This is the last of 4 posts summarizing a short trip to Mexico City in December 2017. You can read about the genesis of the trip and my flight down here, my hotel stays here, and what I did in Mexico City here.
As a frequent traveler, I know delays happen, and no airline is immune. But any airline can communicate well. And Aeromexico completely failed on this, which made my departure experience at MEX very difficult and stressful.
My flight was scheduled to depart at 6:20pm, so I left the Sheraton at around 3:35. It took me awhile to get an Uber, and there was a decent amount of traffic, but I still made it to the airport by about 4:20. Terminal 2 check-in is bright and fairly easy to navigate. I headed to the Skypriority check-in area for Aeromexico to get put on the upgrade list for business class. (As a Delta Gold Medallion member, I had already gotten assigned to AM Plus- Aeromexico’s economy plus product, which is really just the first few rows of coach with extra legroom.) Two business seats were still showing as available, but I hadn’t received email offers to purchase an upgrade as I had on the outbound journey. Then it was through security fairly quickly. (There is no immigration, which is disorienting.)
Things started going south from there. I had access to a bunch of different lounges with Priority Pass, including two Aeromexico Salon Premier lounges and a contract lounge, but I wanted to try the newish American Express Centurion lounge. The signage was terrible though, and I spent about 10 minutes trying to find it. All the lounges are on a second floor above the concourse and the Amex lounge is actually up a second set of stairs, all the way on the right after you cross through security.
I finally found the lounge and checked in. Unlike the Centurion Lounges in the U.S., the Amex lounge at MEX does not have any sort of buffet. All the food is served off a menu — and is not free. As an Amex Platinum cardholder, I was given a voucher at check-in to give to a waiter, who presented me with a special menu of free items for Platinum cardholders. It was a three-course menu, with soup, followed by a choice of pizza, pasta, veggie baguette, or salad, and then ice cream. There was no drink menu so I had no idea what was/wasn’t included, and although I as given a menu as soon as I sat, it took a long time for someone to come to take my order—nearly 10 minutes— so I’d only be doing one course. While I waited, I couldn’t get the wi-fi to work, and didn’t really explore the small space much.
After I ordered, the pizza came relatively quickly- but it wasn’t very good, tasting bland and like a frozen crust. Disappointing given how good a food city Mexico City is! The breakfast menu for Platinums seemed good though, including French toast and eggs to order. My boarding pass had showed a boarding time of 5:20pm, so I asked for the “check” at around 5pm, so I’d have time to get food for the plane before boarding. Unfortunately, that took 10 minutes (for a check with a $0 bill).
But it was for naught, because when I got out of the lounge at 5:10, there was still no gate showing for my 5:20 boarding – even though all the flights before and after did. At 5:17, a gate was posted on the big board, but there was no one at that gate. So I was just confused. One of the most annoying parts is that no sign actually stays lit with departure and gate info, but rather scrolls through a number of ads, and then half the flights at a time, taking minutes to cycle- poor #paxex. I went to grab a sandwich at one of the few food places in the gate area, and they told me it would take 8 minutes. I said no and grabbed a sad salad instead since I didn’t know how much time I had. That was silly.
When the big screen rotated through again, I noticed my gate had changed about 10 minutes after scheduled boarding time — no announcement of course — so ran to the other end of the concourse. When I got there, it still showed a Delta flight to Los Angeles. There ended up not being an announcement at all about our flight until 5:40, 20 minutes after scheduled boarding time, with no mention of a delay at all. There were at least plenty of seats available with power, but it was a zoo and hard to hear anything. A screen showed an “Upgrade list” and a “Wait list,” and I appeared on the wait list – which I feared was a standby list and I somehow had gotten booted from my seat by asking for an upgrade. I asked and was told to ignore it and that there would be no upgrades. Okay.
We waited and waited as the terminal emptied out with all of the other flights in the same bank fully boarded. The scheduled departure time of 6:20 came and went, with no information, still showing “on time.” So this was already a full hour I could have been chilling in the lounge. Finally, at 6:29 boarding began- no apology or acknowledgment or anything. (Sky Priority didn’t show up on my boarding card, though it should have, so I was with Zone 2.)
The seats in AM Plus were fine, with decent legroom. The plane (737, as on the outbound) was a little beat-up, the finishes on the seats and the leather on the headrests were worn. On each seat was the same blanket and pillow as in business class. The coach cabin was only about 70% full. My row of three was filled, and although I would have loved to move to the completely empty row behind me, the FA upgraded two other people from economy (pretty young women), who thus got better seats than I did.
Once onboard, there will no apologies from anyone, and at 6:55pm, 35 minutes after scheduled departure, the door was closed. Twenty minutes later, we were wheels up. One thing I noted on the outbound trip that was enforced on the inbound is that passengers are not allowed to use headphones until the plane reaches cruising altitude, which I hadn’t seen before.
The movie “Wonder Woman” was playing on the overhead screens, which I don’t know why everyone thinks was so good. Thirty minutes into flight, there was a combo meal-drink service and oh lord was I glad I bought a salad. The sole food on this four-hour flight (and there was nothing more to buy) was this extraordinarily sad sandwich with one piece of cheese and one piece of turkey, a package of peanuts, and a vanilla pudding. At least Aeromexico serves alcohol in coach. I wasn’t feeling tequila, so went with a Corona.
20 minutes after meal service was a coffee service, and 20 minutes after that was another beverage service and clearing of the plates. That was it. Oddly, they didn’t even have a second movie or anything. So I just dozed off, waking as we were preparing for initial descent, landing only about 25 minutes late. Of course, 25 minutes at midnight sucks.
The only notable thing on arrival was that passengers refused to move away from the door of the “moon buggy” that transports international arriving passengers to immigration and customs, since they *needed* to be the first ones off. There was yelling and fun. Global Entry was easy and I was at the curb waiting for an Uber at 12:40. (There is no public transportation at that hour.) The ride was less than I’d feared – only $44 – and I was home by 1:20am, ready for work in the morning.
Based on this experience—both the service and the flight timing– I probably would connect on another carrier out of DCA rather than fly Aeromexico’s Dulles-Mexico service again, but who knows.
So that concludes my Mexico City trip. Coming up next: Colombia. I’ll try and do a preview post this week before I go.