For the first time since the pandemic, Austin is getting a new nonstop flight. On May 28, Texas-based Southwest Airlines announced its fall schedule, through January 4, and says it's focusing on business travel following a turbulent first half of 2020.
"We're rounding out our plan for this unprecedented year with our business travelers in mind with a fourth quarter schedule that brings them new routes across the country," said Andrew Watterson, Southwest Airlines' executive vice president and chief commercial officer, in a release.
As part of the plan, Southwest will offer daily nonstop service between Austin and Long Beach beginning November 1. Flights to the Los Angeles suburb will occur once a day, taking off from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport at 2:25 pm and landing at Long Beach Airport 3:40 pm. Return flights leave LGB at 12:15 and arrive at AUS at 5:05 pm.
The Austin to Long Beach flight is one of 11 new routes Southwest announced this week, including one from Houston's Hobby Airport to Ontario, California, another LA 'burb.
Southwest's plan to actively target business travelers amid the pandemic has led to expansion into key second-tier markets such as Phoenix, Denver, Las Vegas, and Nashville.
"We anticipate business travelers will hit the road with a heightened focus on costs," Watterson continued, "so we're pairing unmatched schedules with our value and Hospitality to welcome them back, whenever they're ready to travel."