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Winter Is Now For Sale!

Employee
Employee

Winter is here!

 

Well, not really—it is 100 degrees in Dallas as we speak—but winter is now available to book at southwest.com, at 1-800-IFLYSWA, and via SABRE and Galileo.  Winter—including Thanksgiving, Christmas/Hannukah, and New Years, is now bookable with America’s Largest Airline—and the only airline where “Fees Don’t Fly!”  As usual, we’ve slipped a few new and interesting things into the Winter 2008/2009 Schedule.  First, and perhaps most importantly, is what is not in the schedule.  Unlike almost every other domestic U.S. airline, Southwest is not shrinking.  We are not abandoning cities.  We are not furloughing Employees.  Instead, we’re tweaking what we’re offering to you guys—growing where we see opportunity, and eliminating flying that just hasn’t panned out the way we’d hoped, particularly with oil at $135 a barrel. 

 

This November, in the midst of one of the worst airline industry downturns in history, Southwest Airlines has taken a scalpel to our schedule and looked at each and every flight in every market we serve flight to determine Customer demand and profitability.  Even after that excercise, we will discontinue just two nonstop markets—Oakland-Tucson, and Kansas City-Sacramento.  We’ll also reduce the number of daily departures in 27 markets, which is an incredibly minimal number.  Still, we will retain service in all of our markets—meaning, you guys can still take advantage of the great Southwest service you love, even if it may be a onestop direct or a connection.  Click here for a PDF file attachment showing frequencies in each of our markets and the changes coming up for November.

   

 

The BIG news is what we’re adding!  We’re adding six new nonstop markets—and they’re concentrated on Denver and Florida.  We’re adding new nonstop service between Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood and Albany, Kansas City, and La$ Vega$....between Ft. Myers and St. Louis….and between Denver and Orange County and Tulsa.  We're also adding extra flights in 25 other markets, eleven of which start in Denver.  Our new Florida service will make it easier for you guys to shake off that winter chill….and the new Denver service will add to our incredible success story in the Mile High City.  Even though we only re-started service at Denver International Airport in January of ’06, we will have 115 daily departures from Denver each business day by the end of 2008.  It’s the fastest we’ve ever grown a new Station in our 37 year old history.  Southwest is LUVing Denver….and Denver is LUVing Southwest!

 

There is something else that is very important about this schedule.  You may remember my story about the “Garage-o-mizer,” our original schedule optimization model (click here for the link).  It is, in effect, a constraint-based model, one that constructed a schedule that met a list of constraints, or rules.  However, given our schedule network, there are multiple possible schedule solutions—some  better than others, some worse--so the Garage-o-mizer wasn’t looking for the the best schedule possible, just one that met all of the rules.  The November 2008 schedule marks the debut of a new schedule optimizer, the new "Global optimizer"—one that takes all of our schedule rules and preferences and actually picks the one schedule that scores the absolute highest based on the input parameters we supply.  Thousands of criteria are considered.  For example, the Global optimizer actually looks to see what time passengers actually want to travel in every nonstop market we're in--folks want to leave Vegas for L.A. in the later afternoon, while they want to leave Baltimore/Washington for Orlando in the morning.  All 800+ nonstop markets have their own, unique demand curves.  This new algorigthm lets us match our schedule to exactly what you, our Customers, want! 

The math behind the model is both complicated and daunting—but we are THRILLED with the output.  And, as with the previous model, it was developed in house!!!  (BIG shout outs to David, Jesus, and Jason from the Operations Research team in Southwest Airlines Technology Department!)

 

So—let the booking begin for the Holiday Season 2008.  Plan those trips--book those reservations—and know that all of us here at Southwest, all 34,000+ of us, are trying our level best to do everything we can to be the very best airline on the planet for you.  It’s HARD to be an airline these days, but we’re not straying from our mission, which is to provide the best value in air transporation in AmericaWITH NO ADDED FEES.  Did I mention that already?  😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

