as the other airports in the area. That’s obnoxious” – The airlines charge that much because people (apparently) are willing to pay for it. Why is that obnoxious? If people weren’t willing to pay a premium for DCA flights, the airlines wouldn’t charge that much.

    “when BWI isn’t a realistic option (particularly with traffic) for us in NoVA, and IAD is a bit of a trek.” – This is a big part of the reason for my point above. Many people are willing to pay more for the convenience of non-stops out of DCA. That fact that you may not be doesn’t make it obnoxious.

  • ESCVO

    According to us locals, if you’re going to use a one word name for DCA, it’s “National.” And if you ask us for a two-word name, you’ll get “National Airport.” :-)

  • Brian C. Lee

    I’ve lived in the DC area my whole life, and I’ve been calling it Reagan ever since the name change. I frequently hear people refer to it as Reagan, too.

  • Izzy

    I call it Reagan as well.

  • tshark42

    As usual…the big cities win and the small regional airports lose out. Typical. Unless you live in a major city, you’re a nothing and will have to pay enormous amounts to get anywhere.

  • Brian C. Lee

    Yes, because there are more potential customers (and thus more money to be made) in big cities than there are in areas served by small regional airports. Smaller regional airports have fewer potential customers (and thus less money and more risk). Airlines exist to make money, they’re not charities. They are not your local chamber of commerce.

    If having lots of air service is that important to you, move to an area with more air service. No one forces you to live where you live.

  • McMunch

    Brian, I take the Metro to Greenbelt and do the shuttle from there and it works great when I cannot get a decent fare from DCA. Maybe give that a try?

  • Guest

    As a DC local (I tend to call it “DCA”, fwiw), I’m all about more “big city” connections at the expense of the smaller airports. I’ve lived in small cities too, so I get their pain, but it’s just a real nuisance to have to go to BWI or navigate Dulles (especially if leaving from downtown on a workday) to get a direct to a major city without paying like I’m flying to Spain. I hope this results in better prices, but does anyone else feel like this makes building loyalty status even more difficult for the DC flyer who doesn’t fly a regular route (ie not always flying to ATL once a week)?

  • SwankyGuy

    Omg, National Airport, please.

  • Brian C. Lee

    Why would I do that? I’m willing to pay the extra $$ to get a non-stop (or even a connection in most cases) out of DCA.

  • Brian C. Lee

    The problem with using “DCA” is that no one who’s not a travel geek will know what you’re talking about.

  • nadball

    Looks like I’ll be getting a companion pass at just the right time.

  • info81

    American already has a direct flight to DFW out of National, so the Southwest flight to Love Field will be competition for that. I would love to see another non-stop to Seattle as the Alaska flight is very expensive and always full.

  • mpeterson78

    DCA is shuffling the gate locations. Last I heard, Southwest will be the sole operator in Terminal A and Jetblue and the others will move to old US Air spots in Terminals B and C.

  • G

    These changes are mostly negative for me–mainly the routes that US Airways dropped (and due to Frontier routes being changed to other carriers, although Frontier was in serious decline anyway). However, I am excited about the new nonstops to Chicago. That is a huge plus for Reagan.

    I second the concerns about the old Terminal A. However, I remember reading awhile back that some of Reagan is about to undergo a big renovation–anybody remember that story and whether that will effect Terminal A? Terminal A has to be one of the most depressing airline terminals in the country.

    And, one last thing regarding the name of the airport. I have lived here for awhile and call it Reagan or DCA. Almost everyone I know calls it Reagan. My experience has been that the people I know who insist on calling it “National” tend to do so for political reasons. I don’t want to imply that everyone who calls it “National” does so for political reasons. I’m just stating my personal experience.

  • Martin

    Use the code name DCA is much better. You can flower the airport all you want. In the end, DCA is used to identify the airport in bookings and other accounting matters. Here is a mouthful: Ronald Regan National Airport Washington DC.

  • Martin

    Your statement is false. People quickly and have learned what airports these are: DCA, IAD, TPA, BWI, BOS, BKK

  • http://www.airlandandsea.wordpress.com/ Jane

    I’m with ESCVO – it will always be National to me and everyone I know, except those who came here after it was renamed Reagan, will call it National.

  • Norville Rogers

    I call it Reagan or DCA interchangeably.

  • Norville Rogers

    I wish Southwest was picking up the DCA-DTW route from US Airways. Now it will only be Delta. :-(

  • Shane J.

    Well technically, it’s “Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport” and it’s often cited as being in Washington, DC, but it’s actually in Arlington, VA. Anyway. It’s called “National” or “DCA” by most of my business friends (and by me, too), even those who have moved the area after the name swap. I think the simpler “National” just sounds better.

  • Cache Carter

    Im happy that we get a nonstop flight to Little Rock, AR!

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