As Southwest Airlines does away with its cattle-call boarding procedures and spruces up its lounge at Pittsburgh International Airport, the Dallas-based low-frills carrier is planning two additional weekend trips to Florida and considering other local expansion possibilities for 2008.
The flights to be added are nonstop Saturday flights to Orlando and Tampa, Fla., cities it already serves from Pittsburgh.
Beginning March 8, the number of Saturday flights to Orlando will increase from three to four, while frequency of trips to Tampa will jump from one to two. Both are permanent additions to Southwest's schedule, said spokeswoman Whitney Eichinger, and the Saturday-only trips eventually could become weekly nonstop departures.
Southwest has 23 daily flights out of Pittsburgh International, and that number remains the same despite these changes -- Southwest does not count Saturday-only flights as part of its daily schedule. But the company still is considering extra daily flights here as US Airways, the No. 1 carrier, retrenches. By January, US Airways will be down to 68 daily flights, compared with a high of 542 before Sept. 11, 2001.
"We're still looking to grow there in Pittsburgh," Ms. Eichinger said. "We haven't decided when and where yet."
Southwest's additions in Pittsburgh come as the company rolls out changes to its trademark low-frills approach. Each passenger now gets a number indicating their place in line -- no need any longer to camp out for the best spots. Or, as Southwest Chief Executive Officer Gary Kelly put it last week, "No more cattle calls."
Hoping to attract more business travelers, Southwest also is altering its fare structure so customers willing to pay a few bucks more will be able to board first, receive extra frequent flier credits and a free drink.
And it is upgrading its lounge at Pittsburgh International with leather chairs, flat-screen TVs and outlets for people with laptop computers and cell phones.
AIRLINE INDUSTRY INFORMATION-©1997-2007 M2 COMMUNICATIONS LTD AirTran Airways (NYSE: AAI) is to add new flight service between Pittsburgh International Airport and Southwest Florida...
The Baltimore/Washington service will give the airline 23 nonstop flights a day from the airport.
Analysts see growth for carrier, local economy
AirTran expands nonstop Buffalo-Fort Myers service; Eight flights to Florida will be offered each week
A high volume of advance bookings has caused AirTran Airways to beef-up its new, nonstop service from Buffalo to Fort Myers, Fla. -- four months ahead of its maiden voyage. The airline...