Tag: Southwest

Southwest airlines COVID-19 coronavirus family upset BWI Airport

They had $1,600 in airline credits set to expire despite government warnings against holiday travel.

WASHINGTON — It was supposed to be a February getaway for Howard Van and his family to relax after the birth of his second son, Vincent. He bought airplane tickets for himself, his wife Yok, Vincent and his older son Jason, and his sisters-in-laws Amy and Yann Ly.

The family was supposed to fly on Southwest Airlines from BWI Airport to Tampa, Florida. But days before they were supposed to leave, and just as coronavirus was hitting the United States, Howard and his wife got sick with a fever and chills.

Van worried the couple might have contracted coronavirus, but said there was no way to know at the time.

“We had all the classic symptoms,” Van said. “But we will never know we had it or not because we there was no testing available to the general public at that time.”

Van says he was just trying to do the safe and responsible thing by canceling the trip.

“For us as a family and for other passengers on that flight,” he said.

Southwest issued the Van family travel credits for the cost of the plane tickets worth roughly $1,640. The travel credits were set to expire on December 20, 2020. 

But with COVID cases surging around the country, Howard said there was no way to use the travel credits, especially since his wife and sister in law Yann are both front line health care workers and have been asked by their employers not to travel.

So, Van called Southwest and asked for an extension to use the travel credits.

Because of their current policy, they were unable to grant me that request, which was very disappointing for us,” Van said. “And it became almost like a financial ticking time bomb as the deadline was approaching.”

That Southwest policy says only travel credits issued on or after March 1 of this year can be extended. Van asked customer service to make an exception, posting his appeal to Southwest Airline’s CEO, Gary Kelly, on the company website.

Van wrote, “The current Southwest policy is hurting front line medical professionals during a time when they are sacrificing the most to keep everyone safe.”

But according to a screenshot of that conversation provided by Van, Southwest wouldn’t budge. A customer service rep wrote back: “We’re sorry for any disappointment surrounding the fare rules…ya’ll choose to purchase.”

Van said the best Southwest told him they could do was charge him $100 per ticket to extend the travel credit deadline, meaning he could sink another $500 into a trip he didn’t know when his family could safely take. Or lose the $1640 in airfare altogether.

“And for our family, that’s a lot of money,” Van said. “That’s money we could use to buy groceries, invest in our college funds or buy Christmas presents for our kids.”

Howard wrote to WUSA9 and asked for help. So, Chief Investigative Reporter Eric Flack

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Glass-domed luxury train will travel through Southwest next summer

A new high-end train route is on its way to the Southwest.

Rocky Mountaineer, a Canada-based luxury rail-tour company, announced on Thursday that it will be launching a two-day route next summer.

The “Rockies to the Red Rocks” trip — between Denver and Moab, Utah — will stop overnight in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Passengers will travel on one of Rocky Mountaineer’s glass-domed train coaches through the beautiful scenery of the Southwest.

The cost of the trip starts at $1,250 USD per person, according to the announcement. It includes the two-day train journey as well as the overnight stay in Glenwood Springs.

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Canada-based luxury rail company Rocky Mountaineer will be launching a new route between Colorado and Utah next summer. (Rocky Mountaineer)

Canada-based luxury rail company Rocky Mountaineer will be launching a new route between Colorado and Utah next summer. (Rocky Mountaineer)

The route’s preview season will run from Aug. 15 through Oct. 23, 2021, with 40 departures, the company said.

For people who want to book a ticket now, they can make a $25 refundable deposit. 

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Rocky Mountaineer is still developing various tour and activity packages with help from local tourism groups and hotels, “so guests can experience even more of the region,” the announcement said.

The two-day route, called 'Rockies to the Red Rocks,' will stop overnight in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. (Rocky Mountaineer)

The two-day route, called ‘Rockies to the Red Rocks,’ will stop overnight in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. (Rocky Mountaineer)

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“Over the past 30 years, Rocky Mountaineer has become renowned for our world-class train travel experiences, and now we are opening our newest train experience in the region where train travel history began,” Peter Armstrong, Rocky Mountaineer’s founder, said in a statement. “This region, with its magnificent scenery, national parks, vast opportunities to explore, will delight millions.” 

