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May 19, 2014

Southwest launches fare sale for post-Wright flights at Love Field

Southwest Airlines on Monday unveiled its flight plans for Love Field after the Wright Amendment ends in October, offering $99 one-way fares on nonstop flights to cities like New York and Los Angeles for flights booked this week.

“The ability to now fly nonstop on Southwest Airlines out of Love Field and to do it at great prices is really huge for Southwest and the city of Dallas,” said Kevin Krone, Southwest’s chief marketing officer. When completed, the new schedule will give Southwest 149 daily flights at the airport.

The Dallas-based carrier announced earlier that it would add 15 destinations when the Wright Amendment’s limits on long-haul flights end Oct. 13. For decades, Southwest has been limited to flying nonstop flights from Love Field to a handful of nearby states as part of an agreement dating to the origins of Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.

The carrier said it won’t drop any existing destinations but will reduce its frequency to several cities, including Austin, Houston, Kansas City and six others, to make room for the additions.

The fare sale, launched on Southwest’s website, includes flights from Love Field to Baltimore/Washington; Chicago Midway; Denver; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Orlando, Fla.; and Washington Reagan National airports starting Oct. 13. The carrier also added daily flights from Love Field to Atlanta; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Nashville; New York LaGuardia; Phoenix; San Diego; Orange County, Calif.; and Tampa Bay, Fla., beginning Nov. 2.

The promotional fares will be available until midnight Friday for travel through Dec. 17, except for Fridays, Sundays and all of Thanksgiving week. Some fares are $79, matching Virgin America’s promotional sale announced two weeks ago when the San Francisco-based carrier said it would add flights at Dallas Love Field. The Dallas city manager signed off on a deal last week for Virgin to take control of two gates at Love Field from American Airlines.

Industry analyst Rick Seaney said Southwest’s promotion has pushed fares lower than he anticipated and he expects that the airline may have several other fare sales leading up to the October repeal of the Wright Amendment.

“The real everyday prices are better than I expected with more inventory than I expected,” said Seaney, founder of Farecompare.com. “It’s clear that Southwest doesn’t want to leave any of this pent-up demand without a seat.”

Seaney said he found fares around Thanksgiving week that were not part of the fare sale but cost only $20 or $30 more than the promotional prices. He added that American Airlines is matching some of the fares for flights out of DFW airport.

Southwest also unveiled its new Southwest Porch at Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, which offers free Wi-Fi and lounge seating at the urban park, built over Woodall Rogers Freeway in downtown Dallas.

It’s the third porch Southwest has built, after facilities in New York and Atlanta. The carrier did not say how much the porch cost.

-Andrea Ahles

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