Ramping up its Caribbean fleet, American Airlines has recently announced new nonstop flights from the international hub of Austin to Cozumel, Mexico, and Montego Bay, Jamaica, two hugely popular sunny escapes for Americans.
Already one of the busiest airports in Texas, Austin-Bergstrom looks set to experience an influx of Caribbean-bound travelers, with Mexico and Jamaica both listed as particularly welcoming destinations for foreign visitors in the Covid era.
How Many Flights Per Week Are Expected?
Cozumel and Montego Bay are among some of the top vacation hotspots for U.S. citizens going abroad, with the resort culture of the Mexican Caribbean and the relaxed atmosphere of Jamaica currently being favored over an increasingly restrictive Europe.
As a matter of fact, Mexico is now one of the most visited nations in the world, attracting millions of visitors monthly as a result of a more liberal approach to the pandemic, as well as its recent scrapping of all Covid entry protocols.
Hoping to further increase its competitivity in this ever-growing market, American Airlines has been quick to launch new year-round direct routes to both Cozumel International Airport (CZM) and Sangster International Airport (MBJ) from Austin-Bergstrom, starting June 11th.
Now, Austin-based travelers will have weekly flights available to two of the Caribbean’s top beach getaways. Previously, in order to reach Cozumel, Americans flying from Austin faced layovers in other domestic airports, or required transfers upon landing in Cancun.
The services to both Cozumel and Montego Bay have been scheduled for Saturdays in the following local times:
- The outbound service to Cozumel departs from Austin at 9:20 am, arriving to its destination at 11:50 am, while the inbound flight is expected to leave Cozumel at 12:30 pm, landing in Austin at 3:20 pm;
- The outbound flight to Jamaica leaves from Austin at 8 am, arriving in Montego Bay at 11:23 am; the inbound departs from Montego Bay at 12:03 on the same day and arrives back in Austin at 3:53 pm.
The 76-seat Embraer E175 aircrafts will also carry the American Eagle banner, American Airlines’ brand name for short and medium-haul flights. Additionally, tickets are already available for purchasing in advance, even though June 11th has been marked as the launch date.
Austin Travelers To Benefit Directly From Better Connectivity To The Caribbean
With Cancun Airport struggling with high demand recently, the news has certainly been welcomed by those wishing to avoid excessively long, stress-inducing security line ups. Although still considerably busy, Cozumel Airport is comparatively quieter.
Meanwhile, those dreaming of experiencing the world-famous carnival in Jamaica and stroll its white sand beaches will also benefit from shorter-distance flights to Montego Bay. Previously, Austin travelers were expected to transfer in other domestic airports before reaching their destination.
With the announcement, American Airlines might be going toe to toe with Southwest Airlines, another low-cost carrier offering nonstop services between Austin and Cozumel, also starting June 11. One thing is certain: competitivity will inevitably benefit vacationers looking for cheap flights from Austin.
According to Brian Znotins, American Airlines’ Vice President of Network Planning, they are “proud” to strengthen their commitment to Austin by “providing local customers more options to fly nonstop to popular destinations“. They are now, indeed, the first airline to connect Central Texas and Jamaica.
As for ticket fares, they start U$191 one way for Cozumel and U$208 on Montego Bay routes. Austinites can still fly to both destinations on weekdays, though that would entail a layover in either Miami International or Dallas-Fort Worth.
What Are The Covid Entry Rules For Mexico And Jamaica?
Unlike most countries in North America, Mexico is yet to enact a single Covid related restriction, welcoming both the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike, albeit with varying restrictions across individual states. In spite of Mexico’s open border policy, travelers should note that in recent days certain Mexican destinations have imposed new restrictions.
On the other hand, Jamaica has somewhat stricter entry protocols. All those traveling to the island must get authorization to enter from the Visit Jamaica website. Arrivals are also required to present a negative Covid test result, issued within 72 hours prior to traveling.
When vaccinated and in possession of a negative test, passengers are exempt from self-isolation and further testing on arrival, though they may still be screened for Covid symptoms at the airport.
Unvaccinated travelers, on the other hand, are required to self-quarantine for two weeks when staying outside the so-called “tourism corridor“. Those staying within such corridor will not have to quarantine, although carrying a vaccination card is advised in order to have an optimal experience vacationing in Jamaica.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com