Southwest Airlines goes international today for the first time in its history, setting a milestone for the budget airline that acquired AirTran in 2011.
The low-cost carrier’s new international routes officially begins with Southwest Flight 1804, which is scheduled to depart Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI) for Aruba at 8:30 am ET. Ten minutes later, another international Southwest flight is scheduled to depart from BWI, this one bound for Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Those will be the first of six routes Southwest will fly on Tuesday to destinations outside of the United States. The others are Atlanta-Aruba; Atlanta-Montego Bay; Baltimore-Nassau, Bahamas; and Orlando-Montego Bay.
Southwest’s seventh international route, a Saturday only service between Orlando and Montego Bay, will launch on Saturday, July 5th.
All of the international destinations that Southwest begins flying to today are already served by subsidiary AirTran, which Southwest acquired in 2011, in part to gain access to those international destinations.
But Flight 1804 will mark the first time that a Southwest-operated 737 flying under the Southwest brand will take paying passengers to a destination outside the United States on a regularly scheduled flight.
Southwest will begin to expand throughout the year to other international destinations such as Cancun and Los Cabos, Mexico. Southwest also plans to expand their international flights to Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, the Caribbean, Central America and South America.