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Deck the Halls with Schedules

Employee
Employee

The first part of Southwest’s summer Schedule is now open for sale, including Memorial Day!  You can now book travel on Southwest from now until June 26, 2009.

Schedule Planning, as usual, has been BUSY, and this schedule change shows it.  We are changing the number of flights we’re offering in 102 markets—not as large a change as we’ve had, say, in March of 2009, but it’s a hefty set of changes.  Many of these frequency alterations are simply a reflection of the airline industry today.  As if you guys hadn’t noticed—the economy is a little difficult these days!  To that end, we’re not planning to grow our fleet next year.  Still, we have to continue to respond to changes, opportunities, and conditions in the marketplace.  In order to do that, again, we’re flexing our schedule optimizer’s cyber-muscles to implement changes to balance the airline “teeter-totter” of meeting the needs of our Customers while maximizing profitability. 

To meet that challenge, we’re adding brand-new nonstop service between our ever-growing Denver franchise and the home of the University of Arizona—Tucson.  We’re also acting big-time on seasonal traffic shifts.  These happen every year, but in the past we weren’t really able to rip-and-tear our schedule to take advantage of them.  This year, we’re all over it!  For example, in this schedule change, we’re reducing capacity (by no more than one flight per day per market) in such warm-weather/"beach" destination markets as Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood, Ft. Myers, Tampa Bay, Orlando, and Phoenix—mostly markets in which we added seasonal flights in our January and March Schedules.  Some of these will likely come back in Winter 2009.  Then, on the added-service side, we’re adding service in popular summertime destinations like Oakland, Seattle, and Nashville.  Again, some of these will most likely go away when the leaves start changing in Fall 2009. 

Other schedule changes are just a product of a changing economy, and the need to reduce capacity in some markets to allow growth in others, while keeping our fleet count constant.  We’re discontinuing our nonstop service between Austin and Midland/Odessa (although we’ll retain lots of convenient onestop same-plane and connecting service via Dallas), and reducing service in several others. We’re also adding service in other markets to help connect our network better during the busy Summer season so that we can give more of you guys the “Freedom to Fly” (without hidden fees!!!) across our nation.  Attached to this blog post in the "Attachment" section below is a .pdf file with all of the details.  And if you have questions, just ask by posting a comment—as usual, I’ll be watching for them and answering the ones that I can!

Now because I know you  guys will ask, because you notice EVERYTHING….we’re taking the very unusual (for us) tactic of only opening up our Summer schedule until the end of June Instead of opening it up into August. We’re still working on a few things, so stay tuned.    Don’t worry, we plan to open up the rest of the Summer for sale early next year.  In the meantime, we’re getting ready for nearly any eventuality—remind me to do a blog post one time on the subject of “scenario proliferation!”

Happy booking, everyone….and Happy Holidays, blogosphere!  


 

