Today Southwest and AirTran extended our open-for-sale date from August 9 out to Friday, September 27, giving Customers 235 days of bookable inventory.
During this roughly seven-week date range, we’re continuing the integration of AirTran into the Southwest network, transitioning out of peak summer travel by making changes in some of our seasonal markets, and making permanent changes in others. Our Network Optimizer’s been working overtime (as have our Network Planners)—so lots of details to follow!
We continue to convert AirTran cities to Southwest Stations with the conversion of service at Grand Rapids, Michigan, which will be the 11th AirTran-only city converted to Southwest service! We’ll supplement AirTran’s two daily nonstops between Gerald R. Ford International Airport and Baltimore/Washington by replacing them with three weekday Southwest nonstops, and we’ll maintain AirTran’s daily nonstop service between Grand Rapids and Orlando using Southwest aircraft. We will also sweeten the pie for Grand Rapids by introducing new nonstop service between Grand Rapids and both St. Louis and Denver. AirTran’s Saturday-only service between Tampa Bay and Grand Rapids will end, but we’ll continue to offer several daily connections between the two airports. With six weekday departures from Grand Rapids, Southwest will double AirTran’s existing schedule of three departures a day from Grand Rapids. By upgrading those departures to Boeing 737s, we’ll offer 450 more seats out of West Michigan each business day with nonstop, direct, and connecting service to 71 Southwest airports.
Grand Rapids isn’t the only newly converted city in Michigan to get some LUV! We haven’t even started flying to Flint yet, but starting on August 11, Southwest will add daily nonstop service between Flint and Las Vegas, timed specifically for hotel checkin/checkout in Vegas as well as for excellent connections to/from other Southwest airports via McCarran Airport.
Elsewhere around the Southwest network, we’re making numerous frequency changes. We’ll discontinue our seasonal nonstops in eleven roundtrip markets:
Panama City, Florida-St. Louis
Ft. Lauderdale-Kansas City
San Diego-St. Louis
Branson, MO-Orlando (was Saturday-only service)
Southwest will also permanently end nonstop flights in five markets:
Las Vegas-Manchester, New Hampshire
Kansas City-Oklahoma City
All of these discontinued nonstop markets will retain connecting service.
We’ve been equally busy on the AirTran network. We’ll expand our presence in Memphis by adding new nonstop service in three markets: two daily roundtrips between Memphis and Chicago/Midway, and one daily roundtrip between Memphis and both Baltimore/Washington and Orlando. These new flights supplement our existing four weekday roundtrips between Memphis and Atlanta. (In my best Elvis voice impression: “Uh, thankya, thankyaveramuch.”) We’ll also temporarily supplement existing Southwest nonstop service between August 11 and September 2, 2013 only with one new AirTran nonstop roundtrip in eleven markets: between Austin and both Baltimore/Washington and Orlando; between Baltimore/Washington and Houston/Hobby, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, New Orleans, and Raleigh Durham; between Houston/Hobby and Las Vegas; and between Chicago/Midway and both Los Angeles and Raleigh/Durham.
AirTran’s summer seasonal nonstops will end in the following 18 Florida markets:
West Palm Beach-Philadelphia
In all of these markets, nonstop or connecting service will continue on either AirTran of Southwest. Also on September 3, AirTran’s seasonal Baltimore/Washington-Bermuda service will end. Across the rest of AirTran’s network, almost every single market will see minor frequency changes on a less-than-daily basis.
What’s next? We’re already hard at work on the next schedule opening, which will extend the schedule out until November 3. That’s currently planned to open on March 4 (although that date could change). Until then, stay warm, have a great Valentine’s Day, and enjoy your week!