Southwest returns to San Francisco

It’s baa-aack. After a half-decade away, Southwest has returned to San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Starting today, the airline will be running 18 daily nonstop flights. Now all three Bay Area airports have Southwest service.

It’s baa-aack. After a half-decade away, Southwest has returned to San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Starting today, the airline will be running 18 daily nonstop flights to Chicago, San Diego, and Las Vegas.

Southwest also announced new service between San Francisco and Los Angeles (LAX) starting on November 4, with $39 one-way introductory fares.

In the years since Southwest left SFO, it has built up service at nearby Bay Area airports Oakland International and San Jose International. So while the return to SFO means more choice and convenience, it’s not a new market and so we probably won’t be seeing the “Southwest effect” of suddenly cheaper fares across airlines serving a destination.

In fact, Southwest is just one of the low-cost carriers to set up shop at SFO recently. This year, SFO also welcomed JetBlue and Virgin America. As a low-cost hub, it has made a lot more sense since BART, the train that connects the East and South Bays with San Francisco, extended out to the airport.

By Christine Sarkis

There's a 95 percent chance Senior Editor Christine Sarkis is thinking about travel right now. Follow her on Instagram @postcartography and Twitter @ChristineSarkis.

Christine Sarkis is an SATW-award-winning journalist and executive editor at SmarterTravel. Her stories have also appeared on USA Today, Conde Nast Traveler, Huffington Post, and Business Insider. Her advice has been featured in dozens of print and online publications including The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, and People magazine. She has also shared travel tips on television and radio shows including Good Morning America, Marketplace, and Here & Now. Her work has been published in the anthologies Spain from a Backpack and The Best Women's Travel Writing 2008. She is currently working on a travel memoir.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: The Trtl Pillow. It's easy to pack and comfortable, and makes it so I can actually sleep on flights.

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Seeing the Aurora Borealis from the comfort of somewhere warm, like a glass igloo or hot spring.

Travel Motto: Curiosity is an amazing compass.

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: Aisle all the way.

Email Christine Sarkis at editor@smartertravel.com.

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