DALLAS-- 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."
ABOUT SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.
In its 43rd year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other carriers with exemplary Customer Service delivered by more than 45,000 Employees to more than 100 million Customers annually. Southwest is the nation's largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded and operates the largest fleet of Boeing aircraft in the world to serve 96 destinations in 41 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and five near-international countries via its wholly-owned subsidiary, AirTran Airways. Southwest is one of the most honored airlines in the world, known for its triple bottom line approach that takes into account the carrier's performance and productivity, the importance of its People and the communities it serves, and its commitment to efficiency and the planet. The 2012 Southwest Airlines One Report™ can be found at southwest.com/citizenship.
From its first flights on June 18, 1971, Southwest Airlines launched an era of unprecedented affordability in air travel described by the U.S. Department of Transportation as "The Southwest Effect," a lowering of fares and increase in passenger traffic wherever the carrier serves. On every flight, Southwest offers Customers the first two pieces of checked luggage (weight and size limitations apply) and all ticket changes without additional fees. Southwest's fleet consistently offers leather seating and the comfort of full-size cabins, which are equipped with satellite-based WiFi connectivity, free live TV, and a new, sustainable cabin interior. In May 2011, Southwest acquired AirTran Airways and, by the end of 2014, intends to complete the full integration of AirTran's network into Southwest. With 41 consecutive years of profitability, the People of Southwest operate nearly than 3,200 flights a day. Southwest Airlines' frequent flights and low fares are available online only at southwest.com or by phone 1-800-I-FLY-SWA.