It’s been a rocky road when it comes to when Southwest international flights will return. So many things depend on these dates like at a minimum if the countries are open to American travelers (or ANY travelers for that matter).
The Bahamas, for example, did open for travel, but then closed to American travelers in recent weeks.
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Southwest recently updated the return date of flights to many of its international destinations to say they won’t return until January 2021 at the earliest.
When Will Southwest International Flights Return?
Southwest has resumed or scheduled flights to the following destinations:
- Aruba (beginning in November)
- Cancun (available now)
- Los Cabos (available now)
- Montego Bay, Jamaica (available now, $93 flights from Ft. Lauderdale)
- Puerto Rico (available now with many $50 flights from Ft. Lauderdale!)
On July 19, the Bahamian government announced flights from the United States will not be permitted to fly in or out of the Bahamas effective Wednesday, July 22. Service will not resume before October 8.
We can still plan our Bahamian vacation and look forward to service opening soon!
Additionally, service to Cuba will not resume before November 4.
According to Southwest, the destinations below will NOT resume service until January 2021 at the earliest:
- Costa Rica (there have been some recent articles talking about Southwest’s request to Costa Rica to begin to fly there again)
- Turks and Caicos
- Grand Cayman
Currently Southwest has no information on a return date for the destinations below:
- Puerto Vallarta
- Punta Cana
Southwest says it’s monitoring each country’s government for easing of restrictions in order to determine when each destination will return to the schedule.
I know this is disappointing, but these destinations will still be there when this is all over, and hopefully we can get there as soon as possible.
The Requirements to Travel to Jamaica, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Aruba
There are some added steps you’ll be required to take if you want to fly Southwest (or any airline) to these international destinations.
When flying to Jamaica, you’ll need to fill out this travel authorization form, prior to boarding.
As of August 18, all passengers traveling from the US:
- Are required to upload a valid negative COVID-19 test no more than 10 days old from the arrival date.
- Are required to bring the negative test result with them. If they arrive from a high-risk area without a negative test result, they will not be allowed into the country.
In Mexico, you will need to fill out a Questionnaire for Identification of Risk Factors in Travelers and present to immigration upon arrival. You may also be subject to temperature checks and health screenings when you arrive.
As of July 15, to fly to Puerto Rico passengers must complete a travel declaration form and have proof of a negative molecular COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival.
If someone does not have this information, they will be required to take a rapid test upon arrival at the airport.
If negative, the traveler will still be required to quarantine and cover any medical or daily expenses resulting from their extended stay until they have received a negative molecular COVID-19 test, as well.
If a negative molecular test is not provided, the traveler will have to quarantine for 14 days or the length of their planned stay if it’s shorter than 14 days. Testing sites in Puerto Rico will be available on site and online.
To fly to Aruba, you must have a pre-approved embarkation-disembarkation (ED) card, which requires you to complete this mandatory health assessment within 72 hours of your departure to Aruba.
Additionally, they advise you to take a PCR COVID-19 test and upload a negative test result in the application for the ED Card within 72-12 hours prior to departure. If you do not, you need to prepay for a COVID-19 test that will be administered upon arrival in Aruba and you will be required to quarantine in Aruba for 24 hours while awaiting the results.
Lastly, you must now have Aruba Visitors Insurance, which is also part of the ED card application.
What Happens If Southwest Cancels a Flight
If Southwest cancels your flight, you are entitled to a full refund of the flight and anything else you paid for like EarlyBird seating or bag fees. Refunds are given in the same form you used to purchase the ticket: travel funds, cash, credit cards or points.
So if you purchased a ticket using a travel fund (a Southwest “credit”), you will get your money back as another travel credit. However, Southwest announced that any travel credits resulting from cancellations between March 1 and September of 2020 will not expire until September 7, 2022.
Before a full refund, however, Southwest will first offer to re-book you at a later date or give you a travel credit, which would be most helpful to them at this time. But you can opt for a full refund if you’d like by contacting Southwest via phone or in the Southwest app‘s Live Chat feature.
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