Southwest Is Adding Flights to These 3 Major Cities, Starting June 5
These new flight routes may be particularly appealing to those on the West Coast.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, when we were all restricted by stay-at-home and quarantine orders, the airline industry was one of those hit the hardest. While we have seen fluctuations in infection rates as of late, those of us with the travel bug have been itching to start venturing out again and exploring new destinations. But this resultant travel surge has caused some airlines, including Spirit and JetBlue, to cut down their flight schedules, as they lack the requisite staff to fly and service the planes. Southwest Airlines, however, seems to be going against the grain by adding new flight routes this summer. Read on to find out which new cities you can fly to and explore starting June 5.
Southwest Airlines is adding three new flight routes for the summer.
Jetsetters will be thrilled to learn that Southwest announced on Tuesday that it would be adding routes for three cities in California, Oregon, and Hawaii.
Starting on June 5, there will be once-daily service between Sacramento and Santa Barbara, California, as well as daily flights between San Jose, California, and Eugene, Oregon, The Points Guy reported. For those eager for an island getaway, daily flights will also be instated between Maui and Kauai, Hawaii.
The airline is also increasing the frequency of some existing flights.
West Coasters also luck out when it comes to the increased flight frequency Southwest has planned. There will be up to 20 weekly flights each way from San Diego to two other California locales—Sacramento and San Jose—and up to 14 weekly flights each way from San Diego to Oakland.
Over the course of the summer, flight frequency will also be gradually increased between San Jose and cities in California and the Pacific Northwest, including Las Vegas, Nevada; Long Beach, California; Orange County, California; Boise, Idaho; Spokane Washington; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle-Tacoma, Washington.
Looking to island-hop? Commemorating three years of service in the Hawaiian Islands, Southwest is adding more intra-island flights from Honolulu to Maui, Hilo, Kona, and Kauai. More flights are also on the docket between Kona and Maui, the airline said.
International travel is also getting a boost—service between Fort Lauderdale to Havana will be tripled starting May 4 (roundtrips three times daily). An additional roundtrip will be instated between Tampa, Florida, and Havana on Saturdays, starting May 7, "to complement daily roundtrip service," the airline said.
Southwest has added these flights to benefit different customers.
Traveling has become more accessible with the easing of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) restrictions, including indoor masking. While many of us want to enjoy our vacation time and feel eager to return to "normalcy," companies have also attempted to resume business as usual—including travel. These quick routes and increased frequency were added primarily to appeal to those who travel for business, David Harvey, vice president of Southwest's business travel unit, told The Points Guy ahead of the formal announcement.
However, these routes are not exclusive to those who fly business class, as they make leisure trips up and down the West Coast simpler. "For a gamut of travelers seeking business opportunity, faraway fun, or family time, these new routes and additional flights put the hospitality and value of Southwest Airlines in front of more of our customers," Andrew Watterson, executive vice president, and chief commercial officer at Southwest, said in the press release. "We recently extended our flight schedule to early November, and we're making available new service sooner for planning early summertime journeys."
You may still be required to wear a mask when flying this summer.
The federal mandate that requires travelers to wear a mask on planes and public transportation was put in place to limit the spread of the virus during the ongoing pandemic. Airlines have called for a repeal of the requirement, but with surges and variability in infection rates, the mandate's expiration date has been extended several times. The latest date is set for this coming Monday, when the CDC will make the call as to whether or not the mandate will be extended again, USA Today reported.
"This is a decision that the CDC Director Dr. Walensky is going to make," White House coronavirus policy adviser Ashish Jha, MD, said Monday. "I know the CDC is working on developing a scientific framework for how to answer that. We are going to see that framework come out I think in the next few days."