Which 4 Destinations will Southwest Airlines Fly in From?

Without doubt you recall back in October it was announced that Southwest Airlines would be bringing their canyon blue jets over our emerald waters and gently be landing them at our brand-spankin new airport in Panama City Beach. People cheered, some teared up and the excitement spread like butter. Dubbed after two tries the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, St. Joe and Southwest partnered along with Coastal Vision 3000 and area TDC’s to come up with a dynamic plan to grown our area’s industry, tourism and hopefully population. When the big announcement was made, 8 flights a day were committed to from 4 different locations, but the locations were to be named in December.

And, no we don’t have those destinations to announce yet, but that should come in short notice, I’m sure.  The purpose of this post is to see what destinations you think should be flying into our area. Of course, some of you who have family or frequent certain destination will be biased, but consider what places would bring the most people to Panama City Beach.

There will be 4 destinations total and tons of people have sounded off here on pcbdaily as to their preference, but let’s here from you all one more time.

I’ve created a poll in the sidebar to track, so please vote there.  In addition, share with us in the comments below your pick!  Please note, cheaters, that if you select one destination a million times, we’ll know the survey has been tampered with and you will be dealt with by tar and feather. All of the votes are logged by ip address.

Here are the cities we think are most likely to be future feeder markets for Panama City Beach:

Nashville, TN – tons of people from Nashville come down here already.

Birmingham, AL – tons of people from Birmingham come here already as well.

LaGuardia, NY (New York City) – There has been a huge interest in our area from people in New York in the last year.  This is highly evident in the pcbdialy analytics.

Chicago, IL (Midway) – We beleive this to be a huge sleeper market that’s actually already feeding fairly heavily into our area, beleive it or not.

Dallas, TX (LoveField) – Forget the Wright Amendment, who cares if they can’t really fly here until 2014, bring ’em anyway!

Here are some others that we added to the poll to see what YOU think.  If there are any destinations you think should be on this poll that aren’t, let us know in the comments and we’ll do our best to add them.

  • New Orleans, LA
  • Orlando, FL
  • Jackson, MS
  • Columbus, OH
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Detroit, MI
  • Raleigh/Duram, NC
  • St. Louis, MO

173 thoughts on “Which 4 Destinations will Southwest Airlines Fly in From?

  1. Now that Southwest Airlines has committed to serving the NW Florida area efforts should be made to bring in additional airlines. Also, Delta Airlines should be encouraged to step-up their service to the area. Delta has served the area for many years and they deserve a lot of thanks for this, but incentives should also be offered to Delta to bring in larger aircraft and with lower rates. If NW Florida becomes a major fly-in destination as well as a major drive-to destination our area will boom. It is time our area receives the recognition it has long deserved.

    As one of Frommer’s Top Destinations for 2010, the Florida Panhandle Beaches, “contains some of the most diverse recreation choices along Florida’s drastically under-appreciated Gulf coast, and some of the best options for visitors seeking an affordable family vacation.”

    Read more: http://www.frommers.com/articles/6469.html#ixzz0YyWswyTr

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  2. I think direct flights to and from Orlando would be the BEST! This would allow foreign visitors coming in from all over the world easy access to our beaches.

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  3. Coming from the northeast I know that PCB is not a well known destination, probably because there are no direct flights out of the NYC metro area. Southwest direct from LGA would definitly be a plus for opening the area up to people who would normally go to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale.

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  4. i think an area wide tally of visitors should be done by state and then make the decision based on that, along with connecting international airports from these states. use the hard data available.

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  5. I still firmly believe that BWI is already one of the cities that will be serviced; I forget where I heard that. Otherwise, it does no good at all for me, and I would be sad! Still cannot have my kids on a connecting flight alone

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  6. If you consider North, East, South, and West then Orlando, Baltimore, Dalls, and Chicago. Drive to cities may not be considered but I would hope that we could get to S FL via direct air.

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  7. For those who come to PCB during the winter months and live further north and now drive two to three days to get there, it seems silly to have flights from places like Birmingham when it is only a few hours away.

    How about from Manchester, NH or Minnieappolis/St. Paul, Detroit?

    Atlanta is a hub for Delta, it would make more sense to go from there. I live in the Northeast, enjoy PCB, but you almost can’t get from here to there without paying an arm and a leg and spending a whole day traveling with 2 to 3 or even 4 stop overs.

