What Aeromexico 787-8 Premier Class was like in 2016 (TIJ-MEX)

What Aeromexico 787-8 Premier Class was like in 2016 (TIJ-MEX)

Note: this is a vintage airline review! do be sure to check out my latest Aeromexico 787-8 business class review to get a better sense of what the service is like today.

Finally! After all these years, I finally got the chance to fly AeroMexico. This is one of those airlines that I see everywhere here in the US, and back in my aviation photography days it got to the point where nabbing pics of an AeroMexico (AM) aircraft was about as exciting as getting pics of a boring ‘ol Southwest Airlines 737-700.

Yeah, this airline has pretty good coverage here in the US so I’m kind of surprised that it has taken this long for me to give them a try. And is there a better way to get acquainted with them other than experiencing their Premier Class business class cabin on the 787 Dreamliner? I think not.

Tijuana, Mexico (TIJ) – Mexico City, Mexico (MEX)
Saturday, March 12, 2016
Aircraft: 787-8
Seat: 3A (Premier Class / business class)

AeroMexico 787-8 (N967AM) side view illustration
AeroMexico 787-8 (N967AM) side view illustration by Norebbo.com.
TIJ-MEX air route
Our route from TIJ to MEX today
missed approach mexico city airport
It wasn’t an entirely straight shot though – there was some drama at the end of the flight that led to this gnarly approach!
AeroMexico boarding pass
My boarding pass for the flight

I found myself in the heart of the main terminal at the Tijuana airport (TIJ) immediately after crossing the US/Mexico border via the Cross Border Xpress bridge (CBX), and right away I was impressed with the airport. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but here in the interior it’s a world class facility with all the shops and nice cafe’s and restaurants you’d find in any other major airport anywhere in the world.

It was really crowded though, and there was some construction going on so it did take a bit of effort to find the line leading to the security checkpoint that would take me to the gate area.

main terminal tijuana airport
Inside the main terminal at TIJ, just before going through security
tijuana airport departures
A quick check of the board revealed my flight to Mexico City is right on time. Perfect!
AeroMexico check in desk tijuana airport
AeroMexico check in desk

Once inside, I wasted no time in exploring the layout and trying to find places to take some pics. It turns out that there are two levels to the terminal, and the bottom level is the place to go if you are looking for peace and quiet. I spent about an hour down there just relaxing and taking pics while waiting for my flight to MEX to start boarding.

inside tijuana airport
Inside the terminal at TIJ walking to the gate
tijuana airport terminal
There are two levels once you reach the gates. My flight to MEX would be leaving from an upstairs gate (A5).
tijuana airport lower level gates
This is the downstairs section, which was much more quiet and relaxing!
tijuana airport west ramp
Overview of the west ramp at TIJ

While downstairs, I was able to watch the 787 arrive, and it surprised me to learn that it came from MEX. I was convinced that the morning 787 flight came from NRT, but apparently that isn’t the case.

aeromexico 787 n967AM
N967AM just moments after arrival from MEX, waiting for the gate to open up.
aeromexico 787 tijuana airport
Once it docked though I was able to get some pretty good close up pics

I went upstairs to the gate a bit early (or so I thought) only to see that the flight had already started boarding. This was approximately 15 minutes early according to what it said on my boarding pass, but no worries – I was anxious and ready to get on that airplane!

TIJ airport terminal interior
Back upstairs and walking down to the gate
aeromexico 787 at the gate tijuana
Just one last pic of this beautiful airplane before I step onboard…
tijuana airport gate A5
Here we go – boarding from gate A5.
tijuana airport jet bridge
Walking down the jet bridge

Boarding was through door 1L this morning, which meant that all passengers got the chance to walk through the business class cabin on their way back to economy class. And right away, I was impressed with the layout. The seats were identical to the ones I experienced in Air China 777-300 business class from PEK to LAX two years ago, and that was good to see considering how comfortable that particular flight was. This trip down to MEX was only scheduled for three and a half hours, but being comfortable is still quite important, right?

