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. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

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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After Biden lost the Iowa caucuses in 2020, staffers suggested that he refinance his house, new book says

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden speaks in the Oval Office at the White House.

  • Early in the 2020 Democratic nomination process, Joe Biden stumbled in Iowa and New Hampshire.
  • Reporter Jonathan Allen said that Biden staffers suggested that the candidate refinance his home.
  • Biden turned around his campaign by winning South Carolina and performing strongly on Super Tuesday.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Early last year, questions were beginning to swirl about President Joe Biden’s longevity in the Democratic nomination process.

As a former vice president, Biden had universal name recognition in the Democratic primaries and caucuses, but he was competing against boldfaced names like Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg while also fending off steam from an ascendant Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

After a fourth-place finish in Iowa and a fifth-place result in New Hampshire, the sirens were going off even louder for many in the political world regarding Biden’s candidacy.

During an episode of “The New Abnormal,” a podcast at The Daily Beast, editor-at-large Molly Jong-Fast admitted to underestimating Biden’s campaign while speaking with NBC News senior political reporter Jonathan Allen. Allen cowrote the new book “Lucky: How Biden Barely Won the Presidency” with Amie Parnes, a senior correspondent at The Hill.

“I would like to take a minute to talk about being wrong about Biden,” she told Allen.

Allen said the prognosis for Biden’s campaign was so dire that staffers even suggested that he refinance his home to pump additional funds into his campaign after the Iowa loss.

“It’s not the most unheard-of thing for a candidate to do it,” Allen said, but “a presidential candidate doesn’t do that.”

“The subtext of going to him to tell him that it might be time to just wrap up the campaign,” Allen said. “To Joe Biden’s everlasting credit, he believed in himself.”

Biden went on to win the South Carolina Democratic primary in a landslide, anchored by the support of Democratic House Majority Whip Clyburn’s prized endorsement.

In the book, Allen and Parnes detailed the enormous clout that Clyburn possessed in the Palmetto State.

“Biden was desperate to get Clyburn’s endorsement,” they wrote. “Very few endorsements carry weight in modern politics. In South Carolina, though, a perception had built up that Clyburn’s imprimatur meant everything. Voters believed it, the media believed it, and even most political insiders thought there was at least a good helping of truth in it.”

They added: “There was no Black political figure in the history of the state who had more influence with Black voters in South Carolina or across the Deep South.”

The South Carolina victory brought Biden’s candidacy back to life, translating to a slew of Super Tuesday wins, including unexpected victories in states like Massachusetts and Texas.

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Texas isn’t the only state lifting COVID-19 restrictions. Here’s how 11 other states and cities are easing lockdowns, despite the CDC insisting that ‘now is not the time.’

greg abbot coronavirus vaccine texas
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

  • Texas on Tuesday became the largest US state to ease its lockdown restrictions.
  • Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order that would end all COVID-19 restrictions, including a mask mandate, on March 10.
  • Mississippi, Louisiana, and Michigan also made announcements to ease restrictions.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Texas on Tuesday became the largest state in the US to lift its mask mandate.

Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order set to end all COVID-19 restrictions on March 10. He tweeted that “Texas is OPEN 100%,” and said “people and businesses don’t need the state telling them how to operate.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Monday of a potential resurgence of coronavirus infections in the US, despite a dip in numbers of new cases nationally.

“At this level of cases, with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained,” Rochelle Walensky, the head of the CDC, said. “Now is not the time to relax the critical safeguards that we know can stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.”

Texas isn’t the only place in the US easing restrictions. Mississippi, Louisiana, and Michigan, as well as Chicago and San Francisco, all made announcements to ease restrictions on Tuesday, though the details varied.

Montana, Iowa, North Dakota, and Mississippi have already waived mask-wearing restrictions, and Michigan has eased other lockdown restrictions. Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina have not enforced state-wide mask mandates throughout the pandemic.

In Florida and South Dakota, schools and businesses have been widely open for months.

More than 35 US states have kept their mask-wearing rules in place, albeit with variable enforcement.

Here is how some other states, as well as some cities, are easing their restrictions.

Chicago

Chicago's Mayor Lori Lightfoot arrives at a University of Chicago initiative event for the science in Chicago, Illinois, on July 23, 2020.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Chicago announced Tuesday that hospitality, sports, and performance venues could increase to 50% capacity, up from 40%. The maximum number of people is 50, or 20 people for indoor fitness classes. Curfews were also extended. The changes were effective as of Tuesday.

