United Airlines adds 4 routes to Tulum, joins rush to new Riviera Maya airport

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It’s official: Tulum — and now its new airport — have been discovered.

United Airlines has become the fourth U.S. carrier to announce service to the new Tulum International Airport (TQO), which is set to welcome its first flights next month.

United will fly to the Mexican beach resort from four of its hubs, offering year-round service from three and seasonal flights from the other.

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  • O’Hare International Airport (ORD): Year-round service begins March 31, 2024. One flight per week, increasing to daily service May 23 for the summer schedule.
  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH): Year-round service begins March 31, 2024. Two daily flights.
  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR): Year-round service begins March 31, 2024. One daily flight.
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX): Seasonal service begins May 23, 2024. One daily flight for the summer schedule.

Tickets will go on sale Saturday.

“Tulum is at the top of a lot of travel lists – great beaches and restaurants, and a region featuring a rich history and spectacular natural beauty,” Patrick Quayle, United’s senior vice president of network planning and alliances, said in a statement announcing the new service.

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The new airport in Tulum was built to accommodate soaring demand to what was once an under-the-radar backpacker-friendly beach destination that has now exploded in popularity along Mexico’s already-busy Riviera Maya.

Currently, most visitors to Tulum fly to Cancun International Airport (CUN) and then make a roughly two-hour drive via car or bus. The new Tulum airport promises to make the journey easier.

The first flights there will begin Dec. 1, when Aeromexico and other domestic carriers begin the first of several domestic routes to TQO.

U.S. carriers have since joined the rush to Tulum, betting that the seemingly endless demand for flights to Cancun can be replicated at TQO.

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Delta Air Lines was first, announcing flights from Atlanta beginning March 28, 2024. Spirit Airlines came next with flights from Fort Lauderdale and Orlando – also beginning March 28. American Airlines was third in line, with its service also set to begin March 28 from Charlotte, Dallas-Fort Worth and Miami.

In announcing its new TQO flights, United took the opportunity to tout its broader service along Mexico’s Caribbean coast, saying it would “be the largest airline between the U.S. and Riviera Maya region and will have the most flying to Cancun in its history.”

“United will offer more than 200 weekly flights from eight U.S. cities to Cancun during the winter peak, including flights on the airline’s Boeing 777 widebody aircraft from Chicago, Denver and Houston. United will also continue to fly between Cozumel and Chicago, Denver and Houston, operating up to 11 weekly flights this winter,” the carrier added.

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