44 Comments
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Does everyone at Southwest have to sound like a high school cheerleader? Just come out with the facts.! this stuff is dry anyway. no need to juice it up with all the filler! but thanks for the info!
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Hey guys, What happened to the advanced notice that you had promised would happen on the southwest.com website before you extended your schedule? Bruce
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Excellent! I was concerned that PVD would lose the second FLL flight...but luckily it's staying so I was able to get some more flexible times for my cruise flights.
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Hi, I love Southwest and the convenience and flexibility it offers me! I take the Tampa - Albany nonstop every weekend and was wondering why this flight's timeslot advanced to so early in the day leaving ~ noon! Thanks! Jan
Active Member
Hey, Bill -- "Schedule Planning, as usual, has been BUSY..." Is that why everytime I've seen you lately, you are unshaven and look tired? Congrats on getting the new schedule done -- now, go home, get some sleep and shave when you get up!! LOL Kim Who is Grateful for People Like Bill Who Make This a Great Place to Work 🙂
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GIVE NEW FLIGHTS TO DULLES AIRPORT!!! PLEASE!!!
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I am really starting to get worryed about SWA at Islip (ISP). Today, another two flights are gone and soon SWA will be down to only 20 Flights a day. Why did SWA spend 60 Millions dollars on a terminal at macarthur airport that sits idle most of the day. With the opening of LGA next year, NO new Islip cities added in years and the pairing down of Islip flights from the mid 30's a few years ago to the low 20 now, SWA's stay at ISP could be not be much longer. I know all the blogers say ISP is a "GREAT" station for them, but there actions say something different.
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Thank you Southwest for the new Tucson to Denver flight!!! We appreciate any new flights from Tucson! Happy Holidays!
Employee
Employee
Hey, everyone! A few responses. Anonymous--M E O W! 😉 Seriously, I *love* what we do in my Department, and yeah, I get excited by it. Please forgive me for being a bit rah-rah-ish. And yes, it can be a tad dry, so why not make an attempt to liven things up a bit? Bruce--**Woops**, we've contacted the good folks in interactive marketing (who have had a LOT of job duty changes of late), and they'll get it rectified. Yes, we promised--and yes, we dropped the ball on this one. We will try to do better!!! Dan, glad you like it--now fly a LOT!!! Hi, Charlie!!! Hope all is well with you. It's fixed now. Jan, the generic answer is "because we didn't tell the algorithm not to." Hopefully well set the inputs for our Fall Saturday schedule in this market more carefully. And Kim--"unshaven?" Dude, I'm growing my beard back after shaving it off for Halloween (not to mention dying my hair blonde to dress as "Dennis the Menace")!! And thanks--hope you've enjoyed your six-months-and-counting at Southwest as much as I'm still enjoying my 18+ years! Keep 'em coming, guys....I'll be watching! Bill
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Adding MSP to Denver or Salt Lake City would be nice. Even if it is only one or two flights a day. Flying to MDW to go to and from the west coast doesn't make sense.
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Bill, Our stated intent with MSP is to only offer service to MDW, with connection opportunities to everywhere else. One may posit that LGA service, if all the dominos fall as expected, would be to MDW, with connection opportunities everywhere else. Don't you think it's time to put maps of our bigger stations in the back of Spirit Magazine?? 😉 I know we're primarily "point to point", but I'm also answering a LOT of connection questions on the plane, graciously, per usual. I'm also pretty good at map drawing. ;-) I brought this up at two Internal Roundtables, and I know I'm not the only one. I'm just taking the opportunity to try another communication channel. Thanks, and Kim's right. Take a nap, already!!!
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Thank you for bringing back SEA and OAK! 🙂 I can't tell you how many times I have been coming back from Florida and people have been on the flight specifically to connect in Nashville to the Seattle flight. I'm certain that these can do better for you this time(even if it means having them as seasonal with directs in the off-season). Now if we could just have ATL and CLT 😉 I've rather given up on AirTran for the ATL alternative after years of them/Valujet being gone and to be honest I'd rather fly Southwest anyway.
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The "queen" city (CLT) still awaits us Bill!!! 🙂 Thanks for all the hard work you do!
Active Member
Dear "Anonymous", To answer your question, YES, everyone at Southwest HAS to sound like a cheerleader. It is a side effect of the Kool-Aid they serve us each day. It isn't so bad, really, other than those mandatory pep rallies where Bill waves his pom-poms in the air and screams (right after he lands on the floor doing the splits...). Kim CR Cheerleader
Employee
Employee
Will, Great idea. I know that in the past we only had X amount of pages we could use in Spirit Magazine, but doing gate layouts at MDW, BWI, maybe some others might be a good use of them. I'll make sure the folks across the hall in Marketing that oversee Spirit hear the idea. Joel--"Queen City"? I had no idea Charlotte was nicknamed that. And Kim, trust me, if I jumped in the air and did the splits, there DEFINITELY would be much screaming when I landed, all of it coming from me. Come to think of it, the impact would register as about a 6.8 on the Richter scale, prompting the U.S. Geological Survey to issue a tsunami warning for Bachman Lake. All in all--*not* a pretty picture.....
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I would still love to see more connections to Pittsburgh, specifically a BNA-PIT connection. I actually fly from Austin.