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  8. I understand the non-stop cities must have maintence at their locations…and not all cities do..but BWI, Chicago/St. Louis, Nashville/Louisvile, then Dallas (but with Dallas restrictions, Austin is busy, busy and has all the west coast connections!) Is it true we won’t get on-site maintence for a couple of years?

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  9. How about Denver, Colorado a perfect travelers could travel from Dever to the beach and travelers from Panama City Beach to the mountains to ski

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  10. It would be smarter to connect to larger markets like Chicago and New York and other connecting markets first that are farther away than a day’s drive. Then let the other smaller, closer markets fill in as needed in time.
    I’m just happy that SW will be landing here! PCB will never be the same after summer 2010…

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  11. They would be foolish not to include either Baltimore or another Washington departure. BWI would be the most likely one. It also doesn’t make much sense to me to include Birmingham, since it is a fairly easy drive to PCB. We need to target markets in large cities to get new visitors!

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  12. I will be moving full time to PCB in about two years. A direct flight to Philly would put me very close to my daughter who lives in Trenton. How wonderful if we could have a direct flight and not spend 8 hours getting to PCB from Philly.

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  13. Come on everyone, lets be fair to the entire country. We should spread the love a bit, so consider these 4 key locations.

    1. LAX – huge market that has not been tapped into, and would open up the Southeast US to the West Coast, they have money too, which helps, plus people from Orange Country, San bernardino country, riverside county and more will be able to use LAX. Also, like Kevin stated, you could connect to Hawaii & Japan easily, basically connect anywhere easily from LAX.

    2. Houston TX – Will bring a huge amount of people to the area, and again they’ve got money, oil money, plus would open up to a lot of other connecting flights (i.e. LAX, west coast)

    3. NY – As the admin says, theres a huge interest in this area from New Yorkers, and they have money, and would love visiting here in the off season, when they have tons of snow.

    4. ATL – Now this is our closest market that would allow alot of quick weekend trips from Atlanta, it also depends on if Delta is going to still have their flight to ATL, if they do, then have a back up city, say KY, or OH.

    But realistically, does the TDC have actual numbers or real stats on interested locations across the states? this should help in determining.

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  14. How about the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mtn. states? Salt Lake City/Denver or Portland/Seattle?
    I used to live there and boy, would I have loved to visit Florida beaches many times! Plus we can then go there to escape the heat a bit during the summer or get our snow fixes during the winter. Lots of Southerners are now located in these areas and long for a way to visit our area more often. Plus they tell their friends. How else do you think I got here?

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  15. I currently own a property in Panama City Beach and the UK.
    How about somwnere in the UK, this would greatly help me and my family when we want to holiday here, along with any of my friends, this would also increase the economy and the touriest industry here, Its a great place.

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  16. I am thinking the following four:

    Orlando – For the European Travelers.

    New York – For the north-eastern travelers, also the European travelers coming in from the north.

    Dallas – To connect us to The Mid-West, West Coast.

    Chicago – For the Chicagoians, and the surrounding large cities – not to mention the Canadians not far from Chicago.

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  17. Atlanta would be great but Southwest doesn’t fly out of Atlanta. I live in Atlanta and I flight to another nearby airport which makes it difficult. My weekend sprints to the beach would become more frequent.

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  18. Everyone has their own point of view, but I think some people are missing the point….which is to bring more visitors from markets that are not close enough to drive here (this excludes Jacksonville, FL, Atlanta, Birmingham, Orlando, etc., etc.) We need to look at the bigger picture. I have many friends from Dallas who love to come to NW FL, but now vacation west of PCB because flights are cheaper into Ft. Walton. There’s a ton of money in Dallas, plus many businesses…which would also help us extent PCB as a convention possibility!! Same applies to New England, where many people from Boston, Vermont, Massachusetts want to come to NW, Florida…but “you can’t get here from there.” Why on earth would we want another flight to Atlanta…everything Delta goes into Atlanta??!!

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  19. I heard a rumor from a Southwest employee that said two of the locations would be Nashville and Baltimore. Not sure about the other two.

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  20. Providence or Boston would be great. I will take either one, but prefer Providence. Right now flying into PCB is too expensive and we have to fly into Pensacola. I am tired of the long flight then a two hour drive to PCB. Most people drive to PCB and I don’t think that will change with a flight from their city. People who do not live within driving distance of 6 hours are the ones you want to target.

