The Employees of Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) today launched an international future for America's largest domestic airline* by inaugurating service to three Caribbean destinations from three of its US gateway cities. Southwest Airlines' first international departure, Flight 1804 from Baltimore/Washington to Oranjestad, Aruba, departed ontime at 8:30am EDT, closely followed by Southwest Flight 906 to Montego Bay, Jamaica, where its first-ever scheduled international arrival was planned for just after 11am EST. A midday flight from Baltimore/Washington to Nassau/Paradise Island also brings Southwest Airlines' legendary Customer Service to The Bahamas.
To commemorate the beginning of a historic chapter for the carrier, Southwest Vacations is offering up to $200 off select travel packages booked now through July 14, 2014, for travel July 4, 2014, through Jan. 4, 2015 (blackout dates apply, three day advance purchase and minimum stay required, see detailed terms and conditions below.) The bundled travel packages featuring combinations of air, hotel, car, and activities can be booked now at southwestvacations.com.
"Thousands of our Employees have a hand in launching today's flights which begin to bring our convenient and affordable way of air travel to the world, and broaden the horizon for more than 100 million Customers who fly with us every year," said Teresa Laraba, Southwest's Senior Vice President of Customers, during a Caribbean-themed celebration and news conference near the departure gates at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. "We've grown through four decades of profitable service to carry more domestic air travelers every day than any other airline, and this next chapter plants a flag for Bags Fly Free® and No Change Fees in foreign sand."
Customers on the carrier's inaugural international flights from Baltimore/Washington joined those in two other gateway cities of Atlanta, and Orlando who celebrated alongside Employees with commemorative beach balls, snorkels and masks.
At the Company's corporate headquarters in Dallas, Employees staffed a command center in the pre-dawn hours to monitor operational performance and new technology systems developed in partnership with Amadeus, a leading technology provider to the global travel industry. Its Altéa suite of technology solutions is powering Southwest's reservations, inventory, and departure control functions for international flying.
"We are extremely pleased that our next generation technology has enabled Southwest to achieve its goal of international flying. Amadeus is committed to delivering the solutions and services that help our customers connect, serve, and manage the evolving needs of the 21st Century traveler. We are very proud to be a partner of Southwest in achieving this significant milestone today and look forward to continuing to shape the future of travel together," said Julia Sattel, Senior Vice President, Airline IT, Amadeus.
Southwest Airlines previously announced details to convert by the end of this year all international service offered by wholly owned subsidiary AirTran Airways, including flights to Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
SOUTHWEST VACATIONS SPECIAL OFFER TERMS & CONDITIONS
Up to $200 ($25 per night, up to eight nights) promotion code savings apply on flight + hotel vacation packages of three or more nights to any Southwest Vacations® destination. Savings is reflected in the package price when using promotion code VACATION4U at the time of booking. Length of stay for flight and hotel components must match. Promotion code intended for redemption by individual consumer only. Savings valid if booked : July 1 through July 14, 2014 by 6:00 p.m. CT, for travel July 4, 2014 through Jan. 4, 2015. Blackout dates: sale fares from international destinations blacked out Nov. 21 & 22, 2014; sale fares from international destinations blacked out Nov. 29 through Dec. 2, 2014. A three-day advance purchase is required. Savings of up to $200 per reservation is only valid when using the promotion code VACATION4U at www.southwestvacations.com. Seats are limited and may not be available on some flights that operate during peak travel times and holiday periods. Some flights may be operated by AirTran® Airways. Flight and hotel rates may vary by day of the week. Surcharges may apply to weekends, holidays, and convention periods. Flights available on published, scheduled service only. Rates may be subject to change until purchased. All Rapid Rewards® rules and regulations apply. Discounts are valid per reservation before taxes are applied. Offer not valid on existing reservations and may not be combined with any other offer. Subject to availability. Restrictions apply.
ABOUT SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.
In its 44th 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. *Based on the most recent data available from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Southwest is the nation's largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded. The airline also operates the largest fleet of Boeing aircraft in the world to serve 93 destinations in 40 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and five near-international countries. Some flights are operated by 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 2013 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. With Southwest Airlines, Bags Fly Free ® (first and second checked pieces of luggage, size and weight limits apply), and there are no change fees (fare difference may apply) when you need to change your flight. Southwest's fleet offers leather seating and the comfort of full-size cabins, a majority of which are equipped with satellite-based WiFi connectivity over the United States, which enables live and video-on-demand TV currently FREE compliments of DISH, and a new, sustainable cabin interior. Southwest acquired AirTran Airways in May 2011 and by the end of 2014 intends to complete the full integration of the AirTran network into Southwest. With 41 consecutive years of profitability, the People of Southwest and AirTran operate more than 3,600 flights a day. Southwest Airlines' frequent flights and low fares are available online at southwest.com or by phone at 800-I-FLY-SWA
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