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Southwest Airlines rolls out 8 new routes in schedule extension heavy on Texas

Sept. 16, 2021
3 min read
Southwest Airlines rolls out 8 new routes in schedule extension heavy on Texas
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Austin, Texas, is the big winner in Southwest’s latest expansion, landing six of eight new routes announced by the airline on Thursday.

The move is the latest boost for Austin, which has become one of the hottest aviation markets in the nation. A number of carriers have boosted their presence there during the past year, including American and Allegiant.

Southwest’s expansion comes as rivals have looked to grow in Austin, where a booming economy and rapid population growth have made it an attractive market for new service. Southwest previously announced another new route from Austin in July and seven in March.

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With the latest additions announced Thursday, Southwest will offer nonstop service from Austin to 46 destinations on up to 105 departures a day. Southwest was already the top carrier in Austin in June, accounting for about 35% of passenger traffic there, according to figures from the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Among Southwest’s Austin additions are new routes to each coast – Charleston, South Carolina, in the East and Ontario, California, in the West – as well as new international service to the Mexican resort destination of Puerto Vallarta.

Elsewhere, Southwest will add two other new routes. One will connect Albuquerque, New Mexico, with Burbank, California, while the other will feature Saturday-only service between Denver and Cozumel, Mexico.

Additionally, Southwest said it will ramp up its schedule to Hawaii by restoring service or adding flights on several routes it had previously announced.

Doubling down: American is expanding – again – in Austin with 14 new routes

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More broadly, the addition of new routes to Southwest’s map comes as the airline moved to extend its booking schedule through April 24.

The new schedule presents an opportunity for bargain seekers, opening up a new batch of the carrier’s cheapest “Wanna Get Away” advance-purchase fares on routes across its network – including for most spring break dates.

A search for March 17 flights from Baltimore (BWI) to Fort Lauderdale (FLL), for example, showed one-way nonstop fares for as little as $168 or 11,859 Rapid Rewards points.

Earlier this year: Southwest unveils major summer expansion with a whopping 36 routes

Similarly, a one-way March 17 flight from Phoenix (PHX) to Honolulu (HNL) was pricing at $204 one-way (14,799 Rapid Rewards points).

Travelers who book with Rapid Rewards points can redeposit them with no penalty should plans change.

A Sept. 16, 2021, screenshot of fares on Southwest's website. (Screenshot courtesy of Southwest Airlines)

A complete list of Southwest’s new routes is below.

Southwest’s new routes from Austin (AUS)

  • Amarillo, Texas (AMA): Daily service begins March 10.
  • Charleston, South Carolina (CHS): Daily service begins March 10.
  • Columbus, Ohio (CMH)*: Daily service begins March 10.
  • Midland-Odessa, Texas (MAF): Daily service begins March 10.
  • Ontario, California (ONT): Daily service begins March 10.
  • Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (PVR): Seasonal, Saturday-only service begins March 12.

Establishing a stronghold: Allegiant opening base in Austin, becomes latest to double down on Texas capital

* Southwest will fly nonstop between Austin and Columbus on certain peak-travel dates in 2021. Regular nonstop service begins March 10.

Southwest’s other new routes

  • Albuquerque, New Mexico (ABQ)-Burbank, California (BUR): Daily service begins Jan. 17.
  • Denver (DEN)-Cozumel, Mexico (CZM): Saturday-only service begins March 12.
Featured image by NurPhoto via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

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  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023