Southwest Airlines adds new Hawaii route, connects Sarasota and Savannah to its ‘hubs’

Nov 19, 2020

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Southwest Airlines is further spreading its wings to sun destinations with schedules for its new service to Sarasota, Florida, and Savannah, Georgia, as well as expanded service to Hawaii and Mexican beaches.

The Dallas-based carrier begins flights to Sarasota/Bradenton (SRQ) on Feb. 14 and Savannah (SAV) on March 11, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said at the Skift Aviation Forum on Thursday. In addition, it will add new service between Long Beach, California (LGB) and Hawaii on March 11.

The new flights are part of the fastest route-map expansion in Southwest’s history. The airline will add 10 new destinations between November and June in an effort to attract more flyers — and their dollars — while also taking advantage of competitors’ struggles during the coronavirus pandemic. Southwest has historically grown out of recessions.

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Southwest will connect Sarasota to four of its large bases — or “hubs” at any other carrier — when flights begin in February. The Gulf Coast city is its 10th in Florida.

  • Sarasota – Baltimore/Washington (BWI): three daily flights
  • Sarasota – Chicago Midway (MDW): two daily flights
  • Sarasota – Houston Hobby (HOU): one daily flight
  • Sarasota – Nashville (BNA): two daily flights

Introductory fares to Sarasota begin as low as $69 one-way. Tickets are on sale now.

Related: Southwest adds Sarasota, makes it 10 new cities in coronavirus expansion

Savannah will connect to five of Southwest’s bases when flights begin in March.

  • Savannah – Baltimore/Washington: two daily flights
  • Savannah – Chicago Midway: one daily flight
  • Savannah – Dallas Love Field (DAL): one daily flight
  • Savannah – Houston Hobby: one daily flight
  • Savannah – Nashville: one daily flight

Introductory fares to Savannah begin at $49 one way. Tickets are currently on sale.

Related: Southwest adds Colorado Springs, Jackson and Savannah to its map

Southwest will connect Long Beach to Honolulu (HNL) once daily from March 11. The route follows its award of 17 former JetBlue Airways slots at the Southern California airport in September. Tickets are on sale for as low as $69 one-way on the route.

In addition, the airline will resume service between Orange County’s John Wayne (SNA) airport and both Los Cabos (SJD) and Puerto Vallarta (PVR) in Mexico on March 11. The routes will be Southwest’s only ones between the Los Angeles-area and Mexico.

Southwest last flew the Orange County-Los Cabos route in January but suspended the Orange County-Puerto Vallarta route in 2017, according to Cirium schedules.

Related: Southwest Airlines on full-court press to win back biz flyers, one airport tour at a time

Sarasota and Savannah join four other cities getting dots on Southwest’s map in the new year. Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and Colorado Springs (COS) flights begin in February and March, respectively, with schedules still pending for new service to Houston Bush Intercontinental (IAH) and Jackson, Mississippi (JAN).

This year, the airline begins service Montrose (MTJ) and Steamboat Springs (HDN) in Colorado on Dec. 10. Flights to Miami (MIA) and Palm Springs (PSP) began on Nov. 15.

All of Southwest’s new routes come as it prepares to reintroduce the Boeing 737 MAX sometime in April. U.S. authorities ungrounded the jet after 20-months on Nov. 18. The airline has 34 MAX 8s in storage and, while it does not need the planes immediately, CEO Gary Kelly said Thursday they are “anxious to get them back flying.”

Related: Southwest Airlines ‘proud’ of the Boeing 737 MAX, no plans for rebranding campaign

Featured image by Jim Watson/ AFP.




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