Summer time rolling around, you might want to start booking your flight.
Southwest Airlines is offering special one-way airfares of $99 or less for new nonstop flights to 15 new cities from Dallas Love Field starting Oct. 13, a move that could set off a fare war among rival airlines in the Dallas market.
The low introductory fares and a flight schedule are among the details that the Dallas-based airline released today for 42 daily round-trip flights to the cities it will start flying to as restrictions are lifted at Love Field. A federal law known as the Wright amendment expires on Oct. 13, letting airlines fly nonstop to any other U.S. airport.
The 15 cities are: New York’s LaGuardia airport, Washington, D.C.’s Washington Reagan National Airport; Chicago; Las Vegas; Baltimore;Denver; Atlanta; Phoenix; Los Angeles; Nashville; Tenn.; Orange County, Calif.; San Diego; and Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa, Fla.
When Southwest announced the 15 cities in February, chief executive Gary Kelly promised that North Texas consumers would see cheaper fares than they now pay for flights from nearby Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. And last week, Kelly said he considers Southwest the lowest-fare carrier and said other airlines will lower their fares to match Southwest’s prices.
Southwest’s expanded service comes as it faces increased competition at Love Field and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport from other low-fare airlines. It will have a new rival at Love Field this fall, when Virgin America begins flying from two gates it is subleasing from American Airlines and JetBlue Airways entered the North Texas market last year with nonstop service to Boston.
“There are some big gifts for everyone in this holiday schedule: Our initial nonstop offerings for a liberated Love Field in Dallas, and nearly triple the flights we currently offer at Reagan National Airport,” Southwest’s chief commercial officer Bob Jordan said today in a statement.
Southwest will start making 22 daily round-trip flights to seven of the 15 cities on Oct. 13 and 20 daily round-trip flights to the other eight starting on Nov. 22 (See chart of flight schedules at end.)
Its special Dallas Love Field fares are available today through May 23 for travel between Oct. 13 and Dec. 17 to Baltimore/Washington, Chicago Midway, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando and Washington Reagan National and for travel from Nov. 2 to Dec. 17 to Atlanta, Nashville, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, New York LaGuardia, Phoenix, San Diego, Santa Ana/Orange County and Tampa Bay. The fares do not apply to the dates of Nov. 22-26 and Nov. 28 to Dec. 1.
Also today, Southwest announced new flights and introductory fares starting Nov. 2 for Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and the Akron/Canton and Indianapolis airports, and from Washington Dulles to Las Vegas and San Diego.
The new Reagan National service will increase Southwest’s service there from 17 daily departures to 44 by the end of the year to 14 destinations. Introductory fares to Akron/Canton and Indianapolis start at $69 one way. Akron/Canton and Indianapolis between Washington Dulles and Las Vegas and San Diego will start at $169 one way.
Southwest also said it will start flying on Nov. 2 to to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and Mexico City currently flown by its AirTran Airways subsidiary. Southwest already said it will start flying July 1 to five other international destinations served by AirTran: Aruba; Nassau, Bahamas; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Cancún, Cabo San Lucas and Mexico City, Mexico; and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Southwest today said its integration with AirTran will be completed by the end of the year. AirTran’s last flight will be on the evening of Dec. 28 between Atlanta and Tampa Bay, Fla., which is the first flight it flew in 1993.
Overall, Southwest plans to add up to 50 new destinations over the next few years as the carrier focuses on growth, Kelly said last week at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Dallas. But he said he wants the airline to grow “thoughtfully” and “gradually.”
Flight schedule for Southwest nonstop flights starting Oct. 13 from Dallas Love Field to these airports: