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1,096 MORE REASONS TO LUV NEW ORLEANS--AND OTHER SCHEDULE TIDBITS

Bill
Employee
Employee
Today, Southwest released our November, 2007 Schedule, and folks that travel to or from New Orleans are going to be particularly happy–1,096 seats a day happy, in fact! Effective November 4th, we're reinstating our often-asked-about nonstop service between New Orleans and Birmingham, with three flights each business day. Besides the new Birmingham service, we're listening to the marketplace and to our Customers by adding flights in a number of markets to and from New Orleans, with more flights between Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and Dallas, Houston, Orlando, and Las Vegas. A thousand more leather seats each day into and out of "The Big Easy" is definitely reason to "laissez bon temp rouler – let the good times roll!" In addition to the new service to New Orleans, we're adding lots more "shush" to the slopes of the Rockies by adding 14 departures each day from Denver, including new nonstop service between Denver and Albuquerque, Austin, Amarillo, Oklahoma City, and Seattle. The Amarillo and Oklahoma City service will offer one-stop, direct same-plane service between Denver and Dallas Love Field, making travel between the two "Big D's" that much easier. This will bring us up to 56 daily departures from Denver International! The added service at New Orleans and Denver is part of a much broader schedule adjustment coming in November, in which we'll eliminate some flights and add others–all designed to improve Southwest's profitability and operational performance. In all, 80 markets all across our network will see flights added or, in some cases, decreased. Seven completely new nonstop markets will be added to the Southwest system, while we will discontinue nonstop service in seven others (however, in each of these, we'll continue to offer direct or connecting service). At least in terms of the number of markets impacted, this makes the November 4th schedule change the largest and most comprehensive in Southwest's history–and this network re-optimization is possible by use of our "garage-o-mizer." I'm eager for you to take a look (and buy a ticket!) at our new November Schedule.  I look forward to your comments, and as always, thanks for reading Nuts About Southwest!
70 Comments
June
Not applicable
Will Southwest ever consider the Missoula, Montana market? Southwest is the only airline I fly and I am considering a move to Missoula. The one apprehension I have is the absence of Southwest's low cost airlines up there. Driving to Spokane is a pain in the neck as it is 3 hours away. What about this market?
Janet3
Not applicable
My husband and I were both extremely dismayed that Southwest has discontinued its one daily direct flight from Philadelphia to Oakland. This saved much time and enabled us to fly to see our son and grandchildren and enabled them to fly to see us. These flights seemed to be very popular and on our last trip others on the plane were all upset that this was going to be discontinued. We are Rapid Reward members and hope you will reconsider bringing this flight back. It seems Philadelphia is being punished to allow more flights into other cities. We enjoyed flying with Southwest and do not want to have to go back to other airlines.
Jason25
Not applicable
The route from OAK to PHL made a lot of sense, and I too am dismayed to see it eliminated. I took my first SFO->PHL flight on USAir and it was expensive, inconvenient and most importantly there was absolutely no LUV! When I flew that route on SWA, even during the week, the flights seemed to be nearly at capacity. US Airways now has a virtual monopoly on the West Coast to PHL route, and hope that Southwest will reconsider and evaluate the potential to take that business back.
CJ6
Not applicable
I'm wondering if you all will ever plan on flying non-stop between denver and dallas? There are a ton of flights on frontier and united and they need some competition! I can't believe how expensive it is to fly out of denver to Texas.
blusk
Not applicable
CJ. We would LUV to fly nonstop between Denver and Dallas Love Field, but that is still against the law until 2014. This is the last vestige of the Wright Amendment. However, the good news is that, thanks to a modification passed by Congress last year, we can now sell tickets between Dallas and Denver and we can operate one-stop flights. For more information, please read Beth's post. Brian
Ryan21
Not applicable
Definitely time to bring back a non-stop from from New Orleans to the Bay Area!!!!!!!
