Good news, bad timing. Remember a while back when Southwest announced it would pursue a codeshare partnership with Mexican low-cost carrier Volaris, essentially making it possible to book travel to Mexico through Southwest? Well, this week, it took the initial steps toward that end.
Southwest has posted a link on its website to Volaris' booking portal, and has an extensive Q&A as well. The current plan is to announce codeshare flight schedules by early 2010, and SWA sees the website link as a first step in the relationship. To kick things off, Southwest is even advertising introductory fares to Toluca from Oakland and Los Angeles, and Guadalajara from Oakland, with one-way fares starting at $160 from Los Angeles and $210 from Oakland.
But talk about less-than-ideal timing: Southwest announces easier booking to Mexico at the same time the U.S. government puts out a travel warning against non-essential travel to Mexico until the swine flu outbreak is under control. Obviously Southwest is focused on the bigger picture, establishing the relationship that will broaden its network to what has always been a very popular destination for American travelers. But, at least for the moment, health worries are casting a very long shadow on this good news.