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Frontier and United have abandoned BDL for non-stop to DEN. The flights have always been full, especially in winter when UAL had 2 flights. Can we please get a nonstop BDL-DEN back?
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Why do you keep cutting flights in ISP? You have 8 gates and by may will only have 25 flights a day. Are we not going to try and maximize thee potential ISP has to over or are we just gonna roll over and die there? Southwest iss the only airline flying out of that airport you shouldd be trying to kill it out of there not kill it there. WAKE UP!!! the proper push and marketing of ISP just mught work if you tried. When are we gonna actually get more fights out of ISP or will we be down to 20 flights after next schedule change?
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MSP to destinations like PHX and DEN are full at all times and important to our future. I think MSP will be as good as DEN. Let's get started.
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This is the first time I have read this blog......very very cool
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You'd think that a big fan of SWA like me would've found this blog before now. :) Anyhow, cool stuff about the schedule, it reminded me that I need to look into my summer trips early this year. Looking forward to my SWA flight (only 10 more days!!) to visit my parents for Christmas. Ah, the old Amarillo airport...how I've not missed it.
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I have grandkids in Branson, MO and the New Airport there is scheduled to open in 2009. Rumor has it that Branson is talking with Southwest to be a major carrier into and out of there. Is there a chance this could happen? Please, Please with hugs and kisses.
New Arrival
For us schedule junkies, it is really kick to see your schedule changes summarized every so often. Just a thought for those Islip Airport worshipers, which I am one also. Guess what, if more New Yorkers start taking Southwest at LaGuardia, some of those new passengers are bound to show at Islip too with its wider range of services. So maybe Southwest will see more businees at Islip, not less, because of LaGuardia and maybe there will be more flights there rather than less. Islip lovers, its ok to think happy thoughts also.
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when are you going to start flying into Daytona, FL (DAB)?
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From what I can tell, the ABQ - TPA non-stop flights have been removed. Is this truly the case?
Active Member
To Kelly and Joi -- Welcome to our zany little corner of the great blogosphere! Please feel free to jump in any time; the water's fine! But, a word of warning. Watch out for that Brian guy who allegedly runs this Blog, as he's seriously deranged. However, we all try to humor him, and occasionally, they let him out of that padded cell, errr, office, for fresh air. Happy Blogging from SWA, Kim Customer Relations Blog Boy
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Some people in my office may not be happy with losing the Midland-Austin flight.
Active Member
Will -- Good news! I saw Bill at lunch today, and it is now apparent that he didn't just skip shaving for a few days, he really IS growing back his beard! Bill, you're looking so debonair now! LOL Kim CRBB
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I am a frequent flyer of SWA and I am a user of the mobile web from my IPhone. When I try to log into my account, I get authentication errors and never can get to the "My Account" page. I have since noticed that many of your competitors like Delta and American have developed WebApps for the IPhone that create a smooth user experience. Is something like this in the works?
Employee
Employee
Anonymous #1,330,483, (Folks, really, please put your names in--sure makes it easier to let you know whose comment is being addressed!) The flights that were eliminated from ISP in this schedule--one to Orlando and the Ft. Myers flight--were responses to seasonal traffic shifts. ISP to Florida is relatively highly seasonal, and those were additions only for the winter 2008/2009 season. As far as ISP in general--we're VERY bullish, and committed, to the Nassau/Suffolk community, to our AWESOME Employees that work at ISP, and to our beautiful new terminal there. However, we have to respond to traffic results--both seasonal shifts (like the Florida changes I outlined above) or to taking action to fix markets that just didn't perform as expected (like ISP-Providence a few years back). Hope this helps! Bill
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The Springfield, MO / Branson / NW Arkansas market and the potential for Southwest to serve it has always interested me. I have always figured the market just doesn't rate size-wise to justify it financially. But then I can now think of 2 things that might change that picture. The first being the possibility of negotiating a sweetheart deal with the new Branson airport and the second is using it as a facilitator of Dallas based Wright-amendment flight hops. After Wright-amendment restrictions were loosened Southwest naturally used St. Louis and added Birmingham to create some distribution points of DAL based flights. I wonder how far off from financial feasibility would it be for a cheap to land airport in the middle of nowhere Missouri (limited Orig/Term traffic) would work in serving Dallas based flights beyond the current unrestricted destinations. It would seem that is close to what a Branson airport would provide, but with the marketing opportunity for the city itself and the potential to stimulate Springfield based traffic and that megasized retail outfit headquartered in NW Arkansas.
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Hi! Please start flying to DAY (Dayton, OH) (Please don't laugh...)
