My Luck Runneth Over!

I'm Irish, from Galway to be exact. In the center of town is a statue of my long ago forefather. Given my gift of gab, it's no surprise that he was a politician. I come from a long line of drunken Irishmen. Not only are the Irish famous for their love of Fuisce but also for their love of travel.  (Ever heard of the Irish Travellers?  Also known affectionately as Pavee or "Pikey") I don't claim them and their Gypsy ways, but I do tell people I have '"itchy feet".  

I've seen two Traveller Camps in my area in the last few months.  Everyone here is scared of them.  I see them and my heart breaks for them.

I know exactly how they feel.  Maybe it's in our DNA.  But I have never felt settled in my life.  I went to 14 schools in 12 years.  I've been looking for a soft place to land my entire life. From the time I was very young and I saw the ocean for the first time, I had to live by the beach.

So, back to the story....Irish!  I love my Irish roots.  (My family denies them they are so embarrassed by them.)  I love Irish whiskey, Irish beer, Irish music and most of all I like Irish boys.  But the best thing about being Irish is LUCK!  I believe in it.... I have to, because I see it in my life every day.
People who know me just can't believe the kind of luck I have.  Sometimes I don't either, but if lucky things i.e. blessings, karma, positive vibes, happen every day, you kind of get used to them.

Recently, I was invited to go for a short vacation to Orlando, via Southwest Airlines.  The trip didn't turn out as planned and my host told me to keep the tickets.  I called SWA and they said I could use them on any flight if I travel within one year. The total was $361.60.  I put the tickets in the drawer and forgot about them.  Sooner or later I would use them, but I have no plans to go anywhere but Key West any time soon.

This morning, I was doing what I do the first thing every morning.  I was reading The Key West Citizen.  I make time to read it everyday first thing so I can keep my mind focused on my goal.  Today's headlines jumped out at me! 

Southwest to keep Key West Route
Local service survives airline's merger with AirTran Airways
Southwest Airlines will continue to serve Key West International Airport as AirTran Airways.

The service had been in been in question for nearly two years, as Southwest and AirTran have been undergoing a merger. Many AirTran routes have been canceled in the past year.

Southwest officials announced this week the Key West route would remain in place. AirTran has been offering direct daily flights between Key West and Tampa and Orlando for the past three years.

"We're excited to add Key West, our eighth Florida city, to the Southwest route map," Southwest spokeswoman Michelle Agnew told The Citizen on Tuesday. "Transitioning AirTran's current Key West service to Southwest allows us to extend our brand and great customer service to the southernmost point of the U.S."

AirTran Airways is now a subsidiary of Southwest Airlines, which serves 73 cities in 38 states.

The Key West service offers connecting flights to up to 53 other cities, Agnew said, noting that it was too early to tell whether the carrier will add more Key West flights. The AirTran planes will continue to fly their own colors for a while, as the "integration process continues to move forward," she said.

"This process will take several years to complete, but it is official that Southwest will service Key West," Agnew said.

Southwest previously expressed interest in Key West routes in 2000, but abandoned the idea. Since then, the airport has undergone major upgrades, including construction of a $30 million terminal and addition of a runway safety area.

The airport has experienced a significant increase in passengers -- and reduction in fares -- since AirTran began flying into Key West in December 2009. The Key West Chamber of Commerce and other business associations attribute the reduction in fares to AirTran's arrival in the market, as the company started a price war.

The airport saw its all-time highest passenger count in 2011, with 677,581 passengers coming and going from Key West International Airport. The figure surpassed the previous annual record of roughly 618,000 passengers set in 2005, records show.
For the first four months of 2012, the passenger count was up 10 percent from last year, County Airports Director Peter Horton said.

"It's very important to have Southwest at Key West International," Horton said. "We are keeping the tradition of having a low-cost air service provider. By doing that, we have competition on fares. It makes flying in and out Key West economical, not just for the residents but for the hundreds of thousands of tourists that visit Key West each year."

WooHoo!  I jumped up from my chair and did the "Happy" Dance!  I had just changed my plans to drive my SUV to Key West and fly back home in the Spring and get my stuff and haul it across the country. Which was turning into a logistical NIGHTMARE!

If I stuck to my original plan, I would have to get to Ft. Lauderdale to fly home.  What was I going to do with my SUV if I drove myself?  The Keys Shuttle to Ft. Lauderdale is over $100 one way and takes like 6 hours and I would have to leave at 2:30 A.M. 

I would have already missed that days flight to Texas I would have to stay in a hotel in Ft. Lauderdale in order to catch a plane the following morning ( and pay for a cab to the airport.)  OMG! This is a nightmare!


I could take the Key West Express to Ft. Meyers and fly out of there. 

The price is good, only $86 dollars.  The time is good, only 3.5 hours.  But, once again...I would have to be staying the night in a hotel and catching a flight out to Texas the following day AND pay for a cab ride to the hotel and to the airport!  AND if the weather is bad the KW Express is cancelled, or delayed and I could miss my non-refundable flight! CALGON take me AWAY!

Now that Lady Luck is smiling on me I can use my gratis Southwest Airlines tickets to fly directly from Key West to Texas.  The cost is only $309....way under my available budget of $361.60.  I'll still have a few dollars left over to pay for my baggage, which on AirTran is NOT free like it is on SWA. 

Key West Travel Inspiration of the Day: 

So, Wish Me Luck!

Keep your feet in the sand and keep reaching for the stars!