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IAD A Dream

eshelswellwhite
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Today's release of our schedules and fares into our newest airport, Washington Dulles ("IAD"), reminded me that our initial announcement that we would be entering the IAD market raised a lot of questions from Employees and from other Southwest stakeholders. Along with several of my fellow Employees, I visited IAD the evening of and morning after that April 4th announcement to get a closer look at our newest addition. I will share what I found, setting the table with a little personal history. The IAD Economy I had last set foot at IAD mid-August 1989, under less than happy circumstances. I was about to be fired from a previous career, but that's a story for another day. What that experience left in my mind, though, was a blurry image of IAD and its market that was almost 17 years out of date. What I saw in early April brought IAD into focus for me. Although our market research had prepared us for IAD's expansive market growth, the sight of all that development was greater than I had expected. You probably know all the Herndon Dulles Chamber of Commerce factoids, so I'll spare you those, and instead try to paint you a picture. As we drove along the Dulles Access Highway from the Capital Beltway to IAD, we found ourselves in what I can best describe as the capitalist equivalent of the Grand Canyon – mid-rise office complexes housing AOL on one side, Nextel on the other, then Oracle, MCI, Symantec, and so on for practically the entire 13-mile drive. What the Colorado River had done in northern Arizona, the American economy had, in its own way and in slightly less time, done in northern Virginia. And I came away with one other, lingering impression about IAD. With apologies to The Chairman of the Board (Sinatra, that is, not our own Herb Kelleher), if we can't make it there, we can't make it anywhere.  
22 Comments
Bob9
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This new city selection seems a bit odd since BWI is already so huge for Southwest. I was sure Charlotte, NC would be next or maybe Atlanta.
Drew1
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BWI is indeed huge, but as Edward notes, there is a huge economy in NoVa, and I doubt many in that area make the journey to BWI to fly considering IAD is practically in their backyard. This is a wise, and welcome IMO, addition to the route network. I hope it is aggressively expanded a'la PHL.
Chris3
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BWI and IAD may be close in distance, but they are very far apart in drive time. SW also flies to both Burbank and LAX. I imagine that DCA was not considered because of perimeter restrictions (1250 miles). "If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere." When is SW going to consider a New York area destination? Islip does not count. I can understand why SW would want to avoid Newark. LaGuardia has perimeter restrictions (1500 miles). I think White Plains would be an excellent addition for SW. I know this is off-topic. But when will the flight schedules for Christmas be on the web site? I'm just getting excited about my holiday plans. I would also love to see a few more flights in and out of Pittsburgh.
Angela6
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HOORAY! We are SO EXCITED that you are starting to service to IAD! I can't wait!
Tom1
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Southwest, Listen up! You need to add IAD-LAX (nonstop) to the IAD schedule! Pronto! LAX needs it ! (and you!) on this route......
Greg6
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Southwest NEEDS TO do N/S (non stop) from IAD to CA LA AND SAN DIEGO !!. TO COMPETE with ual they do 3 daily now to san diego this route for them is HOT!
Greg6
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Also I have a question I am a new one to southwest but neaver have flown them yet (Because to long of a drive to BWI) and Question is since SWA going to start dulles 5 October is how soon after grand opening can we start seeing new city flights in and out of dulles? And how big of and operation are they planning at dulles ( as big as bwi?) and since they are here now at dulles is this and short term thing like independance air was at dulles or are they here at dulles to STAY!?
Scott5
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I'm under the impression that Southwest had to really ask really nicely to get the gates (two) that they have. I'm under the impression that you can run about 7-11 flights per gate per day. So a lot of Southwest's future at an airport has to do with their ability to get gates. Can someone address the process about how gates change hands and or obtained? Can someone address how certain airports are slotted and others aren't and how the affects an airline's plan about whether to go into an airport or not? If you haven't made reservations for these new flights yet, you better, some flights have already been booked heavily that only two fare classes are left. I also noticed that the New York based low-cost carrier did not change their prices on connections that they fly into Dulles from other Southwest cities.
John_in_Louisvi
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It's great having you in Louisville, Southwest! Please help us understand your process and methodology behind choosing the next 'lucky' Southwest city. I heard it takes 5 years from the initial idea until the first flight occurs - is that true? Any plans to expand into Eastern Iowa? Thanks!
Casey_in_Arling
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What a great addition here at Dulles! While I live much closer to National, the drive to Dulles is often worth it for lower fares. Just so the people not familiar with Northern Virginia know: There are some of us who will drive from our homes in Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria to BWI if we absolutely cannot get the fares down at DCA/IAD, but there is nothing fun about it. If you live in Northern Virginia--you rely on DCA/IAD and dread the BWI haul, unless it is on weekends when the trip can be done in under an hour from many Northern VA Beltway interchanges. Southwest--WELCOME TO DULLES!!!!!!!!!!
Carol1
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Thank you for bringing our family in the Shenandoah Valley VA closer. The drive between I-66 and BWI is often a challenge. by the way, would like to add that assigned seats will not receive my support --- who else but Southwest can turn a plane around in twenty minutes!!!
Kevin211
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Last year it was opened 18 August. Look around that time for Christmas.
Greg6
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I have a Question Ito the ones that knows how southwest runs since i am new to southwest never flown them yet( waiting for opening at dulles) anyway I was wondering since southwest is starting up october 5th when should southwest be flying 2 planes into its 2 new gates?.
pberg
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Greg Ã
Scott5
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To Greg and pberg, There are three departures scheduled before the first arrival so they will need three planes in place at the start of each day at IAD.
Dan_Smith
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I just moved to DC from the Pittsburgh area where I thoroughly enjoyed having SW near me. I am now forced to fly out of Reagan (not forced, it's a great airport), but I am forced to fly on USAirways, paying almost double! Is there anyway that SW could add flights from either IAD, BWI, or hopefully Reagan (great airport b/c of the Metro access....no parking fees!) to Pittsburgh????
Scott5
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Regarding bringing planes in before the first day, they ended up bring a flight in from Dallas, Chicago and Baltimore the previous day.
Scott5
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I parents rode Southwest's first ever non-stop flight from Dulles to Las Vegas. Which arrived EARLY even with a short ground hold over southwest CO.
Eileen1
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How do I find out where SW or any airline for the matter flys from any given airport....I want to plan some trips now that I am retired and I can leave my dog with my sons in Arlington,,,,so I am looking for destinations that I can get to from DCA or IAD.....few to Ft Lauderdale and then to Punta Cana in November...it was a good start, but need more info on destinations I can fly to from Northern Va....Thanks
Khaki_Scott
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Neither I, nor anyone I know, will do business with Southwest Airlines again until the new yahoo banner ad is removed or reworked. That thing is an entire program that is running on our computers without our permission - and it hijacks our machines - we cannot move to another page until it is finished. That is not the way to win friends and customers. PLEASE get rid of that ad !!!
blusk
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Khaki, I checked with our Marketing folks annd they did run a Yahoo ad last week, but they tell me that it shouldn't have messed up anyone's computers. We are checking on this. Brian
Scott5
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We are now about 4 weeks before the one year anniversary of this topic. Is IAD living up to Southwest's expectations to this point. Will Southwest be getting a third gate? Will they move up to number of departures to about 20? With the election season coming up will we start seeing Dulles to/from Manchester non-stops? Or will most Southwest's growth come when "Dulles 2" is completed?