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The company already runs three luxury train routes in Canada, from Vancouver to three towns in the Canadian Rockies: Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper. 

The journey will also be held on one of Rocky Mountaineer's glass-domed train coaches. (Rocky Mountaineer)

The journey will also be held on one of Rocky Mountaineer’s glass-domed train coaches. (Rocky Mountaineer)

Steve Sammut, Rocky Mountaineer’s president and CEO, said the company has been working on adding new routes for several years.

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In a statement, Sammut said the Rocky Mountaineer has been in search of a route with “incredible scenery, iconic destinations, and the option for an all daytime, multi-day journey that is best experienced by train.”

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“Rockies to the Red Rocks will have all of this and more, and is an opportunity to bring our award-winning Rocky Mountaineer experience to showcase the epic scenery of the Southwest United States,” Sammut said.

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As virus cases rise, Southwest sees slower travel recovery | National News

Southwest said in a regulatory filing that October revenue is down about 65% from a year ago, and that November and December revenue will be off 60% to 65%. It is unclear whether the weakening booking trends is directly related to the surge in virus cases. Other industry officials left little doubt, however.

“Demand is softening, and in the wake of the news, it’s probably not hard to figure out why,” said Nicholas Calio, president of the trade group Airlines for America.

Air travel remains deeply depressed — in the U.S., it’s down about 65% from a year ago. Although that is improvement over April’s 95% decline, Calio told reporters that U.S. airlines are still losing about $180 million a day.

Airlines have added more flights for Thanksgiving, but health officials are warning against big gatherings over the holiday. This week, New York limited private gatherings to 10 people, even for outdoor events.

In the early days of the pandemic, several airlines tried to reassure frightened travelers by blocking some seats to create more space between passengers. As flights have become more crowded in recent months, airlines are losing money by leaving seats empty.

JetBlue is the latest U.S. carrier to abandon seating limits. Southwest will stop blocking middle seats on Dec. 1. The last holdouts — Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines — plan to eliminate their seating limits early next year.

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Which airlines are blocking middle seats for Thanksgiving travel: Southwest, Delta

  • Five US airlines are blocking middle seats or limiting capacity for the Thanksgiving holidays.
  • Delta Air Lines, Alaska Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, and JetBlue Airways have all committed to blocking seats through turkey day but not all will keep the policy much longer.
  • After Thanksgiving, only two airlines have committed to blocking seats for the Christmas and New Year holidays. 

US airlines are facing a crossroads this holiday season as to whether they should block middle seats or open them booking as a travel-hungry populace ponders a return to the skies to visit family, friends, and relatives.

With the start of the holiday season less than a month away, consumers are looking now to book flights for the Thanksgiving-New Year’s travel period. October saw airlines solidify their plans for turkey day and beyond with some announcing definitive ends to their seat blocking policies. 

Coming off a third-quarter in which some airlines saw billion-dollar losses, opening the seats will allow for much-needed revenue during what is normal the busiest travel season of the year. October 18 saw the first day since March that the US had over one million daily passengers, indicating a willingness for the country to get back in the air.

Those airlines choosing not to extend their middle seat policies are pointing to new scientific findings that show limited signs of spread among passengers that wear masks and low transmission rates among some of the most frequent flyers, flight attendants. High-efficiency particulate air filters, or HEPA filters for short, are largely to thank as air is refreshed every few minutes.

Read More: Airline workers have lower rates of COVID-19 than the general population — and airline CEOs say it’s proof that flying is safe

Critics, however, are skeptical that the studies on which the airlines are basing their decisions, some of which were performed in partnership with United Airlines and Boeing, are reliable, as Business Insider’s David Slotnick reported. The studies, critics say, didn’t account for smaller narrow-body aircraft and passengers taking off their masks to eat and drink. 

Here’s which airlines are keeping the dreaded middle seat blocked this Thanksgiving.

