It is an amazing feeling when you learn about a new route and you are now able to visit a new non-stop city. With a 4.5% total passenger increase between 2014-2015, it only makes sense that new routes are showing up.
What is the busiest domestic route? Chicago to New York with over 4 million passengers carried between these two cities annually. Los Angeles rounds out second and third place with routes to San Francisco and New York.
New Southwest routes starting August 7th:
Baltimore/Washington – Sacramento
Ft. Lauderdale – Nassau
Los Angeles – Pittsburgh
Milwaukee – San Diego
Nashville – Charlotte
Portland OR – Burbank
Portland OR – Ontario
The standout route for me is Sacramento to Baltimore. Baltimore is Southwest’s 2nd largest airport in terms of daily departures. Currently, the furthest east you can fly from Sacramento on Southwest is over to Midway (Chicago). Midway is the busiest airport for Southwest but there are some eastern cities that can only be reached from Baltimore (as opposed to Midway), such as; Long Island, Albany, Rochester, West Palm Beach, San Juan, Puerto Rico and Nassau, Bahamas.
This is exciting as you can now (in Aug) fly to these cities with only one layover from Sacramento via Southwest. Another awesome thing about Baltimore is that you can catch very cheap flights on WOW Airlines to Reykjavik, Iceland and onto many cities in Europe. Flights from Baltimore to Reykjavik start at $99 one-way. That means you could use Southwest points to get to Baltimore and use cash, $99, to get to Iceland!
American Airlines (starting June 2nd):
Dallas to Santa Barbara
Phoenix to Redmond, OR
Chicago to Sacramento
Charlotte to San Jose, CA (June 3rd – August 16th)
I find this seasonal route between Charlotte and San Jose very interesting. Charlotte is the second largest hub for American Airlines which means you can connect to many Eastern and European destinations. As it stands, from San Jose you can connect to many cities via Dallas and Chicago on American Airlines. The only drawback with Chicago and Dallas is that they do not fly to Dublin, Barcelona, or Rome. The great news is Charlotte does fly non-stop to Dublin, Barcelona and Rome which means you can visit those cities with just one stop from San Jose. (this Summer)
San Jose to Orange County (Los Angeles) – June 8th
San Jose to San Diego – June 8th
Portland, OR to Atlanta – June through August
The two new routes from San Jose are great news for Bay Area-ers. Currently, only Southwest serves the routes between San Jose and Orange County/San Diego. By throwing Alaska Air in the mix you should see more pricing competition and better flight times, a win-win for the consumer!
West Jet (starting in June):
Toronto to Nashville
Vancouver to San Diego
Toronto to Los Angeles
West Jet is a Canadian budget airline, very similar to Southwest Airlines. They operate major routes and have very competitive pricing. Make sure to give them a shot if you plan on flying one of these routes in the future.
Stockton to San Diego April 7th
Phoenix (Mesa) to Fresno – currently running
Phoenix (Mesa) to Memphis – currently running
This new Stockton to San Diego route is going to be a great option for Nor-Cal travelers. Southwest Airlines currently runs the only flights between San Diego and Sacramento, and they are rather proud of it. (Very expensive). The option to fly from Stockton will be great for the budget-minded traveler. There are, however, a few things to keep in mind when booking with Allegiant:
• You must print your boarding pass before you get to the airport, they will charge you to print it.
• You are only able to bring a backpack or purse for free, a personal item that goes under your seat. The longer you wait to pay for your carry-on or checked baggage, the more you will pay. If you know you are going to be bringing something that can’t fit under the seat (a personal item), pay in advance because the fees double and triple at the airport.
• Their on-time record is, well, crappy. They operate older planes like the MD-80 which are on average about 25 years old. If one plane has an issue or if a pilot becomes sick, there is usually no immediate back-up plan. Their record for accommodating passengers during delays is also sub-par. Airlines are not required to accommodate for delays, so don’t expect anything from them other than eventually getting to your destination. Don’t be surprised if the same person that checks you in at the counter is also holding the orange wands as your plane pushes back from the gate (they are a small operation)
• The change fees and change options are very expensive and strict. Compare that to Southwest that has multiple flights a day and no change fees. Allegiant runs only two flights a week (yes, two), on Thursday and Sunday, between Stockton and San Diego. If you need to change your flight time it means you are going to have to change your flight date also. (some routes run more often)
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