Tulum has long been a popular vacation destination for many Americans, but getting there hasn't necessarily been part of the fun.
That'll change next year, however, when Delta Air Lines inaugurates a brand-new route to Tulum International Airport (TQO) on March 28, 2024. Delta will offer daily, year-round flights from its mega-hub in Atlanta to Tulum, the airline announced on Friday.
The new service will be operated by a Boeing 737-800, which features 16 first-class recliners, 36 extra-legroom Comfort+ seats and 108 standard economy seats.
Tulum represents a new pin on Delta's global route map, and it's one that many Tulum-bound travelers will be excited about.
Historically, one of the most common ways to get to Tulum has been to fly to Cancun and then drive to reach your hotel or vacation rental. Cancun is incredibly well served from many major U.S. cities — there are currently 34 U.S. gateways, according to Cirium schedules — but the drive within Mexico hasn't necessarily been too appealing. Private transfers cost around $100, and they add about 90 minutes or more to the overall travel journey.
All of this hassle will be eliminated when Delta starts flying to Tulum next year. This will be especially convenient for those based in Atlanta, but some travelers may even prefer to fly a one-stop connecting itinerary within the U.S. and land in Tulum as opposed to flying nonstop to Cancun and then dealing with the drive.
While it's possible that Delta (and its competitors) have wanted to fly to Tulum in the past, they physically couldn't — there was no airport there.
But, the brand-new Tulum International Airport, known as the Felipe Carrillo Puerto International Airport, is slated to open in December 2023, which will be a game-changer for travel to the region.
Aeromexico and Viva Aerobus, two of Mexico's largest carriers, have already announced their initial launch plans for serving Tulum. In December, they'll start flying a slew of domestic routes to cities such as Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey.
Meanwhile, Delta now becomes the first U.S. carrier to announce flights to Tulum, but it almost definitely won't be the last.
It'll be interesting to see which airline comes next, but I wouldn't be surprised to see American and United launch service there. It's also possible that some of the big ultra-low-cost carriers, such as Frontier and Spirit, will start serving Tulum, but only time will tell when that'll happen.
Hopefully, it won't be too long, because the budget carriers are great at keeping fares low in the market. Until then, Delta will enjoy a monopoly on the Atlanta to Tulum route, and I wouldn't be surprised if the intro fares reflected this reality.
We'll see soon enough, because the new flight should be bookable by no later than Monday, Oct. 16.
"Delta is uniquely positioned to give customers convenient and direct access from the U.S. to Tulum, a premium leisure destination known for its boutique hotels, Mayan ruins and eco-friendly spirit. We know Tulum-bound customers will enjoy the elevated experience Delta consistently offers – and now without a two-hour drive from Cancun – as we grow our footprint in Mexico and throughout the Yucatan region," Joe Esposito, senior vice president of network planning, said in a statement.
This article originally appeared on The Points Guy