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Southwest has been making a lot of expansion announcements lately including seven new routes from Washingon Reagan DCA, new service from Dallas Love Field once the Wright Amendment expires in October, and new routes to various Caribbean destinations including Aruba, Montego Bay and Nassau.
Today, Southwest extended its schedule through January 4, 2015, and it looks like a slew of these new flights plus new routes between Washington Dulles and both Las Vegas and San Diego (Southwest operates existing nonstops from IAD to Chicago Midway and Denver) will go into effect November 2, as well as flights to Mexico City and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic also starting November 2.
I checked the schedule and it looks like both Dulles non-stops are bookable starting November 2 and pricing out starting at $179 each way to San Diego and $169 each way to Las Vegas (though they are often a bit higher than that):
Here are the details on each of the new routes:
Beginning Oct. 13, 2014, Southwest will offer nonstop service between Dallas Love Field and:
- Baltimore/Washington (three roundtrips a day)
- Chicago Midway (five roundtrips a day, up to six as of Nov. 2)
- Denver (three roundtrips a day)
- Las Vegas (three roundtrips a day, up to four as of Nov. 2)
- Los Angeles (three roundtrips a day, up to four as of Nov. 2)
- Orlando (two roundtrips a day, up to three as of Nov. 2)
- Washington Reagan National (three roundtrips a day, up to six as of Nov. 2)
Beginning Nov. 2, 2014, Southwest will offer nonstop service between Dallas Love Field and:
- Atlanta (four roundtrips a day)
- Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood (two roundtrips a day)
- Nashville (two roundtrips a day)
- New York LaGuardia (three roundtrips a day)
- Phoenix (four roundtrips a day)
- San Diego (two roundtrips a day)
- Santa Ana/Orange County (one roundtrip a day)
- Tampa Bay (two roundtrips a day)
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
New, daily international service on Southwest Airlines beginning Nov. 2, 2014, with introductory fares from U.S. gateway cities to Mexico City and Punta Cana:
- Atlanta and Punta Cana*, from $165 one-way
- Austin and Cancun*, from $168 one-way
- Baltimore/Washington and Punta Cana*, from $195 one-way
- Chicago Midway and Cancun*, from $178 one-way
- Chicago Midway and Montego Bay, from $159 one-way
- Chicago Midway and Punta Cana*, from $195 one-way
- San Antonio and Mexico City*, from $103 one-way
- Santa Ana/Orange County and Mexico City*, from $133 one-way
Granted the routes with *’s are subject to federal approval, so these could change, but Southwest is selling them, so it looks like they’re pretty certain they will be approved.
All in all, this is great news for DC and Dallas-based flyers since it gives them a lot more options both to earn and redeem their Southwest points, and to put one of Southwest’s ultra-valuable Companion Passes to use if they have earned one or are interested in earning one. If you are looking for ways to pad your Rapid Rewards account for one, the Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards are currently offering 50,000-point sign-up bonuses, and those bonuses count toward Companion Pass qualification (you need to rack up 110,000 points in a calendar year to qualify).
I also think it’s interesting that Southwest is muscling its way into Dulles with more flights, and this announcement comes on the heels of Frontier’s news last week that it would be launching service from Dulles to 14 new destinations in August and September. Beginning August 19, the low-cost airline will offer nonstop flights to Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., Orlando, Fla. Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Tampa, Fla. Service to Chicago-O’Hare, Cincinnati, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Las Vegas, Memphis, Tenn., Fort Myers, Fla., St. Louis, and the St. Augustine/Jacksonville, Fla. area begins September 8.
Especially as the major legacies consolidate – with American and US Airways just the latest in that series – I think it’s great that these smaller airlines are getting footholds in traditional hubs like Dallas (American territory), Dulles (United’s hub) and DCA (long a US Airways stronghold) and hopefully upping the competition there. More airlines mean more choices and better airfares for flyers in general, so I’d love to see even more routes from Southwest, Frontiers and others including Virgin America and JetBlue putting pressure on the legacies and giving all of us more options when we fly.
Hat tip: Today in the Sky.