Skip to main content

Southwest Airlines Community

NEWS FLASH--NEW SERVICE COMING NEXT MAY!!!

Employee
Employee
It's Media Day at Southwest's Galactic Headquarters here in Dallas, and we have a LOT of news to share.  2010's first new city....expansion at a long-time Southwest destination....once again Southwest is getting creative to respond to demand for our service!

The biggest news of the day is that Southwest intends to begin service at the brand-new International Airport being built near Panama City, Florida next May.  We're bringing low fares and GREAT service to the land of sugar-white-sand beaches, incredibly gentle blue waters, and an amazing variety of visitor accommodations just in time for vacation season, Summer, 2010!  Up until Southwest's arrival, this part of Northwest Florida has been plagued by high fares and a lack of full-sized airline service.  We're going to change that.  Southwest's entry into the Panama City market will make it possible for all of America to experience the incredible beauty of Northwest Florida!

While we're not ready to announce specific service plans just yet (we'll announce all the specifics this December, so stay tuned!), the "how" of our entry into the Florida Panhandle is as interesting as the "why."  For the first time ever, we've formed a strategic alliance with a corporate partner to enable Southwest to bring a new airport onto our network.  The corporate ally in this venture is our friends at the St. Joe Corporation, with whom we've been talking for over a decade.  Even if the St. Joe name isn't familiar, trust me, you know them.  They are the largest landowner in the State of Florida, owning over a 600,000 acres of prime Florida Panhandle woodlands and beaches.  They're also developing world-class resort communities in the area including the award-winning, jaw-droppingly-beautiful "Watercolor" complex. 

Lots of other local groups are also actively helping Northwest Florida launch its new international airport.  Both the Bay County Tourism Development Council and the South Walton Tourism Development Council have stepped up to the plate to make the new airport a success, as has Coastal Vision 3000.  If you've never visited the Panama City area, believe me, you have an incredible treat in store.  I'm already planning my family's vacation there next summer (whale watchers, take note....*gr*)! 

In other big news about our May 2010 schedule, today Gary announced our intent to grow our St. Louis operation by adding new nonstop service in six markets, and additional flights in two others.  We'll be adding two new nonstop, roundtrip flights each weekday between St. Louis and both Los Angeles and Nashville; and one daily roundtrip between St. Louis and New Orleans; Raleigh/Durham; Seattle; and San Diego.  (Sidebar to all of you nascent "schedule geeks" out there--St. Louis-Nashville service may be the single most frequently requested new market between existing Southwest airports during my 16 years in Schedule Planning.  So, to all of you that have asked for this service through the years, this one's for you--NOW KINDLY GO BUY A TICKET!!!!) 

These additions come on the heels of our other recent St. Louis announcement that we're adding new nonstop service between Lambert and both Boston and Minneapolis/St. Paul this coming January.  In fact, we're so pumped about our growth in St. Louis that we'll add a third St. Louis-Minneapolis/St. Paul flight with all of the other new service in May.  All told, by next may, we plan to be operating 83 weekday departures from our gates in Lambert-St. Louis International's East Terminal (which is the newest and most modern terminal at Lambert!).

Again, all of this awesome new service in St. Louis and Panama City will begin next May, and will be available for sale this December.  But don't wait until December to check out this blog again--you never know what other surprises we've got in store for you!

 

