U.S.-based Southwest Airlines launched international service on Tuesday by inaugurating flights to Caribbean destinations from three of its U.S. gateway cities.
Southwest Airlines' first international departure, Flight 1804 from Baltimore/Washington to Oranjestad, Aruba, departed ontime at 8:30 a.m. EDT, closely followed by Southwest Flight 906 to Montego Bay, Jamaica, where its first-ever scheduled international arrival was planned for just after 11 a.m. EDT. A midday flight from Baltimore/Washington to Nassau/Paradise Island also brings Southwest Airlines' legendary customer service to The Bahamas.
Customers on the carrier's inaugural international flights from Baltimore/Washington joined those in two other gateway cities of Atlanta, and Orlando who celebrated alongside employees with commemorative beach balls, snorkels and masks.
Southwest operates the largest fleet of Boeing aircraft in the world to serve 93 destinations in 40 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and five near-international countries. Some flights are operated by wholly owned subsidiary AirTran Airways.