01. Introduction: Risking life and limb on low-cost Mexican airlines
02. Interjet A321 main cabin Tijuana to Mexico City
03. VivaAerobus A320 Mexico City to Cancun
04. The Royal Cancun All Suites Resort
05. Cancun was nothing like I expected it would be. Let me explain…
06. VivaAerobus A320 Cancun to Mexico City
07. The Grand Lounge Elite, MEX
08. Volaris A321 main cabin Mexico City to Tijuana
Kicking things off with this low budget / low cost Mexican airline adventure is a flight on Interjet – an airline that isn’t officially classified as low cost. I really know how to stick to a plan, don’t I? In my defense, I actually started planning this trip with the sole intention of trying Interjet and getting a ride on one of their cool little SSJ 100s (an aircraft which is quite rare here in the US), but it didn’t quite happen that way.
Unfortunately, Interjet doesn’t fly those SSJ’s in and out of Tijuana, but they still have a decent schedule of flights to destinations all over Mexico. It was only after that I realized that an SSJ 100 might not be in my plans that I had to backpedal a bit and turn this into an opportunity to fly some low cost Mexican Airlines that I’ve always dreamed of flying. Yes, I said dreamed. I’m telling you, I’m a bigger airline nerd than you think I am!
Tijuana, Mexico (TIJ) – Mexico City, Mexico (MEX)
Saturday, September 16, 2017
Duration: 2 hours 52 minutes
Seat: 24A (main cabin)
Lucky for us San Diegians, we have very easy access to the Tijuana International Airport via the Cross Border Xpress. It essentially an extension of the Tijuana airport which extends over the Mexico US border and allows easy crossing (usually 5 minutes or less) for passengers flying in and out of Tijuana. I had my first chance to try it last year, and it was such a good experience that I promised myself I would do it again for any trip to Mexico or points south. And guess what? Here I am, back at the CBX for this trip to Cancun.
Thankfully, the process of crossing the border and passing through security into the Tijuana airport was exactly the way that I remembered it from last time. Absolutely nothing was different, except for the fact that the downstairs area where I hung out while waiting for my AeroMexico flight to Mexico City has now been closed off and I had to wait upstairs with the masses. TIJ isn’t a very large airport at all, so the chance of finding a quiet spot to sit and wait is slim. Unless you have lounge access that is, which unfortunately, I did not today.
I was thrilled to see that they started boarding process right on time (it was getting crowded and noisy in the terminal), which was especially releving due to the fact that today was the Mexican Independence Day, and there were celebrations going on at the Mexico City airport which closed it down entirely for several hours. I learned about this the night before, and was sure that my itinerary would be blown to bits and I was going to miss some flights because of it. But thankfully, I didn’t have to worry about that – we were on our way to Mexico City right on schedule like it was any other normal day.
This Interjet A321 seemed to be fairly new, and I quite liked the configuration with very generous space for the emergency exits in the mid cabin. That break up of space helped to make things feel a little bit more spacious than it really was in there, despite the fact that I was crammed into a window seat with my knees nearly pressed into the seat in front of me. Seat pitch wasn’t that bad, but I’ve seen better.
As we were sitting there waiting to pushback (there was a slight delay due to the temporary closure of MEX), The parents of the little boy sitting behind me seemed to have no issue with letting him play with his tablet at full volume. I had no idea what that kid was watching or playing, but it involved some kind of very annoying Mexican cartoon character who screamed at the top of his (her? It’s?) lungs every five seconds or so. I had a pair of ear plugs with me that I shoved as deep into my ears as I could, but it was of little relief and thought that we (me and everyone sitting around me) were in for the most annoying flight of our lives. Why are parents oblivious to this kind of stuff?
Thankfully either the batteries died or the kid fell asleep because by the time that we pushed off the gate and rolled out for departure, silence had returned in the most refreshing way possible. You never really appreciate pure silence until you’re stuck sitting next to a kid playing Mexican cartoons at full volume.
Our departure out of Tijuana this morning was quick and beautiful, and we were soon pointed southeast on a heading towards Mexico City under a bright September morning sun. 15 minutes into the flight, I was starting to get anxious to see what the Interjet In flight beverage and snack experience was like. There wasn’t a menu in the seat back pocket in front of me, so it was anyone’s guess as to what they were going to service this morning.
Unfortunately, that service did not begin until one hour and 20 minutes into the flight. I really had no idea why they waited so long to start, as the flight had been pretty smooth so far with very little turbulence. The seatbelt sign was turned off 10 minutes after departure, so bumpy air was definitely not an excuse. Anyway, they served the cabin with two carts (One of the front and one of the rear) and met in the middle. Since I was roughly in the middle of the aircraft, I was one of the last to be served. No worries though, as I wasn’t really hungry or thirsty at all.
The rest of the flight to Mexico City this morning was, on the whole, rather bland. The Mexican terrain below was very similar to that of the western US, and the really wasn’t a whole lot to look at down there. I passed the time listening to podcasts and feeling thankful that I wasn’t being blasted with annoying Mexican cartoons from the row behind me.
If you’ve never flown into Mexico City, I’d have to say that it’s an experience like nothing else. The size of the city is simply incomprehensible, seemingly never ending in every direction for the final 10 minutes of the approach into the airport. In all my travel around the world, there’s not a single city that I know of which spans this much surface area. Los Angeles is kind of similar, but nowhere near the size of Mexico City. Do yourself a favor and get a window seat if you ever fly into this place – you will be amazed at what you see.
Overall, I would have to give high marks to Interjet and their service on this flight from Tijuana to Mexico City. OK, the flight attendants started the snack and beverage service a bit late, but otherwise this was a really good flight which was comparable to anything that you would get on a major airline in the continental US. I know that one three hour flight is hardly enough to make an informed decision, but I quite like Interjet and I’m already thinking about where I’m going to fly with them next. It will happen, and I especially hope it will be on one of those cool little SSJ 100s…