Southwest Airlines add 6 routes, 2 new cities in latest network expansion

Feb 25, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The route-map adjustments just keep coming.

The latest shake-up comes from Dallas-based Southwest Airlines, which just announced six new routes and two brand-new destinations launching in May 2021.

Southwest will begin flying to its eleventh airport in Florida — Destin/Fort Walton Beach (VPS) — from four of its largest bases. Daily nonstop service will commence on May 6 from Baltimore/Washington (BWI), Dallas-Love Field (DAL) and Nashville (BNA) with a total of five flights in each direction.

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!

Just one month later, on June 6, Southwest will add another daily service to VPS from Chicago/Midway (MDW).

If you’d rather hike and explore national parks than lounge on the Florida beaches, Southwest still has you covered. The carrier will launch its first flight to the state of Montana on May 27, when it touches down in Bozeman (BZN).

The carrier will fly two daily flights each way from both Denver (DEN) and Las Vegas (LAS) when service commences. The carrier will boost the Denver-Bozeman connection to four daily flights each way come June 6, just in time for the peak summer demand.

All the new flights are already on sale, with fares started at $39 to Bozeman and $69 to Destin.

Southwest’s expansion to two predominantly leisure destinations follows a mid-pandemic strategy of trying to capture the pandemic-weary traveler looking for an outdoor-friendly escape.

These so-called “sun-and-fun” cities have seen significant growth in airline service, despite the pandemic. Cirium schedules show that U.S. airlines are slated to operate nearly 30% more flights to the Florida panhandle city in March 2021 compared to the same month in 2019.

Hello, Miami … : Southwest Airlines CEO says Miami push part of long-term strategy, not ‘pandemic play’

All the major U.S. airlines, especially American and United, have recently added or boosted flights to Destin. Flyers seemingly can’t get enough of the Florida beaches.

Bozeman is also taking off (literally and figuratively). It’s one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S., and just keeps getting new airline service. American Airlines recently added a new Phoenix-Bozeman service. During the course of the pandemic, Alaska, Allegiant and United all boosted service or added new flights to Bozeman.

Bozeman is one of the major gateways to Yellowstone National Park and other nearby outdoor areas. Southwest’s betting that it can capture its share of flyers looking to experience a mid-pandemic adventure. The carrier is touting that it’ll soon offer one-stop service to the southern Montana city from more than 50 airports.

Q&A with TPG: Southwest CEO Gary Kelly chats about his legacy, new cities and change fees

Since March 2020, Southwest has been busy adding new pins to its route map and boosting service to airports across the country. Not only has the carrier doubled down on capturing leisure traffic, but it’s also pushed into mega-hub airports that it had avoided for so long.

The carrier has added flights to Chicago/O’Hare (ORD), Houston Intercontinental (IAH) and Miami (MIA) to help bolster its position as it looks to recover from the pandemic.

Growth mode: Southwest Airlines is getting more gates at Denver Airport

All told, Thursday’s announcement adds two cities to the 14 new destinations that Southwest has added since the outset of the pandemic: Chicago O’Hare (ORD); Houston Bush Intercontinental (IAH); Jackson, Mississippi (JAN); Savannah, Georgia (SAV); Miami and Sarasota in Florida; Fresno (FAT), Palm Springs (PSP) and Santa Barbara (SBA) in California; Colorado Springs (COS), Montrose/Telluride (MTJ) and Steamboat Springs (HDN) in Colorado; Hilo, Hawaii (ITO); Cozumel (CZM) in Mexico.

Featured photo by Robert Smith/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.