55 Comments
Not applicable
Actually, you can only book out to October right now. I just tried and December isn't available.
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Winter isn't for sale on my computer yet!!
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The site still isn't taking reservations beyond October 30.
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Ready set go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! When???????????????
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I am sitting here hitting f5 and no flights out past October.
Not applicable
This is rather disappointing. I had so hoped to have my holiday tickets booked by this time today. I have been ready to commit to them for a couple weeks now. Will just have to sit tight and wait till Southwest REALLY opens up winter travel. I still think they're the best airline to fly tho' ! ! !
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Looks like the blog was updated prior to reservation system. Ahhh... the speed of the information age.
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The schedules just opened at about 10:00AM Central Time.
Not applicable
when will it be on line?
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I was told the booking dates beyond Oct 30, 2008 were to begin on 6/26/08. When will they extend?
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Still not up on my computer or my neighbors.
Not applicable
It's 10:13 CST and nothing is up past October. Am I missing something? I've refreshed, used other computers, etc.
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Still only booking through October
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Really? I've been trying since 10:00 EST and haven't seen any holiday dates yet.
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Sorry about the last post, everyone just needs to clear their cache and cookies.
Not applicable
I was at my computer ready to book at the very moment your schedule opened up on the west coast. All lowest fares for Thanksgiving were already unavailable. What gives?
New Arrival
With the cuts in Cleveland fron the other carriers, it is time to ADD service here We need more service to MDW!! I flew last Friday, and most flights were 100%$ full!!!! Great change on the LAS to CLE flight.. The later flight time is GREAT..
Not applicable
Well Southwest how does it work that I get in to book a flight literally minutes after they go on sale to us grunts in the general public and the lowest fares are not even available anymore and 2 flights were already completely booked out in December?! Also the rate increase is astronomical. It is no longer competitive with other airlines. 598$ from the Bay Area to NY? Are you kidding me? 6 month advance purchase for 600$ ticket? with lay overs, plus that price is for the worst possible times?! Very disappointing Now for the first time in almost 5 years I will be shopping for tickets with other airlines. Good luck.
Not applicable
The new fares came through at about 11:10am eastern time. I'm a bit disappointed....the fares are quite a bit higher over Thanksgiving than I expected. Looks like I might have to book United.... :o(
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Sadly jetBlue is cheaper from Orlando to Washington Dulles. I love SWA but not for $50 more.
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Well, Brian what's the scoop on SWA pricing? From MCO - IAD or BWI on Dec. 21 return Dec. 30 jetBlue beats SWA by schedule and price. I saved $180 for 3 tickets on those dates. Is SWA no longer the price leader? I love you guys because of the low prices and good service but $60 / ticket difference is a lot.
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Winter schedule opened on June 26th, as promised, and I made my reservations. They were a bit costly but it feels good to have the tickets. How about February? When will you post that schedule?
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Would be nice to see more flights to more cities from PBI. PBI really needs a flight to DEN, LAS, MCI, or PHX to get people to/from west coast. Switching planes twice is a pain in butt and first stop (Tampa) is a 30 minute flight with a one hour layover. How about adding more cities to the Southwest network too! There are 18 states that Southwest doesn't fly to including to the whole midwest.
Not applicable
Bill How about that WIFI update you promised? Thanks Scott
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Wow! What a rush to buy tickets this morning! Seriously, right when I got up, I realized that the new schedule would be out. Just like that after searching, so many flights were unavailable! On top of that, the reservation system was giving me problems, and I had to call the 1-800 number. Waiting on hold for over 40 minutes was crazy! Today has been a busy day for ya'll! The demand for Southwest service is enormous...especially in light of the downturn of the airline industry and shoddy service you get from other companies (I won't mention names!). Thanks for working hard for us.
Not applicable
It's great that you're bumping up the frequencies on some flights from Nashville but how about more cities from Nashville. We really need nonstop or some kind of real long standing direct service to PBI, RSW, and IND. These along with LIT and SDF are all cities that Nashville had for a long time either with our American Airlines hub, Delta, US Airways, or Corporate Express and have since lost. I'd also like to encourage you to look at Atlanta. I realize that it is a big Delta and AirTran hub but in this day in time how is that any different for you than expanding in Denver with United and Frontier(AirTran's marketing partner)?? Nashville hasn't had an alternative to Atlanta over Delta since Eastern and Valujet which have long since gone away and could use one. You could also look at Chattanooga as an alternative to Atlanta since it is so close although like I said I see no reason why you couldn't just march in to Atlanta itself if you wanted to and really be successful. I'd also like to inquire as to why as of March you still hadn't really done much of a transformation of Nashville's gates to the new setup aside from simply pulling the little A,B, & C signs down and giving us cheap black and white number signs attached what looks like temporary movable metal poles. You've given us kind of a glass ceiling in terms of never going above a certain flight count in Nashville and removing a city every time you add one and letting your gates get older and not updating them(ie. We have don't have the digital/electronic gate podiums or the nice permanent number posts or the TV screens that are supposed to go with them that most other cities our size do). I realize that you don't regularly reply to these but it would be nice if you would in this case.
