Continental Airlines Evacuating Stranded Tourists From Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula

Continental Is the Only U.S. Carrier Operating Out of the Yucatan

HOUSTON, Oct. 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Continental Airlines, Inc. (NYSE:CAL) is providing extra capacity at Merida, Mexico, to assist in evacuating tourists from the Yucatan Peninsula in the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma. Continental is currently the only U.S. carrier operating out of the Yucatan.

The Cancun and Cozumel airports are currently closed. Many evacuees are traveling by land from Cancun and Cozumel to Merida to seek flights. The U.S. State Department has arranged ground transportation to help some evacuees reach Merida.

Flight Schedule

During this time of year, Continental normally operates an average of five daily departures from Cancun and one daily flight from Cozumel. Continental normally operates three flights per week from Merida to Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Continental operated four evacuation flights from Merida on Monday and will operate three extra flights today to help evacuate as many travelers as possible.

Most evacuees are traveling on Continental Boeing 737 aircraft which have a capacity of 154 seats. The last flight today will be operated with a larger, 183-seat Boeing 757. Three of the flights that left Merida on Monday were full, while the fourth flight left one-third full.

The infrastructure at both the Cancun and Cozumel airports was severely damaged by Hurricane Wilma.

Continental is currently assessing if or when it will be able to operate evacuation flights at Cancun and Cozumel. Continental places the safety of its passengers and crews foremost and will not operate a trip unless it can be assured that the destination airport is completely safe for operations.

Passenger Ticketing in Mexico

Continental is giving priority to passengers who already have tickets on Continental. In addition, Continental is waiving advance purchase requirements and has reduced the price of a one-way ticket by up to 50 percent for travel from the Yucatan on tickets purchased directly from the airline. These tickets are being sold based on availability. Continental is also accepting tickets on other airlines with which Continental has interline agreements.

For the other travelers, Continental is providing the option to reschedule or reroute travel once without penalty if the passenger is ticketed to, from or through the Yucatan Peninsula or any other city affected by Hurricane Wilma. If the passenger’s flight has been cancelled, a refund to the original form of payment may be requested. Travel that was scheduled from Oct. 18 to Oct. 27 must be rescheduled or re-issued by Saturday, Nov. 12. For more information call Continental Airlines reservations at 1-800-525-0280 or log on to for updated travel advisories.

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