While I agree and sorely miss them flying into EYW, I’d say “not in the foreseeable future”. I fly them quite often and their expansion plans currently focus on overwater routes. They are expanding the FLL airport for more of a Caribbean international presence and have filed paperwork are planning to expand into Hawaii.
It sure doesn't seem likely. It's a shame, I love Southwest. We've had some great flights with them; I always check out their flights before even thinking about booking with any other airline.
Unfortunately, no. While Key West was by no means a money loser for them demand wise, the operational restrictions of Key West International Airport proved difficult for them to manage with the type of aircraft they use. While Delta does use the same type of plane (737-700), Delta ordered their planes with special retrofitting for the shorter runways, such as Key West (currently 4,801 feet long) to operate normally while I believe Southwest's did not have such retrofittings. This caused heavier operational restrictions with their aircraft and made their flights much more delay/cancellation prone than the other carriers serving the airport. You may still find Southwest flights into Fort Lauderdale and Fort Meyers, the latter will connect you to the Key West Express. On another note, United Airlines has indeed extended their season in Key West by one month.
Southwest inherited this route when they bought AirTran. I don't think it was ever a part of their long term plans.
I hope the expansion to Hawaii will bring down some of the flight costs. I was going to go next year, but the increased flight and hotel costs have put it out of my league for what I want.
The Southwest direct flight to Aruba is a wonderful thing:)
@ SDT: Yes, Southwest inherited Key West from AirTran, however it was a part of their plan to try to make it work, hence the addition of New Orleans. It was not a matter of profit, but the operational restrictions of the airport combined with their fleet type that caused Southwest to ultimately discontinue service.