Southwest Airlines Adds 2 Routes, Extends Schedule Into 2020
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Southwest Airlines is adding two nonstop routes to its schedule, announced by the carrier on Thursday as it extended its booking schedule through Jan. 5.
From its base at Baltimore/Washington (BWI), Southwest will add daily nonstop service to Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina (GSP). The route, which will begin Nov. 3, restores service that Southwest last offered in 2016.
Southwest also will add Saturday-only service between Boston (BOS) and Fort Lauderdale, Florida (FLL). The route is a competitive one, already served by Delta, JetBlue and Spirit.
Elsewhere, Southwest also adjust its schedules at Long Beach, California, where it is juggling shifting slot availability at the capacity controlled airport. Beginning Oct. 1, Southwest will offer the following schedule there:
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- Oakland (OAK): Four daily flights.
- San Jose, California (SJC).: Four flights a day on weekdays and three flights on Saturdays and Sundays
- Sacramento, California (SMF): Four flights a day on weekdays and three flights on Saturdays and Sundays
- Las Vegas (LAS): Two flights a day on weekends. Also, for October only, an additional round-trip flight each Tuesday and Wednesday.
- Denver (DEN): For October only, one round-trip flight each Saturday and Sunday.
“Southwest’s schedule offering for Long Beach Customers is built using a combination of slots allocated both longer-term and monthly by the airport,” Southwest said in a statement to The Points Guy. “This leveraging of unused slots enables us to offer a published schedule of up to 16 departures a day this summer, for example, through our current allocation of 12 structural slots. We appreciate the airport ensuring that unused capacity is made available.”
THE POINTS GUY: Southwest Schedule Extended: Book Your Winter Flights Now
Southwest said no routes were being permanently discontinued in its latest schedule update. However, several are being ended seasonally – a common practice at Southwest as it shifts capacity between its winter and summer schedules. Dropped markets are largely being replaced in the winter schedule with warm-weather options, such as Austin (AUS), Texas, to Cancun (CUN), Mexico, and Denver (DEN) to Belize (BZE).
Overall, the schedule extension was a relatively quiet one for Southwest, with few new routes added to the schedule. While Southwest made no specific mention of it in its statement, the indefinite grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX has certainly become a headache for schedule planners at the carrier. Southwest currently has 34 737 MAX 8s in its fleet, making it the largest MAX operator in the US. When it first took the jet out of its schedules, Southwest said it was canceling up to 150 flights a day to compensate for the loss of the aircraft. Going forward, Southwest now cannot count on an aircraft it expected to be in its schedules.
Baltimore/Washington-Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina
Daily service. One daily round-trip flight begins Nov. 3.
Direct competition: None.
Boston-Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Saturday-only service. Begins Nov. 9.
Direct competition: Delta, JetBlue and Spirit currently offer daily service between Boston and Fort Lauderdale. American also flies from Boston to nearby Miami. Delta begins Boston-Miami service in December.
Daily service begins Nov. 3:
- Austin-Cancun, Mexico
Saturday-only service begins Nov. 9 between the following city-pairs:
- Houston Hobby (HOU)-Aruba (AUA)
- Nashville (BNA)-Cancun
- Milwaukee (MKE)-Cancun
- San Antonio (SAT)-Cancun
- Baltimore/Washington-Liberia, Costa Rica (LIR)
- Baltimore/Washington-San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO)
- Denver (DEN)-Belize (BZE)
- Chicago Midway (MDW)- Los Cabos, Mexico (SJD)
The routes being suspended for the winter schedule: St. Louis-Panama City, Florida; Indianapolis-New Orleans; Indianapolis-Oakland; Kansas City, Missouri-Portland, Oregon; Chicago Midway-Pensacola, Florida; Chicago Midway-Reno, Nevada; and Minneapolis/St. Paul-Oakland.
Schedules on those routes are a mix of daily and weekend-only service, and Southwest notes some will temporarily resume during the busy travel windows around the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
Featured image: Robert Alexander/Getty Images.
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