aeromexico 787 business class seats
AeroMexico 787-8 Premier Class (business class) cabin
aeromexico 787 premier class
View of the Premier Class cabin from the rear
aeromexico 787 business class seat
My seat (3A) for today’s flight down to MEX
aeromexico premier class seats
Here’s a slightly wider angle view showing more of the surrounding space.
seat 3A aeromexico business class seat
Seat 3A – roomy and spacious, though the magazine pocket is a bit annoying on these seats.
aeromexico 787 premier class foot room
Leg room wasn’t a problem for me (I’m 5′-10″) but taller passengers might have an issue with the narrow footwell.
premier class footwell
Closer view of the footwell showing how tight it really is.
business class video screens
Large personal video screens were nice
entertainment system remote
The remote control for the entertainment system was located at hip level in the side of the seat.
business class lie flat seat controls
Seat controls in the center console. The food crumbs were a nice touch!
usb power ports in seat
USB and other power ports were located just behind the headrest and a bit hard to reach. Not a big deal though – this ended up being a very convenient cubby / storage space.
premier class lie flat seat
Another angle of the seat one row ahead (2A)
premier class cabin layout
First impressions of the Premier Class cabin on this 787-8 were good. The purple and white color scheme was very nice!
aeromexico business class cabin privacy
This is a very private layout, which I thought felt quite good.

The business class cabin looked to be about half full as far as I could tell, though there was someone seated next to me in 3B. This wasn’t a big deal at all considering how spacious this cabin is, but I got really lucky when one of the flight attendants approached him and asked to see his boarding pass. Apparently he was sitting in the wrong seat – he should have been forward one row in 2B, so he apologized, gathered his belongings and moved. Props to the FA for giving me a full row (well just another seat) to myself!

The cabin crew seemed somewhat attentive during the boarding process – they were there and available to assist passengers in getting situated, and they did come through the cabin once with a tray of pre-filled glasses with orange juice or water.

I kept myself pretty busy during pushback / taxi / takeoff by filming the entire process, and I managed to get some decent footage despite shooting into the sun nearly the entire time. I certainly won’t win any cinematic awards for this video, but it’s a pretty good representation of what it’s like to depart from Tijuana airport on a Boeing 787:

For those of you who prefer pics instead, here’s the departure sequence:

pushing back from the gate
Starting the pushback from the gate
Tijuana airport traffic
As you can see, Tijuana airport (TIJ) is very small – but it is heavily served by the big Mexican 3: AeroMexico, Volaris, and Interjet.
TIJ airport construction
Lots of construction going on around the airport.
taxiing at tijuana airport
Rolling up to the threshold of runway 27.
tijuana airport departure
And we’re off!
tijuana from above
I’ve never seen Tijuana from the air like this before so I was surprised that it didn’t look much different than the suburbia of southern California.
aeromexico 787 climbing through the clouds
Breaking through the clouds. This was my first window-seat flight on a 787, and it was at this point that I started to become discouraged with the tint of the windows. The colors look off, don’t they?
tijuana airport departure
Once we got away from the coast, it was interesting to see the terrain change from mountains to…
northern mexico desert
…desert. Looks hot down there!
aeromexico in flight entertainment
While I was waiting for the cabin service to begin, I played around a bit with the entertainment system. This is the main screen.
aeromexico in flight map
Of course I’m a big fan of the moving map myself. Yes, it’s like watching paint dry, but this is what I watch on most of my flights.
aeromexico entertainment remote
The remote featured a nice touch screen that mirrored the main display.
aeromexico movie menu
Plenty of movies to choose from.
entertainment remote map
But of course I always revert back to the map!
gulf of california from the air
Just starting to cross over the Gulf of California

Lunch service began shortly after we reached cruising altitude, and it didn’t even occur to me that they didn’t even serve beverages and a quick snack beforehand until they presented me with the meal. I wasn’t expecting a 10-course meal or anything, but I would have expected a quick snack before the meal service. Oh well – lunch looked pretty good anyway.

premier class lunch service
Premier Class lunch service consisting of a turkey and cheese croissant, fresh salad, and pudding for dessert.

