Southwest returns to San Francisco

It's baa-aack. After a half-decade away, Southwest has returned to San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Starting today, the airline will be running 18 daily nonstop flights to Chicago, San Diego, and Las Vegas.

Southwest also announced new service between San Francisco and Los Angeles (LAX) starting on November 4, with $39 one-way introductory fares.

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In the years since Southwest left SFO, it has built up service at nearby Bay Area airports Oakland International and San Jose International. So while the return to SFO means more choice and convenience, it's not a new market and so we probably won't be seeing the "Southwest effect" of suddenly cheaper fares across airlines serving a destination.

In fact, Southwest is just one of the low-cost carriers to set up shop at SFO recently. This year, SFO also welcomed JetBlue and Virgin America. As a low-cost hub, it has made a lot more sense since BART, the train that connects the East and South Bays with San Francisco, extended out to the airport.

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