151 Comments
Not applicable
This is fantastic news, in May, the best beach will only be an hour away! It may even be possible to spend the night at home in BNA and just take subsequent day trips to PCB.. without needing a hotel!
Not applicable
I've been waiting on this service from BWI to Panama City. it will be huge success. We will fly it every month. Excited that Balt will now get the opportunity to get to knwo the nicest area of FL.
Not applicable
Southwest Airlines serving "the REDNECK RIVIERA"... How fitting!
Not applicable
Great news that Southwest is coming to PFN! Now, PLEASE create a direct flight between Panama city and Detroit! Can't wait!
Not applicable
OH MY GOSH!!! I am so excited for all of us. I have been praying SWA would start flying to Northwest Florida for so long, and finally its going to happen. I think it is a market we will get so much business from ... from tourism, lots of military live there, and snow birds ... ! I was privledged as a kid to live there for a couple of years, and its where I hold some of my best childhood memories. This is so great, and I am excited for us all. Go Southwest!!!
Not applicable
Alright! Was really disappointed that AA was cutting their New Orleans-St Louis nonstop next year, glad to see Southwest is going to fill the gap! A nonstop ALWAYS beats a connection!
Not applicable
We LUV Southwest & WaterColor! We fly Southwest every chance we can & just flew to Birmingham & drove to WaterColor just to avoid Delta. Make it a non stop from STL to Panama City & we can finally seriously look at buying our dream beach house at WaterColor! Thank You Southwest!!
New Arrival
Expect non-stop service to Orlando, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Baltimore, Chicago, and Las Vegas. If they start service with between 20-30 flights, then expect Nashville, Phoenix, too.
Not applicable
Dear Southwest, This is the best news all year! I would like to say Thank You for adding Panama City to your coverage map. I live in Las Vegas, but have a condo in Panama City Beach. I have dreamed of this for the past year. As someone who flies Southwest, mostly regionally, I have often looked at the map on the back of your napkins and used "The Secret" to imagine a little sunshine on the panhandle of Florida. It worked! Yay for Southwest and Yay for Panama City Beach! Cheers, Jen http://www.splashpanamacitybeachcondo.com/
Not applicable

marie economus

I AM SO HAPPY--WHERE WILL YOU FLY OUT OF OHIO? I HOPE PITS. OR COLUMBUS-DOES ANYONE KNOW,NOW?
Not applicable
Great news!! About time someone replaced AA - who bought TWA and used STL as way to limit competition for their Chicago hub, and bled it dry. Wait till you see the response from travelers in STL. I can see the SW frequent flyer applications beginning as we speak. So long AA. Now how about SFO-STL and IND-STL next? Love SW!!!!!
Not applicable
Great news. It's about time someone replaced AA - who bought TWA and used STL and bled it dry. Wait till the people in STL here this news. I see the SW frequent flyer applications beginning as we speak. So long AA. Love SW!!!!!!!!!!!!
Not applicable
I would never have guessed Panama City, but I suppose it shows that Southwest is open to market opportunities large (like MSP and BOS) and smaller. Lucky STL! Bill, I know this isn't under your control, but I can't wait to see your fleet growth ramp up again so that more ready to grow markets can get boosted! Thanks for your post.
Not applicable
Good move Southwest! The Panhandle is a huge vacation destination, and people have a hard time getting there. I'd be willing to bet that the flight between BNA and NWFL will be packed. The "Redneck Riviera" is a popular destination for people in the MidSouth! The flight to STL is long overdue! We've been begging for that flight for years and years, and it's nice that you guys are listening to us. Now if you could just add Louisville, OKC, and Little Rock.... Seriously though, I'm not sure I understand why you're leaving Ontario, CA out in the cold by cutting one of their only flights to the East by getting rid of Nashville is pretty cold. Whatever. Next plan, enter ATL and just route all the flights through BNA like you did w/ MSP and MDW at first. I go to school in Dallas now, and I love you guys... can't wait until they "set love free" in 2013 so I can stop connecting through BHM, HOU, or MSP!
Not applicable
This is GREAT news, St.Joe and Southwest will be fantastic partners. The new PCB Airport will service South Alabama, South Georgia and the entire panhandle. My home in Laguna Beach is only 8miles from the airport. Thank you Southwest my family is THRILLED!!!
Not applicable
I am a resident of Panama City Beach. Many many people in this area are extremely excited about this announcement. Finally, we can fly in and out of here without breaking the bank for an airline ticket. Welcome to" THE WORLDS MOST BEAUTIFUL BEACHES" and the place we call home.
Not applicable
Flying to new Florida airport will be HUGE for them!! 16 million tourists by car to the panhandle each year. Flights direct from Nashville and New Orleans would be HUGE!!! Lots of folks from these areas vacation in the Destin-Panama City area. Great job SWA!!!!!!!!
Not applicable
If Southwest thinks by docking in Panama City you will attract travelers from Pensacola and parts north and west. I'm afraid not. To travel from Pensacola to P.C. we have to negotiate highway 98 which takes 2 1/2 hours if the traffic is not heavy. Believe it or not, it's faster for us to drive to New Orleans via I-10. Maybe someday you'll explain to us dimwits why you picked P.C. who's only asset might be Destin. Too far off any good highway for people other than Panimaniacs. Lucky stiffs. We love everything about you Southwest. I hope it's not too late to change your mind. "dave" in PNS
Not applicable
Please lets finally get a direct flight from chicago. I've flown into just about every airport in the Florida panhandle looking for a decent price which ALWAYS calls for a stopover. It would be GREAT to finally have a direct flight into Panama City.
Not applicable
THANK YOU GARY!!!! I ASKED YOU THIS QUESTION @ HC. I AM SO EXCITED TO BE ABLE TO FLY TO THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WATERS AND BEACHES IN THE US ON OUR OWN PRIVATE JET!!! CANT WAIT FOR THE FIRST FLIGHT OUT OF HOUSTON 🙂
Not applicable
Great addition southwest. Stil think Atlanta or Macon would be a great market. It is one of the most requested markets.
Not applicable
I love that the folks from Pensacola criticize SWA and Panama City with all of their "facts" and then sign the comment "anonymous". Congratulations New PFN, SWA and St. Joe for a great effort to build a wonderful area of the Panhandle as well as loyal SWA customers. Delta had better get ready to reap what they have sown for decades of overpriced flights. However, I did win the lottery with a flight from PFN to Cancun roundtrip for $212 in December. I still think it was an error on Delta's part.
Not applicable
Finally, won't have to drive to Tallahassee to fly in and out! Thanks!
Not applicable
I hope this will include flights out of St. Louis to Panama City. The area is going to explode if it does. I will never drive again if I can fly there inexpensively.
Not applicable
I so think Georgia or South Carolina would be a better choice. Southwest needs to look at that market for sure.
Not applicable
PENSACOLA, PENSACOLA, PENSACOLA, PENSACOLA........
Not applicable
AMEN to Charotte what about Fort Wayne IN!!!!!!! Come on share the LOVE SOUTHWEST we love you!
Not applicable
Thanks for BNA-STL and I'm excited about the rumor amongst the local news in Florida that Nashville is one of the PFN cities. That's a huge vacation spot for people here. I can't say that of any other city and the 9 hour drive is MISERABLE so I'm glad you guys are going to take care of it. However, I don't care for the term "Redneck Riviera" or the people who use it. I've actually never heard that before. It's nice to see some BNA growth again. Let's try to keep it up. I'd really like to see Atlanta, Charlotte, or Indianapolis from Nashville. I particularly love Charlotte so I hope it comes first. As far as Atlanta goes we just REALLY need an alternative to Delta and their horrific ASA affiliate(If you're evening return flight is with them on a day trip then you may as well go ahead and rent a car to come back because they'll probably cancel your flight) and we don't have AirTran. Thanks again and keep up the good work 🙂
Not applicable
Thank you, thank you, thank you. We've been hoping since we knew the airport was planned, that Southwest would go to Panama City Beach. So many more travelers will fly rather than drive if they can land in PCB. I know of many people who will go to other locations because PCB is in the middle of airport no mans land. I have family there and it is such a hassle to fly to other airports and drive 3 hours to get to the PCB area. Spring breakers will love you too.
Not applicable
This is not a good day for good news in Pensacola; we were so excited about SouthWest Airlines coming to Pensacola. I fly Southwest all the time by going to New Orleans; I was so looking forward to it coming to Pensacola which seems like such a better market than Panama City.
Not applicable
This is great news! I'd love to see a direct flight out of Philadelphia! It would save a 4-5 hour ride from other Florida destinations or flying Delta. It'd also save the 3 hour ride to Baltimore. Please consider Philadelphia!!
Not applicable
::::SO disappointed that SWA chose a location so far away from Pensacola!!!! To fly SWA, it still means a drive to New Orleans or a drive to PCB::::: HA HA HA HA!! I grew up in Texas (home of Southwest Airlines) and lived near the Red River. Heck, we had to drive over an hour-and-a-half if we just wanted to see a good movie! Texans don't think anything about a one hour drive to get to something good! You people need to get over the driving thing. Shoot, it takes over an hour in traffic just to drive from the east side of Dallas to the west side of Fort Worth! C'mon don't be a crybaby!
Not applicable
Still no DEN service for CMH?!? Why doesn't CMH ever get any "new" LUV? We are a market starved for more air service. At least Air Tran picked up some of the slack and are doing well here.
Employee
Employee
Good Thursday afternoon, everyone! Thanks for all of the good wishes and support. And to those of you out there that are expressing disappointment that our new city announcement was not Pensacola, guys, please understand this was never a competition between the two. This was not an "either/or" decision. We know enough to understand that the two are distinct, different markets, and we remain interested in Pensacola. However, the combination of a new airport and the alliance with St. Joe led us to believe that it was time in May of 2010 to "do" Panama City. Hope that explanation eases the disappointment! Keep those comments coming, and thanks! Bill
Not applicable
Note to Southwest: One daily round trip between the new PC airport and STL. Big demand for this flight.
Not applicable
SWEEEEEETTTTTTTTT !!! Now the Worlds' Most Beautiful Beaches will be served by the Worlds' Best Airline !!!! Ready to jump on a plane today and head down to Dustys' Oyster Bar - home of Scotty O - 4 time US Oyster Shucking Champion. Mmmmmm can taste those yummy oysters now !!!! Great Job Southwest !!!!!! I can't wait !!!!! Wish it was December (and then May 2010) already !!!!!!!
Not applicable
~~~BIG THANKS~~~ to Southwest for choosing Panama City! I love Southwest so much that I currently drive all the way to Tampa to fly my son up to Buffalo to see his family! I can't wait until you are here!! My corporate office is Murfreesboro, TN, so a direct flight to Nashville would be awesome! It would save me so much time when having to commute back and forth. I also love to travel to Tampa and Birmingham. It would be super to have direct flights there too!!
Not applicable
YEAHHH!!!!! We can FINALLY afford to visit family in Minneapolis! I will never fly Delta again! I can already imagine the day trips to ATL. The jobs that SW will bring to this area will be great too-- I'll try to talk my dad into a maintenance position. He just retired this year from teaching power mechanics for 34 years in the public school system. THANKS SO MUCH SW!!!
Not applicable
Maryann Please, Please add Service in Georgia. The Atlanta area needs you here...
Not applicable
love you LUV! please please put BNA on the flight to Panama City! At least until you can get up and running in Chattanooga! well, even then BNA direct flighht would still be supported!
Not applicable
This is fantastic news! Many of us in Pittsburgh are holding our collective breath that service will extend to the Pittsburgh market, with it's beautiful and underutilized airport. Pittsburgh PLEASE?!
Not applicable
