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NEW SCHEDULES ARE OUT! TIME FOR BEACH BLANKET BINGO 2011!

Employee
Employee

Good morning Blogosphere!  There is a LOT going on here in the "Puzzle Palace" (a hopefully affectionate nickname bestowed on our Love Field Headquarters campus)!  This morning we opened for your purchasing pleasure our initial March 12 through April 25, 2011 schedule.  That includes Easter 2011 (which falls on April 24th, according to the incredibly helpful website www.apples4theteacher.com) as well as Spring Break.  Something tells me our new service to Panama City Beach--the closest airport to Destin--will be hopping next March, as will as all of our many beach destinations.  Sign up now to see who plays the 2011 version of Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello!

We're upping the bar a bit on utilization for the busy March/April time period, and as you'll see on the attached list of weekday flight changes there are far more "plusses" than "minuses" for once!  Even though we're holding our fleet count flat, we're able to put more flying into this schedule to accommodate the expected demand through the seasonal block time decreases.  As we "fly" out of winter it takes less time to get between airports due to improving weather and decreasing headwinds, and we'll certainly take advantage of it!

As for what's in this schedule--we're adding service in DOZENS of markets.  We're also doing a bit of re-engineering our schedules at Boise and Spokane.  We're *finally* linking Boise and Spokane with new nonstop service to Phoenix!  This follows the very successful intrduction of service between both Boise and Spokane and our "Powerhouse in the Rockies," Denver.  In order to make this happen, we're eliminating Spokane-Salt Lake City nonstop service, and reducing one trip each between Spokane and both Boise and Seattle.  We're pretty sure the trade-off will be worth it!  Other changes are the seasonal introduction of nonstop service between Hartford and West Palm Beach (BOCA, BABY!!!).  Also, we're eliminating nonstop service between Cleveland and St. Louis, although (of course!) we'll retain lots of quick connections via Chicago Midway.  Also, on Saturdays, we're adding nonstop service in four markets--Cleveland and Detroit to Orlando, Manchester to Ft. Lauderdale, and our old friend Norfolk-Las Vegas.  See the attached pdf files for all the details.

Coming up, we'll be opening the April 26 through June 3 time frame in just over a week, so I'll be back on here to give ya'll the "scoop" on that schedule, as well as any other schedule surprises we have in store.  With that, plus my on-the-scene report planned for this Friday from the World Low-Cost Carrier Conference in London, as well as a "Day In The Life Of A Network Planner" post coming up soon, you guys are going to be getting a big dose of Bill over the next couple of weeks! 

Have a GREAT Tuesday, everyone, and thanks for flying Southwest!

