Southwest and AirTran Announce Detroit-Las Vegas, Des Moines-Midway Routes

by Staff on February 20, 2012

Southwest Airlines is launching new service between Detroit and Las Vegas and subsidiary AirTran Airways is starting service between Des Moines and Chicago Midway, as they extend their flight schedules for travel bookings out through November 2.

In addition, Southwest Airlines will now operate two daily nonstop flights between Atlanta and San Francisco as it transitions the route from an AirTran-operated route to one operated by Southwest. Southwest also will initiate one daily nonstop flight between Atlanta and Orlando, with AirTran continuing its nine daily flights between these cities.


“Southwest and AirTran are continuing to make schedule additions and adjustments to provide the best flight schedule possible for customers,” says Bob Jordan, Southwest Airlines’ executive vice president and chief commercial officer and AirTran Airways’ president. “We are looking for ways to maximize our fleet, our operations, and our low fares to give customers more options when traveling.”

This is Southwest Airlines' official logo

To promote the new route between Detroit and Las Vegas, Southwest is offering introductory $99 one-way fares for this route. Customers can purchase the low fares through February 27, for travel between September 30 and November 2, 2012. In addition to low fares, Southwest Airlines allows customers to check two bags for free (weight and size limits apply) and doesn’t charge a fee to change a ticket. To but tickets at the introductory price, visit www.southwest.com.

In its blog, Southwest says the small list of added and eliminated markets in its new schedule should look very familiar: the vast majority of them are markets it has flown before, are old seasonal standards leaving the network temporarily, or are part of the transition from the AirTran brand to Southwest.

The new schedule sees AirTran bringing back daily seasonal service between Baltimore/Washington and Fort Myers and between Grand Rapids and Orlando, as well as returning Saturday non-stops between Flint and Tampa.

Southwest is bringing back non-stop daily service between Orlando and both Jackson and Indianapolis, as well as its non-stop service between Detroit and Las Vegas, which the carrier has not operated since 2006.

AirTran Airways took delivery of its 50th Boeing 737-700 on July 17, 2007. AirTran Airways, which began service in 1995 exclusively using Boeing 717-200s, took delivery of its first Next-Generation 737 in August 2004 and now operates 52 of the type, with 65 more on firm order. Ultimately these aircraft will all end up painted in Southwest Airlines colors as AirTran is merged operationally into Southwest under the latter carrier's name

Two brand-new Southwest markets are brand transitions, with Southwest replacing AirTran’s two daily round-trips between Atlanta and San Francisco, and one of 10 daily AirTran round-trips between Atlanta and Orlando moving over to Southwest.

Parent company Southwest is also discontinuing the two daily AirTran round-trips between Atlanta and Phoenix, with the two existing Southwest non-stops in that market covering the customer demand, according to the airline.

Discontinued markets are all seasonal in nature, and all on the Southwest side. Seasonal route eliminations are between Seattle-Tacoma and both Atlanta and Nashville; Las Vegas and both Cleveland and Norfolk; and between Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport and Phoenix.

Southwest is also re-directing an AirTran market, ending service between Des Moines and Milwaukee and simultaneously adding new nonstop service between Des Moines and Chicago Midway.

Southwest Airlines' new 'Evolve' cabin interior features recyclable carpet, a brighter color-scheme, and a more durable, eco-friendly, and comfortable low-profile seat that weighs less than the current seat. The new interior design also offers the airline greater revenue potential by increasing the number of seats onboard from 137 to 143

Besides these changes, Southwest will make minor frequency changes on both carriers’ networks: 48 round-trip markets will change for Southwest (resulting in a system net decrease of nine daily round-trips), and 28 round-trip markets will change on the AirTran system (for a net system decrease of eight daily round-trips).

Aircraft conversion from AirTran to Southwest continues, with one former AirTran Boeing 737-700 entering Southwest service in mid-October.

Other fleet changes will take place throughout October. Southwest Airlines plans to increase the number of Boeing 737-800s in its fleet by two to 24, and the number of 737-700s configured with the airline’s new ‘Evolve’ interior is planned to grow to more than 200.

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