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Bill, Are the other bloggers jealous of the response level you always generate, or glad they aren't taking this much heat for decisions you don't control??? Seriously folks, if you have a concern unrelated to the post, I'd encourage you to write SWA with your concern. Our Writing Team is EXCELLENT, you get an actual response, and save Bill from unnecessary wrinkles (He really is a nice guy, I swear!!) As usual, nice surprises in the changes, and glad to see markets I care about are undergoing only "seasonal" changes. Will Browne MDW F/A
Employee
Employee
Scott--I dropped the ball, buddy...I think I know someone that can update us on it! (I have NO clue but am eagerly waiting it to be onboard our airplanes!!!!)
Not applicable
WOW. WN is pulling SMF-MCI, which is pretty sad. That flight is ALWAYS full and it's a popular one-stop flight to MCO. The MCI-SMF also starts in MCO. I would always take this flight as a backup if the other airlines were full and I could fly jumpseat because it's an easy flight there and back. Now I saw the options they have once Nov rolls around...... *hurls* 2 stop plus connections? Connections in MSY or SAN? PLEASE! I'll rather take US and suffer with one connection than that! BRING MCI BACK! 😞
Not applicable
If you are having trouble booking flights past October, don't use the "Book A Flight" option on the right hand side of the web page (Southwest.com) , instead, click on the tool bar on the top of the page that is labeled "Book Travel" and this will let you buy tickets up to January.
Not applicable
For those of you checking other airline fares, make sure you count the extra fees too! How many bags are you taking? On SWA two are free! Don't change your dates, add on $100.00. Hope you didn't call your reservation in...that is another $10.00. Keep checking... Now, is SWA more money?
Employee
Employee
Nashville, I'll get back to you on your facility concerns. As far as added cities from Nashville, we always follow traffic trends--and LIT and SDF are simply too small to support Nashville service for the time being. As for PBI, we used to fly there, and the traffic was so weak we wound up cancelling it. And as far as "marching into Atlanta"....who are we, General Sherman? *wink* All things are being examined these days, believe me! Southwest is carefully watching for the best places to expand. Will, Thanks, but I already have PLENTY of wrinkles, not to mention more gray hair than the "Senior DIscount" line at Denny's. But thanks! Email me at work sometime....I'm sorry I missed y'all last month!!!! Bill
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About that Denver paragraph... Yes Denver surely loves Southwest and we are proud of that, however,`those of us that work in Denver are really feeling the crack of the whip. We are experiencing all of this growth at rapid speeds but we aren't getting the gates taht we need from the City and County of Denver. We are all very amped up about the possibilities and realizing our growth potential but it becomes very hard to deliver POS to Customers internal and external alike when we don't have the facilities to accomodate this growth! Please get the word out.
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Thanksgiving pricing SEA/PHX is the worst ever and no RR seats whatsoever. Yikes! Even USAir is cheaper and with more desirable nonstop flight times. I expected higher prices this season but these prices on this route are unreasonable. I would hold out in hopes that Southwest opens some reasonable pricing but don't feel I can afford to wait. Sorry....this schedule opening was not worth the wait. Looks like I am booking USAir or Alaska this time, hate to say.
Not applicable
Thanks for checking on our gate updates in Nashville! Don't get me wrong.....they're not rundown or anything...but I was just curious. I totally understand about LIT, SDF, and PBI. I've always suspected it was the connecting traffic that kept those afloat anyway but it never hurts to throw 'em out there...lol. I found your General Sherman comment pretty amusing too although I really do believe that yall could provide service there that would be second to none and attract passengers if you did. We love Southwest in Nashville and would've have been lost if yall hadn't come in after American like you did when we needed you!
Not applicable
Thanks SO MUCH for moving the nonstop from LAS to SDF to an earlier afternoon departure! I hope that this time slot will perform well...it's much more convenient to get to SDF at 8:30pm than 12:30am! Thanks again, Bill!
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Yesterday, 6/28/07 November was coming up for booking. However, today, 6/29/08 it is not???? Are they changing the pricing???
