AeroMexico 737-700 Premier Class (business class) Mexico City to Tijuana

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01: Introduction: Tijuana to Mexico City on AeroMexico
02: Cross Border Xpress bridge, Tijuana Airport
03: AeroMexico 787-8 Premier Class (business class) Tijuana to Mexico City
04: Presidente InterContinental Hotel, Mexico City
05: 3 things that surprised me about Mexico City
06: AeroMexico Salon Premier Club, Terminal 2 MEX
07: AeroMexico 737-700 Premier Class (business class) Mexico City to Tijuana

Voluntarily choosing to return to Tijuana on a 737-700 instead of the 787-8 was a difficult decision to make. There was space available on the Dreamliner, and the price wasn’t any more expensive than the 737 either, so I think I actually cringed a little bit when I clicked the “purchase” button on aeromexico.com which locked in my decision to fly the smaller and less-exotic bird. But there was simply no way I was going to drag myself to the airport in Mexico City to make a 7am flight (the time at which the 787 departed), so opting for a more leisurely 12:00pm 737-700 instead seemed like the more relaxed and practical option. Oh I yearn for the days when I was younger and carefree about this kind of stuff! 10-years-younger SANspotter would have taken that 7am 787 departure like a boss, grinning from ear to ear the entire way home.

Negativity aside, I secretly was looking forward to seeing how the 737-700 Premier Class cabin compared to the one in the 787-8. My expectations were pretty low as the driver weaved his way through traffic on the way to the airport, but nonetheless, I was looking forward to the flight.

I was dropped off just outside terminal 2 at Mexico City Benito Juárez International Airport airport with approximately three hours before the departure to TIJ, which I admit was a bit too early. I was actually expecting traffic to be worse on the way to the airport this morning, so I guess I got “lucky” arriving with so much time to spare. No matter though – I checked in and printed my boarding pass at one of the self-serve kiosks just outside the main doors and was standing in the security line within minutes anxiously looking forward to checking out this “new to me” airport.

Terminal 2 main entrance

Terminal 2 main entrance at MEX / MMMX

aeromexico kiosk mexico city airport

Printing my boarding pass from one of the many kiosks right outside the main entrance.

MEX terminal 2

MEX terminal 2 departures hall

mexico city airport interior

Looking a bit to the left – this is a very nice looking airport.

Unfortunately, once inside I quickly discovered two things: first, there are very few windows to the outside world so photography and general plane spotting was not going to be an option. I hate closed in airports like that! What is the purpose of not letting people see outside? I really don’t get it. Anyway, the second thing was the fact that the terminals were VERY crowded and there simply wasn’t anywhere quiet to sit. It was right then and there that I nearly kicked myself for being a doofus and arriving so early. Oh well. Long story short, I was able to kill some time in the AeroMexico Salon Premier Club lounge before heading back down to the main terminal to grab a quick salad for lunch.

AM176
Mexico City, Mexico (MEX) – Tijuana, Mexico (TIJ)
Monday, March 14, 2016
Aircraft: 737-700
Seat: 3F (Premier Class / business class)

aeromexico 737-700 side view drawing

AeroMexico 737-700 (XA-CYM) side view illustration by Norebbo.com

mex-tij route map

The route from MEX to TIJ today – pretty much a straight shot, and completely clear skies!

Walking to the gate

Walking to the gate

mexico city airport ceiling pattern

Unfortunately, there are very few windows to see out of, so all there is to do while waiting is to look at the cool ceiling pattern.

mexico city airport mobile charging stations

Thankfully there were many charging stations for mobile devices, so that’s one other thing to do while you wait to board.

mexico city departure board

The flight information board was showing an on-time departure to TIJ. On time is always how I like to see it!

gate 62 mexico city airport terminal 2

Waiting here at gate 62 for boarding to begin.

XA-CYM aeromexico 737-700

Thankfully our aircraft to TIJ (XA-CYM) was parked right next to one of the only windows in the place, so I managed to get a halfway decent pic of it just before boarding started.

Boarding began right on time, and right away I found the AeroMexico boarding process to be a bit stressful here at MEX. It’s organized, for sure, but they way they make everyone line up beforehand by zone number creates really long lines that require snaking through an already crowded airport terminal. Luckily I was one of the first in line for the SkyPriority lane, but the other lines did get a bit chaotic by the time boarding had begun.

aeromexico paper boarding pass

My boarding pass for this flight. I’m ready – let’s do this!

