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This morning we're opening our schedule for reservations out through June 3, 2011.  Time to go see Mumsey for Mother's Day--or celebrate the unofficial start of summer by scheduling a Memorial Day weekend jaunt!  Either way, schedules are now available, and (of course) we have a few changes to tell you about.

First, let's talk about what's *not* in this Schedule.  Earlier this year, Southwest announced our plans to begin service in the first quarter of 2011 at two airports in the Palmetto State, Greenville/Spartanburg and Charleston, and we're still on track to do so.  We're just not quite finished with the schedules as of yet.  Believe me, you'll read it from me here on "Nuts!" just as soon as those schedules are released--so check back often for updates!

As for the changes that *are* in this schedule, it's a mixed bag of plusses and minuses.  We're not quite as busy in late April and in May as we are in March, so this schedule overall contains slightly less flying, a net decrease (for now!) of 22 flights.  Three leisure markets are seasonally eliminated (between Ft. Myers and both Islip and Nashville, and between Hartford and West Palm Beach).  On the plus side, we're bringing back some of our seasonal summer markets--roundtrip nonstops between Seattle and Baltimore/Washington, Kansas City, and Nashville, nonstops between Nashville and Providence, and nonstop Norfolk-Las Vegas service.  None of these tweaks, either up or down, are huge.  You can get all of the details in the attached .pdf file!

And for a final little sidebar....remember a couple of years ago when I blogged about how we manage inventory by putting little "chunks" out at a time?  You guys flamed me SO badly for Network Planning letting the amount of bookable inventory get down to under 100 days for the Summer Travel season (the piece received nearly 300 responses, most of them mad at me!), that I subsequently posted that we would do our best to put more and more inventory out for you to book.  Well, this schedule takes us out to 239 days of inventory--the most we've ever had!  The overarching reason we've made this change (admittedly, in baby steps, but good things take time!) is because you, our Customers, have told us that's what you wanted.  So that's what we've done!

Happy booking, everyone.  And remember to check back here often.  As you've seen over the past week, we're just full of surprises here at Southwest these days!  Have an awesome weekend. 


Adventurer C
Thanks Bill, I thought you handled the inventory issue very well through this cycle. There are certain times of the year when significant advance planning can be required. Spring Break is one of those periods. Complimentary services like cruises and hotels book up well in advance so having schedule and pricing access to our SWA birds is important. Let me give you a personal story. I was on-line the morning you opened Spring Break to check my options for a possible cruise next March. As you would expect, we looked at the usual Florida suspects, New Orleans, Houston, and Southern California and made a choice in part based on price. For a family of 4, that's a significant consideration. With plane tickets now in hand, we're in the process of booking the cruise now and are still eligible for the lowest rates given the lead time your advance schedule facilitated. I must admit that a few times in the past we were forced onto a legacy carrier simply because we couldn't wait any longer given other factors during the peak travel demand season. The holidays work the same way for us. And every time I'm forced to another carrier, it's a lost SWA opportunity. Plus I HATE paying bag fees and then watching folks board with what looks like all their worldly possessions that they want to stash everywhere including under my seat!! God I hate legacy air travel!!
Explorer B
In the what's not in the schedule department - any estimate as to when EWR schedules will be coming out?
Explorer B
Aw you just got a little singed ;-) I haven't checked, but is there another schedule update date listed?? I was waiting for today, based on your post and others' replies, and I'm a good news addict. Ready for the growth. Are you dreaming of a 717 fleet schedule yet?? 😉
Explorer C
Thank you Southwest!! It is enriching to support a company that is so great to its employees & customers. ---You guys even send birthday cards, thank you again... I am happy to be a rapid rewards member and to watch you soar into new markets and to see your company grow in a thoughtful way!
Explorer C
If you only knew how many people in the Greenville-Spartanburg area are waiting on pins and needles for the GSP schedule to be released...
Explorer B
Bill: Thank you for placing the most amount of inventory in company history. I am excited for this day for the following reason, and bloggers like Dan Webb will appreciate me for this, which I found in the Travel Tools Section of in regards to what's next: "We are currently accepting air reservations through June 3, 2011. On November 18, we will open our schedule for sale through August 12, 2011. This date is subject to change! Please check back frequently." The above paragraph, three short sentences in length, tells advid SouthWest Airlines Customers a lot, at least in my estimation. Among other things, I promised my girlfriend in the first weekend of October that I will have information over the 2010 Thanksgiving Weekend to share with her as well as my sister in Livingston, New Jersey that I will relay information to them in regards to service to Newark Liberty International Airport. You have delivered based on the three sentences that I have copied and pasted right from the Travel Tools Section of into this blog. I will hold myself accountable to my family that I will have Newark Information for them based on the Travel Tools Information that I saw today. In talking over the phone with Southwest Staff, in the wake of the fact that the United-Continental Merger has now officially closed, it seems to me that the lead time needed to get all of the agreements and the sign-offs in place for service at EWR to begin will indeed, in my humble opinion, lead us to some good news to come on the Thursday before Thanksgiving. With that, I will wait patiently for the 18th of November to come before us on the calendar, but at the same time, I will check back frequently as we get to Veteran's Day, just to see if the November 18th date has changed in any way, shape, or form, because like blogger Dan Webb, I too am anxiously waiting for EWR Information as well. Thank you for posting the next anticipated date of new schedules. I will encourage my fellow bloggers, like Dan Webb to check where you can find the next anticipated schedule extension date on the Travel Tools page. Sincerely, Mike Barnbaum, Rapid Rewards Member in Sacramento, California
Explorer C
Hi all! Bill is enjoying some well-deserved time off so I thought I would take a shot at answering some of your questions. Dan Webb - I believe our slot-lease transaction with the new United Airlines was completed this week, but we're still putting the finishing touches on our plans to use the slots. The agreement was for a few slots starting in March 2011 and the full package good for 18 departures beginning in June 2011. We will likely announce them in phases, but should have everything out for sale by the end of the year. SWFlyer - As of today, we hope to open our schedule for sale through August 12 on Thursday, November 18th, although these dates are always subject to change. You can always view our current estimate at Jonathan - We hope to make the travelers in the Greenville-Spartanburg area (and Charleston!) happy very soon! Stay tuned to this blog and we'll post something the instant we announce our service! Mike - Sorry I didn't get a chance to call you back today! Also, thank you for sharing the information of our next schedule release date. I should mention though that we don't *always* announce new service at the same time we open new schedule inventory. In fact, more often than not we announce service for new cities separate from our big schedule releases! Sorry I can't share more concrete dates, but the November 18th date won't necessarily be the day we announce our Newark service. Like I was telling Dan Webb above, we should certainly have everything announced before the end of the year. Have a great night everyone! Dan Smith SWA Network Planning
Explorer C
Hi Bill, From a stockholder perspective, will you be reducing the capacity at ECP as winter approaches? I flew MCO-ECP the other day and the loads were less than significant. I can't see this being a 2 flight Op per day in the off season. Appeciate your thoughts.
Explorer A
Whats the plans for Dulles Airport? WE need more New cities please other then Vegas , Chicago Tampa and Orlando !!!!
Explorer B
@Dan - thanks for the EWR info!
Explorer C
Charleston, SC already!