Just yesterday, Southwest Airlines announced the extension of its flight schedule all the way through August 10, 2020. Previously, the airline only had flights bookable through June 6. Other major airlines usually allow travelers to book nearly a year in advance.
Not only did Southwest open up its schedule all the way to August 10, but it also announced a handful of new seasonal routes. The airline will add service out of Atlanta on June 7 with flights to Charleston, South Carolina, Panama City, Florida and Norfolk, Virginia. With these additions, next summer, Southwest will offer 135 weekday departures out of Atlanta, an all-time weekday high for the low-cost carrier.
Southwest will also add flights from Baltimore/Washington to Pensacola, Florida and Tulsa, Oklahoma beginning June 7. With 248 weekday departures, this will also be the most that the carrier has ever offered to customers in the Baltimore region.
That's not all. The airline is also increasing capacity at Chicago's Midway and Denver. At Houston Hobby, Southwest will be introducing a new route to Nassau, the Bahamas. This Saturday-only route is poised to launch on June 13, subject to government approvals. From Nashville, flyers on Southwest will soon have access to more flight options. The airline will fly to Portland, Maine, San Juan, Puerto Rico as well as Portland, Oregon on Saturdays.
Finally, also on June 13, Southwest will launch a Saturday-only service linking Kansas City, Missouri and Charleston, South Carolina.
Due to the grounding of the 737 MAX, Southwest struggled to expand its network in 2019. When the 737 MAX returns to service, the airline will not bring them back overnight. Like other airlines, Southwest plans to phase the 737 MAX back into service gradually and plans to add between 5 and 10 MAX jets back into its fleet every week. If more delays happen with the return of the 737 MAX, Southwest may have no choice but to cut back on its expansion plans.