Airlines

Virgin America to Give Southwest a Run for Their Money

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It’s no secret I’m not a huge fan of Southwest. They advertise themselves as a low-cost airlines, but often their tickets are more expensive than the major airlines for flights that aren’t even non-stop. Virgin America announced at Love Field this morning that they’re going to start service out of Love Field and want to make Dallas their 3rd-largest hub in the U.S.
Virgin Dallas
Starting October 13th through November 20th, Virgin America has non-stop flights for $79 each way from Dallas Love Field to SFO, DCA, and LAX. Service to LGA at the same price starts Oct 28th. Those prices are the same for the opposite routes as well. However if you start your trip on November 20th, you will pay a higher price for your return flight since that’s the start of Thanksgiving holiday travel. These flights are currently available for purchase at these prices for the next few days. I’m bummed since we do have plans to go out to California, but that’s in September, so not at the right time to take advantage of this deal.
Obviously I hope the extra competition, with Spirit Airlines at DFW and Virgin America at Love Field gets all the airlines to lower their prices since that would be beneficial to us and any of our friends or family who plan on flying out to visit this year.AND if any of my friends from D.C. or California (hint, hint) want to fly out to Dallas for the Texas State Fair… which is from September 26th – October 19th this year… this might be the time to buy your plane tickets. 😉

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Tiff's first big vacation was a Caribbean cruise when she was six. She first started getting interested in deals when her husband showed her the tricks to getting bought off your flights back in the late 90s. She started flying nonrev when they got married; the first unusual nonrev she did was in '05 when her family flew through San Juan to get to Dallas from Philly. They have two boys, ages 11 and 7, who she usually drags along on their travels and hopes they will grow up to love traveling as much as she does.

12 Comments

  1. Marshall

    April 25, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    SW has 2 free bags per person, no cancellation fees, and a companion pass that MORE than makes up for any added cost. Their ticket prices are very good if you book early. Also, Chase has 4 SW cards which make it easy to get the companion pass. My wife and I have gotten 1000’s of dollars in extra value thru these benefits. I have yet to pay anything for a SW ticket. All are booked on points.

  2. Oliver

    April 25, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    Competition is good, but its hard to compare Southwest’s ticket prices since even with WGA you can change your ticket at any time without a penalty (except the no-show policy). That gives me a huge benefit vs. legacy airlines and VA when I am not exactly sure when my travel needs to happen. You can even cancel your tickets and get southwest credit for the full amount towards future travel (12 month time limit from date of purchase). If you purchase the anytime or business select fares its even better because you can get full refunds for your tickets at any time.

    They may not have the best cabins or perks for elites, but the companion pass is one of the best airline benefits out there. Anytime I fly my wife can fly for free (just pay the taxes and fees). Since we travel a lot that has saved us $$$$.

  3. Mark

    April 25, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    Companion pass as well as routes that I can actually use gives me a clear winner.

  4. Tiff

    April 26, 2014 at 1:58 am

    Two free checked bags is only of value if you need two checked bags. An airline that has cheap fares 12 months is also of no value if we can’t plan trips more then 3-4 months ahead of time. The one time I bought a ticket than got a refund it was ridiculously hard trying to find a flight that fit into our plans within that 12-month window. Then then the flight ended up getting cancelled and I got re-routed onto a three-leg flight. They don’t allow people traveling with small children to board first, which is a huge fail because when you have an open seating policy, a parent needs to be assured they will sit with their child. I know some people are extremely loyal to Southwest, I simply have had no reason to be one of them.

  5. Oliver

    April 26, 2014 at 3:58 am

    Tiff, I think based on this experience you would have been screwed by any other US airline as they would likely have kept all the funds or had some high cancellation fee unless you are an elite member. Not sure why you cannot plan more than 3-4 mores ahead of time. I have tickets booked in October 2014, which is 6 months away.

    Parents with young children board between A and B groups, which pretty much guarantees you will be able to sit together. Or pay for early bird boarding (which is pretty cheap at 12.50. I don’t think I have ever seen parents not sit with their kids on a SW flight. Much more likely to happen on legacy carriers that sometimes do not allow you to even select your seat until 24 hours before departure (outside of the US this is very common).

