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How Southwest Started At SFO?

New Arrival

Hello, Southwest community!

 

I am curious as to how Southwest started service at SFO. When did Southwest start service at SFO and how big were they then?

 

I know it is a weird question to ask but this is because I see a trend in Southwest's airports. They fly to MDW instead of ORD, DAL instead of DFW, FLL instead of MIA, and HOU instead of IAH.

 

But why would they fly to SFO when OAK and SJC are right there? 

Was the Southwest terminal at SFO originally AirTran's terminal and Southwest just decided to take it over after AirTran was purchased by them?

 

It's just a curiosity of mine. It would be cool to find how the history of Southwest at SFO.

4 REPLIES 4
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Re: How Southwest Started At SFO?

Rising Star
Solution

The search function on the Southwest Media site is a treasure trove of information!  I'm also a fan of the Investor Relations page that contains all of the annual reports.

 


@BigBert10 wrote:

 

I am curious as to how Southwest started service at SFO. When did Southwest start service at SFO and how big were they then?


Click here and here to see the announcements from 2001 and 2007 as both articles talk about the "why" of Southwest entering and leaving and entering SFO.  They are both very good reads and provide great context that I think you're looking to find.


@BigBert10 wrote:

 

But why would they fly to SFO when OAK and SJC are right there? 


A quote from the second article and then I'll share my personal experience about having DCA, IAD, and BWI available here in Washington, DC.

 

The quote:

"Similar to the Washington, D.C., metro area where we serve Baltimore/Washington International and Washington Dulles International; or the Los Angeles area where we serve LAX, Ontario, Burbank, and Orange County; or the Boston metro area where we serve from Providence, RI and Manchester, NH; the Bay Area is large enough to support complementary service from three airports," Kelly said. "We've never questioned that."

 

I personally LUV that I have access to three airport options.  DCA is the best for me, I can get there on the Metro (our subway) in 20 minutes (that's door-to-door time for me if I have perfect timing).  It's really, really convenient for me.  Southwest operates out of IAD though we usaully only use it for international flights on other carriers.  I think it's really convenient for the folks in Virginia as they don't have to fight traffic to get in near the city to make it to DCA.  BWI is also a great option for us even though it takes the longest for us to get there.  I'll pay a price premium to fly out of DCA (shhh, don't tell Southwest), but there are more flights available out of BWI so sometimes it makes sense for us to make the trek out there (for example this summer we are flying to BWI because it's a direct flight and it was significantly less expense than flying to DCA -- there are 5 of us making that trip so it adds up!)

 

Long answer, I hope it helps!  


Customer | Home airport DCA
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Re: How Southwest Started At SFO?

New Arrival

So, it looks like Southwest was at SFO before even thinking about buying AirTran.

 

Thanks, this helps a lot! 😄

 

Sad how they are reducing service at SFO right now when they removed PDX and SNA

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Re: How Southwest Started At SFO?

Top Contributor

@BigBert10 wrote:

So, it looks like Southwest was at SFO before even thinking about buying AirTran.

 

Thanks, this helps a lot! 😄

 

Sad how they are reducing service at SFO right now when they removed PDX and SNA


I'm sure its a tough environment with the other guys being so dominant. The Southwest model has always been short-haul flights with ample connections, unfortunatley due to the limited number of flights from SFO they may be prioritizing connections to focus (hub) airports or planning on customers using OAK and SJC for a wider range of direct flights.

 

Use the "Contact Us" link to send any direct feedback to them about your preferred routes.

 

 

 

 

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.
Highlighted

Re: How Southwest Started At SFO?

Top Contributor

@BigBert10 wrote:

Hello, Southwest community!

 

I am curious as to how Southwest started service at SFO. When did Southwest start service at SFO and how big were they then?

 

I know it is a weird question to ask but this is because I see a trend in Southwest's airports. They fly to MDW instead of ORD, DAL instead of DFW, FLL instead of MIA, and HOU instead of IAH.

 

But why would they fly to SFO when OAK and SJC are right there? 

Was the Southwest terminal at SFO originally AirTran's terminal and Southwest just decided to take it over after AirTran was purchased by them?

 

It's just a curiosity of mine. It would be cool to find how the history of Southwest at SFO.


In fact Southwest had briefly abandoned SFO but returned in 2007 - I'm not aware of AirTran serving SFO or not.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco_International_Airport#cite_note-58

The delays during poor weather (among other reasons) caused some airlines, especially low-cost carriers such as Southwest Airlines, to shift all of their service from the airport to Oakland and San Jose. However, Southwest eventually returned to SFO in 2007.[58]

 

So to answer your question - I would say that daily OAK service is the larger portion for Southwest so the Bay Area is actually served to a higher level from the secondary airports OAK and SJC, just as they have chosen to do in other markets such as MDW, DAL, HOU, LGA/EWR, FLL, and others where this is possible.

 

 

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.