Delta Air Lines

Delta Sky Club Terminal 4 JFK Airport

A Delta Air Lines Boeing 767-400ER as seen from the Delta Sky Club at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Thomas Pallini/Business Insider


Delta was the first airline to announce it would be blocking middle seats – and some aisle seats on planes without middle seats – into 2021 with the current policy extended until January 6, 2021. Groups of two sitting in a three-seat row will be assigned and aisle and window seat with the middle kept open while groups of three or more can have the entire row. 

The policy won’t likely last forever, or even until the end of 2021. CEO Ed Bastian said that the airline expects to discontinue the policy by mid-2021 as demand increases and Delta hopes to breakeven on its daily operations. 

Business Insider recently toured Delta’s operation at John F. Kennedy International Airport to

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Southwest report shows rising virus cases are hitting travel

DALLAS — Southwest Airlines cautioned Thursday that the tenuous recovery in air travel could be fading as coronavirus cases spike across the United States.

The nation’s fourth-biggest airline said after a modest rise in leisure-travel bookings from August through October, it now sees a slowdown in what were improving revenue trends for November and December.

Airline stocks surged on Monday after Pfizer reported promising early results from a trial of a coronavirus vaccine. However, the stocks have retreated as new confirmed cases of COVID-19 soared this week, topping 140,000, to set a new record Wednesday.

The report from Dallas carrier added to fears that the spreading virus cases will hurt travel demand heading into Thanksgiving, a key period for airlines.

Southwest said in a regulatory filing that October revenue is down about 65% from a year ago, and that November and December revenue will be off 60% to 65%. It is unclear whether the weakening booking trends is directly related to the surge in virus cases. Other industry officials left little doubt, however.

“Demand is softening, and in the wake of the news, it’s probably not hard to figure out why,” said Nicholas Calio, president of the trade group Airlines for America.

– in the U.S., it’s down about 65% from a year ago. Although that is improvement over April’s 95% decline, Calio told reporters that U.S. airlines are still losing about $180 million a day.

Airlines have added more flights for Thanksgiving, but health officials are warning against big gatherings over the holiday. This week, New York limited private gatherings to 10 people, even for outdoor events.

Travel restrictions designed to stop spreading the virus have upended the airline business. The top nine U.S. carriers have lost $36 billion so far this year, according to Airlines for America. Business travel and international routes have been particularly hard-hit.

Canada, Europe and much of Asia are closed to most Americans. Mexico is a relative bright spot, with travel there from the U.S. down only 41%, to 1.3 million passengers in October. With other nations cut off, the Dominican Republic is now the second-biggest destination for U.S. international travelers, according to the airline trade group.

In midday trading, share of Southwest and United Airlines were down less than 1%, while American and Delta were up less than 1%.

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Orlando airport travel rebounding gradually; Southwest to stop keeping middle seats open

Orlando International Airport leaders are celebrating some of the busiest days for travelers since the plunge in activity this spring because of the pandemic.

Airport director Phil Brown said the activity levels indicate the beginning of a multiyear recovery and “reflects a pent-up demand for travel” that he hopes will carry through to the holidays.

Airport leaders rely on the Transportation Security Administration’s screening figures as the most current indication of activity. More than 36,000 passengers were checked by TSA officers on Sunday, which, by that category, placed Orlando’s airport as the busiest in Florida and fifth-busiest in the nation, according to airport officials.

It was also the nation’s busiest day, topping a combined 1 million passengers screened by the Transportation Security Administration, which hadn’t dealt with such a volume since March.

But on the same Sunday last year, TSA officers counted 2.6 million passengers. Overall, the nation’s climb to 1 million passengers screened in a day has been gradual since a low of fewer than 88,000 passengers on April 14.

A sign of the uptick in air travel: Southwest Airlines on Thursday announced it would no longer keep middle seats open, beginning Dec. 1.

“It was easy for airlines to block middle seats early in the pandemic when there was very little customer demand for flights,” said Scott Keyes, chief executive officer of Scott’s Cheap Flights, a website service that notifies subscribers of low fares.

“But with demand slowly creeping back up for months, it’s becoming costly for airlines to continue blocking middle seats. At some point Southwest had to rip the band-aid off, and I would expect Delta, Alaska, and jetBlue to follow suit soon,” Keyes said.

