Travel Weekly's Mexico E-letter: March 10, 2004

CONTINENTAL will expand its service to Mexico City May 2, pending government approval, the airline said Tuesday. It will use its Continental Express regional carrier, flying 50-passenger ERJ-145 aircraft, to launch twice-daily service from San Antonio and daily from McAllen, Texas. Continental already provides service to Mexico City from both its Houston and its Newark hubs, and its code-share agreement with Aeromexico is scheduled for implementation later this month, also pending government approval. Continental will use the code sharing for service beyond Mexico City. Continental and Continental Express provide more than 340 flights a week to 23 Mexican destinations, and they are adding four more between April and June: Monclova, Puebla, Oaxaca and Toluca.

MEXICANA AND HOTELS.COM hooked up in a new alliance. Under the deal, the airline's Web site [www.mexicana.com] enables consumers to book discounted inventory from Hotels.com when passengers book Mexicana tickets. The Hotels.com offering takes in 10,000 properties in 55 destinations that the airline serves, the companies said.

ALASKA AIRLINES VACATIONS made taking a Mexico vacation cheaper with 10% off Mexico packages booked on Alaskaair.com. Customers can choose from packages to Cancun, Ixtapa, Los Cabos, Manzanillo, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. To qualify for the discount, bookings must be made by March 31. In addition, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members will receive 1,500 bonus miles for online purchases. The 10% discount is valid for travel through June 30.

RESPONDING TO DEMAND, Apple Vacations added a second flight from St. Louis to Cancun on Wednesdays and Saturdays, effective May 1 to Aug. 18. Three-, four- and seven-night packages are available. Apple's nonstop flights are aboard Allegiant Air using MD83 aircraft with 162 seats and meal service. Both flights will depart St. Louis at 11 a.m. and arrive in Cancun at 2:10 p.m. The return flight will depart Cancun at 3:10 p.m. and arrive in St. Louis at 6:15 p.m. For more information, contact Apple Vacations at (800) 365-2775 or visit www.applevacations.com.

WORRY-FREE VACATIONS AND NORTHWEST AIRLINES WORLDVACATIONS are offering a number of incentives for travel agents and their customers. The promotions are for packages to Cancun, the Riviera Maya and Puerto Vallarta. One promotion is a booking bonus with Palace Resorts, which has six properties in Cancun and the Riviera Maya. Through the end of the year, the first 10 rooms booked will earn the agent a total of $750. Meanwhile, the operators launched airport transfers by private car in all three destinations, starting March 15. Meanwhile, in Puerto Vallarta, the operators are offering discounted golf fees and pre-arranged tee-times up to 90 days in advance. For information and bookings, visit www.worldagentdirect.com.

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