Southwest Airlines Minneapolis-Saint Paul airport to Chicago’s Midway Airport flights launched

Tuesday, March 10, 2009, 11:58 by Aviation Correspondent

Southwest Airlines, the budget airline based in Dallas, Texas, the United States, has begun services from the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP), starting with a flight to Chicago’s Midway Airport.

In a statement, Southwest Airlines said it would operate eight round-trip flights a day from the Humphrey Terminal of Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport to Chicago’s Midway Airport, with connections to 50 cities from there.

The daily flights from Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport to Chicago Midway Airport offers discounted, no-fee flying to Minnesota’s travelers, the carrier added.

The flight from Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport to Chicago’s Midway Airport takes around 95 minutes, with the last flight leaving the Twin Cities at 7 p.m.

From Chicago’s Midway Airport, passengers can connect to 47 other cities on 197 daily departures, Southwest Airlines’ statement said, adding that the lowest one-way fare from Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport to Midway Airport is $49, including fees.

It may be noted that, Northwest Airlines, headquartered in Eagan, Minnesota, the United States, near the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, has dominated flights in the Twin Cities for several years.

According to reports in the US media, passengers on board the inaugural flight from Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport to Chicago’s Midway Airport on March 8, 2009, Flight 780, praised Southwest Airlines for levying no fees for baggage and for “the leather seats, open seating, friendly workers” and the free, in-flight wireless internet access.

Southwest Airlines is one of the many United States-based airlines testing in-flight Wi-Fi systems. On the inaugural flight on March 8, 2009, passengers were able to access the internet, the airline said.

According to aviation analysts, flights to Chicago had become expensive in 2008, particularly after AirTran Airways, headquartered in Orlando, Florida, the United States, stopped services to Chicago.

The website startribune.com quoted an aviation analyst as remarking, “With just one destination out of Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, Southwest Airlines is merely dipping a toe into this market.” However, he added, that the airline has made shrewd decisions in other markets, growing from a scrappy low-fare carrier to the No. 1 airline for domestic travelers.

Be that as it may, Southwest Airlines is likely to encounter stiff competition from Northwest Airlines. In fact, according to media reports, some passengers have said that they plan “to stay loyal” to Northwest Airlines because of its “local roots.”

Meanwhile, Northwest Airlines said in a press release that it would compete with Southwest Airlines on the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport to Chicago Midway Airport route by emphasizing its frequent flier programs, business-class service and the fact that Northwest can fly passengers directly to a lot more places from the Twin Cities.”

Northwest Airlines, American Airlines and United Airlines have cut their prices for tickets to Chicago in a bid to compete with Southwest Airlines.

Tagged with: