Southwest is Back for More 'Snow and Sun' With Montana and Florida Plans
It’s more “snow and sun” for Southwest Airlines this year. The Dallas-based discounter will add Bozeman, Mont., and Destin-Fort Walton Beach, Fla., to its map this May, its 13th and 14th new dots since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Once known for its slow and steady growth, where two new cities in a year was a big deal, Southwest has added a range new destinations to its map: From major airports like Chicago O’Hare and Miami, to smaller leisure-oriented dots like Palm Springs and Steamboat Springs, Colo. Executives describe the expansion as a way to bring in new revenues at a time when travelers want network breadth — particularly leisure breadth — and not Southwest’s bread-and-butter of high-frequency flying between cities.
Southwest will connect Bozeman with Denver and Las Vegas from May 27. Destin will gain new nonstops to Nashville, Baltimore/Washington and Dallas Love Field from May 6, and to Chicago Midway from June 6.
It’s impossible to say what destinations are next for Southwest. However, chief commercial officer Andrew Watterson has repeatedly cited the fact that before Covid-19 hit, the airline had a list of some 50 U.S. airports it could add to its map. That leaves some 36 more possible dots.
- Brussels Airlines will add service to Frankfurt this summer. The carrier will take over two Brussels-Frankfurt flights currently flown by fellow Lufthansa Group carrier Lufthansa on August 2. The airline will also resume transatlantic flying from its namesake city in June, with New York and Washington Dulles flights taking off on June 14, and Montreal flights a day later.
- KLM is looking east for the summer. The Dutch carrier will begin new thrice-weekly service between Amsterdam and Belgrade on May 13.
- Spirit Airlines is well on its way to recovering to 2019 capacity levels by mid-year with plans for new service to Louisville and Milwaukee. The discounter will connect Louisville with Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Orlando from May 27; and Milwaukee with Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Orlando from June 24. All of the routes will operate daily.
- What’s old is new again at United Airlines. The carrier has partnered with Landline to provide bus connections at its Denver hub. Daily “flights” to Breckenridge begin March 11, and four-times daily service to Fort Collins on April 1. Both routes were part of the former United Groundlink network that, according to a 1999 timetable, included bus connections in Chicago, Denver, Portland, Ore., and San Francisco.
- Colombia’s Viva Air has upgraded Medellin to its main connecting hub with three new international routes. The budget carrier will connect Medellin and Cancun on June 2, Mexico City on June 8, and Orlando on June 10. Viva will also launch new Bogotá-Mexico City flights on June 2.
- Nature abhors a vacuum, especially when it comes to connecting sun-starved Scandinavians with Mediterranean beaches. Vueling will add eight new routes this summer: Barcelona to Bergen, Billund and Stavanger; Billund to Malaga and Palma de Mallorca; and Copenhagen to Alicante, Malaga and Palma de Mallorca. Flights begin between June 18 and June 20, and come as Norwegian Air retrenches to a regional operator after shelving its global ambitions.