Bill...some people have fantasy football but as you know us airline nerds have fantasy schedule planning hehehe...I see 2 HOU, 2 BWI, 2 MDW, 2 MCO.. But I could also see by not doing 2 flights each to 4 cities...I could see 2 HOU ,1 BWI, 1 MDW, 1 STL , 1 BNA , 1 MCO, 1 TPA.. .But going with the 4 by 2...routing using 2 planes 1..PFN-HOU-PFN-BWI-PFN-HOU-PFN-BWI-PFN.......2 PFN-MCO-PFN-MDW-PFN-MCO-PFN-MDW-PFN..just my two cents..enjoy..got to fly now..the things you do on ground time..hehehe
Not applicable
Hi Southwest! Greetings from the worlds most beautiful beaches! Speaking as a resident of Panama City I can't wait until our new airport opens and Southwest is bringing folks to soak up the rays! As a Realtor I am hoping and praying that people will look at our market before other beach areas and realize how fantastic the bargains are here. Incidentally, shoot me a message at pcjanis@gmail.com if you would like for me to send you info on some of the bargains. Can you say gulf front 1 bedroom condo for under 150,000.00? Congratulations Southwest, you're gonna love our beach!! And if 30A and St Joe's Watercolor Resort is your cup of tea...there are great deals there as well!!
Not applicable
Thank you Southwest and St Joe. I've lived here 57 years and this is the best economic news I've heard in all those years. This whole community is "besides themselves" in glee. It's like we won the Olympics. Please choose our 4 directs wisely. It would be best for this community that you pick cities that we can draw the most tourists and potential condo owners from...ie: not competing tourist destinations..Vegas, Orlando, San Franciso, San Antonio etc. My choices Dallas, Chicago, Nashville, Baltimore Thanks again...I hope you are here for many years to come.
Not applicable
Panama City Beach - YEA!!!!! Lots of folks in Nashville LOVE to go to Destin. This is perfect. We have been waiting on this. Can you move the service UP. Annual beach trip for 18 women to Destin. This year we leave on Tues (4/27) and come home (BNA) on Sunday (5/2). Let's get going. Let the 18 women be on your first trip down!!!!!! Love SWA
Not applicable
Dear SWA, I also think you made a LARGE mistake picking Panama City over Pensacola. Your catchment would have been much larger here. It is a no brainer really. You could have drawn passengers along the I10 corridor (Biloxi to Pensacola to Destin) and North along Federal Hwy 29. The Panama City choice just doesn't make sense. It is an end destination with no good road access and no interstate access. The St Joe aggreement, while attractive, just does not make sense while we have passenger traffic in Pensacola in amounts that equal Panama City, Mobile, and Fort Walton Beach combined. Now you have alienated only Panama City residents to use your service for outgoing flights. Panama city to Pensacola is 2.5 hrs on a GOOD day with NO traffic and Destin to Panama City is 1.5 hrs driving time. Trying adding a 2 hr early arrival to that before checking in !
Not applicable
Dear SWA, I, as well as many in the Pensacola area, am very disappointed about your decision to pick Panama City and leave Pensacola behind in 2010. The decision makes NO sense. Panama City is an end destination where few will travel outbound. Panama City has a small catchment area compared to Pensacola which is on I10 and would reach beyond the Biloxi to Tallahassee corridor. Panama City has no road access. In fact it is a 2.5hr drive to Pensacola on a good day with no traffic and 1.5hrs to Destin. Try adding a 2hr arrival time before your departure to that and I am afraid your passenger numbers will be low. Surely Pensacola has a larger catchment area given that its airport has more passenger traffic than Mobile, Ft Walton and Panama City combined. The Pensacola metro area is almost 1/2 million!While the St Joe aggreement may look attractive, it is the good old singular customer that brings long term business. It was the "big number$" which brought on the housing crunch over common sense decision making. Good luck!
Not applicable
Southwest you are awsome..what a great choice in Panama City,Florida. i will be able to get there and hang out on the beautiful beaches and see those beautiful sunsets more often. Plus i will be able to spend more time in my condo at Shores of Panama. WOW...WOW.. best news of the Day. THANKS..
Not applicable
Thanks, Southwest! Panama City has needed a low cost carrier for a very long time. This is wonderful news for our area, and we'll be so happy to see you in our brand new airport!
Not applicable
As a PCB resident I have dreamed of this day for years. I travel to the West Coast, Denver, San Diego and Las Vegas several times a year and so do my friends and family. I have had to drive to Pensacola, Ft Walton and Talhassee to avoid terrible prices and services provided by Delta through Hartsfield. Two nights ago I flew from las Vegas to Pensacola in trip of horrors and each time I looked at a Southwest plane wished I could be flying on it. I am hoping for Denver and Las Vegas. I also know that many people form Chicago come to our area. I would hope Southwest finds it soon needs to serve us directly from 8-10 markets not 4. My choices Denver, Las Vegas San Diego, Chicago. Expecting it to be Nashville, Houston, Chicago and one Southwest City. I will support Southwest exclusively if there are West coast flights available.