Mexico Welcomes New Flights

Virgin America, United Airlines and Volaris among carriers enhancing airlift from the U.S. to Mexico By: Mark Rogers
VH1 host Jim Shearer hosts “Top 20 Video Countdown” and commemorates Virgin America’s inaugural flight to Cancun. // © 2011 Virgin America
VH1 host Jim Shearer hosts “Top 20 Video Countdown” and commemorates Virgin America’s inaugural flight to Cancun. // © 2011 Virgin America

The Details


Mexicana Airlines

www.mexicana.com

United Airlines
www.united.com

Virgin America
www.virginamerica.com

Volaris
www.volaris.com.mx

Last month, Virgin America launched nonstop flights to Cancun International Airport (CUN) from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), and direct flights to CUN from San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The launch marks the third international destination for the three-year-old carrier and its 14th destination in North America.

For the airline’s virgin voyage to Cancun, Virgin America teamed up with VH1 to host the first-ever mile-high episode of VH1’s “Top 20 Video Countdown” onboard its inaugural flight. Guests on the first Cancun-bound commercial flight were treated like pop stars, while real-life pop stars the Goo Goo Dolls sat in first class with host Jim Shearer and talked about their latest album “Something for the Rest of Us.” As part of its ongoing partnership with VH1, Virgin America will name one of its new aircraft “Air VH1” later this year.

“As an airline known for bringing some fun back to flying, it is only fitting that we are teaming up with VH1 to kick off our Cancun route in high style,” said David Cush, president and CEO of Virgin America. “We think flyers deserve to start their Mexican getaways as soon as they board their flight and, with the best in entertainment, beautiful cabins and outstanding service, we think travelers will agree that Virgin America is the perfect way to jump-start their Mexican vacation a few hours early.”

Virgin America’s low fares to Cancun start from just $139, with restrictions taxes and fees applying. The carrier flies to San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, Calif.; New York; Washington, D.C.: Seattle; Las Vegas; Boston; Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Toronto, Canada; Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; Los Cabos; and Cancun.

Two Carriers Set to Kick Off New Guadalajara Routes
United Airlines has announced daily nonstop service between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Guadalajara, Mexico (GDL), beginning May 3, subject to Mexican government approval. This service will be operated by Continental Airlines. Flight CO672 will depart Los Angeles at 8:20 a.m. daily, arriving in Guadalajara at 1:15 p.m. The return flight (CO673) departs Guadalajara at 2:10 p.m. daily, arriving in Los Angeles at 3:30 p.m. The Los Angeles-Guadalajara service will be operated with a Boeing 737-800 aircraft, with seating for 160 customers (16 in first class and 144 in economy). Continental currently serves Guadalajara 38 times weekly from its hub in Houston.

On March 30, Mexican low-cost airline Volaris will launch daily service between Guadalajara and Las Vegas. Volaris’ schedule on the route calls for its flight to depart Guadalajara’s Don Miguel Hidalgo and Costilla International Airport (GDL) at 1 p.m. and to land at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS) at 2:20 p.m. local time. The return flight will depart LAS at 3:50 p.m. and arrive at GDL at 9 p.m. local time. Volaris already offers services from Guadalajara, Tijuana and Toluca, Mexico, to Oakland, Los Angeles and San Jose, Calif., as well as Chicago. In addition, Volaris extends its reach with its code share partner, Southwest Airlines.

Lower Fees Mean Lower Costs
The San Francisco Examiner reports that the San Francisco Airport Commission approved a measure to cut operating fees for carriers flying back and forth among the U.S. and Canada and Mexico. With cheaper operating fees, the airport commission hopes to attract more competition by offering cheaper operating fees, thus lowering airline fees for passengers traveling to cities in Mexico and Canada.

The Return of Mexicana
Back in August, Nuevo Grupo Aeronautico, S.A. de C.V. (Grupo Mexicana) filed for bankruptcy, forcing its three airlines, Mexicana Airlines, MexicanaClick and MexicanaLink to suspend operation until further notice. It appears that Mexicana Airlines is prepared to fly once again. In a report from International Living, Mexicana hopes to gradually ramp up service, with a goal of sending 28 planes skyward by April. Mexicana will start by flying six planes that will cover eight routes: Cancun, Chicago, Guadalajara, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Antonio, Texas.

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