Southwest Airlines Launches Flights From St. Louis To San Francisco

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  • Southwest Airlines launches new nonstop SFO-STL route with slight delays in inaugural flights.
  • Passengers can expect daily nonstop service between San Francisco and St. Louis for time-saving travel.
  • Southwest expands services at SFO with new routes planned, faces 737 MAX 8 delivery delays.

Southwest Airlines launched a new flight between San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) today. The new route, initially announced in August 2023, is the latest in a series of network expansions for the airline.

As of press time, the first flights in the series were expected to depart slightly behind schedule. Southwest flight 1949, the first of the SFO-STL route, was estimated to depart fifteen minutes late. The aircraft operating the inaugural route, registered N8539V, was an hour behind schedule inbound to SFO from Denver International Airport (DEN), according to Flightradar24.

Meanwhile, the inaugural flight to SFO from STL, Southwest 4252, was also estimated to be 20 minutes late in its departure. Unlike N8539V, a nearly seven-year-old 737-800 operating the inaugural flight from SFO to STL, Southwest 4252 was scheduled to use a 737 MAX 8 that was less than one year old.

Small delays aside, the route will be a time-saver for passengers, as Southwest Airlines becomes the first and only carrier to operate SFO-STL nonstop. While the airline operates as many as 65 flights between SFO and STL that include stops along the way, the nonstop flights will occur once daily.

As is standard for Southwest, those looking to book a flight on the STL-SFO route can expect changes in departure times and aircraft equipment depending on the day. When trying to book a flight on Southwest’s website, Simple Flying found that prices for flights departing and returning in May averaged around $205 for the cheapest fare options selected on the nonstop service.

Southwest Service Expansion

Southwest Airlines didn’t respond to press inquiries. The carrier currently operates a nonstop flight from Saint Louis to nearby San Jose (SJC) and Oakland (OAK).

While STL-SFO was announced in August 2023, this past October, the airline announced nearly 24 other new routes, some of which start or stop in SFO and STL, with the services starting this upcoming June. These flights include the resumption of service from Chicago Midway (MDW) to SFO.

New services will be launched in June, which will also include routes from STL to Burbank (BUK). While these new routes are pending to be launched, Southwest Airlines is also facing some growing pains, such as delays in 737 MAX 8 deliveries, which is one of a few reasons the carrier has suspended new pilot hiring in 2024.

Photo: John Gress Media Inc | Shutterstock

Southwest Airlines, however, has been growing its presence at SFO, launching routes to the Hawaiian islands of Maui and Oahu, as well as other airports in California, including Los Angeles, Burbank, and San Diego, among other destinations across the United States.

The airline’s service from SFO might have the added benefit of the availability of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). The airline, days earlier had signed a $30 million agreement with SAF producer LanzaJet to purchase the biofuel. SFO, for its part, is working on developing SAF logistics to offer biofuel at the airport, according to the SFO website.

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