RDU officials have long sought nonstop service between the Triangle and Silicon Valley. The Southwest flights, however, will only happen one day a week, on Sundays, and airport officials are still hoping for more frequent service.
The San Jose flights begin June 9.
Southwest also announced Thursday that it will begin nonstop flights between RDU and Austin. The airline becomes the third to offer nonstop flights between the two cities, after Delta and Frontier, but the only one to offer them every day of the week.
San Jose is the 17th nonstop destination for Southwest Airlines from RDU, including seasonal service to Cancun, Mexico. Two airlines, Alaska and United, offer nonstop flights between RDU and San Francisco.
Southwest is not the first airline to offer nonstop flights from the Triangle to San Jose. That would be Midway Airlines, the hometown carrier that offered two daily nonstops between the two cities from November 2000 until its bankruptcy the following year. The Midway flights were the first nonstop round-trips between RDU and the West Coast.
American Airlines announced it would begin nonstop flights to San Jose in 2003, but scrubbed the service before it began when the airline got into financial trouble that year.