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  21. Memphis and Atlanta already have direct flights. Still think you need to go farther to attract new visitors and big cities that will fill up the planes. Also, regarding Canada and the Snowbirds. I don’t see snowbirds using it as they want there cars. Canadians that come for shorter trips would be more like to use the airline.

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  22. Very interesting comments and opinions being aired here Jason…well done my friend. I hope that whatever else happens, that SouthWest does for our community what everyone is hoping they can accomplish…and that is to bring visitors to our area in large numbers. Keep in mind though…this could have been done to a very large extent with the airport we have now. Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy that the new airport is coming and fully understand the potential…but in retrospect if PISSES ME OFF that Delta basically held the proverbial thumb on us for so many years and now that Southwest is coming in, all of a sudden Delta announces that they are going to lower their rates to stay competitive. Well Delta can KMA…it will be a cold day before I purchase another Delta ticket. Good luck Southwest and thank you in advance!!!

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  23. I will like to include Fort Lauderdale/Miami as a destination. Many students from North Florida had to leave for college and are residing in South Florida. It will be nice for us students residing in South Florida to visit our families/parents via PCB airport instead of driving 10 hours.

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  24. I’m sure Southwest has access to the data from TDC or ResortQuest, etc., but I live in Louisville and know that hundreds of families from here vacation in the area every year. It is a 10 hour drive and I am sure this would be a very active market. Birmingham is too close.

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  25. I live in Birmingham and agree with everyone, its really too close. As much as I would like to fly some weekends I can see how Nashville would be a better fit. I say Nashville, DC, Dallas, Chicago and /or Ft Lauderdale.

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  26. I would prefer JFK for NYC and overseas connecting flights. Likewise Orlando to the south for the same reasons. I think Houston would be the best connection to SW flights to the west coast and Chicago for the midwest and Canada. In any case we are glad to have Southwest.

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  27. St. Louis, for sure. Sooo many people from STL make the drive here every year for their vacation. We have been coming since 1972, and would love to fly Southwest direct to PCB instead of driving the 800 long miles. How wonderful would that be!!!!

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  28. Chicago and New York make a lot of sense. However, I would also add St. Louis and maybe a Omaha. Nashville, Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis etc. are within easy driving distance. We need to add locations that can offer added visitors to the Emerald Coast.

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  29. Boston sounds good to me. It would be nice to visit family and friends for a long weekend, IF THE PRICE IS RIGHT OF COURSE!!!! I’m sure there are plenty of people that will be willing to travel here and spend their money if they could get on flight and be here in less then three hours.

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  30. San Diego is ok but add LAX ,SNA or ONT…we have to open it up for those on the west coast! There is alot of talent that you would want here and there are many potential opportunities here for those in SoCal that are looking for something like we have on the Emerald Coast – I was one of them that found what I was looking for here (super close to the water, and really – you don’t know what a traffic jam is here even during Spring Break, no crime, no cement jungle here, don’t get me started on the pollution, I could go on…you get the picture.

    If you compare the median home price $500K for an older home (mainly Orange County) in SoCal to here – you get way more here at the low $200K’s and a newer home and we still aren’t talking about their $500K beast being this close to the water! Even renters in SoCal throw away $900.00 for a 1 bedroom apt! Here you get 2 more bedrooms in a nicer place for close to the same…

    2010 are full of opportunities for Bay & surrounding Counties – you have great communities here that will be supplemented with opportunities upon increasing airtraffic from accross the nation.

    I would pay the $500 airline ticket and the extra 20 hours in the air everytime from LAX, SNA or ONT!

    Happy Holidays See you at Pier Park to bring in the New Year!!! ; )

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  31. ok, Atlanta, I know some think ATL is not a good idea, well, it is the heart and artery of the busiest airport in the world, so more opportunities of course that comes with the territory. Don’t be afraid of Delta, get your piece of the pie as well just like the other major airlines LOL

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  32. If SouthWest are not careful, Delta will take over with a major hub there, they already fly small planes at the older airport, so it only make sense to start flying their larger jets there since they are somewhat established there already. they could start direct flights there with their bigger jets, it doesn’t have to be from Atlanta, basically almost anywhere in the country because Delta already flies to most places anyway.

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