Southwest Airlines Launching Miami Flights: Here Are The Routes

Filed Under: Southwest

In early September Southwest Airlines announced plans to start flying to Miami, and now we have details about what routes we can expect. As a Miami resident, I’m super excited about the competition that this will bring to my home market.

Southwest Airlines launching Miami flights

Southwest Airlines will launch year-round flights to Miami, and that will kick off with 12 daily flights to four destinations as of November 15, 2020. Southwest Airlines will start flying from Miami to the following destinations:

  • Baltimore (BWI) — 4x daily
  • Chicago Midway (MDW) — 1x daily
  • Houston Hobby (HOU) — 4x daily
  • Tampa (TPA) — 3x daily

I’d say these routes are more or less what I expected — Southwest isn’t doing a whole lot of unique point-to-point flying, but is rather primarily serving Southwest hubs and focus cities:

  • There are currently no flights between Miami and Houston Hobby or Chicago Midway (though the other major airports in those markets do have service)
  • Southwest will be competing with both American and Delta between Miami and Tampa, so that’s something I’m happy about, because it’s a route I’ve historically flown quite a bit
  • Southwest will be competing with both American and Frontier between Miami and Baltimore

As it stands, Southwest Airlines has a hub in Fort Lauderdale. While many may view Fort Lauderdale and Miami as similar markets, I know that personally I avoid flying out of Fort Lauderdale Airport whenever possible.

It’s not that it’s that inconvenient, but there’s something nice about driving just 10 minutes to the airport, and avoiding the stretch of I-95 between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, which I’m convinced has the world’s worst drivers.

As Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly describes this plan in a message to employees a few weeks back:

“Just as we serve multiple airports in metro areas across the country, South Florida is ripe for another. Miami will complement, and augment, existing South Florida service we have in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Miami already sees some Southwest aircraft on a weekly basis as part of our maintenance program, so adding an ability for our Customers to travel there with us is a win.”

Southwest Airlines will start flying to Miami

Delta Air Lines is also expanding in Miami

American Airlines has historically dominated Miami, with far too little competition. At the beginning of 2020 Delta announced it would turn Miami into a focus city, including adding flights from Miami to over a dozen destinations.

This came a few months after it was announced that Delta would be buying a 20% stake in LATAM, and that the two airlines would be forming a joint venture. With LATAM having left the oneworld alliance, the plan was for Delta to step up and provide a lot of the feed in Miami, given that it’s the largest US gateway to Latin America.

We’ll see how Delta’s expansion in Miami plays out, given how different the world is now compared to the beginning of the year.

Delta is also building up a presence in Miami

Bottom line

I’m excited about Southwest Airlines expanding to Miami, both because I’d actually consider flying with the airline, and also because I appreciate the competition that Southwest will bring to the market.

Southwest is popular with consumers for good reason — the airline hasn’t charged change fees for years, each passenger gets two free checked bags, the company has great customer service, and middle seats are even blocked for the time being.

What do you make of Southwest Airlines’ Miami expansion, and of the routes the airline chose?

  1. Based on all of these flight announcements, it seems like Florida’s population will double or triple this winter…

  2. WN is going to PSP as well, and they picked up all of available slots from LGB. Someone reminder me against how Southwest is the loser this past week?

  3. I can’t see Lucky doing MIA-PSP on WN given the all Y configuration. I don’t mind flying WN on short-haul but no thank you for longer trips. Even if I am not upgraded I want to have some clarity on the seat I will be in. With that said, I welcome the competition as hopefully it will force AA to compete on prices in certain markets.

  4. The PSP flights have me excited, as this should make it reasonable to fly there now as the fares are high even compared to ONT just an hour away

  5. @Lucky, I am not sure where to post this but I enjoy your posts about your personal decision making process about travel, credit cards, etc. I would be interested in reading about how you decided to settle in Miami with Ford. Both from a travel/business and personal perspective. I would imagine you could have pretty much in any city you wanted given your previous nomadic life style.

  6. Putting aside the irresolvable differences about an assigned seat versus picking one, I want to comment that people who don’t fly southwest don’t appreciate their boarding process. Yes it used to be a cattle call but now boarding is serialized by the individual passenger — not by group (yes I’m looking at you United with 100 passengers lining up 30 minutes early for group 2). You don’t have to get out of your seat until it’s your turn to board.
    (Yes I will concede that if you flying first or are super elite you can board at will, but for most of us in Y WN’s boarding process is tops)

  7. “Hopefully the price gouging by Alaska, United, AA and Delta at Palm Springs will come to an end.”

