Southwest's new service to Branson (BKG): What are you doing on March 9?

It is old news now that upon Southwest Air’s purchase of AirTran (FL), they announced they would be trimming a few airports off of FL’s legacy route map. The trimming has been underway for quite some time. In fact, a few months ago I flew to central Pennsylvania to catch the very last AirTran bird out of Harrisburg International (MDT), one of the most convenient, engaging and passenger-centric airports I’ve experienced. I’ve been meaning to write about that, but that’s not what’s on my mind today.

Today I’m writing about the conversion of AirTran service into Southwest service. This too has been underway for quite some time but something I’ve yet to directly experience. To my surprise, Branson Airport (BKG), along with Southwest announced months ago that they would continue their post-AirTran partnership with Southwest service beginning Saturday, March 9.

At face-value this seemed odd to me...Southwest doesn’t typically serve niche areas like this, but I know nothing of the agreement between the two entities. In any case, as a Missourian I’m excited to have more of the myriad birds that fly over our state actually stop in and say hello. And, as an aviation enthusiast (avgeek) I’m always looking to participate in various aviation experiences. New routes, inaugurals, new planes, new airports? Yeah, that’s kind of my thing.  

I have thought about it for a few months now and have finally decided I want to be part of this new service. The question now is which of the routes I’ll take. Will I be on the first WN bird to fly in? Will I be on the first out? Both? Or maybe some weird combination? That remains, pardon the pun, up in the air. Chances are I’ll plan a vacation in Branson with my family around this aviation experience. And if I may say: How about that?! It worked, they’re attracting my tourism dollars!

After digging around the southwest website, I was able to build this simple table accounting for the Southwest traffic that BKG will have on inaugural day.

Southwest Inaugural Activity for March 9

Flight 2571
HOU-BKG      9:30A-11:00A
BKG-MCO     11:30A-2:45P

Flight 163
MDW-BKG     10:40A-12:15P
BKG-HOU      12:45P-2:20P

Flight 2777
DAL-BKG       2:25P-3:35P
BKG-MDW     4:10P-5:40P

Flight 2170
MCO-BKG     3:35P-5:05P
BKG-DAL      5:35P-6:45P

So I end with a question. Who’s joining me? :-) 

Shout out to my pal @trvlinsalesgal who finally talked me into the experience. She has her own blog over here.