Monday, December 19, 2016

Flying from London to Key West

London to Key West is an 17 hour trip door to bar
London to Key West is 4,554 miles and the flying time is 10 hours, via Miami airport. Door to door the travel time is about 17 hours with good connections. This means you can leave cold, miserable London in the morning and end up in hot Key West with a cocktail in hand at 9pm the same night.

Here's how I do it: I fly out of London Heathrow at 11am and walk through the door of my Key West guesthouse at 8pm the same evening. Once in my Key West room, I down a glass of wine, catch a quick shower, and am out by 8.45pm and by 9pm sitting in Virgilio's, potent martini in hand, looking out at the crazyness of Duval Street and preparing to eat at the bar from their wonderful Italian menu. And relax.

Then because of the martini(s) consumed, the jet lag is hours from kicking in, so a detour via Bourbon Street pub is inevitable. Hit the pillow after midnight. All in one day.

As I write (November 2015), I've done the London to Key West trip 19 times - 19 flights out, and 19 flights back. Yes it's a long way but it's worth it. Key West is great for Brits! And about 30,000 Brits and 40,000 Germans visit Key West every year for vacation.
I also love other places in Florida and if you add the additional trips to Fort Lauderdale, South Beach, Orlando, the Everglades, plus my current hot destination of Tampa / Clearwater Beach / Dunedin, I've lost count of the number of times this particular Brit has visited the sunshine state. Without doubt, my second home.

How I get to Key West from London / UK
We always travel with British Airways (almost all those 19 flights, except maybe one at the beginning which might have been with Delta). We do like BA (and whilst I wish they would pay me to make this recommendation, they have definitely NOT!), my partner also works for BA which helps, but mainly they have a great schedule to Florida:
  • 3 flights per day to Miami on Saturdays, plus 2 code share flights with American Airlines (if you really want to)
  • 1 flight per day to Tampa
  • 2 flights per day to Orlando
You're not in London any more! When you see this you're know you're near Miami. This is the Bahamas from 40,000 ft.
For Key West, we've always traveled into MIA (Miami). It's a much improved airport over the last 10 years.

London Heathrow and the start point to Key West. This is LHR terminal 5. BA used to fly both flights in this the Boeing 747 to Miami
As of November 2015, BA's flights from LHR currently arrive at:
  • 0910 depart LHR, arrive MIA 1400 local (B747)
  • 1350 depart LHR, arrive MIA 1845 local (A380)
And you have options when you get to MIA:
  1. Overnight in South Beach and drive early the next day - and DO go really early (like 6am start to beat the traffic on Highway 1 to Key West)
  2. Drive that evening/night - allow 4 hours hours, plus at least 1 hour to collect the rental car
  3. Fly that evening /  night from MIA to Key West - the connecting flights are with regional airlines of American Airlines,  Eagle. The planes are tiny - see here for more information about flying from MIA to EWY on one of my trips.
Aircraft from Miami airport to Key West
So my preferred schedule is, with all times local:
11.10 LHR take off
15.15 MIA arrive (after 8hr 30mins flight)
18.20 MIA take off
19.15 Key West (EYW) arrive
21.00 Virgillio's, Duval Street, Key West arrive

Here's the end point of the 17 hour trip, safely and happily in Key West:
Key West martini - the reward after a 17 hour trip from London. And, yes, it's worth it! The martini is a Chocolate raspberry bomb at Virgilio's, Duval Street.

So the question is: Why do I bother? OK so I can get there in "only" 17 hours but it's still a heck of a trip.

Why bother to go all the way to Key West from Europe?
It might take quite a while to get to Key West but the good thing about once you've arrived is that there are a lot of different great things in a small package/space. Key West is real small island, so you can spend a week walking, lazing, eating and exploring - all by foot and not by car. Which makes it relaxing, especially as Key West is safe and friendly.

If you like parties, eccentrics and a little bit off beat, just a little bit crazy - you'll like Key West.

If you feel energetic, there are lots of interesting things to do.

Away from the many excellent bars and restaurants, Key West is a "walking" place with hundreds of beautiful "I want to live there" homes set amongst wonderful flowers and trees.

If you're gay, like us, Key West is excellent. Whilst this is no Berlin (i.e. the gay scene is not huge) but it's fun, friendly and relaxed.

Brits / Europeans in Key West
If you're one of the 30,000 Brits (or 40,000 Germans) who vacation in Key West every year
please leave a comment below, it would be great to hear from you.

More on my blog...
Click here for more on planning a Key West vacation.

On Key West hotels.