United Airlines has become the latest airline to announce service to Tulum’s new airport, following similar announcements from Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, and Spirit Airlines. United is really making a splash here, as the airline will offer up to five daily flights in the market.
In this post:
United will fly from four cities to Tulum
As of March 31, 2024, United will be launching daily, year-round, nonstop flights from three airports to Tulum (TQO). This will include once daily flights from Chicago (ORD) and Newark (EWR), plus twice daily flights from Houston (IAH). On top of that, as of May 23, 2024, United will add a daily, seasonal service to Tulum from Los Angeles (LAX). In total, United will offer up to five daily flights to Tulum.
These flights are now on sale, meaning that the schedules have also been published, and I wanted to go over all those details.
The once daily Chicago to Tulum flight will operate with the following schedule using a Boeing 737-900 (this is a 1,503-mile flight, and is blocked at roughly four hours in each direction):
UA1950 Chicago to Tulum departing 9:13AM arriving 1:00PM
UA1951 Tulum to Chicago departing 2:10PM arriving 6:05PM
The twice daily Houston to Tulum flight will operate with the following schedule using a Boeing 737-900 (this is an 829-mile flight, and is blocked at roughly 2.5 hours in each direction):
UA365 Houston to Tulum departing 9:35AM arriving 11:55AM
UA366 Tulum to Houston departing 1:05PM arriving 3:31PM
UA1600 Houston to Tulum departing 12:07PM arriving 2:25PM
UA1601 Tulum to Houston departing 3:35PM arriving 6:00PM
The once daily Newark to Tulum flight will operate with the following schedule using a Boeing 737-900 (this is a 1,623-mile flight, and is blocked at roughly four hours in each direction):
UA2031 Newark to Tulum departing 10:07AM arriving 1:15PM
UA1601 Tulum to Newark departing 2:25PM arriving 7:23PM
The once daily Los Angeles to Tulum (seasonal) flight will operate with the following schedule using a Boeing 737-900 (this is a 2,107-mile flight, and is blocked at roughly five hours in each direction):
UA1752 Los Angeles to Tulum departing 10:10AM arriving 4:54PM
UA1753 Tulum to Los Angeles departing 6:00PM arriving 9:05PM
United has committed to offering among the most service to Tulum, as Delta will offer one daily flight from one city, Spirit will offer two daily flights from two cities, American will offer four daily flights from three cities, and United will offer four to five daily flights from three to four cities.
United’s expansion to Tulum complements the carrier’s other Riviera Maya service. This upcoming winter, United plans to offer more than 200 weekly flights to Cancun from eight cities in the United States, including flying Boeing 777s from Chicago, Denver, and Houston. United also plans to operate up to 11 weekly flights to Cozumel.
Details of Tulum’s new international airport
The new Felipe Carrillo Puerto International Airport in Tulum has been a long time coming. Bidding for construction of the airport started well over a decade ago, in 2011. However, nothing happened for many years, and when Andrés Manuel López Obrador became president of Mexico in 2018, the project wasn’t a priority.
However, with Tulum’s increasing popularity (especially since the start of the pandemic) and capacity limitations at Cancun Airport, the project has once again been emphasized. Construction started in 2022, and is expected to be completed in late 2023. That’s a mighty fast airport construction project!
As it currently stands, domestic operations at the airport should start in December 2023, with Aeromexico and Viva Aerobus being the two first airlines to serve the airport. I can’t help but wonder if that timeline might still be a bit optimistic, given the short construction timeline. Regardless, it sounds like things should be up and running by early next year.
Tulum’s Felipe Carrillo Puerto International Airport will soon commence operations. United Airlines has announced plans to launch year-round flights from Chicago, Houston, and Newark, and seasonal flights from Los Angeles.
It’s not surprising to see the amount of interest in Tulum service, though I’m curious to see how this evolves over time, especially in the off season. Are airlines being overly optimistic with their scheduling? One thing is for sure — Tulum is about to get even more mainstream, if that’s possible.
I hope the airport has sufficient immigration officers on hand, or else arrivals here could be a nightmare during peak periods.
What do you make of United’s plans to fly to Tulum?