Southwest Airlines just announced 3 brand-new destinations in a continued low-cost leisure route expansion

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737
A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737.

  • Southwest Airlines is adding three new destinations to its route map in 2021.
  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Bellingham, Washington; and Eugene, Oregon are slated to see new flights.
  • Routes from each airport are still unknown but the first flights plan to launch by the summer. 
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Southwest Airlines on Monday announced plans to serve three new destinations across the US later this year.

The low-cost carrier will soon serve Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Bellingham, Washington; and Eugene, Oregon in yet another pandemic-era expansion that follows the addition of Bozeman, Montana and Destin, Florida announced last month. 

Myrtle Beach will be the first city to see new flights, with CEO Gary Kelly saying in a statement that the destination aims to serve summer travelers and golfers, in particular. Golf bags count as one of the two complimentary bags that Southwest flyers can check, with the airline coining “golf bags fly free” as a play on one of its classic slogans, “bags fly free.”

The coastal Carolinian city adds to Southwest’s existing chain of destinations on the southeast Atlantic shoreline. Savannah, Georgia and Miami were was added to Southwest’s network in 2020 and the Myrtle Beach addition gives the carrier coverage at nearly every major airport on the Atlantic coast from South Carolina to south Florida. 

Bellingham, closer to Vancouver, Canada than Seattle, will then see flight in the second half of 2021 as it serves a cross-border market. Canadians frequently drive across the US border to catch flights to save on the taxes levied on international flights by the US and Canadian governments. 

“Following the reopening of the Canadian border, we expect a return of the value-minded travelers who already drive to this alternative airport to escape high fares and taxes-and that’s very, very typical for Southwest destinations,” Kelly said.

The US-Canada border is currently closed for non-essential travel, a pandemic-era policy nearing its one-year anniversary, but it may be reopened by the time Southwest starts service. US and Canadian officials renew the policy on a monthly basis and the accelerated vaccine rollout in the US may encourage reopening talks. 

Southwest joins the likes of Washington state’s hometown airline Alaska Airlines and ultra-low-cost carrier Allegiant Air in serving Bellingham. 

Eugene will only be Southwest’s second destination in the Beaver State behind Portland, surrounded by national forests and within driving distance from Oregon’s Pacific coast and Crater Lake National Park. Southwest won’t be alone in the city as American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Alaska, and Allegiant serve Eugene from cities around the US. 

Flights to Eugene are also slated for the second half of 2021. 

Routes have not yet been announced to any of the new cities but Southwest will likely offer service to nearby bases that offer connections across the country. For Bellingham and Eugene, that likely means flights to Denver, Dallas, Las Vegas, or Phoenix while Myrtle Beach might see service to Chicago, Atlanta, Baltimore, or Nashville, Tennessee. 

All routes will be flown by the airline’s Boeing 737 aircraft and will likely see the Boeing 737 Max. Southwest plans to resume flying the Max on March 11, the last airline in the US to do so behind American Airlines, United Airlines, and Alaska Airlines.

Two existing destinations – Steamboat Springs and Telluride in Colorado – will also have their seasonal flights extended through the summer. 

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Anti-lockdown protesters storm Oregon State Capitol building, clashing with police officers

2020 12 22T014955Z_557146530_RC21SK9UGBGM_RTRMADP_3_USA ELECTION PROTESTS.JPG
  • In Salem, Oregon, armed far-right protestors attempted to break into the Oregon State Capitol and clashed with police as legislators extended COVID-19 relief and restrictions.
  • Members of Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer, two white supremacist groups, and other far-right groups were there, according to The Daily Beast.
  • Protestors jammed a flagpole through the entrance, fired bear spray at police, and assaulted photographers and reporters on site, according to reports. Protestors did not make it into the session.
  • Oregon state police have arrested four and are seeking one more individual in connection to the protests and violence. 
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During a special legislative session Monday at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem, far-right protesters stormed the statehouse as lawmakers were inside.

Anti-lockdown protesters, some of whom were armed, called on lawmakers and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown to reopen the state and end COVID-19 restrictions.

Lawmakers met early Monday morning to review five bills related to COVID-19 relief, including an extension of Oregon’s eviction moratorium and relief for victims of regional wildfires.

By 8:30 a.m., as protesters coalesced around the Capitol door, Oregon state police declared an unlawful assembly, according to authorities, according to authorities and local reports.

According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, among the dozens of protesters were members of Patriot Prayer, a far-right, violent group sympathetic to white supremacists, based in Vancouver, Washington. Local Proud Boy affiliates also attended and were heavily armed, according to The Daily Beast.

After local police declared an unlawful assembly, the group of protesters grew angrier and chanted “let us in” and “Arrest Kate Brown!” As protesters ignored the decree, they moved in on the capitol door and clashed with police, who were wearing gas masks, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.

According to Oregon State Police, protesters sprayed police with bear spray and other “chemical agents.” Two hours after protesters broke into the Capitol, Police pushed them out and made more arrests, with the Oregon state police announcing four arrests made today.

“When people attempted to come in to the building they actually used pepper spray and other things on officers. In return we used those to separate ourselves and get them to hold that spot. So I don’t know what all was used but I know at least pepper ball was used,” Lt. Treven Upkes of Salem Police told the Statesman Journal.

In videos shot by local journalists, anti-lockdown protesters can be seen kicking and jamming a flagpole into the statehouse doors to break the glass before entering.

 

In other videos (and in response to being filmed), protesters are seen assaulting and intimidating members of the press covering the protests.

Sergio Olmos, a journalist with Oregon Public Broadcasting, filmed Brian Hayes of the Salem Statesman being physically assaulted and followed by anti-lockdown protesters as he photographs of the attempted break-in. 

 

Eventually, protesters opened a door on the west side of the building where a standoff began between protesters outside the building and state troopers inside the building. 

 

According to OPB, at least one state senator addressed the crowd in support. During the legislative session, Republican State Senator Dallas Heard reportedly rebuked the Capitol’s mask requirement. 

“If you had not done such great evil to my people and had simply asked me to ear my mask, I would have,” Heard said, ripping off his mask. “But you commanded it, and therefore I declare my right to protests against your false authority and remove my mask.”

Heard later accused state senators of engaging in a “campaign against the people and the children of God.” 

Heard also addressed protesters outside the Capitol.

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