San Francisco

Mayor London Breed of San Francisco said Tuesday that indoor dining, indoor fitness, museums, and movie theaters would be allowed to reopen Wednesday at limited capacity.

Louisiana

Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana said on Tuesday that starting Wednesday, businesses could operate at 75% capacity, except in indoor event halls, which were limited to 50% capacity at a maximum of 250 people.

Live music could also resume indoors. He said that the state’s mask mandate would continue, and the new rules would remain in place for at least 28 days, until March 31.

Michigan

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan announced easing of restrictions on Tuesday, set to take effect on Friday.

Restaurants would be able to operate at 50% capacity – increased from 25% – and retail, entertainment, and sports facilities could open at increased capacity, she said. People can also visit a nursing home after a negative COVID-19 test.

Michigan has a state-wide mask-mandate, and Whitmer said mask-wearing, social distancing, and washing hands was “more important than ever.”

Mississippi

Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves.

Mississippi rescinded a state-wide mask order in September, but Gov. Tate Reeves of Mississippi said Tuesday that county-specific mandates would be lifted too. He also said that the only COVID-19 restrictions that would remain were a 50% cap on the number of people in indoor arenas, and that certain restrictions would remain in schools.

North Carolina

Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina eased restrictions starting February 26, lifting a curfew and allowing indoor venues to operate at limited capacity. There is still a mask mandate.

Arkansas

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on February 26 lifted capacity limits for bars, restaurants, gyms, and large venues. He said that the state’s mask mandate would remain in place until March, provided the number of cases and hospitalizations were low.

Massachusetts

Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts said February 25 that restaurants could open at full capacity – albeit with social distancing and table size and time restrictions – starting Monday.

Other venues could open at 50% capacity, with no more than 500 people allowed inside. A state-wide mask mandate is still in place.

Washington

Gov. Jay Inslee lifted restrictions for five counties in the state on February 14, and allowed restaurants to open up at 25% capacity.

Montana

Gov. Greg Gianforte of Montana terminated the state’s mask mandate February 12.

Iowa

Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa lifted restrictions February 5. Iowans no longer have to wear face coverings in public. Businesses can have as many people as they want inside and don’t have to abide social-distance guidelines.

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South Carolina Republicans censured Rep. Tom Rice for voting to impeach Trump

tom rice
In this Dec. 18, 2019, file photo, taken from video, Rep. Tom Rice, R-S.C., speaks as the House of Representatives debates the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump at the Capitol in Washington.

  • The South Carolina GOP censured a Republican lawmaker over his vote to impeach President Donald Trump.
  • Rep. Tom Rice voted to impeach after calling Trump’s response to the Capitol siege an “utter failure.”
  • Rice said he knew his vote might mean he’ll lose his next election.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The South Carolina Republican Party announced Saturday it had formally censured Rep. Tom Rice, one of the 10 GOP members of Congress who voted to impeach President Donald Trump earlier this month.

“We made our disappointment clear the night of the impeachment vote,” the party chairman, Drew McKissick, said in a statement announcing the censure. “Congressman Rice’s vote unfortunately played right into the Democrats’ game, and the people in his district, and ultimately our State Executive Committee, wanted him to know they wholeheartedly disagree with his decision.”

Rice had been a longtime Trump supporter but ultimately backed the impeachment efforts due to Trump’s inaction during the Capitol siege, in which hundreds of his supporters stormed the building while lawmakers counted the electoral college votes.

“Once the violence began, when the Capitol was under siege, when the Capitol Police were being beaten and killed, and when the Vice President and the Congress were being locked down, the President was watching and tweeted about the Vice President’s lack of courage,” Rice said in a statement on January 13.

He continued: “I have backed this President through thick and thin for four years. I campaigned for him and voted for him twice. But, this utter failure is inexcusable.”

 

Rice told the Associated Press he understood his impeachment vote might result in him losing his seat in the next election.

“If it does, it does,” he said.

Rice isn’t the only Republican lawmaker to face blowback for voting to impeach Trump. Liz Cheney, the third-ranking House Republican, is also facing a potential censure, a primary challenge, and a wave of resentment from her Trump-supporting constituents.

Rice is also not the only Republican to be censured over his views on Trump. The Arizona GOP voted last weekend to formally censure Cindy McCain and former Sen. Jeff Flake over their criticism of Trump and the Republican Party.

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