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Chris, I Luv the way you think. Having lived in the Branson area for quite some time and knowing how they want this airport to make it big, it might just turn out to be a fabulous idea. I hadn't thought about the Wright Amendment association with this. I'll keep my fingers crossed.
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I noticed that I didn't get a reply earlier but since everyone else makes suggestions and pitches their ideas and it doesn't seem to be a problem I thought I would continue to build on what I already said and add on a little bit. I'd like to second the person who mentioned BNA-PIT. US wouldn't have chosen to bring it back for their focus city operations if it wasn't a relatively good market for them. IND would also be a good city. Based on the fact that we had service to IND for many, many years with multiple airlines even before the AA hub with full size planes when Nashville had a smaller population would indicate that it would likely be a good market now and it would be at least as big population wise on both ends now as Cleveland or Birmingham which you fly to. I also don't understand why people always get a response like they don't know what they're talking about when they bring up CLT and ATL. CLT does great from Nashville with US Airways, is the second largest banking center in the nation, is touted for its business travellers which you are after, has been talked about by JetBlue and AirTran as good markets for them despite the hub competition with "more than enough traffic to go around", and has been mentioned by you before. You also compete really well with US Airways at their other hubs. ATL has been served by two airlines from Nashville with Eastern, Valujet, American, and Corporate which ran a shuttle, Delta has extremely poor customer service and reliability on the route, the market has no more congestion than New York or Philadelphia, and it also has ALOT of business travelers. I would think that doing runs between ATL and CLT from Nashville as kind of a business travel triangle would be a perfect fit for Nashville considering that that is exactly the kind of thing that you started out doing in Texas.
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We fly SWA when ever possible. How about a flight into Pensacola, FL/Gulf Coast. It would be a perfect destination for SWA. Happy Holidays!
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I agee with Sarah . Two things are significant. US Airways sucks.CLTairport, on the otha hand has undergone dramatic improvements over the past year or so with their new parking ramps, concessions and their third parallel runway. I can see you with two gates to start 13 flights of service to Chicago, Philly, Denver, Nashville, Tampa, and Baltimore. How about it?
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Sorry Not Sarah but BNA
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I agree with Gregg that more service is needed in southeastern Ohio. However, I think you should go bold like Bold detergent and enter the Cincy Market directly with service to Chicago
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I just want to say that if per the USAToday you really intend to make MCO, TPA, and LAS your Canadian connection cities and then require a second connection in Canada you have really gone mad! Who in the world would fly 2, 3 and 4 hours south in the wrong direction, connect, turn around, come back, connect again, and then get to where they want to go??? That puts you at a competitive disadvantage to EVERYBODY. AirCanada Jazz flies nonstop to Toronto with one connection to the rest of Canada without ever going in the wrong direction; and AA, United, Continental, Delta, Frontier, US Airways all allow you to fly in the right direction to a border city and then connect to any city in Canada that you want to go to. Why would you guys do something so.....well....blind? The article in Chicago's paper following the initial announcemnt that said you probably make the connection at MDW and have WestJet fly to several of their cities from there made exponentially more sense and I would strongly suggest you guys doing that instead or it is going to be hard to draw people away from their existing options. Sorry for posting this here on a somehwat older entry but it was the only recent and mostly relevant place to write it and I hope that you will read and consider it.
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When can we plan on Southwest servicing Fresno, CA. We have a modern airport and the population to justify the location. We need you here, are you coming anytime asoon. Happy New Year.............
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Any chances of adding flights to Montana?
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Bill: You keep saying that Islip is still a player in your schedule, well I just tried to book a flight there for this June, and your web site says you will not be serving Islip as of May 2009! I knew you were starting service out of LGA, but there wasn't anything on your web site to select in the NYC area but Islip. So currently I don't see any service to the NYC area after this May. What's going on??
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I too would really like to see service to Branson's new airport. almost everybody I know (including me) drives to Kansas City or St Louis to get out of here. since moving here, I have found the Springfield airport to be non-competitive and have only used it a few times. I think SWA would be a perfect fit down here.
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Any update on the possiblity of ever adding Springfield/Branson Missouri? Just back from weekend jaunt from Las Vegas to Springfield this weekend on the miserable Allegiant Airline. My sister has had enough of me and my "Southwest" this and "Southwest" that. Dearest Southwest - why are you letting Allegiant corner the "tourist" market back and forth to Las Vegas? Please-please-please add this route to your schedule!!! Or this Springfield/Branson that unfriendly to airlines tax wise (or stuff I don't understand)? I would think the traffic would be there since Springfield is huge now!