    I agree that SW is not for everyone, but IMHO its way better than flying United, Delta or American if you don’t have elite status.

  6. Joseph

    April 26, 2014 at 6:16 am

    Let’s admit it: WN is no longer a cheap carrier. Now they are silly expensive. You know what else? They are worth every penny. I will gladly pay a premium to avoid the surly jerks who work at the Big 3 legacy airlines.

    I had to giggle at the mention that it’s hard to sit with your child on WN. No it isn’t: buy earlybird, like we all do.

    What is it like at the Big 3? They tear up seat assignments like the world is ending. Often it is because some family didn’t want to pay to get seats together, so they book the cheapest tickets, then show up at the airport and expect the GA to move other people’s seat assignments around. 🙁

    I wish Virgin America the best. However, I read they they are getting gates at DFW from the AA/US merger. Flying out of both airports? That isn’t smart business. It’s another example of Virgin expanding too fast.

  7. Leslie H (tripswithtykes)

    April 26, 2014 at 6:25 am

    Oliver – Agreed about boarding with kids. I’ve flown Southwest dozens of times with my 5 year old and have never NOT been able to be seated next to her. There are always full rows of three in the back of the plane open when you board between Groups A & B. In contrast, I’ve had separation problems on nearly every major legacy carrier – United, USAir, Delta & American. Equipment changes mess with seat assignments, some carriers block anything but middles for non-elites, etc.

    That said, I’m based near SF, CA and I LOVE, LOVE Virgin America. Southwest and Virgin are my two go-to airlines these days. But they meet different needs for different itineraries. Tiff- glad you have both to choose from now too!

  8. DaninSTL

    April 26, 2014 at 11:22 am

    SW still has an advantage over most other airlines however since they ran out of cheap fuel options a year or two ago the pricing has come up. As they get bigger they will eventually start charging for the “extras” like bag checking. They will spell eventually doom for them as the best airline. Just imagine the festival seating combined with all the folks that “carry on” on the legacy carriers. This will take longer to board, more competition for boarding early, delays on the ground, etc. etc.

    Oh and Virgin is going to make DAL a hub? They realize this is SW’s home airport? How many gates will they eventually have? and this “is” Texas, right. I like Virgin and I can see DAL being a focus city but not really a true hub in my opinion.

  9. Flyer

    April 26, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    she doesn’t know what she is writing. SW is certainly the best airlines for common people.

  10. Tiff

    April 26, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Some of us have been waiting to see what kind of changes will happen with the Wright Amendment ending this year. It ends on October 13th, that’s why the flights on Virgin start on that date.

    Honestly, anything that starts a low-cost bidding war out of the Dallas area, whether it’s DFW or DAL is okay in my book. =) Maybe Virgin plans on being like United and Delta who fly out of both DFW and DAL, that does open up more options for people who don’t have to fly in/out of the same airport.

  11. Tiff

    April 26, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    Call me crazy, but if we’re paying $300 – $500 for an airline ticket, I think it’s ridiculous ANYONE is expected to pay extra just to choose their seat.

    Right now if I want to fly out to California next month for an event the prices on Spirit are $94 round-trip and $124 round-trip depending on which day I leave/return. I could fly without a bag, but even with one bag it would cost $154 or $184 round-trip. Same trip on Southwest? $290 or $340. And Spirit is non-stop where with the Southwest flights I’d have two stops. Several of the other major airlines have non-stop available from $289 – $336, the same price range as Southwest. If people have points and credit cards with Southwest and can use them to their advantage, that’s awesome, but I’d never assume they have the best deal on flights. The majority of the time when I check against other airlines, they don’t, and many times they are more expensive than other airlines with better flight times.

  12. Badger

    April 27, 2014 at 1:10 am

    In my corporate travel system I can see SW fares along with all the others. When I was based out of BOS, SW was consistently more expensive than any other carrier. Now that I’m in ATL, their fares are more reasonable, but I have no reason to choose them over DL for example. I don’t pay for checked bags on AA, UA, or DL anyway. Even though the legacy carriers’ FF programs have all been gutted I can still fly to Tokyo or Istanbul with my UA miles. Can’t do that with SW.

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