Low-fare king Southwest has announced details of its new San Francisco service. Beginning on August 24, it will fly nonstop to Chicago (Midway), Las Vegas, and San Diego, and will offer direct or connecting flights to 46 other destinations such as Orlando, Providence, and Washington, D.C.
One-way introductory fares will cost $39 to San Diego, $59 to Las Vegas, and $99 to Chicago with a 21-day advance purchase. These fares are also available from Southwest's other Bay Area airports. These fares are available for booking through October 10, for travel between August 26 and October 31.
San Francisco joins Oakland and San Jose as Southwest's third Bay Area airport, and the airline's 64th city. Southwest stopped flying to San Francisco in 2001 after 20 years of service, but according to Southwest's CEO Gary Kelly, today SFO is "a more cost-efficient airport, and Southwest is a far larger airline than it was in 2001 and better able to support this type of operation."
When Southwest adds a new destination, that city often benefits from the "Southwest Effect," in which the average fare decreases as other carriers drop their prices to compete. Even if the Southwest Effect happens at SFO—and given how many airlines already fly through San Francisco, that still remains to be seen—these introductory fares will be the lowest prices you're likey to find for awhile.