Peter_Walker
Not applicable
Could we please get an update on Southwest's official stance regarding nonstop service between the Bay Area & New Orleans? It seems that there is overflowing demand for this potentially lucrative route. Just over the past several months the city has hosted three college football bowl games, Mardi Gras, and the '08 NBA All-Star game. Furthermore, the city seems to be doing its part to encourage more flights. According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Armstrong_New_Orleans_International_Airport), New Orleans' aviation board voted on an amended incentive program which waives landing fees for the first two airlines to fly nonstop into a city not serviced by the airport. WHAT OTHER FACTORS HAVE NOT BEEN SATISFIED FOR THIS ROUTE TO BE RE-ESTABLISHED? Is there anything that your dedicated customers could do to expediate this process? Thank you in advance for listening. Appreciate hearing your feedback.
Peter_Walker
Not applicable
Also interesting when looking at the statistics of "Enplaned Passengers" at LOUIS ARMSTRONG NEW ORLEANS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT: 2004 4,862,525 passengers 2005 3,904,366 -19.7% (Hurricane Katrina 8/29/05) 2006 3,097,684 -19.9% 2007 3,740,650 +20.8% The stats suggest that the airport is on-track to return to ~'04 traffic levels in 2008. So... is the next step restoring all pre-Katrina Southwest MSY flights this year? What other Southwest routes have not been re-established to/from MSY? What was the average load factor on the OAK-MSY route pre-Katrina? Is this information released?
Cissy
Not applicable
Please, please, please reinstate the New Orleans to Oakland flight (or SFA)...so many people I know miss that flight so much.....
Julie2
Not applicable
Please reinstate MSY-OAK! Traveling with 3 kids and miss family!
SG1
Not applicable
Please reinstate Bay Area to MSY! Direct. So many people are desperate for this flight! Thanks!
Kirby
Not applicable
Please please bring back the direct MSY/OAK direct flight. It was the reason I switched to flying Southwest in the first place! I'm getting so tired of the long layover in Houston with my two kids!!
Trion
Not applicable
Traveling between MSY and SFO/OAK used to be great. Now everytime I travel out west to see family and friends it costs me more money and time traveling. Please, please, please bring back the non-stop between New Orleans and San Francisco!
Leila
Not applicable
Haven't we suffered enough from Katrina? It's time to have our favorite airline reinstate non-stop flights MSY-OAK-MSY. Please Please Please
Sean_Winchester
Not applicable
Hear! Hear! All in favor of the direct OAK/MSY flight! I am now blessed with 2 kids as well, but as much as I would like to support the struggling economy of New Orleans post-Katrina, layovers are a real hassle with little ones. Regardless, I will be attending Jazz Fest this year, but it could have been my whole family spending tourist dollars and airfares, instead of just myself.
Bill
Employee
Employee
Guys, the MSY-OAK market was not a stellar performer. Flights might have been full, but most of those folks were going through New Orleans to/from Florida...and that traffic is now flowing over Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. If you really want the service to return, I'd suggest you do two things--one, work with local civic and business leaders to build support (meaning traffic) for the route....and two, use our existing, convenient connecting service between the two to prove how deep the market is!!!!! --Bill
Peter_Walker
Not applicable
Bill, Thank you for responding. However, I am still scratching my head... here's why: Southwest split the Bay Area-New Orleans nonstop route with United Airlines pre-Katrina. United decided to re-route connecting flights through LAX/DEN/ORD, so now the only competition is gone. Virgin America sees value & publicly stated plans to offer a direct between SFO & MSY but is still in its infancy stage. Why doesn't Southwest take advantage of this golden opportunity? Its a monopoly on a lurcative route!! I am even more confused about your second point: "with local civic and business leaders to build support (meaning traffic) for the route". You are kidding, right? In a five month period, the city hosted three college football bowl games, Mardi Gras, 2008 NBA All-Star game, and estimates well over 500,000 attendees to attend the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage festival. This is in addition to multiple other conventions. Futhermore, New OrleansÃ
Bill
Employee
Employee
Peter, Good morning from incredibly beautiful Santa Fe, NM! Sorry to confuse. Let me respond to your points together, because they really are very much related. It never matters whether a market is (or would be) a "monopoly" or not. What matters in our search for new, or reinstated, markets is how large they are and what their potential in the short- to mid-term is. We have not re-entered the MSY-OAK market for two simple reasons: the local market simply has not grown back to the size that it was, and two, because the market was not that large in the first place, we were supplementing with "Through" traffic from the Bay Area to Florida. We can now serve B.A.--FLA traffic via Houston, Austin, San Antone, Denver, and probably 5 other cities. The "Via MSY" flow is no longer unique. My comment about "working with city leaders" wasn't intended to imply that tourism and convention traffic hasn't rebounded nicely....I meant that , if you want a very specific market to grow--in this case, MSY-OAK/SFO--two things need to happen. One, specific effort needs to be spent to grow that market, and I know that Sean, Maggie and the wonderful folks (whom I absolutely LUV) at LANOIA are working feverishly to do that. But second, we need to see the traffic returning to levels that can support nonstop service. THEN we'll try and bring a nonstop and and then hook 'er up with upline/downline support to/from Florida. I know this reply has been a little lengthy (what....me, wordy????? SCOFF!!!!!) but I want our New Orleans Customers and other interested parties to know we are paying probably more attention to New Orleans traffic for capacity growth purposes than any other city in the nation. And, much as we love your city, your area, and your airport, with oil at $103 a barrel (have mercy...) we can't just throw nonstop service back in for "old times sake." I hope this helps, Peter...but thanks for your passion. That may be the most amazing thing that has impressed me about the resurgence of New Orleans since the storm--it's the sense of civic unity you folks have discovered. I sure wish other cities (who shall remain nameless!) could discover that! Bill
Peter_Walker
Not applicable
Bill Owen, You advised "if you want a very specific market to grow--in this case, MSY-OAK/SFO--two things need to happen. One, specific effort needs to be spent to grow that market... But second, we need to see the traffic returning to levels that can support nonstop service. THEN we'll try and bring a nonstop and then hook 'er up with upline/downline support to/from Florida. ** Pls read: http://www.neworleanscitybusiness.com/uptotheminute.cfm?recid=17201&userID=0&referer=dailyUpdate Louis Armstrong Airport is practically busting at the seams with passengers & needs capacity added to its pre-Katrina markets (like the Bay Area). ** Pls see http://www.flymsy.com/ Airline traffic year-to-date at Louis Armstrong is largely back to Pre-Katrina levels, '08 thru March = 1,038,801 vs '05 thru March 1,261,990. What's missing? Southwest!! '08 SWA passengers thru March = 281,149 vs '05 SWA passengers thru March = 371,106. You also said: We have not re-entered the MSY-OAK market for two simple reasons: "the local market simply has not grown back to the size that it was" ** How do you measure this statistic? By population or more specifically by airline traffic? Have you taken into account the population explosion in the Florida Parishes into account? "And two, because the market was not that large in the first place." ** SWA currently has non-stop service between Oakland and Nashville. Nashville has comparable population & airline traffic statistics YTD. Why do you fly to Nashville? "With oil at $103 a barrel (have mercy...) we can't just throw nonstop service back in for "old times sake."" 1950 miles from Oakland, CA to Nashville, TN 1912 miles from Oakland, CA to New Orleans, LA Again, why do you fly to Nashville over New Orleans? You can save yourself 38 miles of jet fuel now that oil costs $124 a barrel! Thank you for taking time to respond to my comments. As a Southwest shareholder, I also see this as a positve step for profitability. With the large % of airline passengers coming to MSY for business, SWA has an great opportunity to charge higher fares for these passengers. Thank you.
Anonymous3642
Not applicable
pick one Mobile or Pensacola...both huge growth markets and NW,Delta and Continental are abusing their customer .....hurry! im in for 30 round trips now