Southwest Airlines said its decision to no longer block off middle is based on studies “that point to aircraft cabins as an environment where transmission of the virus is statistically improbable for two primary reasons: the uniform usage of masks; and sophisticated air systems that introduce fresh air throughout a flight.”

Among airlines, Southwest Airlines maintains a sizable lead in average daily departures from Orlando International Airport, with 70 nonstop flights to 28 cities. That’s a third fewer than a year ago.

American, Spirit, Frontier, Delta and JetBlue have similar numbers of daily flights in the mid-20s range. JetBlue operated nearly 40 flights daily last year. United is lagging behind with 17 average daily departures.

“We do see some increases in demand, as well as continued increases in customer confidence,” said Delta spokesman Drake Castañeda. “Delta continues to evaluate its schedule and is adjusting as needed based on customer demand, government travel directives and CDC guidelines.”

With tepid activity levels compared with the the start of 2020, both Orlando’s airport and airlines nationally are planning to shed more jobs, scale back costs and leave planes parked.

Orlando International Airport has not been cleared yet for flights to and from much of Europe. Service on U.S. and foreign carriers continues to Canada, Mexico, Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Panama.

While conditions aren’t as

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Southwest Airlines to start unblocking middle seats for holiday travel

Southwest Airlines announced Thursday that it will start fully booking popular routes, unblocking middle seats that it has kept vacant for months to make travelers feel safer during the pandemic.

The Dallas-based carrier cited several studies that the airline said shows the risk of getting coronavirus on an airplane is extremely rare when everyone wears a mask. In one case, the International Air Transport Association found 44 cases of Covid-19 transmission associated with plane travel, with most recorded before airlines adopted enhanced cleaning procedures and mask requirements, according to a news release.

“That’s 44 people out of the nearly 1.2 billion passengers who have traveled in 2020, or one case for every 27 million travelers this year. As IATA suggests, this is approximately the same risk category as being struck by lightning,” Southwest said in a statement.

Another study from Airbus, Boeing and Embraer found that an airplane’s airflow systems, filters and seatback barriers, along with wearing a mask, make flying safer than being in another type of indoor environment.

“We expect demand to be stronger around the holidays so it probably makes sense to make more seats available to customers in December,” Helane Becker, managing director and senior research analyst at Cowen, told NBC News.

Becker also cited the IATA study as proof transmission rates are lower in air travel.

The decision to open up middle seats comes as Southwest posted its biggest ever quarterly loss on Thursday. The airline reported a loss of $1.2 billion in the three months ended Sept. 30. During the same period last year, Southwest posted a $659 million profit.

“This practice of effectively keeping middle seats open bridged us from the early days of the pandemic, when we had little knowledge about the behavior of the virus, to now,” the airline said in a statement Thursday. “Today, aligned with science-based findings from trusted medical and aviation organizations, we will resume selling all available seats for travel beginning Dec. 1, 2020.”

Delta and Alaska are the only two U.S. airlines now committing to block middle seats through January. With Southwest now gearing up to run full flights during the post-Thanksgiving travel holiday period, some customers expressed concern about whether this was the right choice.

“This is disheartening. Even with the middle seat empty I was almost too nervous to consider return to SW air travel. Are you requiring 100% mask compliance?” one person wrote on Twitter. “I would definitely get off a plane if even one person is not wearing their mask.”

Another person questioned why middle seats are being unblocked when cases are starting to surge.

“Very upsetting to learn this just as all the scientific, solid predictions are that cases are spiraling upward and will continue thru the winter,” they wrote. “With this policy I would not risk flying even for a family emergency. Hope you’ll roll this back.”

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said on Thursday that the airline is seeing “modest improvements in leisure passenger trends since the slowdown we experienced

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Travel Planning Tools | Southwest Airlines












We are currently accepting air reservations through October 30, 2020. On May 28, 2020 we will open our schedule for sale through January 4, 2021. This date is subject to change! Please check back frequently.



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Southwest Vacations – Official Vacation Packages of Southwest Airlines

*Fare difference may apply. Only applies to flight component of package. Hotel and other package components change policies vary.

