As temperatures drop and skies darken earlier each night, it’s easy to fantasize of warm nights on a secluded beach with a Technicolor sunset on the horizon, a fruity drink beading condensation close by. But an aspect that doesn’t typically make it into the reverie is the joy of flying to your destination in one shot, without layovers or transfers. For fliers of Southwest Airlines, the trip from fantasy to reality has become a bit more streamlined.
The airline has begun offering nonstop flights to Key West, Fla., the southernmost stop on the continental U.S. route. The news is welcome for passengers who prefer spending the entirety of their expedition in one seat. Fliers to the Keys typically touch down in South Florida to switch to a smaller plane for the journey’s final push. These “puddle jumper” flights are provided by most major airlines, with only a handful giving direct flights.
Before digging up your copy of Jimmy Buffet’s Greatest Hits, you may want to cool your jets. Southwest is currently offering one daily, non-stop flight out Orlando and another from Tampa Bay, with the promise to tack on one out of New Orleans by March of next year.
But even if you’ve got to make a switch in any of the three hubs, travelers from across the country may benefit from Southwest’s initiative. The airline has a reputation for garnering loyal customers, mainly through its low-cost fares and dedication to customer service. Repeat Southwest fliers can book a flight to one of the hubs offering non-stop service to Key West, as well as the subsequent flight through the same airline. This is also an option for travelers who loathe booking separate trips through different airlines, and one that could reap savings.
With over 75 Southwest hubs throughout the country available, biting into a slice of fresh Key Lime Pie in Margaritaville may only be two planes away this winter.
See our Key West destination guide for general trip-planning information, then use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on flights, hotels, packages, and more travel deals.