Southwest Airlines Launching Miami Flights: Here Are The Routes

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?