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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Southwest Airlines CEO Bob Jordan says red-eye flights could be on the horizon

Southwest Airlines CEO Bob Jordan speaks during the Chase Make Your Move Summit, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023, in Frisco, Texas.    (Elías Valverde II/The Dallas Morning News/TNS)
By Alexandra Skores The Dallas Morning News

Southwest Airlines CEO Bob Jordan says “there’s a world” where the Dallas-based carrier has red-eye flights, it’s just not quite figured out yet.

Most major U.S. airlines offer red-eye flights, overnight flights that allow passengers to avoid the busy crowds of the airport, while also maximizing time at their destination. Sometimes these flights are cheaper than flying during popular times in the middle of the day. Southwest, however, has not operated red-eye flights for its Boeing 737 fleet.

“It’s a logical evolution for us,” Jordan told the Dallas Morning News. “We have the aircraft, it’s a great way to use an asset that you already have and use it more productively which means more hours in the day. So, we will be doing red-eyes.”

Jordan said travelers want to get a “full day in” and then take a red-eye home, an idea he said will work in “certain markets,” but is an early idea that Southwest needs to work on.

And it could be an option come 2026 when DFW International Airport’s Terminal F is finished. Maybe not so much at Dallas Love Field, where there is a voluntary quiet period after 11 p.m. for takeoffs.

At the Skift Aviation Forum on Nov. 1, Jordan told attendees that Southwest is looking at options for a “modest presence” at DFW Airport, where it could possibly expand to DFW’s sixth terminal.

But first on Jordan’s mind is to ensure the Dallas-based carrier keeps its 18 gates at Dallas Love Field. But after the Wright Amendment’s restrictions expire in 2025, the airline would look for ways to keep growing in the Dallas-Fort Worth region.

“In my mind, it’s not going to be the size of Love Field, so it would be a complement to Love,” he said.

Southwest is also gearing up for its first winter season since last year’s December operational meltdown which displaced thousands of passengers and their belongings for days over the holidays. Over Halloween weekend, Southwest got its first test at a winter storm in Denver, where the air carrier has invested winter preparedness materials in, such as glycol fluids and deicing pads and trucks.

“We operated really well,” Jordan said. “It’s a good indicator of our readiness for the winter.”