Non-stop flights from Texas to Costa Rica, Belize and Jamaica for hundreds of dollars less than the usual? That sounds like something from the jet age of the ‘60s. Clearly, Southwest Airlines is drawing attention to its new international flights program with lower prices. Erin Mulvaney with the Houston Chronicle joined the Texas Standard to talk about the airline’s great disruptor game.
Southwest will be opening a new Houston terminal in October and will be offering these lower fares on international,travels, but Mulvaney says these will probably be introductory.
On how this will change things for Southwest customers:
“United [Airlines] has dominated Houston for so long with Latin American travel that this is gonna be pretty good for the consumers. Especially at the beginning when Southwest has really a stake in the game to make their mark on international travel and to Latin America,”
What does this mean for the competition?
“They’ll serve to add consumers to the market that may not have been able to afford, say, a $600 ticket to Mexico right now…. To be honest, they can’t compete with the frequency of United by any measure.”
Southwest has played their spoiler role in markets where traditionally one or two other airlines have dominated, will this prove disruptive?
“It’s a great start. It’s really a signal for Southwest that they’re really playing with the big boys now. They were always the little airline that could, and now they’re a big player,” Mulvaney says. “They’re in international flights and this is a great sign for them really. I think it’s gonna be good for the consumer overall.”