Southwest unveils major expansion with 2 new cities, 78 new and returning routes
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Southwest Airlines is on a tear.
The Dallas-based carrier has been growing like a weed throughout the pandemic, and that trend continues with Thursday’s announcement of two new destinations, as well as a slew of new and returning routes.
As part of the news, Southwest is also extending its bookable schedule through Jan. 5, 2022, giving flyers a head start at planning trips for early winter.
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Southwest’s 18th new city launches in November
Southwest has added more dots to its route map during the pandemic than any other U.S. carrier. On Thursday, the airline announced that it will land in Syracuse, New York (SYR) — its sixth airport in the state — beginning on Nov. 14, marking the 18th new airport the carrier has added since early 2020.
Service will commence with up to three daily flights to Southwest’s Baltimore (BWI) operating base, providing connectivity to more than 50 destinations throughout the airline’s network.
The carrier will also fly from Syracuse to Orlando (MCO) on four of the historically busiest travel days during the fall and winter season — the Saturday before and after Thanksgiving, as well as the Saturday before and after Christmas.
Getting closer to Canada with two new routes
Southwest first announced that it’s adding Bellingham, Washington (BLI) to its network in March. At the time, the airline said that service was slated to launch in the second half of 2021, and now we have the full details.
Flights will begin on Nov. 7, with routes as follows:
- Las Vegas (LAS) — once daily
- Oakland (OAK) — twice daily
Bellingham is a popular airport for budget-conscious travelers looking to get to Canada. The city sits just south of the U.S. border with Canada and is a relatively short drive to downtown Vancouver – one of Canada’s most populous cities that’s only about 50 miles from the BLI airport.
When first announcing the BLI service, CEO Gary Kelly cited that flyers will likely choose Southwest’s service to “escape high fares and taxes” when departing from Vancouver.
Southwest does not currently fly to Canada.
21 new and expanded International routes
As travel recovers, Southwest is gearing up to return to every international market that it temporarily stopped serving during to the pandemic. Though some previously flown routes are not currently slated to return, all international stations will reopen by Nov. 7, the airline said.
In addition to the resumptions — you’ll find the full list of routes below — Southwest is also adding five new international routes.
Both Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and Kansas City (MCI) will see Cancun (CUN) flights, starting on Nov. 7 and Nov. 13, respectively. Both routes represent Southwest’s first-ever international service from those airports.
O’Hare service will operate daily, while MCI flights will operate seasonally on Saturdays.
Other notable route additions include a new Saturday-only seasonal flight between Denver (DEN) and Liberia, Costa Rica (LIR), which is poised to go head-to-head with United’s existing flight in the Denver market.
Elsewhere, Southwest is adding two new Saturday-only routes to San Juan (SJU), from both St. Louis (STL) and Buffalo (BUF) beginning on Nov. 13. (Southwest considers Puerto Rico to be an international destination even though it is a U.S. territory.)
20 new domestic routes with competitors in mind
Southwest isn’t just bringing the love to its new cities or international outstations. The carrier’s domestic network is also getting a boost.
On the heels of a major Austin-focused expansion in March, Southwest is adding three new routes from this rapidly-growing metropolis to Columbus (CMH), Pittsburgh (PIT) and Sarasota/Bradenton (SRQ), beginning between Nov. 20 and Nov. 23.
As Austin’s growth shows no signs of slowing, neither does the city’s air service. On Thursday morning, American Airlines also announced its own Austin-focused expansion, with 14 new routes joining then ten other new ones it unveiled earlier this year.
America’s newest airline, Breeze, will face some new competition from Southwest. The carrier is launching flights from Oklahoma City (OKC) to Tampa (TPA) and New Orleans (MSY), two routes that were completely unserved until Breeze’s launch. Now, both Breeze and Southwest will go up against each other in those two markets.
Other notable domestic additions include a new route to Hawaii, between Sacramento (SMF) and Kona (KOA), beginning on Dec. 19, joining Southwest’s recently announced expansion in the Aloha State that includes 3 new gateways and 15 new routes.
Additionally, the carrier continues to focus on outdoor-friendly destinations in the continental U.S.
Beginning on Oct. 7, the carrier will connect SMF and Palm Springs (PSP), a California city known for its world-class golfing, spas and other outdoor recreational activities. Nonstop service to PSP from Dallas Love Field (DAL) will launch on Nov. 7.
The carrier will also launch additional leisure-focused service for those looking to escape the winter in the Northeast. On Nov. 7, the airline will add flights from Washington D.C.’s Reagan National (DCA) and New York’s LaGuardia (LGA) airports to SRQ.
Full list of Southwest’s route-map additions
|SYR-MCO||New||20-Nov||Sat 1x Nov. 20, 27, Dec. 18 and Jan. 1 only|
|BWI-GCM||Returning||20-Nov||Sat 1x Nov. 20, 27, Dec. 18 and Jan. 1 only|
|BWI-LIR||Returning||13-Nov||Operates every Sat; varies weekday/Sunday|
|BZE-DEN||Returning||20-Nov||Sat 1x Nov. 20, 27, Dec. 18 and Jan. 1 only|
|CUN-MKE||Returning||20-Nov||Sat 1x Nov. 20, 27, Dec. 18 and Jan. 1 only|
|CUN-PIT||Returning||20-Nov||Sat 1x Nov. 20, 27, Dec. 18 and Jan. 1 only|
|OKC-MSY||New||12-Sep||Sun only Sep. 12 through Oct. 31|
|OKC-TPA||New||12-Sep||Sat/Sun only Sep. 12 through Nov. 6|
|DAL-PSP||New||7-Nov||All Sun, varying other peak days|
|DCA-SRQ||New||7-Nov||Daily for the entire schedule|
|HDN-HOU||New||20-Nov||Sat 1x Nov. 20, 27, Dec. 18 and Jan. 1 only|
|HOU-MTJ||New||20-Nov||Sat 1x Nov. 20, 27, Dec. 18 and Jan. 1 only|
|KOA-SMF||New||18-Dec||Less than daily: Mon/Wed/Fri/Sun|
|LGA-SRQ||New||7-Nov||1x daily Sun-Fri|
|PDX-PSP||New||20-Nov||Sat 1x Nov. 20, 27, Dec. 18 and Jan. 1 only|
|AUS-HRL||Returning||12-Sep||1x daily Sun-Fri|
|JAN-MCO||Returning||11-Sep||Sat/Sun only through Nov. 6; Sat only Nov. 7 through Jan. 5|
|ABQ-MCI||Returning||20-Nov||Sat 1x Nov. 20, 27, Dec. 18 and Jan. 1 only|
|ABQ-SAT||Returning||20-Nov||Sat 1x Nov. 20, 27, Dec. 18 and Jan. 1 only|
|BOS-HOU||Returning||20-Nov||Sat 1x Nov. 20, 27, Dec. 18 and Jan. 1 only|
|CLE-SRQ||Returning||20-Nov||Sat 1x Nov. 20, 27, Dec. 18 and Jan. 1 only|
|CVG-RSW||Returning||20-Nov||Sat 1x Nov. 20, 27, Dec. 18 and Jan. 1 only|
|CVG-SRQ||Returning||20-Nov||Sat 1x Nov. 20, 27, Dec. 18 and Jan. 1 only|
|DEN-ORF||Returning||7-Nov||1x daily Sun-Fri|
|MSY-SAN||Returning||7-Nov||Daily with some variation|
Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy
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