Southwest set to expand into Memphis this fall - Mid-South News, Weather, Traffic and Sports | FOX13

Southwest set to expand into Memphis this fall

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Southwest Airlines is moving into Memphis and will start service out of Memphis International Airport in the fall.

The new service begins Nov. 3.

A Southwest Airlines spokesman says they will have a major announcement regarding Southwest in Memphis at 10 a.m. Tuesday. He says the airline has always been committed to launching in Memphis by the end of the year and are gearing up for new service out of the Bluff City.

The airline is loading flight information into the Southwest Air booking system and it won't be complete until Tuesday. According to the reservations website Southwest will be flying direct to five cities: Chicago Midway, Baltimore, Orlando, Tampa and Houston Hobby.

You can connect to almost all Southwest destinations through those cities.

Southwest Airlines has been planning on taking over for its subsidiary AirTran for sometime now. According to Southwest.com, the air carrier will be eliminating the daily AirTran flights to Atlanta, so they won't be going head-to-head with Delta on Delta's home turf.

Though prices have not been announced, there's a wide range of advertised fares. For instance, non-stop destinations from Memphis, the lowest weekday fare to Chicago Midway and Baltimore are $15. The cheapest flight to Houston is $151.

If you do have to travel to Atlanta, it is $135 but not a direct flight. You'll have to connect through another city.

The lowest fare to Las Vegas is $364 and you can get to New York's Laguardia Airport for $227.

These are the lowest fares FOX13 News found (Southwest calls these "Wanna Get Away" fares). Full price refundable tickets are significantly more.

In February AirTran, which is owned by Southwest Airlines, set plans to increase its routes in and out of Memphis International starting in mid-August.

AirTran said starting Aug. 11, 2013, passengers will be able to fly to Chicago, Orlando, and Baltimore from the Bluff City. There will be two daily flights between Memphis and Chicago.

In a meeting in September 2012 between Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, and Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines was committed to expand their service into the Bluff City within the year. There was no firm timetable during the September 2012 meting, but the airline expressed interest in having planes at Memphis International Airport by the end of 2013.

Travelers and Memphis International Airport officials hope this will help ease fares in the Bluff City.

Industry experts no longer consider Southwest Airlines a discount carrier. We'll have to watch what happens to the fares over time, and we'll see how Delta Airlines responds.

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