**Failure to cancel a reservation at least 10 minutes prior to departure may result in forfeited travel funds.

1Rapid Rewards® Members will receive special offer earnings of 600 Rapid Rewards points per room for every qualifying stay at Las Vegas M life MGM Resorts International Properties. A qualifying stay is defined as one or more consecutive nights at an MGM Resort destination regardless of check in/check out occurrences. Rapid Rewards points will be credited to one (1) person, per room. Rapid Rewards points are offered by select MGM Resorts International Properties and are in addition to the base vacation package points earned by each traveling member in your party. Upon check in at the hotel, you must request Rapid Rewards points and provide your Rapid Rewards account number. M life Membership is required and membership number must be attached to your reservation prior to check out. To request Rapid Rewards points for past stays, please contact MGM Resorts Member Services at [email protected] Missing Rapid Rewards points may be requested up to 6 months from the qualifying stay. Please allow 30 days after completion of stay for the Rapid Rewards points to be credited to your account. If you are not already a Rapid Rewards Member, you may enroll at Southwest.com®. If you are not already an M life Member, you may enroll at mlife.com. See Southwest.com for more details. If you have any questions, please contact MGM Resorts Member Services at [email protected] 

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Southwest Recreation Center – recsports.ufl.edu

The Southwest Recreation Center (SWRC) is a 140,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility. More than two million students have used the SWRC since opening in the Fall of 1994.

See how busy the SWRC is before you go. Check out our web cameras.

Features
• 14,000 sq. ft. Strength and Conditioning Room
• Six Indoor Basketball Courts
• Five Racquetball Courts
• Multipurpose Gymnasium for Indoor Soccer, Handball and Basketball
• 15,000 sq. ft. split-level cardio room with personal viewing screens
• First Floor includes state of the art cardio equipment, a functional fitness area with kettlebells, light-weight dumbbells, a throwing wall and benches
• Second Floor includes state of the art cardio equipment and a 1/9 mile indoor track
• Two Massage Therapy rooms
• Personal Training studio
• Fitness Assessment Center (FAC)
• Athletic Training room
• Three Activity rooms
• Men’s and Women’s locker rooms with digital locks
• Day lockers
• Social lounge equipped with seating areas, flat screen TVs, WiFi and a smoothie bar

Location
3150 Hull Rd, Gainesville, FL 32611

The Southwest Recreation Center is located at the corner of Hull Road and Bledsoe Drive across from the Harn Museum and the Center for the Performing Arts.

Strength & Conditioning and Free Orientations
Southwest Recreation Center and Student Fitness & Recreation Center are staffed with trained Fitness Associates and Fitness Supervisors to ensure the safety of participants and assist in basic exercise selection or performing exercise that may need to be spotted.

We offer free orientations for anyone interested in learning more about the weight and cardio rooms.
• Having trouble finding your way around?
• Puzzled about getting set up with weight equipment?
• Curious about how to enhance your workout on cardio equipment?

Ask a Fitness Associate in our facilities to conduct your orientation today. Group orientations are also available

The majority of funding for UF Department of Recreational Sports comes from A&S fees paid by most current UF students.  Non-student membership rates and access policies, including those for guests and spectators, are established to protect the interests of fee-paying students.

Guests to Member Facilities and Services

A non-member or non-fee-paying student must purchase a guest pass for access to services and programs including:

  • Southwest Recreation Center and Student Recreation & Fitness Center
  • Group Fitness Classes
  • Participation or spectatorship of indoor programming including indoor Intramural Sports and other special events

Purchasing a Guest Pass for Member Facilities and Services

  • Credit Cards: Guest passes for Member Facilities and Services can be purchased by credit card using our online check out or our lobby kiosks in SWRC and SRFC.
  • Cash or Checks: Visit Membership Services, located inside the Administrative Offices of the Southwest Recreation Center, during the hours listed below.

Business Hours

Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Phone: (352) 273-2436

Guest and Spectator Policies for Southwest Recreation Center and Student Recreation & Fitness Center

  • Persons wishing to be a guest must purchase a Recreational Sports guest pass. Options include a one-day $10
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