Southwest starts serving Des Moines

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Starting this weekend, Des Moines travelers will have an option they’ve been eagerly anticipating for years.

The first Southwest Airlines flight takes off from the Des Moines International Airport Sunday, September 30, 2012. The flight to Chicago leaves bright and early Sunday morning at 6:55.

Airport leaders say they’re already seeing what’s called the “Southwest Effect”. They say fares started dropping when the airline announced the new flight a few months ago.

Plus, travel is up 9.5-percent at the airport this year. It was up eleven-percent last month.

For now, Southwest is offering two flights a day, seven days a week to Chicago Midway.

But, the Des Moines Airport Authority’s executive director says that could change.  

“It’s a term of art called ‘use it or lose it.’ It’s going to be available. And, I think if the public uses it, we will see additional flights,” says Don Smithey.

Airport leaders say with the additional flights, you should make sure you get to the airport at least ninety minutes before your flight is scheduled to take off.

(thanks to our sister station WHO-TV for this report)