The much anticipated Southwest-Volaris partnership has launched linking 20 Southwest cities to five points in Mexico now served by Volaris, the country’s second largest carrier.
Starting 12-Nov-2010, passengers will be able to book connections via California’s Los Angeles, San Jose and Oakland hubs along with Sacramento for travel from 1-Dec-2010. Being added are also connections from Spokane, Tucson and El Paso. The five Mexican cities include Cancun, Guadalajara, Morelia, Mexico City/Toluca and Zacatecas. The move creates 85 different flight itineraries.
The move comes as Southwest is struggling to replace its reservations system that can accommodate international and codesharing services. In the meantime, according to its Nuts About Southwest blog, it has jury-rigged a solution, saying booking Volaris will “look and feel” like any other booking on its site. “But, behind the scene, the International Connect portal is conducting two separate transactions,” it said. “One with Southwest reservations system and one with Volaris’. It will tie the two reservations together with messages that enable through checking of luggage and ensure the schedules remain in sync.”
Phase two will see several new cities north of the border added including Las Vegas, Seattle/Tacoma, Portland, Salt Lake City, Reno/Tahoe and Albuquerque. Phase three will bring on Phoenix, Denver, Ontario, San Francisco, Orange County, Burbank and Boise. However, dates for Phase two and three have yet to be announced.
Southwest has also created an international desk, staffed with bi-lingual specialists as part of its first international thrust.
Southwest and Volaris International Connect Markets