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Southwest International Connect

Effective November 12, 2010, you’ll be able to buy tickets to, from, and within Mexico at southwest.com! Southwest will be partnering with Volaris, Mexico’s second-largest airline, in order to offer their Customers connections between cities in the Western part of their network and five of Volaris’ Mexican destinations—Cancun, Guadalajara, Morelia, Toluca/Mexico City, and Zacatecas—connecting via Los Angeles, Oakland, and San Jose. This will bring up to 85 new roundtrip markets onto the Southwest grid, which will be phased in through November and December! And if your travels take you between cities inside Los Estados Unidos de Mexico, Volaris can take you between 23 Mexican airports, from Tijuana and La Paz in the West to Cancun in the East and Oaxaca in the South.

As interesting as the “what,” is the “how.” You guys may remember a couple of years back when Southwest announced plans to enter into codeshare agreements, including Volaris. However, as Southwest started building the list of requirements and changes we’d need in order to handle international operations—either codeshare or even online with our own aircraft—they realized they just don’t have the technology in their current reservations system to make international travel possible. So Southwest is now busily working to replace their reservations system, which will take at least a couple of years. But because Southwest is so eager to tap the Mexican market, they partnered with Volaris to develop International Connect, an “under-the-hood” process that stitches our two networks together now! Booking international reservations will look and feel almost exactly like any other booking on southwest.com, but behind the scenes, the International Connect portal is conducting two separate transactions—one with Southwest’s reservations system and one with Volaris’—and tying the two reservations together with messages that enable through-checking of luggage and ensuring that our schedules remain in sync.

International Connect is an awesome interim step—true Southwest innovation at its best. It’s a convenient, easy way to give our Customers access to, from, and within Mexico. So plan a trip “south of the border, down Mexico way” with Southwest and our new partner, Volaris beginning November 12, via southwest.com. Vamonos, y’all!

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