14 Comments
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When does Charleston, SC come on line?
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YES!!! Non-Stop service from PHX (Phoenix) to BOI (Boise) and GEG (Spokane) been waiting for this service for 15 years, no more changing planes in LAS (Las Vegas). Thank You.
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Greetings Bill Owen, Dan Smith, Pete McGlade, Brin Lusk, and Gary Kelly: Wow!! That was a mouthful. I have either talked to you on the phone, sent comments via this blog, or most recently as recent as Monday Evening (09/27/2010), watched the welcoming of AirTran Airways (formerly ValuJet) into the SouthWest Airlines Family. Great!! That being said, I want to focus on the late September Schedule opening that for now goes through April 25th. I carefully looked at the schedule additions and the schedule subtractions, and did not see Sacramento in either. My interpretation of this comes to perhaps a new term, if we could all swallow it, and that is "Schedule Neutrality." OK, perhaps this time around it could be a good thing, but hopefully not a bad thing. Will the next schedule, which the Travel Tools Page indicates is on Thursday 7 October 2010, include some additions, changes, or subtractions in Sacramento? In talking to airport officials in Sacramento, folks are gearing up for the so-called "Big Build" to finish in time for the 2011 peak holiday season. Is the "Buig Build" a factor in not adding, but yet not subtracting any service in Sacramento, at least for this particular schedule opening? Besides Sacramento, I am looking forward to two things for Thursday 7 October 2010, even if it means just providing status updates only on schedules to come at a later time. 1. Will Newark (EWR) Information be available to us advid SouthWest Airlines Fliers and Fans like me, even if the schedules and the nonstop destinations are not quite ready yet? The United-Continental Merger, I believe, is expected to close on Friday 01 October 2010. I am interested in preliminary information like gate and terminal information at Newark (EWR). I hope gate and terminal information is not proprietary information. If it is, prior to starting service there, please call me out on this matter at once. Schedules and nonstop information, for competitive reasons, are welcome, but most likely are proprietary until further notice, and I totally understand. 2. I am interested to visit a family member in Kent, Ohio in the next couple of years, if not sooner. If the Kings and Cavaliers play each other in future seasons, and it is not during football season, I will be talking to my sister, a professor at Kent State University, and would love to take my trip to Kent by flying into Canton/Akron (CAK) rather than Cleveland (CLE). I found out through AirTran Airways that Canton/Akron (CAK) is only 10 miles one way to Kent, whereas Cleveland (CLE) via SouthWest is 37 miles one way to Kent. In doing the math, 20 roundtrip miles versus 74 roundtrip miles is easier on the gas in the car to pick me up and/or drop me off, and therefore, with the possible acquisition of AirTran, I will be looking forward to using and/or earning rapid rewards flying into and out of Cantan/Akron (CAK) instead of Cleveland (CLE). In saying this, here are the questions that I do have for now on this future destination. Will I be able to go to http://www.southwest.com/ and sooner rather than later get a roundtrip flight (SMF-CAK-SMF) even if SouthWest and AirTran are for the time being, two separate and independent companies? In short, will "codesharing" through SouthWest's great Website begin sooner than we think, even if all the other parts of a merger will take several months to complete? Let's for now use the SMF-CAK-SMF roundtrip as a case for building the basis for such a codeshare to exist sooner, rather than later. Thank you so much everyone for this entry into the blogosphere. I'll keep checking back frerquently fo some good news. See you onboard soon. Sincerely, Mike Barnbaum, RapidRewards Member in Sacramento, California
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Erndog- We plan on announcing destinations and fares for CHS and GSP later this fall, so stay tuned. We'll share that info here! - Laurel
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Hi Mike- I've deferred some of your questions to Bill, but wanted to answer some as well. I also wanted to thank you for sharing your thoughts here--your feedback is greatly appreciated! As you know, we're working toward finalizing arrangements for beginning our Newark service in March 2011, which include the approval of airport gates. When we announce our destinations and fares for Newark, we'll also share the gate/terminal information at that time. Regarding the AirTran acquisition, here's a helpful link to answer your questions (we'll also post updates here): http://www.lowfaresfarther.com/ Thanks again for your comments! - Laurel
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Thank you for bringing back the MHT-FLL Saturday flight! How about MHT-STL in the future?
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"Something tells me our new service to Panama City Beach--the closest airport to Destin--will be hopping next March" This comment is just wrong. The closest airport to Destin is the Northwest Florida Regional Airport in Fort Walton Beach. VPS is only about 12 miles to Destin, home of "World's most beautiful beaches" not 70 miles like Panama City.
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Correction to this blog. ECP is NOT the closest airport to Destin's beaches, VPS is. I love Southwest and my family has used it several times since you've been in Northwest Florida, but please be accurate with your facts. Thanks. Look forward to flying you again soon!
Employee
Employee
Good evening from London, all! A few responses. Destin Beach Bum--my apologies. I should have said "the closest SWA airport to Destin is Panama City Beach. My bad. Michael, While we usually pre-announce our intent to serve a new city, we *never* announce our specific service plans in advance, nor do we ever discuss when we plan to announce/publish the new service. Sorry that I can't answer your questions--but hey, a Company has to have a few secrets, don't we? Thanks, guys! Bill
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"Say it ain't so!" SWA-Please do not drop Islip, NY from your routes. We love Long Island and all the Islip departures and arrivals are always full! Much more convenient for Long Islanders than LGA or Kennedy. Don't leave us SWA....we love you here on Lawng Eyeland!
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It is nice to see another airline adding Nonstop service to PHX from Spokane! I was expecting a GEG to MDW (Chicago Midway) flight though! You really are reducing the number of flights at GEG with this move. Not good to see, since Southwest has the market share on two routes and gives a choice to SLC. Hopefully, you will be adding more flights from GEG (Spokane) in the next few years and see possible longer routes from Spokane with using GEG as a small hub for Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton flights and entering the Canadian market!
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When does the next schedule past august 12th 2011 come out?
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When will October 2011 flight schedules be available for purchase?
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An airport for SWA that is close to Destin is a DREAM COME TRUE!!!!! Can't wait to go!