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I am so discouraged with Southwest I could scream!!! I have waited all YEAR to buy my tickets to Orlando Florida through Southwest to come to find out that I have past up airfare tickets with Air tran 99.00 tickets, Jet Blue tickets at 79.00 to find out that my loyalty to southwest will cost me 325.00 round trip. Why did I wait if this is what S.W. is going to do? You have never had such expensive tickets. Yes, you brag about your no cost 1st bag, 2nd bag and free snacks - but if you can't afford the ticket what good is the rest?????I have stood true and loyal to this company and this is the respect that you show your customers. My entire rest of the family purchased tickets on Air Tran as I stood in the back ground saying that "my" airline will come through for me. Boy, do I have egg on my face. THANK YOU SO MUCHHHHHHH!!!
New Arrival
Much thanks for additing two early morning IAD-MDW departures at 6:30 am and 7:30 am. This will make it earier for DC-area travelers to arrive in Chicago time for both very early and mid-morning meetings. Also, with United and American abandoning coveted DCA slots, isn't time for WN to step up to plate and fill the DCA-MDW void left from the collapse of ATA. DC Fan
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does anyone know if all the "cheap" rate flights are booked? or is SoutWest just posting the higher fares to see how they sell? Then maybe offering the lower cost fares later on..?? Ideas/thoughts...???
Employee
Employee
Guys, I would love to look into all the comments about the lack of "cheap seats" you're posting about....but without specific dates or even days of week it's difficult. Any more information you'd like to share???? That would make it easier for me to dig into the matter for ya! Bill
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Howard, You probably won't see SWA at DCA for a while. Count how many gates are empty. NONE! That airport is small compared to BWI and IAD plus with the airplane retrictions, you won't see any new airlines moving in soon unless something happens with the Delta/NWA merger. I prefer DCA over IAD and BWI because Metro goes there and I can leave my car at home but sometimes I catch the B30 Metrobus to BWI from Greenbelt Metro on longer trips. You can get the B30 schedule here if it helps http://www.wmata.com/timetables/view.cfm?line=165
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Hi Bill, I was on the other day, literally seconds after the new dates were posted. I knew my exact travel dates, dec. 27 and jan 2 (with a possibility of the 3rd, depending on availability). I do understand that is a heavy travel season, but I figured there would be a few "lower rate" flights available. So, i'm curious if they are all sold out or not. And is there a way to find out if they are sold out or not?? Philly Phlyer
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I'm busting my gut laughing at all of the complaints about no low fares being available. Wake up people! Oil is over $140! Southwest may be partially hedged, but a good chunk of fuel costs are at market prices. Plus, Southwest still needs to plan ahead as the fuel hedges roll over to higher and higher prices. Air travel is expensive. Get used to it. If you want Southwest to remain healthy, they must charge higher fares. The days of dirt cheap air travel are long gone and will never come back. The same thing goes for award travel. Needing double credits or miles in order to obtain a seat will become the norm as the entire industry adjusts their capacity to fit the market. There won't be that many seats that are predicted several months in advance to go unsold by the ever more sophisticated revenue management systems.
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Actually 70% of the fuel this year is at $50 a barrel and just because you come on here with your "the world stinks and always will" attitude doesn't mean that your right. I envision a future with some combination of more fuel efficient aircraft, more domestic oil production, more fuel efficient cars and fuel alternatives, a more walkable United States, as well as maybe even a little bit of re-regulation giving this industry a better outlook again at some point in the not too distant future.
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Indeed, we are hedged 70 percent at $51/barrel for 2008, but our operating costs are up 33 percent owing to rising fuel costs. We share your vision of a future with increased fuel efficiency, and we continue to take big steps in that direction (i.e. the addition of winglets, gate services, and electric ground equipment). You may have seen a post a couple of weeks ago announcing our commitment to RNP technology, which will further decrease consumption (see http://www.blogsouthwest.com/blog/rnp-reduced-emissions). I don't know about you, but, despite the current challenges, I am still optimistic about the future.
Not applicable
Now that United and American are pulling out of PBI, how about a PBI-Chicago non-stop. Also, that PBI to Nashville flight that has a short connection time in Tampa is a real pain, especially with afternoon thunderstorms in the summer causing delays. A PBI-Nashville direct flight would be great!
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Here is an example, and don't give me any BS about change fees. I never had to change a leisure flight. DAL-LAS 19-DEC WN1469 11:10am / 2:05pm $241 LAS-DAL 23-DEC WN310 12:05pm / 5:40pm $241 2 Passengers $1023.00 DFW-LAS 19-DEC AA1063 11:55AM / 1:05pm $203 AA892 3:15PM / 7:55pm $148 2 Passengers $743.00
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We in Milwaukee are hoping for your arrival into our market. Any chance of it?
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A great idea for a new "Wanna get Away" commercial: Health Officials: Did We Say Tomatoes? We Meant Jalapeño Peppers After causing the tomato industry to lose an estimated $100 million, health investigators have essentially recanted their contaminated tomato theory and have refocused their attention on jalapeño peppers. The Baltimore Sun reports that new interviews with salmonella victims have revealed that many of them had eaten salsa containing jalepeños. Other common Mexican food ingredients such as cilantro are also being investigated, however, no new samples have tested positive for salmonella