I kept telling myself not to expect too much for this flight as I walked down the jet bridge to board the plane. I was fully expecting a domestic US-style first class experience, and that’s pretty much what I found upon stepping onboard and getting my first look at the Premier Class cabin.

mexico city airport plane boarding

Starting the walk down to the jet bridge to board the plane.

boarding the plane mexico city airport

I do have to say that I really like open jet bridges. Wish they were all like this!

aeromexico 737-700 premier class

My first view of the Premier Class cabin on this 737-700. Yup – that looks like domestic US first class to me (not that I was expecting anything more).

aeromexico 737-700 premier class seats

Seats 3E and 3F. Mine was the window seat.

aeromexico 737-700 premier class cabin

Wide angle side view showing how much leg room there is up here in Premier Class on the 737-700.

aeromexico 737-700 business class seat pitch

Seat pitch was decent – it didn’t really feel all that tight.

aeromexico 737-700 premier class seat backs

No personal video screens to be found.

aeromexico 737-700 premier class messy cabin

But there was plenty of reading material available, stuffed very sloppily into the seat back pocket in front of me.

dirty premier class aeromexico 737

Speaking of messy – check out the condition of the center armrest. That’s borderline unacceptable in a premium cabin if you ask me.

AeroMexico 737-700 Premier Class cabin

AeroMexico 737-700 Premier Class cabin – view from the last (third) row.

I do have to say though that the seats were a bit more supportive and contoured compared to anything I’ve experienced in domestic US first class. These seats were certainly comfortable, but the default (upright) seat back angle was a bit too steep for me. These seats have a bit of natural recline to them that just didn’t feel right IMHO. “Gangsta Lean” is the best way I can describe it.

Just as on my TIJ-MEX segment two days earlier, pre departure drinks were offered as the rest of the economy class passengers came onboard. I declined once again, mostly because I was crammed into a window seat for this flight and I wasn’t planning on getting up to use the lavatory.

Pushback and taxi out to the departure runway were completely non-eventful, though there were so many other airplanes on the ground zipping every direction possible meant that we had to stop and wait a lot. Stop and go. Stop and go – just like being in car traffic on the freeway!

mexico city airport

Here we go! Pushing back from the gate.

taxiing at mexico city airport

It was a long and slow taxi out to the departure runway due to congestion all around the airport.

departing mexico city airport

And we’re off!

Departing Mexico City

Departing Mexico City

departing out of MEX

I was surprised that it didn’t seem so dense around the perimeter of the airport (at least on this side).

mexico city from the air

But there were still pockets of really densely populated sections.

aeromexico 737-700

Climbing to cruising altitude.

If you’re interested, I also shot a full video of the taxi and take off sequence:

Once airborne and at cruising altitude, a beverage and snack service was offered which actually caught me off guard a bit. I didn’t get a snack on the 787 two days earlier, so I thought that it wasn’t part of the AeroMexico Premier Class experience. Not that I’m complaining, but I found this inconsistency interesting. Maybe they try harder on the 737’s to make up for the inferior seat? Hey, you never know…

aeromexico in flight snack

AeroMexico Premier Class beverage and snack service.

I should note that language issues are not a problem for AeroMexico passengers who can’t speak Spanish. The flight attendant spoke to me in Spanish at first when it came time to serve lunch, but quickly switched to English once she saw that I was struggling to mentally translate everything she said. She didn’t have to do that (I really wanted to practice my Spanish!) but I appreciated the gesture.

Speaking of lunch, the same exact meal I was served two days ago made another appearance. It was ok, but I was hoping for something different this time around (and perhaps a bit Mexican).

AeroMexico Premier Class lunch

AeroMexico Premier Class lunch – exactly the same that I experienced on the 787 two days earlier.

The flight attendants did well to keep drinks glasses filled and passengers happy for the rest of the flight, and I actually found myself sleepy enough to doze off for a solid hour. It wasn’t comfortable sleep in these big recliners, but I guess this 737 couldn’t hold my interest enough to keep me awake as much as the 787 did!

AeroMexico 737-700 Premier Class cabin

AeroMexico 737-700 Premier Class cabin shortly after lunch.

Gulf of California

Cruising over the northern shores of the Gulf of California

TIJ approach

Descending into the clouds on approach to TIJ.

Short final for TIJ / Tijuana

Short final for TIJ / Tijuana

tijuana airport

Welcome to Tijuana!

tijuana airport TIJ

At the gate waiting to get off the airplane.

XA-CYM tijuana airport mexico

One last look at XA-CYM here at the gate at TIJ – thanks for a great flight AeroMexico!

tijuana airport terminal

Walking through the terminal at TIJ after the flight – on my way to the CBX (Cross Border Xpress).

The descent into TIJ was visually similar to the the approach into SAN (as expected), so that helped to make me feel like I was home even though I wasn’t even on US soil once we touched down. No matter though – crossing the Cross Border Xpress bridge back to the US was simple and fast, and I was at my car on the US side within 15 minutes of landing.

So…do I regret snubbing the 787 in favor of the 737 for this segment? Personally, no. Don’t get me wrong – the Premier Class cabin on the 787 is leaps and bounds better than what was on this old and tired 737, and there simply isn’t any comparison when it comes to the hard product. I actually found the service (soft product) to be friendlier and more personable on this segment to TIJ, and the timing of the flight worked out much better for me as well. I’m satisfied with my decision, but those of you who seek as much comfort as possible on this route should look no further than the 787 and those dreamy lie-flat seats.

Thanks for following me along on this trip to Mexico City, and stay tuned for my next trip report which will involve some domestic 747-400 flights