Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) today delivered Customers a trio of Caribbean beach destinations just in time for summer travel planning. The largest carrier of domestic passengers in the U.S. began selling seats on the first-ever scheduled international flights flown by Southwest Airlines.
“Beginning July 1, 2014, Bags Fly Free® beyond U.S. borders to Aruba, The Bahamas, and Jamaica,” announced Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines Chairman, President & CEO, to Employees and media assembled for a news conference at the carrier’s headquarters. “As our Customers seamlessly click through southwest.com to make these historic bookings today, our People celebrate the final lap in the journey to make possible our international future.”
Beginning July 1, 2014, Southwest Airlines will operate daily, nonstop flights between:
•Atlanta and Aruba, and Montego Bay
•Baltimore/Washington and Aruba, Nassau, and (twice daily) Montego Bay
•Orlando and (Saturday only) Aruba, and Montego Bay
In this first phase of the Company’s international conversion plan, wholly owned subsidiary AirTran Airways will continue service between Atlanta and Nassau, between Chicago Midway and Montego Bay, as well as flights to/from Cancun, Los Cabos, and Mexico City, Mexico, and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. By the end of 2014, the carrier plans to complete the launch of Southwest Airlines service to the remaining four international destinations on the Company’s network route map of 96 destinations in six countries. Both carriers’ full flight schedules are now open for booking through Aug. 8, 2014.
The make-ready process for international service has involved nearly all of Southwest’s 45,000 Employees to implement additional technologies, training, and compliance, to obtain operational and regulatory approvals, and to ready the People, planes, and policies unique to Southwest Airlines to serve Customers in new countries.
“Southwest Airlines democratized the sky from our first flights more than four decades ago,” said Kelly. “Today’s milestone enables us to reach new territory, new Customers, and build upon a four decade foundation of doing right by the travelers who trust our value and our People.”