    From your keyboard to God’s ears.

  8. I will NEVER step foot on a Southwest Airlines flight again. They are a bunch of lying thieves!

    Approximately 3 years ago, Southwest started service from LAX to PVR. I was convinced by some friends who regularly fly WN on intra-California flights that WN isn’t that bad and that for the 2.5 hour flight from LAX to PVR would be fine. I reluctantly agreed. Unfortunately, because WN failed to file their proper paperwork with the Mexican government, they could not operate the flight.

    Did WN notify us? Hell no. The 6 of us (traveling on 3 separate itineraries, as each couple booked separately) learned this through media reports after we all were checked in. The A-lister (or whatever their top status is called) called WN to try to get all of us accommodated, but since WN has no interline agreements and is a generally arrogant company, the best they would offer us was to get us on their next available flight – which by this point was 4 days later, and with a connection in Denver. Of course, we had prepaid for a villa with staff in PVR and couldn’t wait 4 days (especially when our entire trip was for 5 days!)

    Southwest refused to refund my money even though they cancelled the flight because of their own incompetence. I did not want a flight credit, as I did not regularly fly WN. And I was not happy that I had to spend over a grand to find replacement flights on another airline.

    I ended up doing a chargeback through Chase. Southwest sent a letter to Chase challenging my chargeback, claiming that they operated the flight!!! Had Chase not provided me with a copy of Southwest’s letter, I would not have believed that a company would put such a provably false lie into a letter! This, of course, caused Chase to reverse my chargeback.

    I ended up having to do an appeal. I was able to gather information from various flight tracking services (which I had to pay for, because of the length of time which had passed), and was able to gather about a dozen news clippings from around the country about the flights not operating – including a couple of articles about people losing out on destination weddings and honeymoons because of Southwest’s abrupt cancellation of the flights. Of course, once I provided this information to Chase, they accepted my appeal and sustained my chargeback. While I got back the money I spent on the Southwest flight, I was never compensated for all of the time and money I had to spend fighting the issue. And of course, I was never compensated for the cost of the 2 replacement tickets.

    While I was unhappy about the flight being cancelled, and I was unhappy about the way they handled the whole cancellation process, that wasn’t the deal-breaker for me. It was when they committed fraud, lying about operating the flight, causing Chase to initially reverse my chargeback, which caused me to impose the death penalty on Southwest. I promised myself that I would never get on one of their flying greyhound buses again, and that whenever and wherever appropriate, I would share my story of how unethical those thieves are.

    You can have WN in Miami. You’ll never see me on one of their flights. I’d sooner walk or drive!

  9. Excellent news. What destinations?

    I’m expecting something like Baltimore, Dallas-Love and Chicago-Midway.


  10. Sad to see AA slowly falling apart first JFK which they’ve completely given up on ever retaking and MIA will slowly fall

  11. Lucky (Ben): As it stands, Southwest Airlines has a hub in Fort Lauderdale. While many may view Fort Lauderdale and Miami as similar markets, I know that personally I avoid flying out of Fort Lauderdale Airport whenever possible.

    Me: When I lived in South Florida, I felt the same way except I used FLL. I only used MIA rarely and PBI only once.

  12. I live in Coral Gables and prefer FLL. Smaller airport and more Jet Blue and other routes.

    Lucky, if driving to FLL on the big road makes you uncomfortable, opt for an early AM flight. Or catch an UBER or a Limo…

  13. Make a note of how many flights Southwest has to FLL (where, as you do not mention, they compete with Spirit) and then compare it six months from now with how many flights they have to FLL and MIA combined. Service to the two airports combined will be reduced, even with a vaccine.

  14. As a local in South Florida, most of us know to fly out of FLL (Fort Lauderdale) when ever possible.
    A) FLL is generally cheaper then MIA
    B) FLL is easier to get around and you don’t have to deal with as many tourist and lines
    C) FLL is much easier to get to then MIA.

  15. @Ben – you must be struggling for content, if you can devote time to a post about an announcement regarding potential WN service to MIA. Have you ever flown WN? Really “Yay”? “super excited” ?

    The content regarding Delta seems to be generally a copy/paste of a previous post.

