Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Southwest Airlines introduce new fare category with extra perks

Travelers who ‘wanna get away’ will have a new option on Southwest Airlines next year. In a recent presentation to investors, the airline announced that it will introduce a “new fare product” midway through 2022.

The fares will appear in a fourth column alongside Southwest’s current Wanna Get Away, Anytime and Business Select offerings.

Southwest Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Watterson said it will be above the airline’s lowest priced Wanna Get Away category and offer enhanced attributes that customers will happily pay a little bit more for.

He stressed that the new product will not take anything away from other fares but offer something more. It will be available across all channels for business or leisure. Southwest also announced a new co-brand loyalty agreement with Chase, which is expected to contribute to the airlines’ profitability.

Looking ahead the airline plans to focus on maturing the 18 new markets it has added since 2020 as well as its Hawaii service.  Outgoing CEO Gary Kelly said restoring the frequency of flights to existing destinations is the immediate priority.

The Dallas-based carrier had forecast fourth-quarter revenue down 10 per cent to 15 per cent from the same period of 2019, when it generated $5.73 billion. In 2022, the airline said it expects to be profitable and estimated its capacity could range from a 3 per cent decline compared with 2019 to 2 per cent growth, and costs, excluding fuel, that are up to 12 per cent higher than 2019.

The airline also announced new nonstop routes between Austin, Texas and Tulsa, Oklahoma; San Antonio, Texas and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and Syracuse New York and Tampa, Florida, with service set to begin in late April.  

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