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  • Writer's pictureNik Valcic

A New Study Proves That the “Southwest Effect” Is Actually A Real Thing

Have you heard of the “Southwest Effect” in the air travel industry? It’s a phenomenon where airports that are a major hub for Southwest Airlines end up having cheaper fares on average overall. And now there’s a study to back up the theory, proving that the Southwest Effect is actually a real thing.

Midway Airport in Chicago has a leg up on the competition—in a study of average airfares from 50 airports across the country, Midway comes in at the second cheapest, only losing out to Oakland International Airport in California. Midway’s average fare, including taxes, comes out to $172.52. O’Hare, by contrast, averages at $204.54, and the most expensive—Honolulu—averages at $290.15.

The remaining 10 cheapest airports, according to the study and reported by Chicago Business Journal, are “Ft. Lauderdale International Airport, ($173.00), followed by Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport ($174.34), Orlando International Airport ($175.76), San Jose (California) International Airport ($177.63), Dallas Love Field ($177.85), Denver International Airport ($180.78), Baltimore Washington International Airport ($186.21), [and] Tampa International Airport ($187.37).”

There’s one common thread with the cheapest airports: the Southwest Effect. Each airport is a hub for Southwest Airlines, which appears to drive down the average cost of airfare at whatever airport hosts the airline. It makes sense—Southwest flies for cheaper and doesn’t charge bag fees or rebooking or cancellation penalties.

Another interesting finding from the report? United Airlines appears to be driving average costs up. Four of the top 10 most expensive airports are major United hubs: San Francisco, Newark, Houston, and Washington Dulles.

Southwest started flying internationally in 2016, Southwest currently flies to Puerto Vallarta from a variety of its hubs and to these international cities:

Aruba Belize Cabo San Lucas/Los Cabos Cancun Grand Cayman Havana Liberia, Costa Rica Mexico City Montego Bay Nassau, Bahamas Puerto Vallarta Punta Cana San Jose, Costa Rica Turks and Caicos

Source JENNIFER BILLOCK www.flyertalk.com

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