Southwest announced this morning that it has started direct service to the caribbean. This is a huge deal as it is likely only a matter of time before they start providing direct service (not through AirTran) to other international destinations, namely Mexico.
While the routes are a bit lacking right now things are sure to get better. Currently most flights will start in July 2014 with service to Aruba (AUA), Montigo (MBJ) and Nassau (NAS) from a few US airports (namely ATL, BWI and MCO).
- Aruba flies direct to Orlando, Atlanta, and Baltimore
- Montego Bay flies direct to Orlando, Atlanta, Baltimore, and Chicago
- Nassau flies direct to Baltimore and Atlanta
When southwest.com first showed the new routes for booking at around 12:01am PST I was not sure if Southwest would allow you to use a Companion Pass (see What is the Southwest Companion Pass?). Well the answer is … YES, YES, a million times YES! While fees are generally higher (between $10-70 USD each way) for international destinations Southwest is not charging any fuel tax or surcharges like most legacy carriers. This means that you can fly 2-for-the-price-of-1 to some warm tropical beaches.
Off to warm water, white sand beaches and tropical drinks. All you need is your passport information and some money to pay for the flight 🙂
How to maximize your value? Well if you have a Companion Pass, start booking. I was able to get flights from Atlanta to Aruba for only 9180 rapid rewards points (worth $165 at 1.8 cents each) and added my companion for only $12.50 each way. For less than 20,000 repaid rewards points and $25 we will be able to enjoy a nice long weekend vacation.