February 15, 2012

Atlanta, at Last! Southwest Airlines Launches Service from Georgia

First Flights Usher in Era of Lower Last-minute Fares, No Change Fees, and Bags Fly Free™ Value for Atlanta Travelers.

The People of Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) today delivered an early Valentine's gift to travelers who have long-awaited the Atlanta arrival of the carrier's legendary low fares and positively outrageous Customer Service.  Continuing the 40-year mission to serve in its communities, Southwest also announced the launch of LUV Grants for Good, making available $150,000 in grants to nonprofit organizations from across the State of Georgia. 

"Our service from Atlanta brings greatly reduced fares with new flexibility and value for both leisure and business Customers," said Gary Kelly, Southwest's Chairman, President, and CEO, at a news conference Monday afternoon in the airport's main terminal. Employees of Southwest Airlines celebrated the milestone in a LUV-themed ceremony featuring congratulations from Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Aviation General Manager Louis Miller, and a cadre of excited Southwest Customers and airport employees.

"Southwest Airlines will significantly expand the tradition of excellent customer service and low fares that we have come to expect from AirTran Airways over the past 15 years," said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. "Hartsfield-Jackson Airport prides itself on serving more than 90 million passengers every year, and Southwest's presence will further assure our airport remains as the busiest passenger airport on the planet."
Following on months of community service performed around Greater Atlanta even prior to the August 2011 announcement of Southwest service, Kelly also announced the launch of an online essay and video contest to award $150,000 in LUV Grants for Good across the State.  The contest is open to 501(c)(3) nonprofits which meet guidelines and rules, available at southwest.com/luvgrants.

The public will have an opportunity to vote and select the winning six organizations from a pool of finalists that produce videos on how they would use money to show love to the communities they serve.  Those finalists will have been selected from essays submitted online and judged by the Georgia Center for Nonprofits and Southwest Airlines. In accepting the gift on behalf of all Georgians, Governor Deal said, "Southwest Airlines has established itself as a first-rate corporate citizen in our State by creating LUV Grants for Good to celebrate their arrival in our community. This program will benefit the people of Georgia, who welcome Southwest, their good works, and the wonderful opportunities they bring to our great State."

Today's initial schedule of 15 flights to five nonstop destinations, with additional same-plane and connecting service to 48 destinations across the country, is just the beginning of a beautiful partnership between the world's busiest airport and the largest airline in the nation, as measured by the U.S. Department of Transportation in terms of originating passengers boarded.  Daily nonstop service between Atlanta and Austin, Baltimore/Washington, Chicago Midway, Denver, and Houston (Hobby), will grow next month with the addition of nonstop service to and from both Las Vegas and Phoenix starting March 10.

 Southwest also will add nonstop service beginning June 10 between Atlanta and Los Angeles and will offer additional nonstop service connecting Atlanta to Louisville, Norfolk/Virginia Beach, and Seattle starting August 12.  All flights are available for sale now at southwest.com.

Read more at  Southwest Media 

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