The lights were dimmed shortly after the meal service, and the widows darkened completely. I’m a big fan of the 787 in general, but the fact that the cabin crew has control of every single window shade with the touch of a button is something that doesn’t sit right with me. I wouldn’t be happy if the light was really good outside and they darkened the windows while I was trying to take pics – but at least today conditions weren’t great out there (sun was too high) so I didn’t mind all that much.

aeromexico blue mood lighting 787
This picture doesn’t show it very well, but they activated the blue mood lighting right after lunch.
relaxing in aeromexico business class 787
That’s me, SANspotter, just chillin’ after the meal service.
dark 787 cabin aeromexico
Not long after that the cabin lights were dimmed completely.
boeing 787 dark tinted windows
Electronically controlled tinted windows are a cool tech feature, but terrible for photography!

I did make one trip to the lavatory during the flight, and during my trek to find one that was available I found all the flight attendants just sitting in the galley laughing and talking and not doing much of anything in general. While it did seem odd that they seemed to be goofing off instead of working, I can’t complain about the service on this flight overall.

It was good – not stellar, but good. The cabin crew was certainly scarce for most of the flight though, which was a far cry from what I recently experienced on Sun Country Airlines from SAN to MSP last December.

aeromexico 787 business class lavatory
Premier Class lavatory at the front of the airplane.

The descent into MEX caught me off guard a bit even though I had been watching the moving map on the personal video screen for the entire flight. It turned out that the estimated flight time remaining was off by about 15 to 20 minutes or so – which is something I’ve never experienced on any other flight. Maybe these kinds of time warps are a feature of the 787? That’s innovation, I tell ya! Yes, I’m being sarcastic…

aeromexico moving map
An “early” descent meant that the moving map display wasn’t all that accurate during the flight.

The descent into MEX was twisty, bumpy, and scenic. I knew Mexico City was dense, but wow! It’s a sprawling urban jungle jammed in between beautiful mountain ranges, and I tried to get as many pics as I could despite the really bad angle of the sun (and the odd window tint).

descending into mexico city
Starting to get my first glimpse of the area surrounding Mexico City.
mexico city from above
Overflying central Mexico City on the approach into MEX.

I also shot some video of the approach and landing, and I got totally lucky (if you consider it luck) that we had an aborted landing and had to go around and line up again. That’s only happened to me two other times in 617 flights in my life so far, so the fact that I got this one on camera was kind of cool:

The pilot said that a go-around was necessary due to wind conditions, but we were probably less than 10 feet off the ground and flairing smoothly when they applied max power and took off again. It didn’t feel like we were getting tossed around by the wind so I’m not really sure what happened.

flying over mexico city
Climbing again as we make the big turn back to the airport after the missed approach. Terrible pic, I know, but check out those mountains in the background…
787 over mexico city
Making our way back into the pattern as we overfly the city.
overflying mexico city
To be honest, this is pretty much what I envisioned Mexico City to look like.
mexico city stadiums
Classic Mexico – a bullfighting ring next to a large stadium.
landing in mexico city
The city skyline in the distance as we line up again for another approach.

Once on the ground, it was a long 15 minute taxi to the terminal, and I began thinking how convenient it was to fly out of TIJ instead of SAN for this trip to Mexico City. Especially for the chance to experience the 787 in Premier Class like this.

taxiing at MEX
On the ground at MEX and taxiing over to terminal 2.
arrival at mexico city airport
I saw so many interesting airlines during the taxi in – this is an awesome plane spotting airport!
jet bridge at mexico city airport
Thanks for a great flight AeroMexico! I’m looking forward to my next flight with you the day after tomorrow…

Overall, it was a really great flight – the hard product was really good, the soft product so-so, but overall the convenience of flying out of TIJ made this a really great way to start another SANspotter adventure.

Comments (7)

  1. FreddyNonStop

    March 22, 2016
    • SANspotter

      March 23, 2016
  2. Victor

    March 24, 2016
    • SANspotter

      March 25, 2016
  3. jaretosr

    April 26, 2016
    • SANspotter

      April 27, 2016
  4. J

    January 3, 2017

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