  16. Am with Ben with his feelings about FLL. Rather pay extra and fly out of MIA than drive or be driven to FLL. And would love to try Southwest. Probably Miami Dallas route.

  17. As a lifelong Miami Beach resident, I also only fly out of MIA. The uncertainty of traffic getting to FLL, the lack of proper lounges, etc. make it less desirable for me. I always laugh at the idea of the “difficulty” of getting to MIA when there are multiple access options. It also feels like a true international airport (with the exception of a few old terminals) while FLL feels like it could be in any small market city.

  18. As a former resident of Miami and Coral Gables, I now have no desire to ever go there again other than to change planes. If SW decided to use Miami as a stop on the way to Belize or other Central American destinations, that will be a win for me, esp. as I am one of those banned from the AA mileage program.

  19. Despite what is being said on netters and FT I don’t think WN is coming to MIA just to fly to places like BWI. I think WN has done some hard analysis and decided their business model (particularly 2 bags free) would do well for MIA to the Caribbean, Central America and South America. I think they are going to be a thorn in AA’s side. I still don’t understand this mentality that because WN doesn’t offer first class, seating assignments, lounges, etc. it must be run by a bunch of hicks. Particularly when you consider when all is considered WN has been the most successful airline in aviation history and has driven the industry.

    And of course (at least for now) no NK to compete with.

  20. My last two trips to Miami I made the mistake of flying in and out of FLL. I wasn’t familiar with the layout of Miami and thought it would be fine…LOL I was so wrong. Really glad Delta and Southwest will increase flights to MIA, as those are the two airlines I fly the most.

    Both times before my return flights, I was down by the Key Biscayne area and had to fight rush hour traffic for my 8 pm departure. The first time involved a Lyft ride from hell, the second time we ended up making a last-minute stop at Key Biscayne before having to drive back (trust me, if I had a say I would have made sure we weren’t so far away from FLL before the flight). Driving up I-95 to return our rental car was a nightmare.

    I have no clue if/when I will ever return to Miami. If I do, I’ll definitely make sure where I am going and likely fly out of MIA for the first time ever. Hoping Southwest really does bring prices down.

  21. @Juan with Southwest. Not sure how much more I can elaborate. My post was pretty detailed. You are welcome to contact me directly. Not sure if Lucky’s rules allow e-mail addresses to be posted here, but if you can figure out how to send me your e-mail address, I will provide you with my contact information.

  22. Having flown in and out of all 3 airports in South Florida many times, my preferences are :
    1) Fort Lauderdale
    2) Palm Beach
    3) Miami

    Palm Beach is a distant 2nd, and Miami an even more distant 3rd. I’ve yet to have problems from either FLL or PBI, but I have had luggage broken into or lost when flying through MIA. How AirTran could lose luggage on a non-stop flight from MIA to BWI when it was their only flight out of MIA, I still don’t understand. I’m sure it was stolen by the baggage handlers.

  23. Sounds good. This is the better news for travelers. More competition between airlines. You are correct in this expression “the world’s worst drivers”, Cubans, the majority residents in southflorida ( Miami area ) never have had cars just bikes, that’s why we are the world’s worst drivers. Avoid I -95 . LOL

  24. I’m thrilled to finally see a HOU-MIA option so I won’t have to choose between IAH and FLL on either side.

  25. Great flights!!! Surpised that they are flying to Tampa so much, its literally just a 4 hr drive, but oh well!

  26. I booked MIA-BWI-BNA today. I could’ve gone nonstop from FLL but when you take away the cost of an Uber from Coral Gables to FLL going from MIA is much cheaper. With the metro serving MIA this is a very convenient development.

  27. While I’m sure Ben will post in minutes, the Southwest routes to PSP were announced.

    Two flights a day from OAK! Let’s see if that lowers the crazy pricing!

  28. MIA/TPA is surprising. AA is down to serving it 2x daily. Not a lot of O&D on that flight but if WN branches out to the Caribbean and Central America from MIA (a real possibility I think) that route would bring in connecting traffic.

  29. As someone who frequently drives between Tampa Bay & Miami, I can’t wrap my head around paying to fly between the two metro areas and dealing with everything that comes along with airport travel (uber or parking fees, security, boarding, flight time, deplaning, etc). I am door to door in 4 hours (maybe 4.5 max if the traffic is bad). But if 3 airlines are serving this route, there must be a lot of connecting passengers or a lot of people who think differently than I do lol.

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