Southwest adds 18 new Denver flights, cuts 57 elsewhere

Southwest announced plans to add 18 new nonstop flights from Denver, including new service between the Mile High city and Los Angeles, San Jose, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Raleigh/Durham, and San Antonio. Additional flights will be added on routes between Denver and Austin, Albuquerque, and Chicago (Midway). New service begins May 10.

These additions come not as part of route expansion, but a network restructuring designed to add more flights to profitable markets, such as Denver, and eliminate routes in less successful markets. In total, Southwest will be cutting 57 daily round-trip flights and adding 40, including the new Denver flights, in May.

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In a press release, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said the changes are due to a difficult economy that is requiring Southwest to consolidate its efforts around more popular money-making routes.

These adjustments come on the heels of other recent changes at Southwest, including a reduction in the checked-bag limit from three to two bags per person and a shift toward catering to business travelers. Southwest has always prided itself as being "the people's" airline, but it appears that, in a financial squeeze, the airline is becoming more like its legacy cousins: An airline for the highest bidders.

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