Happy Tuesday, everyone! Since everyone's "March Madness" brackets are in tatters by now, we thought we'd give you something schedule-related to chat about. Today, we put our flight schedule out for sale from August 14th, 2010, all the way out through October 30th, boosting our days of available inventory up to 227. Labor day? Now available! College football game weekend trips? Now available! Trips to the Great State Fair of Texas in Dallas? Yep--now available!
This is another big schedule change for Southwest. We're deleting 83 roundtrip flights while adding 25 roundtrips, or a net decrease of 116 flights from the network. Still, only eight entire nonstop markets are being discontinued, while one new one is being added. The banner headline about this new schedule would be "Seasonality"--we're using our flight schedule optimizer more and more with every new schedule to respond to normal seasonal shifts in traffic. We're not just adjusting frequencies, but adding and deleting entire markets as needed. For example, five of the eight discontinued nonstop markets in the previous schedule are expected to return--service between Baltimore/Washington and both Seattle and Los Angeles, and between Seattle and St. Louis will probably return next summer, and nonstop Milwaukee-Tampa Bay and Kansas City-Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood will most likely come back for the winter schedule (and in the meantime, we'll still be able to get you between those points via direct and connecting service!). You can also definitely see that we're responding to seasonal spikes and dips by looking at total departure counts at our big Stations. Orlando's weekday departure count will decrease by 15 flights, and Tampa Bay's will decline by 11, as will Baltimore/Washington's. These reductions are, essentially, just trimming flights that we had previously added for the high-demand Summer travel season.
The other big headline in this schedule is that we're going to restructure our Washington/Dulles service. It's been a small, boutique operation since we opened it about three years ago. We are making some changes based on current Customer demand, and we're going to refocus our service there to strengthen connectivity to the Midwest and Western parts of our network. We're eliminating our nonstops between Dulles and both Orlando and Tampa Bay, and will re-direct our Dulles-Las Vegas nonstop to a second Dulles-Denver nonstop (and note--we'll still offer direct, no-change-of-plane service between Dulles and Vegas!). This will take us from 11 daily departures to eight at Dulles. (see pdf file attachment below.)
As always, of course, Network Planning (formerly known as Schedule Planning) taketh away, but Network Planning giveth as well. We're continuing our growth at Denver by adding 11 more flights--two more flights between Denver and Los Angeles and one added roundtrip each between Denver and Detroit, Indianapolis, La$ Vega$, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Phoenix, San Francisco, St. Louis, Tucson, and the already-discussed second roundtrip to Washington/Dulles--bringing us to a total of 144 daily departures. It's hard to believe but by August, Denver will be our fifth-largest Station, eclipsing our very first two airports, Dallas Love Field and Houston Hobby. Orange County also will see the return of nonstop LUV to and from Chicago/Midway. We're still growing Boston/Logan, adding three more nonstops to Philadelphia and another to Baltimore/Washington, bringing us to a total of 25 daily departures from Beantown. I call that wicked awesome!
In a schedule-related note, you hopefully have noticed the beautiful redesign of our website, southwest.com. Want to know when we're extending the schedule next, and by how far? The info is always available to you on southwest.com--it's just moved a bit! All you have to do is click on "Travel Tools" under "Customer Service" at the bottom of the homepage, and you'll see upcoming schedule releases under the "Feel Free To Wing It" section.