One year from yesterday, the shackles come off Dallas Love Field, and Southwest Airlines Co. is already anticipating the moment.

It is planning a full year of celebrations and promotions to lead up to Oct. 13, 2014, when the Wright amendment goes away and Southwest can fly nonstop anywhere it wants in the United States.
The Dallas-based carrier, whose main offices abut Love Field, isn’t revealing everything it has planned. But on Monday, it will unveil a countdown clock in its headquarters lobby so that employees can see how many days remain until the big change.
“Something big is going to happen on 10-13-14,” Southwest executive Ron Ricks said Friday, “and it’s so big that we think it’s going to take a full year to celebrate. So we’re going to start the countdown at 10-14-2013.”

The Wright amendment, signed into law by President Jimmy Carter on Feb. 15, 1980, restricted nonstop flights from Dallas Love Field to airports in Texas and four bordering states — Oklahoma, Louisiana, New Mexico and Arkansas.
Not only did the law bar flights beyond those states, but it also barred airlines from selling a ticket that would take a passenger to airports beyond those states even on a connecting or one-stop basis.
In 1997, Congress put Kansas, Mississippi and Alabama inside the boundaries, and Missouri was added in 2005. Meanwhile, Southwest chief executive Gary Kelly began a push in November 2004 to get the law repealed.
The effort wound up with a June 2006 compromise among Southwest, American Airlines Inc., the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth and the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to do away with the Wright amendment restrictions in eight years. The law, passed by Congress, was enacted Oct. 13, 2006, setting up Oct. 13, 2014, as its expiration date.
“We’ve lived with the Wright amendment for 34 years,” Ricks said. “Now we’re going to take 365 days to say goodbye to it.”