Dallas Love One Step Closer to Being Free - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/16/06

Dallas Love One Step Closer to Being Free

Flying through Dallas Love Field could be getting easier, if Congress agrees. A compromise by Dallas and Fort Worth would allow for through-ticketing at Love Field. It's part of a plan to ease restrictions put in place by the decades-old Wright Amendment.

If you fly Southwest, you're probably use to making a stop at Dallas Love Field. But flight plans can get tricky after that, and that's because of the Wright Amendment. It was actually put together in 1979, to protect the development of DFW Airport, which was new at the time. And ever since, Dallas Love has been trying to spread its wings.  

A good majority of the Southwest flights out of Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport go through Dallas Love Field, and since the 1970s an amendment restricts where you could go from there.

"The Wright Amendment is an amendment attached to a bill in 1979 that restricted flights from Dallas Love Field to the four continuous states around Texas and intrastate," Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport Aviation Director James Loomis said.

Since 1979 four other states have been added, including: Kansas, Missouri, Alabama and Mississippi. Right now, if you want to go beyond that, you have to purchase a separate ticket.

Let's say you were going to buy a ticket today from LPSIA to Baltimore/Washington International - this is what you would be looking at: Lubbock to Love Field - then you would fly from Love Field to Birmingham, Alabama - with a connecting flight in Houston - then you would have to offload your baggage, re-check it, re-ticket and board another plane from Birmingham to Baltimore. And that means this headache becomes an expensive one, about $500 each-way.

But that could all change if the deal between Dallas and Fort Worth leaders is passed by congress, but there will be still be some restrictions for the next eight years.

"You still have to go to one of those states where you are presently exempt, but after eight years it's all lifted," Loomis said.

So essentially for the next eight years, flights through Dallas Love will be about the same, except you only have to purchase one ticket, check in once and check your bags once - it's something Southwest Airlines executive chairman Herb Kelleher is excited about. He released this statement: "The only sure fire winner from this agreement is the public. The public citizen who will find it easier and far less expensive to travel to and from North Texas for business and personal reasons."

Because this is federal law it must go back to Congress to pass. Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison is expected to draft a bill by next week. If passed, Southwest changes will be made very quickly. 

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